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14 March 2014

"There's No Way You Can Teach a Child That!"

"There's no way you can teach a child that!"

"They couldn't understand. They're way too young."

"I'll teach them later."

These are words that should never be spoken.
I believe it with all my heart that children have an infinite potential to learn, to grow, and to become. They are so wonderfully excited about learning and absorbing all the knowledge that they can. I see it first hand in the Elementary school and in the private violin lessons I teach. Children want to learn, and children can learn.
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's who I am. I'm going to be sharing more in this fashion, so....stay tuned (music teacher pun intended).

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