Re: [Harp-L] Reality Check - teaching

       Seeing you seem to do a fair bit of teaching, I thought I'd list a few things that I've noted in my years of teaching for which I'm having trouble finding answers.

1.The player who seems to leak air all over the place but gets a pathetically weak sound from the instrument (where is all the air going? They seem to have the thing in their mouth far enough)

2. Students who can only seem to bend a note when they are playing TWO holes (usually 2/3) ....and this after I've told them they must isolate single holes in order to bend properly. when they successfully 'isolate', they can't bend at all.

3. Explaining the difference between drawing the reed HARD - so that it goes almost a semi-tone sharp- and drawing it so it bends, even at low volume.

4. Why, when trying to help students isolate single holes, and suggesting they angle the harp to an almost vertical position, they then cock there head to one side so that their mouth is again parallel to the harmonica!! This almost invariably!

5. The perpetual 2-draw bender: They cant play draw 2 without bending it. I tell them to let air come through their nose while they are drawing , using what I indelicately call the 'snot' valve - or sometimes the 'snore' valve - actually the pharynx. Very few people appear to have any awareness of this or are able to do it.

....I'm sure I can think of some more. You experienced any of this?


>>> <IcemanLE@xxxxxxx> 26/11/2008 6:25 >>>
Michael Rubin offered an excellent post regarding his teaching (as well as  
his other real world experiences).
In my opinion, Michael is not charging enough for lessons - however, this  is 
always a reflection of the surrounding demographics and income level of the  
$50/hr may be a fairer price for a competent teacher. It was hard for me to  
raise my rates from $40 to $50 because of a personal mental block against  
raising prices. I felt I would lose all my students and no one would be  
interested. However, I was greatly surprised to find that most quality students  
understood and didn't mind paying more for a worthwhile lesson. 
One step I took in between to help soften the sticker shock was to suggest  
that if the student pay for 4 weeks in advance, the lesson would be $45 - a  
discount off the "list price". This helped encourage the student to put a little 
 more commitment into the program and many took their lessons more seriously. 
The  understanding was that, if a lesson was missed and I didn't receive 24 
notice,  the pre-paid lesson amount would be forfeit. It put a little better 
professional  spin on the whole arrangement and, much to my surprise, no one was 
upset or  complained about the new arrangement. It also eliminated those 
students that  tend to waste a teacher's time by not showing up and/or calling to 
cancel or  those not dedicated.
Responses to this query from those on the front line have been totally  
enlightening. I love hearing the description of the paths taken over the years  in 
order to pursue a dream and hope these comments are as encouraging to  
everyone else to follow their passions.
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