Friday, May 02, 2008

Happy Girl

I am such a happy girl. We have a nice guild judge. Piano guild auditions are like a final exam for piano lessons, and it's a judging event that happens nationally (actually internationally, now).

Don't get me wrong. I don't care about how strict they are with their comments or their grading.

No matter how badly (or goodly) they're playing, there's absolutely no reason not to be nice to them during the audition.  If they're screwing everything up, a judge should put them at ease, smile, be nice. Sure, they can grade as tough as they want. That's cool, we can learn from that.

But we can't learn from a judge who stands up at one mistake, towers over a little girl, and points out a wrong fingering. (Which means little girl gets flustered and starts missing EVERY fingering, and then can barely play her pieces because she can't see through the tears.)

So I'm listening to one of my students through the walls, and I'm so very grateful this judge is nice. He's bringing out their best playing.

Last year's judge had all my best students CRYING. For some odd reason, all the girls. She was nice to the boys, but every single girl cried. Weird, that. And my students were pretty well-prepared!

I'm not fond of the crying technique when it comes to teaching. If it worked, cool.

But it doesn't.

Here's a questions: have you ever had a teacher or judge or critiquer make you cry? How did it work? Did it motivate you? Did it stop you?

15 bonus scribbles:

Erica Orloff 5/02/2008 05:29:00 PM  

Crying isn't something I do often. But the couple of times something review-like or editorial-like reduced me to tears, it was a TOTAL demotivator. My urge is to quit. Now, I'm no quitter, so the feeling passes, but I just don't feel I need to waste any oxygen dealing with someone who is belittling or nasty or a liar or cruel. Like I said, it's happened rarely, but last time, let's see . . . I was nine months preggers with Demon Baby and an editor was just a BITCH (she was later fired). She wanted me to do just these STUPID edits (make her dress red not black, I don't like her hair color), and when I said I was due to give birth in a day or two, and could proof do it or could SHE do it because clearly it mattered to her what color the damn dress was and not me. And she was like, "No. So do it, dammit" or something to that effect. To which I called my higher-up editor and said, after 15 books with you all, you know how I am . . . you know I'm a pro. I'm not dealing with this shit.

And then I just ... stopped caring. It was awful. Put me in a writing funk.

Mark Terry 5/02/2008 06:15:00 PM  

In my years doing solo & ensemble in high school I occasionally had a pretty hard-assed judge. It was probably something like 70/30, with the 70% being the kind judges. I played in 2 different instruments, piano and saxophone, and often accompanied other musicians, so that might be why the ratios seem so high in retrospect, some of those judges may have been for other instruments.

When my son went to S&E a couple months ago for bassoon, I was a little bit concerned about the judges, but the woman judge he had was great, essentially giving him a 10-minute bassoon lesson after he played. Which I thought was excellent, especially for an 8th grader. They're supposed to learn from the process, after all.

Aimless Writer 5/02/2008 08:40:00 PM  

We could take them out in the parking lot and-- oops! you're not from Jersey, are you?
Some people shouldn't be allowed in places of power.

spyscribbler 5/02/2008 10:53:00 PM  

Ohmigosh, Erica, that's crazy! Wow, hair color? Dress color? That's just insane. What is that about?

I've been to that stop-caring place. Not a fun funk.

spyscribbler 5/02/2008 10:59:00 PM  

What a nice thing for her to do, Mark! That is very cool.

I just don't see any reason to not be nice to the kids when they come for an audition. I don't get that. Where does that come from?

spyscribbler 5/02/2008 11:01:00 PM  

Aimless, you're so right. Hey, I've read and listened to the Stephanie Plum books a lot. Can I be, like, a Jersey-girl in training or something?

Michelle,  5/03/2008 03:40:00 PM  

I have a strange reaction to people who use their power over children to make them cry. I want superpowers so I can humilate them in the same way. Actually, I feel the same way about idiots who can't drive and put the lives of innocent people at risk while they do crazy things on the road, but that is another story altogether . . . :)

spyscribbler 5/03/2008 03:51:00 PM  

Michelle, I know what you mean. Although, I've made my share of children cry. I'm not sure I made them cry, so much as they cried in front of me. I've grown to be okay with that; some kids get easily frustrated at challenges, and I have to help them through that.

But I guess that's not making them cry. Yeah, I agree with you. More and more, I just don't get that guild judge. I mean, there really is no point not to be nice. Be as strict as you want in grading, cool. But there's no reason not to smile and at least attempt to put a nervous child at ease.

I know I was SO grateful for this year's judge!

conley730 5/03/2008 09:41:00 PM  

The only time I can remember crying in front of a teacher was because I had done something REALLY wrong and she confronted me about it. She was very...I can't think of a word...understanding isn't quite it, but it'll do. She wasn't coming down on me. She wasn't being mean. She just told me she had a question and she wanted me to tell the truth. That's why I cried...because she KNEW what I had done and I was ashamed. The last time I cried was because of a reaming from my boss at work and it was more like crying in front of him...not so much that he made me cry. I was mad as heck at what he was telling me and I was telling him that I disagreed, etc. I really love my job, but on this one point we will probably continue to disagree. I have applied for another job, but I'm not sure what I'll do. I really have it pretty good where I am.

Edie 5/04/2008 08:50:00 AM  

Really interesting stories. I had a couple awful CPs. One was mean not just to me, but to another CP too. Because she said it about the other CP, whose writing I love, I discounted her comments. But do I have warm, fuzzy feelings about her? Hell, no!

I consider what every person says, so it used to hurt more. It's funny how 99 people will say something great about us, but one person says something negative and that's the one we'll brood about for hours, maybe even days.

BookInTheOven 5/04/2008 05:42:00 PM  

I had really bad undiagnosed ADHD and there was this one teacher (3rd grade) who would publicly humiliate me if I forgot my homework or lost something (which happened all the time.) If my desk got too messy, he'd push everything off of it and the whole class would laugh. Needless to say, didn't really help in the popularity department either. My parents loved him, though. They thought it would teach me to be clean and didn't. Punishment by humiliation, not so effective.

Anyhoo, turns out he always picked one kid each year to bully. Several parents got together and sued. He still lost his job. I ran into him several years later working at a Taco Bell. The cosmos was satisfied. :-P

spyscribbler 5/04/2008 11:29:00 PM  

Oh, Conley, that's such a difficult situation, especially since you like job. I'm one of those people where one thing can stick in my craw for AGES. Letting go is not my strong suit.

I never cried in front of a teacher, but I cried after, for sure. I used to tie myself in knots before piano lessons, LOL. Most of us did. I don't know why. Piano is a perfectionist's art, unfortunately. It's prone to knots, LOL.

spyscribbler 5/04/2008 11:39:00 PM  

Edie, that's too bad. I wouldn't have warm fuzzy feelings, either.

I just don't understand that kind of meanness.

And SO true about the 1 in a 100. The negative is so easily heard; the positive, not so much!

spyscribbler 5/04/2008 11:42:00 PM  

Bookintheoven, that's just wrong! How horrible. That must have been traumatic for you. I was an ADD student, too. My teachers complained that I stared out the window all the time, and didn't get my (very easy and very boring) work done. But no humiliation. I would have DIED.

And that is PERFECT karma.

conley730 5/05/2008 11:25:00 AM  

I had a horrible teacher like that in the 4th grade. I think kind of the same thing happened...a bunch of parents got together and complained and she was fired. I saw her years later working in the Nut Hut at the mall! It was great!