Updated: Dec 14, 2019
I was recently talking with a friend about music lessons and how there's a stigma around learning music. So often I hear horror stories of the strict piano teacher who get's mad when you don't curve your fingers the right way, or the uptight violin teacher who smacks your hand with a bow when you play wrong notes.
This is not the way music should be taught.
While I completely respect and understand how important it is to set a strong foundation for a player, ultimately music is about feeling. If coming to a piano lesson gives a child anxiety, I guarantee that child will grow up to be an adult who says "I should have stuck with those piano lessons."
It's so important to create a joyful space when you are teaching. The excitement around learning an instrument and the satisfaction of playing something right should be the driving focus of a music lesson.
Ultimately if you keep playing, you'll improve. If you enjoy making music, you'll go on to create it with other people. The moment that you start creating
music with others, you will exponentially improve from a skill standpoint and it will help you feel more confident moving through the world and fostering connections with other people.
I teach this way and when my students see me, they are excited to learn. Nothing makes me happier than seeing a student eagerly getting their instrument ready to show me something they worked on on their own during the week. That doesn't mean I don't ask them to practice, but what I do is have conversations with them around how good they want to be. If they want to be able to play a Metallica song start to finish, then they have to put in the work. I give consistent positive reinforcement instead of calling out all the mistakes.
When done right, music lessons won't just build musical skills. They will build a person's character by teaching them to be kind to themselves and to appreciate others. Music says things words can't often say and the moment a student gets to a place of feeling when they are playing, then I know I have done my job as a teacher. It's a gift they can tap into for the rest of their lives and positively impact themselves and those around them.
It's very important to me that we cultivate those relationships with music in our students and I'm so proud of the people we have on staff who share those same values. If you want to fall in love with music, or you want your child to, try bringing them in for a lesson at our Lab and watch them shift into a space of cool and confidence!