Asking vs. telling, performance anxiety, and gender

Today, our studio teacher asked if M would be available for a short lesson with a new guitar  teacher MacPhail is considering hiring. I was inclined to say yes, but I gave myself time to think about it.

I decided to ask M what she thought. She said no pretty emphatically. And I realized that I probably shouldn’t have phrased it as a question, because (as it turned out) I didn’t really want to give M the freedom to say no. I wanted to insist that she do it.

Why did I ask instead of tell? Because (I think) although I wanted to insist, I felt conflicted about it. M already has long days on Saturday, with a group lesson in the morning and a private one at lunchtime (and swimming in between), and this proposed new lesson would happen close to her normal rest time. And at the end of the long day, M’s not likely to have a great time in a lesson with a new teacher.

Still, I didn’t immediately accept or reject M’s “no.” Instead, I asked about why she didn’t want to do it.

First answer: “I’m too shy.”
She continued: “I’m too shy to do a lesson with someone I don’t know.”
And then: “If the teacher were a girl I would do it.”

How interesting! I suppose it makes sense, but I would not have expected M’s attitude to differ depending on the gender of the teacher.

M’s reluctance diminished some when I reminded her that at Suzuki camp last year,¬†she had done lessons with a male teacher she didn’t know. And after I dropped the subject for a while, I realized that it would only be fair to offer to shave some time off of a lesson on a different day if she does this extra lesson. When I made that offer, she accepted.

Lesson recap

Another basically good lesson. We ran through the Twinkles several times at 60 bpm to get ready for recording them. We also worked on Steady Hands. Singing while playing continues to help. M’s break/reward was popping bubble wrap.

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