Published: Nov 25, 2017 | Category: Practice Tips
November 25, 2017"I wanted to practice and my father says that I have to do my academic work and to put the violin away. He doesn't want to have anything to do with the violin." My first grade student shared this with me as he was taking his violin out of its case before I began class. He is part of the 1st and 2nd grade class at one of the schools where I am teaching. My heart dropped when I heard this that I said, "Well, perhaps you misunderstood. I'm sure your dad knows how important it is that you practice a little each day..." The student interrupted and insisted, and seemed even sad about it.
Yes, in addition to maintaining a private music studio, I teach group instruction in four different kinds of schools, each comprised of varied student-body scenarios with their own unique set of challenges. But the one common denominator is in establishing, presenting, and maintaining good communication to the parents, even when parent involvement is nil.
I realize that parents have different viewpoints on whether or not a child should play an instrument, take a dance class, or engage in sports activities. But no matter what the student engages in, what I always aim to stress is commitment of and understanding in the importance of what they are learning and why practice is vital to that growth.
Have you ever seen the commercials that have the slogan, "Just Do It'? As we all know, that is a Nike commercial. We know because it has been commercialized and what we see on mainstream television and ads are that of the sports industry. We see Gatorade commercials of those athletes that are working out, running, jumping, climbing, lifting, and so on. In these ads we see the importance of what practicing looks like and what all that blood, sweat and tears equate to as the final scene builds up to Game Time! So very motivating and inspiring isn't it? You can almost hear the Rocky theme, can't you?
Now imagine replacing those scenes and images with your son or daughter spending hours and hours of hard work and dedicated practice to learn Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star to perform at their first school concert or first recital. How accomplished would they feel and how much confidence would they have gained performing a skill perfected only by practice and determination because it was built by believing your child can "Just Do It." Their confidence was built by a coach and #1 fans who nurtured and cultivated their way of finding a solution to a difficult task note by note and yes, even through muscle by muscle, all the while using their minds.
No matter what the subject matter may be, as a teacher-coach, if you will, I always try to instill both to parents and students - and school principals - the importance of being dedicated and committed to your craft. You will hardly ever see a commercial of a musician learning to use a proper technique of finger placement on a guitar or piano or violin, nor a correct way to blow into a brass instrument or reed instrument. In the end, however, if you have endured those squeaks and squaws and toots and flams, and have come to a compromise or even accept the noise, that noise will soon transform to something more familiar, something more desirable, and something even beautiful.
(On a final note: Just imagine watching Rocky without the Rocky Theme or without music. It would have a whole different effect I'm sure!)