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Helping the Shy Pupil

Helping the Shy Pupil
By A Teacher
The shy pupil is a fit object for compassion, and her teacher is equally entitled to commiseration. Shyness militates against the exhibition of talent that may be quite remarkable, and the shy one's teacher may have to bear criticism which she in no way deserves. The ordinary modesty and self-depreciation of the young girl is to be admired, but any excess of these attributes is to be deplored. What should the teacher do in her endeavor to mitigate to some extent the morbid nervousness from which so many pupils suffer—or at least give way to? Obviously it is of no use to be cross or disdainful with them, nor, on the other hand, is too much softness likely to remove the complaint. Sincere and carefully-expressed encouragement, where deserved, is a good thing, and should not be withheld. It is infinitely better to tackle super-shyness with than the weapon of ridicule. Some young pupils are not to be laughed out of what is after all a congenital failing, and any attempt to apply such treatment will only make matters worse.
The establishment of perfect confidence between mistress and pupil should be aimed at from the very first, and from such a relation the best results possible will accrue. The young pupil must feel that her teacher is her friend, and peradventure the abnormal feeling of diffidence will disappear, and the teacher will not notice the stumblings at every lesson, which are totally absent from the performance when the pupil is practicing at home. Gradually, it may be hoped, the feeling of constraint will wear off, and she will be able to do justice to herself in the eyes of the teacher; and this state of mind having been arrived at the fear of the criticism of friends, who really only want to enjoy, will vanish, and the teacher will be accorded the credit due to her.
The friendships of teacher and pupil thus formed have often been of lifelong standing, even when the formation has been a question of time. It will be admitted that there is at the outset a bar to the foundation of friendship where the teacher (the woman) is full of enthusiasm for musical art, and possessed of every qualification to instruct, and the pupil (the girl) is so constituted as to be cold and distrait, through shyness; seeming to shrink from every friendly advance of her teacher, and returning only apathy for earnest and downright sympathy. But, despite the temper-trying conditions of her avocation, the music-mistress who is of a kindly nature will exert her utmost to make the pupil recognize in her a friend, and in the end she is bound to win. Gradually the ice will be melted, and the natural promptings of the heart towards evident kindness will result in a reciprocated feeling.— Music.
Music is the only sensual gratification which mankind may indulge in to excess without injury to their moral or religious feelings.—Addison.

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