How do you work with a child that has a dominant personality? I have had my fair share of these children who believe their way is the only way!

Children with a dominant personality are usually high-achievers because they excel in completing their tasks and at the quickest time. They tend to be uncompromising and take control in a situation – even in the classroom!

The issue with dominant personality is this – how do you work with a child who has completed the tasks but the details are missing?


I had an encounter with a child who is incredibly quick in her kinetic finger dexterity, but impatient in keeping the music at a steady pulse. She was also resistant to have anyone teach her a new concept!


Here’s what I did…



I clapped a rhythmic pattern and said aloud the words to help in the counting. I asked her to copy what I did and said.

She refused!

I cajoled, and she refused!

I spoke gently, respectfully, and did everything I could to persuade her to copy what I did and said. Sticker rewards were not working here.


So I asked her, “Why do you not want to do this?”

She replied, “I don’t like clapping”



She only wanted to learn the rhythmic pattern by using her fingers to play the music notes. So I let her do what she wanted – notes were correct, but the rhythm was not working.

I encouraged her, “You got the notes correct. Well done! Let’s focus on getting the rhythm correct so that this will sound beautiful.”

Guess what she said?

She refused… again!!!



I took a risk and decided to ‘shock’ her.

I said gently to her, “Ok, I will teach you when you want to be taught.”

I kept silent passively beside her, keeping a neutral body language.

The kid fidgeted and after a couple of minutes of no music created, but constant fidgeting at the piano bench, she paused.

I grabbed the opportunity and asked, “Are you ready?”


She said… YES!!!

And she copied what I demonstrated.



The moment she had the rhythm done correctly, I gave a loud whoop of joy and she was clearly pleased with herself.

I said to her, “Thank you for choosing to let me teach you.”



There is no ONE way to teach a child. If one way doesn’t work, find another way. There is always a solution waiting for us to discover!