"They couldn't understand. They're way too young."
"I'll teach them later."
These are words that should never be spoken.
I think that all too often adults confuse distraction with disinterest. I have a violin student that has been a bit of a challenge. He's the youngest student I have ever taught, and I used to struggle with keeping his attention and focus, while also keeping him in a good mood. To be completely honest, I thought I was herding cats. Then, the other day, I saw this piece of paper fall out of his lesson notebook:
I was shocked!
I said, "Christopher! What is this?" He told me, "I wrote this because I knew that I could".
This was simultaneously an eye-opener and a kick in the conscience for me. I realized that he did have an interest in what he was learning, and he did pay attention when I was trying to get him to learn how to read music.
Since this moment, I have geared my teaching for him and all my students in a way that interests and engage them (which I completely realize I should have been doing from the very beginning...)
--I'm having him compose rhythm lines every week, and he loves it! Especially when we get to clap and then play on an open string the rhythm he wrote. I also found that making skills and tasks seem like a game is a killer way to keep his attention. I learned that kids can do everything that they are told and they believe they can do.
Go tell a kid you believe in them. You'll be amazed at what they can do.
Have a lovelee day!
(Tomorrow I'll be sharing something that I taught my violin students at their last masterclass that I never realized they could understand, and my plans for our musical future together)
Also, sorry this was sort of a nerdy-passionate-teacher post. But really...it's who I am. I'm going to be sharing more in this fashion, so....stay tuned (music teacher pun intended).