In my teaching, student retention is a high priority. I want to keep everybody engaged and positive, continuously growing and proud of what they can do.
But how do we teachers compete with fascinating technology? Video games and cell phones transport young minds, making concentration at the piano a real challenge. We piano teachers can’t offer students the “instant gratification” these devices can.
Or can we?
Enter the Art of the Goal. In Part 1 of this series, I will outline the “4 Steps to the 1 Step.” This is a studio tool I have used time and time again, helping engage and gratify students by creating specific conditions in their learning process.
Piano Goal Setting Method
Invite the student to meet a musical challenge with 80% familiar material, and 20% new material. She will make the first attempt to meet the challenge, and will likely have a couple of “failures” at first. But the majority of the experience will be successful. After 4 steps (attempts), the student is so close to success that she will feel motivated to push through the last barrier to mastery.
Successful Piano Practice At Home
This is the 1 final step to success with a musical assignment. Your student wants to feel like her piece of music is “almost there,” and manageable during the week. Create a situation where only one musical maneuver has not yet been mastered. After discussion about how it can be mastered mechanically, send your student home with confidence that it can be completed with very reasonable practice.
Students typically avoid practicing mainly because they feel overwhelmed with too much new information and challenge. Create a manageable workload, and watch your student take pride in sitting at home and playing!
In Part Two of this series, I will show how to create the 80/20 challenge for your students.
See a great example of the 80/20 challenge from Diane Hidy’s blog entry