DAMTA President’s Message
January 2018
Hello DAMTA!
Happy New Year!
I hope this finds you in excellent health and spirits!
I want to take a brief look at something that is vital to any learning that one may undertake. Something so basic that it is often overlooked or just assumed.
WILLINGNESS
As a teacher, it seems safe to assume that a student who shows up for lessons is willing to learn something new. But I think this is something that should be addressed directly with every new student, both children and adults.
Sometimes kids are dragged into lessons by parents. There’s nothing wrong with that. But as teachers, we should actively address the willingness of our students. Do they even understand what it means to play an instrument? Do they think it would be fun? Or cool? Or interesting? Do they even like music? Don’t take these things for granted. It may take a bit of salesmanship to convince a new student that he or she is about to take a grand adventure. And that sales job will not stop after the 1st lesson. But it’s important. Otherwise the kid will always be looking for the path of least resistance; “What’s the minimum I can do to skate by this week?”
For the youngest students, making it fun is important. As kids get older, seeing music as a challenge or as a way to make themselves special are all motivating factors. Playing music is hard work (two four letter words!). Too many students never get past that simple reality. I think as teachers anything we can do to inspire a desire to play is vitally important.
Confidence in one’s ability to acquire new knowledge is something that we need to cultivate. I’m always amazed at how unwilling a 7 year old can be to learn to read notes. They want to read the finger numbers. Memorize it. Write in the note names. Anything but learn a new system (the staff). How set in one’s ways can you be at 7? It boggles the mind!
Even adults can have problems with this. They usually understand that some effort will be involved. But the gap between what they can do and what they want to do is usually wide. Generating the willingness and patience to bridge that gap can be tough.
I think it’s important to celebrate the small victories along the way. When a student shows improvement, it’s a big deal. Don’t let it go unnoticed!
On the survey we did for next year’s Fall Course topic, “How to inspire students” came in at #1! It’s a worthy quest! Stay tuned!
Vince Madison / DAMTA President

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