How do we help our students realize they’re growing?

When a music student first begins, improvements are clear to see. One week they don’t know what a treble clef is and the next week they know the names of several notes. Forward progress is motivation for any student. It helps them to make music a part of their identity.

How can we help them realize their progress once they get out of that early beginner stage?

One of my students, Hayley, is constantly improving each week, but if you ask her about it, she thinks otherwise. She’s an early intermediate student who participates in most studio recitals, exams and recording sessions, but despite all that, her self-esteem is flimsy.

As teachers, we see and know the student is improving. But does the teacher’s view even matter? What I believe matters most is whether the student believes they’re improving. If that confidence is nurtured properly, then the student will often practice without a problem – proudly.

So how can we nurture this confidence?

The way that’s it’s been done for hundreds of years is the ignition and mastery model. Students should first find a love for music and then build the skills to grow through that love.

The problem is all the noise. Music education is not an important part of their YouTube, Netflix, and ten other activities world. This makes it tough to validate it as a part of their identity. Family life and parental involvement improves the outcome – if children believe they are “in this for life” they practice and behave differently towards music.

What if teachers could easily make a digital portfolio of students achievements, their milestones, and their breakthrough moments? I’m imagining a place that says they played in their first recital, passed book 3, or just completed their 100th lesson. Students can look like stars to their family and friends. They can also dream of what future years will be like.

What if these student portfolios connected with all studio communication and automatically updated your whole studio with student accomplishments?

How would this effect students like Hayley? I can imagine her seeing her name pop up in the studio news that she completed her 3rd private recital this summer. Friends and other parents congratulate her and comment on her recital video shared right in news. All of this now possible.

Music education is improving, don’t you think?


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