One of the most distressing things for a teacher to find in their music lesson is a student who says they “can’t” do something. In keeping an open mind, the first thing that I do when I hear a student tell me they “can’t” is warn them if they say that three time, I will do something they will not like. On the third time, I end the lesson. I continue to try to help and encourage the student to do the right thing. If over and over again, they tell me they can’t there is nothing more that can be done at that lesson.
“Can’t” is a terminology that means they will not participate. If it is a reasonable request, it should be done. Some things are not up for negotiation. Students do not get to decide what is the right way of playing the instrument on the basic technical aspects. It is the teacher’s job to prepare them for this.
The teacher and student can accomplish many things if a student will just “try.” When trying to help students to not make excuses, I encourage them to focus even if they are facing a difficulty, then we can celebrate when they have accomplished something in the face of great obstacles.