One of the most common problems in any field of education is how to deal with students who simply don’t want to learn what you teach.

Some are easy to convert with a little shift in perspective. Others are intent on simply not enjoying anything you have to offer.

It’s frustrating: I certainly want all of my students to be passionate about music, to leave lessons feeling like they made real progress and have a clear path to becoming better. But it doesn’t always work out that way.

I’ve made the mistake of letting the students take charge of where lessons should go when I should be the one guiding them. However, experience has taught me that 1) a student who wants to learn will quickly learn to ask the right questions and 2) a student who does not want to learn needs to be guided to become better while feeling open to providing feedback when the time is right.

My personality type makes me want to put a ton of effort into students who don’t like lessons, to somehow “save” them from their boredom. I was in their shoes. I hated lessons for many years.

But I have to keep reminding myself that there are students who are passionate, who work hard, who love their interactions with me. Those are the students who I should be investing in. I’ll still work hard with the ones who don’t want to learn in hopes that things will turn around, but I can’t burn myself out chasing unattainable goals.

In my heart, I still believe that there’s a way to reach every kind of student, but there’s only so much that can be done with weekly sessions and the dragĀ of reluctance.