I was just sharing an experience with someone who said "Share this with Harry!" So here I am.
Serious Drill has become very valuable in my teaching of Piano. I have I have been a "serious" musician and have approached music and now teaching from a "serious" place.
So last fall I found myself having a first piano lesson with an 8 year old who was unruly and had a "no" or negative response to everything I introduced. The piano was too loud or the sounds hurt his ears and he said he couldn't (wouldn't?) use his hands Of course playing piano requires using your hands.
After 15 minutes of trying every trick in the book and feeling absolutely frustrated, I asked him to tell me about himself; why he was there etc. I began doing Serious Drill. I'd been too caught up in his resistance earlier!
He spoke clearly & with insight. He said his parents were making him take piano, he hated it and was never coming back. He expressed he knew ALL music and was more intelligent than almost everyone. I just serious drilled and he began to soften. I then played for him and he began telling me of visuals he had as I played. I was totally in feel and played nothing that was familiar to him. We ended up on a feeling of having shared ourselves with each other.
I forgot to mention he would yell and scream out if I played notes on the piano that "hurt" his ears. The lesson ended and I chalked it up to "this is a special needs kid and I may not be the teacher for him".
I talked to the Registrar at school I'm at and she told me he was an "Asbergers" type and was sorry she hadn't let me know ahead of time. It seemed pretty irresponsible at the time, but we agreed i would teach him a couple more lessons and then decide if he needed a musical therapist type etc.
I decided to call his mom in the AM and ask her more about her son and request her presence in the room. She called me first.
She was ecstatic! She said he had skipped all the way home and he was totally excited. I admitted to her the difficulty I had had with him and after she continued on with what a break through this had been, I asked her what she thought had shifted the lesson.
Her son told her that "I had Got him" and that I really "listened to him". I credit the Serious Drill. It didn't matter if he played piano he just needed to be heard!
Needless to say he has continued on with me and has continued to develop his skills. He recently started using both hands at the piano. He is also going to go beyond being home schooled this fall and his mom attributes his greater social skills to piano lessons.
So he'll be in a with other gifted children this summer. I've integrated him into an improvisational piano group which is challenging and changing his life. He is enormously creative and very musical.
Who would've know? He's becoming a kinder, gentler being on this planet.
Long story short without the Avatar tools he may have gotten lost in the cracks. Hi anger and frustration are transforming before my eyes. Thank you Harry for making this journey amazing!
Deb S.L. - USA