Students who struggle despite their best efforts break my heart. If you happen to feel the same way about your stoic strugglers, then I have a quick little strategy to share that will make you feel good, me feel good, and most importantly, our struggling piano students feel good.
The Stoic Struggler
The stoic struggler is the piano student personality that keeps me awake at night. I worry myself sick that one of these hard little workers might finally reach their breaking point and quit piano altogether. Because, for the stoic struggler, nothing comes easy.
And while there are many strategies we can implement and tools we can employ, sometimes the best thing we can do for our stoic strugglers is take a trip down memory lane.
This Week It’s FlashBack Friday For My Stoic Strugglers
Flashback Friday could really be called “Feel Good Friday”. Because on this day, me and my stoic strugglers revisit the early days of their piano journey. More specifically, we do the following simple things:
1) We do a first-lesson fly-through: That’s right! I take my stoic strugglers right back to Day 1 and revisit all of the activities we performed on the very first day. It’s a goofy little adventure where we emphasize how silly it seems to discover white keys, black keys, high sounds and low sounds.
2) I “strategically” select 15 books from my bookshelf and ask my stoic struggler to sort them into two categories; too easy and too hard. My stoic struggler’s face lights up when the “too easy” pile grows larger and larger.
3) We revisit the first piano piece my stoic struggler ever performed at a recital. We play it through together and have a good chuckle over how simple it is… and how we can probably even play it with our eyes closed 🙂
4) Finally, we revisit a recent piece that my stoic struggler has mastered, and compare it to the very first piano piece he ever played. Result… confidence restored.
It (most likely) won’t last forever
In most cases, the stoic struggler will not struggle forever. I’ve seen it over and over again; at some point, something clicks. And more often than not, because stoic strugglers are naturally hard workers, they take off! The challenge lies in maintaining confidence and self esteem while the stoic struggler prepares for take off.
Keeping Things Light For Stoic Strugglers
For stoic strugglers, piano lessons can become a chore… really fast! To fend off the feelings of frustration, my stoic strugglers and I play a lot of games and have a ton of fun. If you’re looking to lighten the day of your struggling piano students, you might want to add activities from our books, Shhhh… Your piano Teacher Thinks This Is Practice or Pssst… Your Piano Teacher Thinks This Is Theory. You’ll discover it’s impossible NOT to have fun.