Does it make me a controlling person if I choose my piano students’ New Year’s resolutions? Yes? Darn! Does it make me a controlling person if I let my students select from 3 pre-determined resolutions? Sort of?
OK, I can live with sort of, because this year that is exactly what I’m about to do. I’m going to carefully guide my piano students’ resolution selection while still allowing them to take ownership (Great… now I’m sneaky and controlling!)
Keep reading to discover the 3 resolutions my piano students will be devoting themselves to come January 1, 2014.
Resolution #1: Play With Passion
Kids who choose this resolution will commit to playing everything… even the simplest little ditty… with dynamics, phrasing and emotion. We’ll work on the concept of rubato, strengthen their abilities to play legato when needed, and really focus on telling a story with music. Learning to play while listening will be key in helping these students achieve their “play with passion” resolution.
Resolution #2: Play With Perfect Hands
I’m a stickler for hand shape anyway, but sometimes I will let it slide momentarily if it means they are focusing on another concept at the moment. But… for the kids who choose this option they will resolve to play with a beautiful hand shape no matter what. Each child has their different idiosyncrasies when it comes to their hands, but with a few small adjustments and gentle reminders (and actually a whole lot of fun!) those bad habits will be put to bed for the kids who choose this resolution. (Need help with this? Check out our posts on good hand position, stiff pinky fingers, and stiff wrists.
Resolution #3: Banish “I Can’t” For Good
My piano kids who choose this option will be resolving to try anything, accept new challenges, let go of perfection and sight read everything in sight. They’ll be committing to be confident piano students who will work ahead on their own at home, accept challenging repertoire with a smile and an “I can do this” attitude and take on any and all performance opportunities that come their way. I have a few piano students who would really benefit from this approach to their lessons and I’m excited about the possibilities it holds for their progress.
Resolutions Aren’t Just About Adults
Yes, I’ve already started my own New Years Resolutions… I’ve been juicing everything in sight and drinking spinach smoothies like they’re going out of style (you can pretty much leave your teeth at the door when you come to our house now!) but it’s important to remember that resolutions aren’t just for adults. Kids who learn how to set goals and who are provided with guidance in working to achieve those goals will eventually be self-motivated and pro-active adults.
I’m setting those gears in action in my piano studio with this simple activity. The goal is to have achieved these resolutions is mid-March when they head off for Spring Break and we’re going to have a “Resolution Piano Party” for all who have participated. Give it a try in your own studio and see what happens!