DAMTA President’s Message
May 2016
I read an article a few days ago that I want every teacher to read. Not just every DAMTA teacher. Every teacher. It was entitled; “What Students Really Need to Hear.” It was written by Chase Mielke. I don’t know who he is, but he has a great point! Here’s the link:

What Students Really Need to Hear

I really want you all to go read this! But I will give you my takeaway. He’s a teacher. A classroom teacher. And he writes about why he is losing sleep worrying about his students. It’s because he feels they are missing the main point in their education. That they are missing out on the main benefit their education has to offer. What is this tremendous skill? This golden ticket? It is: Learning how to overcome adversity.
First of all, he states that the actual material of academics (math, science, literature, etc.) while worthwhile and certainly worth knowing, are not the “main event”. The main event is learning how to deal with difficult situations. What you learn in algebra may or may not be useful later in life. But solving hard problems is a skill that everyone can use.
And what he worries about is that he sees his students quitting. Not quitting school, but quitting when things get tough. In hundreds of small ways.
I think this is something we should keep in mind in the studio. I know that kid with no rhythm who never practices is never going to play concerts. But if we can show him that it really is possible for him to be better. That he can improve. That what seems so hard can be done with some hard work. That just because something is hard it is not something to be avoided. It is something to be embraced and conquered. That is self-confidence. Not some stupid “participation trophy”.
It’s so tempting to let our students off the hook. Let them get away with sloppiness, no dynamics, etc. And you do have to know what a kid is capable of getting right now, and what things are going to have to come later. But when a kid tells you “this is hard” and expects that you will let him avoid it, do the opposite. Force him head on into it. Make her understand that hard things are nothing to be afraid of. Then you will be giving them not only the gift of music, but the gift of courage and self-confidence. And they will remember you and that lesson the rest of their lives, even if they never touch piano again!
Here’s that link again:

What Students Really Need to Hear

Vince Madison
DAMTA President

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