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Choosing material for students and what to do about someone who doesnt share your passion??

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Hi all,

I have been teaching for about 2 and a half years now, but still lack confidence in a lot of things. I teach part time as I currently have to work full time in a Council job to pay my mortgage. I think a lot of the things I worry about are just lack of experience but I wanted your opinion on two things.....

Firstly, how do you choose material for your students? Do you choose it or do they? Does this depend on what the student is doing it for (fun, performance etc)? How often do you change songs? Is it only when you have gotten everything out of the song that you would change it, or do you leave something to think about and come back to it at a later date?

So many questions, but sometimes I feel like I know nothing about this whole teaching thing! :)

The second issue I have is with one student in particular....she claims to want to be a performer. She is 15 and has been coming to me for a couple of years. She was on fortnightly lessons until recently and I spoke to her mother and said that she wasn't improving as much as I'd like so I suggested shorter weekly lessons. She still isn't improving however much I try! She looks totally bored throughout the whole lesson. I have spoken to her about it and asked whether her mother is the one who wants her to do this and whether in fact she would prefer a different career in the future. She claims that she really wants this. Problem is, I think she thinks that Daddy will be able to pay for her to get a glittering job at the end of paying for a performer college...I have tried to explain to her that it is a very tough business and that she needs to have the passion and drive to do it. She claims to have this and although she has a pretty voice, she is still struggling to pick up the basics of support.

As I am not the most confident of people, I have wondered whether it is me that is the problem, but I do think it is more her attitude that is the problem. She never has an opinion on a song choice and if I try to help her with stories about the business or talk to her about West End news, she seemingly has zero interest.

Obviously, if she had come to me and said she wants to learn to sing for fun this wouldn't be so much of an issue, but as she wants this to be her livelihood in the future, I really struggle not to lose my temper with her and tell her to pull her socks up!

I tried to give her some 'fun' research based homework but she "forgot it" for four weeks so then I gave up asking!

Rant over...anyone got any ideas?

(and please be gentle!) xx

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