They walk into our studios. Vulnerable. For whatever reason they have decided to make the switch from another teacher. We don’t really know why – we are careful not to get into the reasons. But we represent a move to something better. Be careful. Be careful.
Nurture success. There are probably all sorts of issues – note-reading maybe, rhythm maybe, a focus on so much technical stuff that the music is lost – maybe. We know we’ll need to roll up our sleeves and get to work on a reconstruction program but first they need to feel some measure of success. Don’t over-assign. Give them something that they can manage in a week. By rote, if necessary. We have weeks, months, years to fix things.
It’s all about the relationship. We have so much influence in their lives – how they will learn to appreciate music and the other arts, learn how to be expressive, learn how to accomplish something beautiful. Above all else, savour the sound of music.
And so we gladly take the blame for little things – like forgetting to tell them that they have to bring their piano books to every lesson. We play duets. Nothing is more fun or engaging than making music together. Above all, we focus on the sound and we affirm. We breed success, which breeds success.
Inspired by Marvin Blickenstaff at the APTA Conference, Red Deer, Alberta. These are his thoughts and my inspiration for the coming weeks, months, years.