View Full Version : Do you put your student through warmups?
12-13-2005, 07:20 AM
Recently I have a few (usually adult but a couple of younger)students coming to the piping session straight from (obviously stressful) work or from driving an hour to lesson.
I have found I need to start them on some warmup tunes... so we can assess how "stiff" the fingers are... and allocate some time (and some times foundational exercises) to getting the fingers back in shape, and getting in a mentally RELAXED receptive/teachable frame of mind
(e.g High Road to Gairloch to assess dthrows and hadadums, Bonnie Dundee to assess taorluaths and f to double e, Barren Rocks to assess timing and birls)
I do this, or otherwise the student shows me errors that aren't really something I have to teach him/her (I wonder if I could coin the term "hir" for an inclusive pronoun) out of.
I have always done this... but in these recent cases it sometimes takes close to half the lesson time and I regret the loss of teaching time.
Question 1: Do you teachers routinely have the students who need it.... do warmups? (or e.g. tell the student to arrive early enough to warm up "upstairs" while I'm finishing up with prior student)
Question 2: Should we charge only by/for the "actual" teaching time, or extend the lesson time (if able in the schedule), or schedule and charge for an extended lesson period, or limit warmups to e.g. five minutes... and damn the torpedoes...full speed ahead...., or accept whatever time is needed for the warmups, and accept that teaching time is consequently limited... or some other approach...
I'm looking for input to clarify my philosophy and approach/acceptance of the condition...
Thanks in advance for your input.
"THE FOUR STAGES OF LIFE:
1) You believe in Santa Claus.
2) You don't believe in Santa Claus.
3) You are Santa Claus.
4) You look like Santa Claus."
-- These words of wisdom passed along from Charles LeBer.
Richard Mao, The Peking Piper ( PekingPiper@mao.org )
12-13-2005, 10:21 AM
Mr. Peking Piper :)
I realize that you were asking for opinions from instructors. I am presently just a student. But I wanted to post my opinion. My instructor always warmns up with scales and basic tunes for all of her students from beginner on up. She says it's just a good way to warm up and get into the groove of playing. Speaking for myself, I don't mind paying for this in my lesson. On a good day I breeze through my scales and basics and give both my instructor and myself whiplash. However, on a bad day, my instructor can explain what is going on and why the same thing might happen in my at home practice. Also gives the instructor a chance to see how I problem solve things that arrise. I for one would love to be able to show up early for my lesson to warm up. However, with small kids and a hectic schedule. It's just not possible. I have to hit the ground running and can only spare that thirty minutes. And I feel truely blessed. It was like pulling teeth to get at least that out of my families schedule.
I wish you all the best
12-13-2005, 11:07 AM
Every lesson has to go somewhere. It doesn't, however, necessarily have to go where I want it to. If the lesson starts and ends still working on warmup tunes, that's OK . . . as long as I'm seeing improvement.
Let's say I'm hoping to hear a student play all four parts of his march on the pipes today. But as he's warming up, I notice that he's having problems with doublings. I say "oh well" to the march, and spend whatever time is necessary to work on the doublings -- even if it takes the whole lesson and the whole next one, too. I figure solving the doubling problem will improve everything he plays. We'll get to the march when we get there. What's the rush?
12-13-2005, 12:37 PM
It used to start with 30 pushups. But then I realized that: a. The kids were complaining about this; and b. It didn't seem to help the piping!
OK; I appreciate RaneyDayPiper's comments as a student. And they do match pretty much what we're dealing with: Limited time and focus.
It also depends quite a bit on the stage of the student. I have three, for instance, who are often preparing for an upcoming competition. So their warm-up is generally getting them to tune up their pipes and get things settled down.
While they can play whatever they want, I sometimes have to suggest, "Play a slow aire...", or whatever they know and can control better, for--kids being kids--they often try to warm up and tune with the hottest, fastest tune from Chris Armstrong or something.
Good question, Richard, about the time element and for what we're charging. Some of my lessons stack up, so I don't always have the freedom to let them go over. If I can, however, I'll generally go beyond the set time limit of the lesson to factor in tuning, warm ups or even a little pipe maintenance (although they know they're in trouble if they come to lesson with a serious pipe maintenance issue which they could have dealt with at home).
12-13-2005, 02:25 PM
Your desire to really give your students their moneys worth is very apparent, so wanted to chime in ---
Again, just a student perspective, but as I am paying for the lesson, I wanted to let you know how valuable I find my paid warm-up time with my instructor, in addition to the "work" and "tunes" and "exercises"
My instructor puts me and each of her students through SOMETHING as a warmup --- "play a g grace note scale, and let's do the first 1/2 of the College of Piping throw-on scales"
My assignment in this, clearly explained: use it to warm up, but I must play in any meter I can hold steady and not make mistakes. If I hear a crossing noise or mistake, stop right there, go back a note, fix it.
Result -- I and equipment get a bit warm, I am immediately focused on maintaining correctness, and instructor evaluates how well I hear and fix errors as well as hold meter. Until I could do this, instructor would stop my warm up and insist I use this technique, fixing my mistakes.
I usually eat up 10 minutes of an hour lesson in this, but to me, it has been a good foundational practice, and it has been one that my instructor says informs her of where I am able to "self-police" and where I am not. It is worth the money to me, as she says it is to build good practice habits, right from the start, even in warming up.
Lastly --- of late, b/c there are some tunes for upcoming events that need to be perfected, I record my playing of them at my practice just before the lesson -- that way, if we don't get to them, she has the tape and can listen to it and critique it as I am packing. She wants me to keep an audio record of tunes and progress --- not just current but to hear progress over time.
Don't know if this helps, but your teaching your students how to warm up in a productive way also has value and is a worthwhile part of the lesson, from my opinion.
12-17-2005, 08:42 AM
After I had the tip of my D finger chopped off and got 6 infections and had to be in physical therapy for a while, I discovered the joys of bathing my hands in really hot water or hot wax and then doing 'finger yoga'before I put in serious time practicing. It takes about ten minutes and boy does it work for me. I can do better on thoes nasty chedares embaris and amach movements. One can do the finger yoga throughout the day and it does help
12-19-2005, 08:22 AM
I am reminded of the days when my daughter took ballet. At one class, the girls lollygagged around because they didn't want to do the first part of the barre work (plies, basically knee bends.) Well, their teacher, definitely of the old school, scolded them and said the plies were the most important part of the barre work. They had to do them anyway. Lesson learned.
12-21-2005, 04:52 AM
definately have too... I live in Canada, and thier fingers are usualy cold and stiff when they get to practice.