Cheetahs are quitters. They have to be. Their survival depends on it. But cheetahs don’t take quitting lightly. Their hunting actions are very calculated. Once they commit to a kill, they give themselves no longer than a minute to make it happen. If they can’t beat the clock, they give up.
They have to give up.
If cheetahs don’t give up they die… literally! During a pursuit, their body temperature rises to such dangerous levels that continuing a hunt beyond one minute can be fatal.
So they quit.
Smart Piano Teachers Are Also Smart Quitters
Being a quitter has such negative connotations. We grow up surrounded by people telling us to never give up. And then we pass this mindset on to our children… and our piano students.
But sometimes we need to let our students quit. But NOT piano lessons! Instead, we need to let them quit piano pieces. Too many teachers spend weeks, and then months forcing a student to play a piece until it is most definitely dead. And soon after, the student’s passion for piano is also… dead.
Like a Cheetah, Learn To Quit
Adopting the mindset of a smart quitter is not an easy task. I grew up with a “never say die” attitude. So, learning to quit was very uncomfortable for me. That is, until I realized that sometimes quitting can bring you closer to success.
Which can happen for your piano students as well. All of your piano students should be moving towards a goal. On that journey they will undoubtedly encounter pieces that are “less than appealing to their tastes”. As the teacher, you must decide if the educational benefits of the piece are worth temporarily deflating your students’ passion.
And sometimes the answer to this question is “Yes”. Sometimes pieces must be played. But often the answer is no, and there are better pieces to help move your students towards their goals.
So don’t be too quick to jump on the “never give up” band wagon. I give up all the time. And then I try something new that moves me closer to my goal.
So don’t fear quitting. I’m a quitter. But so are cheetahs… and cheetahs are awesome.
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