Here are 8 tips you can use in your music classroom. I hope they will inspire the young musicians in your class.
I think using the term “young musician” is very important too. Some students won’t see themselves as musicians whatsoever. They won’t feel comfortable playing an instrument at first. They might stop trying. That’s where tip one comes in.
1. Believe in Yourself
“We choose to stop playing, or not to begin, because we don’t believe our music is good enough, which must mean we’re not good enough. And never will be good enough. Ever.”
Of course, this simply isn’t true, which brings us to Tip # 2.
2. Play Badly (At First)
“We must grant ourselves permission to play badly. Why? Because we’re supposed to play badly in the development stage.”
No one can play an instrument perfectly right away, and shouldn’t be expected to either. There is a learning curve and a process to becoming a musician. Play badly at first and play often.
3. Work Through the Material
“Get it done first—get it right later. Turn your back on your inner prosecutor and declare each effort good enough for now. The defense rests.”
Keep playing and work through your method book. Learn some songs on your own. Don’t worry if it’s not good enough. Yet.
4. You Don’t Have to Master Everything
“Even superstars rarely excel in all areas; most of us compensate for weakness in one area with strength in another.”
Maybe you can’t sight read music very well. Perhaps you can pick up tunes by ear. Try playing a familiar tune without using any printed music. Learn musical elements step by step, but start with what you are good at.
5. Everyone is Creative. You are too!
“I believe that everybody is creative, and everybody is talented. I just don’t think that everybody is disciplined. That is the rare commodity” – Al Hirschfeld
Practice. Play regularly. With the proper discipline you will become a competent musician.
6. Put in the Work
“Without discipline, we may fail to seek out or recognize opportunity, what talent we possess means little. As Thomas Edison said, ‘Most people miss opportunity because it’s dressed in overalls and looks like work.’ Development represents the supreme act of discipline because it not only looks like work; it is work.”
It is work. But it can also be fun. Find something you like playing and keep working on it. Memorize your scales, work on specific songs.
7. Everything is Difficult Until It Becomes Easy
Ask yourself: What do I do regularly now that once seemed impossible? What made it possible? And remember that everything is difficult until it becomes easy.
8. Inspiration Can Come From Anywhere
The passages in this post came from a book on creative writing. I paraphrased them slightly to fit with the theme of music as opposed to writing.
As I read through the book, the above quotes really spoke to me. I immediately saw the connection between what writers do and what musicians do. I knew that my students could learn from these pearls of wisdom. I hope yours can too.
Teaching Tip Tuesdays – Inspiration and resources for teachers. Right here. Every week.