Ten Things You Should Never Say To Your Music Teacher

Inspired by an excellent post by SamPsychMeds.

We teachers hear lots of different things from our students throughout the day. Some of it brings a big smile to our faces, some of it warms our hearts, and some of it reaffirms why we became teachers. This post is not about those things.

1. Are we playing today? No, we’re not making music in music class today.

2. Can I go down to [insert teacher here]’s class for some extra help? Sure, as long as they send you down here during their class so you can catch up on some of the stuff you missed.

3. I forgot my instrument. That’s cool. I forgot to wear pants today.

4. This piece is dumb. Actually, if you can give me a couple of valid musical reasons for not liking a piece, I might let it slide. Maybe.

5. I can’t make it to the concert, I’ve got [insert sport here] practice. Definitely understandable, especially since my concerts have been scheduled since the beginning of summer and we could easily work out a compromise with your coach.

6. I can’t play this. That’s okay, trying is the first step towards failure. You can’t play it…right now. Work at it, let me help, and then see what happens.

7. Do I have to practice? Only if you want to improve.

8. Why are we listening to [insert piece students have not heard before]? Because if I only taught you about music you already know, would you really learn that much?

9. That’s not how [previous music teacher] did it. Very perceptive. You probably also noticed that I’m not [previous music teacher], so that might explain the confusion.

10. My parents bought me this cool purple [instrument]! Ugh. Just…ugh.

Edit: Now in poster form!

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The Trombonist’s Mouthpiece by Joe Guarr is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License

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174 thoughts on “Ten Things You Should Never Say To Your Music Teacher

  1. I work a lot with the wee ones… 6,7,8 years old.
    ‘I can’t read these notes’.
    “Do you know all your abc’s”? ‘Yes’.
    “Can you spell your name? Dog? Cat?” ‘Yes’
    “All those letters and you say you can’t read ABCDEFG. Oh my”!!

    • I was first given piano lessons at age 4. I used to play by ear before that (which is why my parents put me in lessons). I still play better by ear than I do reading notes. I can’t sightread for the life of me, I even have trouble reading drum scores now that I’m a pipe band drummer. I do better as a bass drummer by just flying without a net. I can read music, somewhat, but it is a serious struggle to learn to read a piece, no matter how hard I practice. I still play flute but I’ve given up on piano. I do better with guitar chords, tin whistle (which is very much an “aural” tradition) and bass drum “freehand” and tenor drum flourishing. So, it is quite possible that your little ones might be having the same issue. Besides, reading letters and reading notes are two different things.

  2. Aww this makes me really happy. I’ve had many band directors and I swear the amount of love they exude is saintly. What passion. This definitely made me smile, my first band director passed away less than a month ago, and I read this today on his birthday. Certainly heard him say these things. Something about band directors. They are just… awesome, and always exactly what every kid needs.

  3. Very funny and well written. As a failed musical student many years ago, I regret that I offered many of these type of excuses to avoid my music classes. Now 40 years after I left school I have started music lessons again but boy; is it hard.

    Thanks for putting a smile on my face today.

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  5. Music teachers are devious. lol… I worked my butt off in the 4th grade learning how to play the recorder so I could choose my instrument in the 5th. I wanted the drums. My teacher told me I was too short (I was 2 grades ahead of my age level), and stuck me with the violin. I left for middle school and I was so excited that I was getting out of the Instrument program. Little did I know that my elementary music teacher knew the middle school teacher and my parents. They all conspired together and made me play all through middle school. I asked to drop out and change electives, and my teacher totally agreed as long as my parents came in for a sit down. My mom came in and the teacher PRAISED my abilities and told them how impressed she was with me practicing 3-4 hours a day that she wanted to give me a solo at a *EXTRA CREDIT* program they were doing the next month. My mom looked at her and said… she’s never brought her instrument home once. My teacher pulled out all of my forged time cards and said that was interesting. I never got to quit that stupid violin until high school… lol… And she made me play a bunch of stupid solos all 3 years.

  6. My old band teacher.. Hah, oh that man.. well, he was quite the story teller. Loved music, and at parades you could see the pride in his eyes. We always got superiors at MPAs, although we were the smallest school in the county. Not many people liked him, they thought he was senile and weird. But these all sound like things he’s say, although he would say them in a ghetto accent

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