Many parents of our students ask us how their interest in music unexpectedly stays constantly high for years. No matter how hard the homework is or even how difficult some challenges are to overcome, they bravely accept all steps of the education and keep on learning with a straight back and a smile. With such enthusiasm, they keep on pushing toward their final goal – to perform the song as successfully as possible!
The secret recipe is actually very simple, but unfortunately very rare in many schools. So, to keep up with the best ways to approach and develop a child, in this month’s article we will reveal our “trump card” that you might find also very handy in giving your child the best education he can get!
1. A curious listener with a smile always wins!
There is not a single person, especially a child who doesn’t enjoy a conversation that is filled with curiosity, understanding, support, and enthusiasm. Let’s start with ourselves, the older we get, the more we avoid the environment of frowning, rigid critics. As much as in some cases they see the accuracy of their words, such a way of behaving often evokes unpleasant states and emotions or even creates mental blockages that can have a bad influence on a child’s development.
Unlike us adults, children can’t easily avoid the poorly rigid behavior of some teachers. The result of their loud, but still reckless words can be most plausibly described as a double-edged sword – either they will identically adopt such kind of behavior or it will evoke a chain of negative emotions that can stand in the way of their development.
In order to save the child from them, and at the same time to form a positive way of self-talking and perception of the environment, it is necessary to approach them the same way – optimistic, curious, wise, full of support, and understanding. Considering that children absorb our every movement, tone of speech, facial expression, and even ways of thinking from the earliest age, conscious adoption and use of all the above qualities during the conversation is almost guaranteed to be “transmitted” to your children. A positive attitude can motivate them for the next challenges, but also help them clearly identify their interests.
Because our classes are not only filled with playing the instrument or pretentious teacher-student relations, lessons are filled with humanity, understanding, spirituality as well as observant dialogues. With that, our students more easily identify their goals and needs, which makes it easier for them to decide what they want and what it takes to overcome all challenges – they start to understand the process! They become aware of all parts of this progress, but also of their thoughts and emotions. So, the starting point in shaping conversations with children is the conscious acceptance of their shortcomings and virtues, but also the teacher’s patience in leading them to their best with curiosity and optimism by listening to them carefully.
2. Support is the key for a child to be happy and successful
Children and teenagers need a large amount of support in all their endeavors, even if it is completing simple homework, making a castle out of Lego bricks, or choosing a dress for a prom night. Each activity represents a new step towards independence, new knowledge, and the formation of their personality. In moments like these, parents and teachers, with their patience and understanding, provide the support that is a significant springboard for their next challenges, but also equally important for developing the happy independent human being in them. Such an approach also creates trust with which the child will gain the will to openly discuss their interests, observations, and conclusions. It is in these conversations that the parent or the teacher has the opportunity to develop and guide the child with carefully thought-out questions and carefully created critiques. This, of course, does not refute the fact that every idea of a child should be blindly approved, but it is recommended that with calm communication and a calm attitude, he listens carefully, insights, and subtly directs advice towards his goals.
If, for example, your child has a strong interest in sports, even though you think that sports, be happy with each of their successes there and encourage them. The same goes for not-so-good moments – being supportive will encourage them that nothing is tragic and that something better will come his way. However, if frustration, panic, or your fear for their choices and future are involved in your behavior, it is possible that the child will not reason with your well-intentioned advice in the right way.
If you find that you or a teacher often, cunningly, and militarily present your proposals and suggestions to the child, without first listening and leading them to the right answer, the child may also become revolted by the constant imposition of someone else’s judgment, depending on other people’s opinions and lose both self-confidence and independence in thinking and making decisions.
But, in environments where there is no constant fear of making a mistake or being judged, the child is not burdened with a guilty conscience, but their thinking is directed towards overcoming new challenges, solving the current problem, understanding the circumstances, and adopting new lessons. So, if you find that there are choices that you consider is a better fit for their character, intrigue them with a talk, whether by asking questions, comparing, or telling examples from that topic!
That is why we give the students the opportunity to choose the songs they want to play after the foundation is created! We talk about each song that comes our way – what do they like about the song, what not, how does the song sound like, how would they describe it, and so on! That develops their uniqueness, but also the confidence to find their interests and clearly speak about them.
3. Help them, but not by giving them a straight answer!
If your child encounters difficulties, whether in learning, at school, in society, or at home, constantly taking matters into your own hands and giving them the final solution is the last thing that would positively affect your child’s development. Such an approach develops not only laziness and inability to make independent decisions but also fear of obstacles, which in the future can result in frustration and quick withdrawals. Panicking and criticizing because the child hasn’t come to the conclusion quickly as you expected gives the same result!
Instead, replace your worries with patience and optimism. If your child sees your composure, without any presence of “tragedy” or shame, the child is not burdened with additional difficulties but is focused on the problem that stands in front of him. Your questions should be designed in the form of guidelines that should lead him to the correct final answer. In addition, to let your children think, they will also feel successful because they have overcome another challenge ‘on their own.
You can formulate such questions in various ways, starting with the simplest such as what, why, or how, then patiently-curiously examining his actions (what happened when you did that, what is the problem, what do you think is the solution, what have you done so far, what did not work out well, why it didn’t work out, what confuses you, …), by jointly recognizing and thinking of other ways (is that the only way, what would it be like if, what would you get if …), or by comparison (do you think that is better / easier one way or another), etc!
For example, after the student finishes performing, we ask them to tell us what was good and what could be better. With that approach, they do not follow blindly each teacher’s suggestion without thinking, but also develop healthy self-criticism and independence.
When you allow a child to have room to face difficulty without a fear, as well as to make a mistake, it will develop more will, perseverance, and precision that is not shrouded in fear or frustration. Although in our culture, perfectionism is often associated with ambition and success, it can also evoke some negative emotions (hatred, envy, shame, remorse, revenge) if the approach is filled out with negativity. So, be careful with that! With the optimistic approach, that trap can be avoided and give them the best quality that a human can have – fearfulness in walking towards success!
This is why our students are confident, have developed a love for learning, and have a great experience in our lessons!
When we think of any period of life or any situation, the first thing we think about is the emotion associated with that event, and only a few will consciously notice that this quality relationship is what motivated us to continue our growth and overcome any challenges on the road! For that reason, our professional teachers, besides giving their exceptional knowledge, also provide a human touch to every student because that is what moves every person. To give all children the opportunity to learn, develop and express their unique selves is the most important thing at San Ramon Academy of Music. Even the youngest ones understand and appreciate that, but it also teaches them, develops them, encourages them, and prepares them for all the next steps that await them in the future.