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Thursday, October 15, 2015

Let's not start a pattern...

Darling students,

This week, I had two students not show up for a lesson. One canceled 18 minutes before her lesson, which counts as a no-show (see the syllabus); one simply did not come to scheduled makeup lesson. These are times set aside weekly for one-on-one work with a teacher devoted to helping you improve, which does not happen anywhere else on campus.

Now, I now what I am writing doesn't apply to some or even most of you. But one occurrance is odd, twice is a coincidence, three times is a pattern. I am writing this post to avoid this becoming a pattern, because it's close.

I encourage you all to review your syllabus.

What if you're not as prepared as you'd like, and you're worried about coming to your lesson? Well, that is for you to weigh. You can come, earn at least some points by being there and sucking it up, and learn at least a little something. You can come and speak through the text if the language is a problem. You can come and work with me to better plan how you spend your practice time. You can at least get some technique work done.

Everyone bombs a lesson once in a while. It won't kill your grade if it happens only once or even twice a semester. Sometimes the weeks fill up, tests accumulate, your roommate is driving you crazy, or someone in your family gets sick. Life happens; I get that. But if coming in unprepared or underprepared, being chronically late, or being unready to sing in performance class is becoming a habit, then it's a problem...for you, not me.

If coming to a lesson when you're unprepared is so painful for you that you refuse to endure the evil eye or even a mini-lecture about your grade, that's your call. Getting a zero for the week may hurt less than taking your licks and getting a 50. But I assure you, the only thing that suffers more than your ego if you don't come is your grade.

This is about more than grades, though. This is about responsibility, learning how to manage your time, and deciding if music is really what you want to do with your life. If your behavior is telling me that you don't really want to do this, believe me when I say that I'm doing you a favor by informing you sooner rather than later.

And know that I am saying all of this because I WANT you to succeed, and I'm trying to prevent you from failing. But only you can make that choice.

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