Juliet’s Piano Studio is close to Dana Point by the freeway, a minute off the Palizada exit in San Clemente.
How performance opportunities power up a child’s motivation!
By Juliet Aucreman
What’s a performance opportunity?
It’s not just the next recital that your teacher scheduled. It’s any opportunity that you or someone else creates.
Create performance opportunities – as many and as often as possible!
If you are having relatives over, tell your child what they will be playing for them. If your child is having a friend over in a few days, tell them what piece she’ll be playing for her friend and parent. Or for scheduled recitals, ask the teacher if the child can play more than one piece, and have the child invite some of his friends. Take your child to a local assisted living center with a piano and have him play for residents. Send her to school with a keyboard and have her perform for her class during show-and-tell. Have him play a hymn for his youth group. Bring a keyboard when you visit relatives. Ask your teacher if your child can perform for the student before or after them on the teaching schedule. The possibilities are endless.
How past performance experience motivates towards future performances:
Performance builds motivation, and not just because it’s a deadline. Performances power us from many different perspectives.
Performances power us from past experiences – a student remembers what it felt like to be in front of people – whether they were prepared or not-quite-so-well prepared. If all did not go gloriously last time, they swallowed the most powerful learning experience of all - perhaps finishing that piece only two days beforehand wasn’t the greatest idea! Perhaps practicing a piece from the beginning straight through to the end doesn’t really work that well after all! Frequent performers come to understand that a piece needs to be well-learned for a while before it is rock-solid in front of a crowd, and they learn what methods worked, and which didn’t.
From past performance experiences:
· a performance motivates because the student has met previous performers, and has started to care about how that person thinks of their playing.
· a student takes note of more advanced players, and becomes inspired by them.
· a student notices other students around the same playing level, and starts wanting to build up healthy competition.
· performances build the idea that playing an instrument is something many people do, that it is part of their broader culture. Many students are the only people in their neighborhood block that play an instrument, so normalizing their experience diffuses their complaint that, “no one else has to practice piano!”
Future performances make a powerful deadlines. But the real attractant for that forward push comes from past experience, which is more potent the more frequent it has been. If students perform a lot, your ability to motivate them to practice will be that much greater.
Adult piano lessons are a philosophical journey.
In musical exploration lies delight, a magical take-off from our life's whirlwind of should-do's and responsibilities. You can actually achieve a state reminiscent of meditation during practice. Adults enjoy piano playing in the purest way, and talk excitedly about finding more ways to find time for it during their days.
Adults make lots of progress, typically much more than younger students with the same amount of effort and time, since they have a greater patience and work skills to work tricky spots out with maturity. Yet many adults question their results, and imagine that learning would go easier if only they were five years old. Meanwhile, I have heard five year olds proclaim, "I INVENTED PIANO!" while having difficulty playing something half as complicated as the adult that just wished himself to be five again. Adults love the idea of playing the piano, and seek instruction, but these pre-conceived ideas can affect joyful learning. Adults are hard on themselves.
And here begins a beautiful philosophical journey. What are we seeking? A respite from day-to-day hustle and bustle? A new mode of self-expression, an artistic outlet? A way to connect with our families in the classic sense of an age-old oral tradition, a hearth-like experience? And what do we learn about ourselves through the process? Wonder, patience, moments of beauty... it varies from person to person.
What is your quest? How does music bring art and time together for you?