creativity

When teaching, there is an obvious difference of students and teacher, and it defines the space in which each of them operates, this is, a predominance of speaker on the teacher’s side, and a predominance of listeners on the student’s side, but what to do when this dynamic changes, and what is the difference on it being caused by a good thing or a bad thing? Creativity.

Of course is a bad thing if you as teacher, see the class being interrupted by a student who is just looking for some fun to alleviate his boredom, but when a student interrupts because he wants to learn or share his opinion, that is a whole other subject.

Creative Student

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Student’s minds are a roller coaster of thoughts when truly invested into the class, this sometimes end in confusion, sometimes boredom, interest, fascination, and something else, which is the topic at hand, creativity.

Creativity can come easily to some people while listening to other things, as if they use what they listen as bridges to create new paths in their minds, and this can happen with children, teens and adults. To have a somewhat balanced opinion let’s pretend we are talking about a 17 year old boy or girl which we will call “the creative student”.

The creative student sometimes can be a bit impulsive, because of the amount of passion there is for music, this has to be tamed, not stopped.

The importance of giving creativity the attention it deserves cannot be dismissed. Concerning this fact, Peter Webster from the Thornton School of Music says:

Consider for a moment how this might affect motivation.  With the rich opportunities to create music comes an inherent desire to learn more about technique.  Practice time is not based only on a teacher-directed and teacher-centered set of technical challenges, devoid of any student engagement.  Instead, there is added a personal investment in improving one’s playing or singing.  Listening to one’s recorded performances focuses attention on the need to improve sound.  Students asked to analyze their own musical performances, perhaps their own music, become more intrinsically engaged.

That is the ultimate goal in music education, students have to be engaged and inspired to make their own music, that’s why letting their creativity fly in class is crucial to their formation as musicians.

Classroom instruction for younger grades can continue to be defined by singing and moving but must also include attention to composition, improvisation, and creative listening. We need to completely rethink methods class to include more composition and improvisation and greater attention to technology

The Focus on Creativity

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If this is the focus, learning about technique will become a necessary means to achieve what they as musicians want, in other words, it has to be the teacher’s priority to make every student feel as comfortable as they can in class.

It’s also important to remember that some students may be more outgoing and more open to share their tastes than others, which is the different between the creative student and the rest of them. When we refer to a “creative student” does not mean that the rest of them aren’t creative, it just means that them as students are not showing that side of them, and the desired thing should be to make them all creative students. No one should be feeling left out or less than the rest, and in online lessons, where there are no classmates in the traditional sense, creativity should be more easily involved in each lessons.

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“A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver,” Proverb 25:11. –Holy Bible

How true!

Here are 35 quotes in 5 categories to chew on, memorize, or frame for your music studio. Or if you’re like me, plaster them all over the house on sticky notes.

Some of them are good reminders. Others lift me up when I need it. They encourage me to be the best teacher of music students I can be. I enjoy others’ favorite quotes, or  ideas  about how to use them with students.

Your studio website is a great place to include a quote. Don’t have one? You get one when you use Music Teachers Helper!

Quotes to Facilitate Teaching

  1. “We’ve been given two ears and two eyes but only one tongue, so we should hear and see more than we speak.” –Greek proverb
  2. “I never teach anybody anything, I can only make them think.” –Socrates
  3. “I never teach my pupils. I only attempt to provide the conditions in which they can learn.” –Albert Einstein
  4. “The art of teaching is the art of assisting discovery.” –Mark VanDoren
  5. “Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.” –William Butler Yeats
  6. “The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.” –William Ward
  7. “Spoon feeding, in the long run, teaches us nothing but the shape of the spoon.” –E. M. Forster
  8. “The greatest sign of success for a teacher…is to be able to say, ‘The children are now working as if I did not exist.’” –Maria Montessori
  9. “You can teach a student a lesson for a day; but if you can teach him to learn by creating curiosity, he will continue the learning process as long as he lives.” –Clay P. Bedford
  10. “What a child digs for becomes his own possession.” –Charlotte Mason
  11. “Teaching kids to count is fine, but teaching them what counts is best.” –Bob Talbert
  12. “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” –Aristotle
  13. “I’m not a teacher, but an awakener.” –Robert Frost
  14. “Speak less. Listen more. Ask more.” –Robin Steinweg

Quotes on Caring and Kindness

  1. “Be a little kinder than you have to.” –E. Lockhart
  2. “Never discourage anyone who continually makes progress, no matter how slow.” –Plato
  3. “Everything you don’t know is something you can learn.” –Anonymous
  4. “No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.” –Aesop
  5. “The best teachers teach from the heart, not from the book.” –Anonymous

Quotes of Inspiration and Art

  1. “A great work of art is made out of a combination of obedience and liberty.” –Nadia Boulanger
  2. “If you cannot teach me to fly, teach me to sing.” –Sir James Barrie
  3. “Music is not hard. Climbing Mount Everest is hard. Music merely makes you think.” –Patti Coxwell
  4. “Conflict resolution is only a half-step away.” –Anonymous
  5. “Music is the movement of sound to reach the soul for the education of its virtue.” –Plato

Quotes on Creativity

  1. “A painter paints on canvas. Musicians paint their pictures on silence.” –Leopold Stokowski
  2. “You can’t wait for inspiration, you have to go after it with a club.” –Jack London
  3. “Originality is nothing but judicious imitation.” –Voltaire (for more on this subject–Steal Like an Artist )
  4. “Do not let the endless succession of small things crowd great ideals out of sight and out of mind.” –Charlotte Mason
  5. “Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh, the thinks you can think up if you only try!” –Dr. Seuss

Quotes to Help the Musician-in-Progress

  1. “It isn’t where you came from, it’s where you’re going that counts.” –Ella Fitzgerald
  2. “Lemonade comes from lemons. Take that mistake and make something brilliant of it!” –Robin Steinweg
  3. “Don’t let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.” –John Wooden
  4. “Young people can learn from my example that something can come from nothing. What I have become is the result of my hard efforts.” –Franz Joseph Haydn
  5. “Patience, persistence and perspiration make an unbeatable combination for success.” –Napoleon Hill
  6. “Have no fear of perfection, you’ll never reach it.” –Salvadore Dali
  7. “Accentuate the positive.” –Harold Arlen
  8. “I’d far rather hear a student make music with mistakes than hear a perfect rendition of notes on a page.” –Robin Steinweg

What quotes inspire you? We’d love to hear them!

Music Teachers Helper

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Goals, assignments and parental involvement

Motivating younger students to practice —  how do you do that?

My new year’s resolution this year was to get my younger students learning more quickly by motivating them to practice much more between lessons.

This was initially started by setting their goals, getting parents on board to help, and by weekly assignment ‘to do’ lists.  Many helpful sheets are available online to fill in to help with all of that (*).

In my opinion, all of these are very important in order to start creating a suitable practice environment for the year. However, practicing their instruments between lessons was a challenge for most of my younger students.   [···]

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