ome time ago a mother asked me how I approach teaching gifted children in lessons. What works with gifted children? What is my experience? To answer to that, I would like to share with you a small representation of what’s happening in the lesson. One day I will write a booklet for music lessons to gifted children (for teachers, parents, students?) Leave a message if you’re interested. The more interest, the sooner it will happen 😉
My approach to every child is different, also with my gifted pupils (of which there are now +/-18, not all have been tested). In General, they need to be challenged more. For some students, it’s sufficient to explain something only once or twice. For some, it is necessary that I help them planning and structure their practice time. To play the violin you need to automate the physical aspect on top of relying on your intelligence. Willpower often brings them to achieve what they want, but in the long term that doesn’t cut it. My starting point is that you don’t need to learn something that you already know. That way we can easily find out what is relevant to learn and teach. I like to work with my pupils inspiration. If they, for example, have heard a song they like to play, then I fully support that. If that piece turns out to be too difficult, we can uncover the weak spots and it will be very clear to the pupil why certain (boring) exercises should be done (top-down). Some pupils have to contend with their perfectionism and the accompanying anger if it does not go very well (violin playing is rather difficult of course). With them I don’t just teach them how to play violin, but also how to deal with making mistakes. Learning to learn is often a great challenge for gifted children, and there I try to contribute by offering strategies and tactics that will help them in school and studies. Emotional development is sometimes not parallel to the intellectual development, or it can just be quite tricky to be highly gifted in this society… I listen carefully to my students and if I feel that things are not going so well for them, I will make time during the lesson to talk about it.
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