Recently, I completely changed the way I eat. Through a program designed to discover food sensitivities I rapidly realized that everything I ate had some sort of “trickle down effect” into almost every aspect of my life… be it positive or negative. It was amazing to me that a single serving of seemingly “good for you” spinach with dinner could have me doubled over in pain and sporting a brand new rash the very next morning.
And so with my heightened “spidey-senses”, I began to approach my piano studio with a keen eye on the “trickle down effect” that takes place in every single lesson.
Actions and Reactions in Piano Lessons
So much of my piano lessons are planned… but so much also happens “off the cuff” or in response to my students. And both the planned and the unplanned actions in piano lessons have a corresponding reaction in my students.
Once I decided to be aware of the power of my actions; word choices, body language, notes made, facial expressions… everything… then I suddenly seemed to have much more control over the reactions of my students.
How to Make it Work In Your Studio
How did I discover the ins and outs of the “trickle down effect” with each of my students? The same way I figured out that I cannot eat spinach… or asparagus. I changed one small thing at a time and observed the outcome.
If lesson notes just weren’t being read by a student, I adjusted one small aspect of the format I used… and made note of the difference it did or did not have the following week. If I had a frustrated and reluctant student, I adjusted my tone of voice and the way I gave directions… and then observed the difference it did or did not have. Trial and error… testing and observing.
You would think that I would feel suddenly handcuffed; afraid to make a misstep or to assume something incorrectly (just as I’m wary of eating anything with wheat, vinegar, corn, dairy or mango!) but the opposite is the case.
I feel incredibly empowered.
It no longer seems like a random turn of events when a student of mine has an unproductive practice week, or is not grasping a concept, or is feeling overwhelmed… or had a fabulous practice week, grasped concepts immediately and is begging for a challenge. Instead, I’m learning that my actions that are producing these reactions – no matter how small. Sure there are outside factors that come into play, but I can also make adjustments to minimize the effect of these other influences. And the process of discovering exactly what these actions are for each individual child has become one of the most enjoyable aspects of my job.