“But my child achieved this level of playing and learning last year, and you said it was excellent….this year you say it’s not good enough.”
This is something many piano teachers will hear from parents, and it can be the cause of a lot of discord when parents want progress in piano class, but don’t realise how this impacts their child’s learning goals.
Goals escalate slowly over time .. from very small easily achievable goals, to goals which need more work, focus and independent learning.
Why the teacher praises small achievements
A child who is just starting to grasp something, needs to be able to spot even small signs of improvement. These small achievements are what motivate the child to go on working at the same piece day after day. This is what helps the child develop a sense of confidence, and enjoy learning.
A goal achieved means that your child has moved forward, along a long long road to being a pianist.
When the teacher starts to want more : and achievement is not so easy
The students has achieved a level of competence in the goal set and now needs to look and doing something more. The teacher now expects a certain level of competence in some basic concepts and needs to communicate to parents, that their child has grown and is now ready to move on and therefore the goals are higher, and a little harder to achieve.
Children often need parent support, at this stage, to understand that everything takes more time, and needs more work than earlier, but it's not because they're doing poorly, but because they're capable of moving on to a higher level of learning.
I realise it’s important to talk to parents about the relationship between escalating goals and escalating achievement. Because not all parents think about it, and sometimes parents can get upset, when they the mistake of thinking that their child’s doing poorly.