Guest Author

Guest Author

To fill our lives with joy is one of the best things we can do to improve the quality of our life. It is also rather simple to experience joy. I have found that it is often the small things in life that enable us to experience and connect with the feeling of joy.

Even the small gestures like a student remembering their instrument, receiving flowers, getting through to a student, hearing a student perfect a piece. These little experiences enable us to connect with the feeling of accomplishment.

With most things in life, it is difficult to reach your goal immediately after leaving the starting block. The best and most efficient way of filling your life with what you want, is to start small and do it consistently. Every day build on the day before, gradually increasing until you reach your goal. So, every day, celebrate the little steps that your students are taking to towards a goal that the two of you have set together. Know and experience the joy that you both feel as you move towards your goal.

The more you connect with the joy of progressing towards your goal, the more of your goal you will attract to you. Don’t focus on any set backs or obstacles that seem to hinder the progress towards your goal. Find a solution to your obstacle, and then celebrate your solution. Break the goal into small manageable and accessible steps. Daily steps are the most rewarding, as you can then celebrate every day, although weekly may work better to celebrate with the students.

Make it a weekly habit to celebrate the step forward you have taken towards your goal. It takes twenty one days to create a habit. Challenge yourself to find twenty one things about your students to celebrate for the next twenty one days. Your mind will start to attract success on a daily basis going forward because you have already become attractive to success, and you will see the change in your students as well.

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I have been reviewing lots of forum postings lately and came across an interesting posting. There seems to be a debate about how to approach informing a student’s family about their need to upgrade their instrument. I can certainly see the logic in the student needing an instrument to progress. I can also see the logic in using tact and speaking to the parents in a tactful fashion, and not speaking through the child.

At some point in the debate the teacher says a few things that I found alarming: [···]

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We all understand that practice leads to perfection. The issue at hand is how to encourage our students to practice with enthusiasm instead of viewing the practice sessions as a chore. My first experience with Classical Music was Peter and the Wolf. I was not excited to be attending this performance and was saddened that there would be no speaking, actual animals or cartoons on this particular outing. I remember asking my mother “Do I Have to go with you?”

Much to my surprise I left the performance with the desire to create my own orchestra. Somewhere during the performance the music had captured me and the instruments had come alive. I often Get to listen to classical music and frequently to Peter and the Wolf. It has been thirty years since my first enchantment with an orchestra and not even one detail escapes me. Here are some widely known readily forgotten tips to inspire students:

  1. Suggest more frequent shorter practice sessions
  2. Encourage parents to spend time listening to the child practice
  3. Suggest that parents compliment the child instead of criticize
  4. Reward the child with the option of selecting a particular piece of music if the practicing improves
  5. Ask the student what type of music they prefer and create a common bond between what they listen to and what they play
  6. Suggest that parents take the student to live performances featuring the instrument the child plays if at all possible. Colleges or conservatories often have recitals or inexpensive performances through out the year.
  7. Include the child in goal setting on a regular basis

It can be difficult to motivate the reluctant student. Motivation is different for each student, once you find the motivating factor for the child you can change practicing from a “Have To” to a “Get To” with a little encouragement.

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