If I had a Magic Musical Genie in a lamp and could make 3 wishes as a teacher:
*My first and foremost wish would be that my students would truly
understand how valuable they are.
Their thoughts, feelings, ideas, and dreams are important.
I want to know what their favorite book is,
whether they think dragons or unicorns are the coolest,
and all about the tough day they had at school.
*My second wish would be that my students would fall in love with music.
Everyone says they enjoy music, but true enjoyment comes from understanding. My earnest
desire is to create a culture of joyful music experiences, not just a series of weekly
lessons and maybe a recital or two. I provide opportunities for my students to
play with and learn from professional, world-class musicians. I regularly host fun
musical group games, activities, classes, and field trips.
*My third wish would be for my students to become amazing musicians.
Let’s face it, music is a skill that takes a lot of brain cells. Learning to read notation, getting
different parts of your body doing different things at the same time, all while counting
tricky rhythms, minding your pitch, and listening to and communicating with musical
colleagues is nothing like playing Guitar Hero! It’s no wonder that so many students
start taking lessons and then give up in frustration a few months later.
Here are a few little secrets:
The more you practice, the better you get.
The better you get, the more you ENJOY making music.
As an instructor, I give my students EVERYTHING I possibly can to help
them succeed. I make videos of band and contest music to help students understand
what to practice during the week. I’m available to answer questions via phone, email,
and text every single day of the week. I spend dozens of hours pouring through
repertoire trying to choose recital and contest pieces that will appeal to the ability
and taste of my students. I write thorough notes every week to remind my students
what we studied in lessons and to help me organize lesson plans (concepts we need
to cover, ideas to remediate weak areas, lists of potential etudes for managing
trouble areas, etc.), I make room in my schedule for extra coaching sessions as
concert and contest dates approach. I squawk my rubber chicken at them
whenever their posture suffers (but ONLY if the students agree to be squawked
at ahead of time- not everyone likes a good squawking!).
I believe in a growth mindset
and I coach my students to understand that they can play at an advanced level
very quickly with consistent, efficient practice and lesson attendance.
Giving a child the gift of music is one of
the best gifts a parent can give a child.
Parents, if we work as a team to give your child a good musical start with
lots of love, encouragement, and solid practice routines,
he’ll be playing fairly complicated pieces early on AND LOVING IT.
Your child will be able to enjoy the musical skills we cultivate now for the rest of his life!