Jekyll and Hyde

So our morning practice was just a continuation of yesterday: more tantrums and refusal to cooperate. Did she play the Tanz even once? Maybe, but after that, nothing — except crying and complaining — for a half hour.

On the plus side, I made more sensible, modified threats. I explained that we were going to have to make up the practice time, and if we didn’t make it up before her birthday party, she might have to make it up then and miss the party. This did not add any fuel to the fire (which was already going quite nicely, thank you).

As I contemplated what to do on my way to work, I realized my best option was to pick her up early from school and insist that we practice immediately. Normally, I pick M up an hour after her school gets out and take her straight to martial arts. She loves martial arts, and I figured that her desire to go would be a good motivator — because if we couldn’t finish our practice before the martial-arts class, as a natural consequence, she wouldn’t be able to go to that class.

My plan worked as I had hoped. We got home, immediately practiced, and M was very cooperative. We went to martial arts, picked up dinner, and then had another short practice after dinner.

For the short practice, as a combined carrot and stick, M agreed in advance to let me hold one of her toys hostage. Specifically, as we were on the way home from martial arts, she asked if we could stop at Radio Shack and get a hex bug she has been coveting. I said that we could, but on one condition: she would have to let me hold it hostage, and she would only get it after our evening lesson, and only if she cooperated. She agreed.

Now, she was also quite cheerful to begin with when I picked her up, in contrast to her obvious foul mood yesterday. So who knows how much my different strategies even affect her; maybe it’s just her mood, more than what I do, that determines whether she melts down or not.

Technique-wise, we worked on her left hand: keeping the 2nd (middle) finger parallel to the frets so that she’s reaching less with the pinky and any reaching needed is done backward, by the 1 finger, which can more easily reach back than the pinky can reach forward.

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