By Lisa Cyr
The binding glue between a teacher and student is the trust which is initiated and maintained by the teacher. It’s the reason why a student or a parent will not leave a music teacher for a different one. Trust between the student and teacher is developed over time and first impressions tend to make a significant difference. There are systems that teachers employ to create an atmosphere of trust during a music lesson.
First, we become acquainted with each other by introducing ourselves by name, grade level, favorite colors, foods, songs, styles of music, type of instrument you own, where it is located, musical goals, extracurricular activities, etc. We discover commonalities and learn to appreciate each other’s differences, a “give and take” concept which provides a foundation for acceptance.
Remaining positive is positively important. It’s so easy to say or think, “Just do what I am telling you to do!” which really dampens trust into a soggy mess. It is the “look at the glass half full” concept. Focus on what you can do. This boils down to changing the teacher’s perspective and then helping the student achieve purposeful positivity. I think of positivity like a sealed driveway repelling negative water as it beads up and rolls off the concrete.
One of the more challenging aspects of trust is to convince the student that you really do know what you’re doing. Traditionally, I hang my diplomas and certifications on the wall over my piano. I also perform a few song excerpts for the student. Lessons require regular feedback to and from the student. I might ask a student why they perceive a situation the way they do and promise that all answers are positively valid. Students want to know why they need to sit up straight, stop crossing their legs three times over, or why they have to play boring song-like exercises over and over again. They want to know “Why can’t I just play like a professional in four weeks?” Demonstrating “why” can be amusingly fun. At least we can laugh as I slouch over the piano keys with low wrists and sit like a pretzel on the piano bench and say, “How does this look?” It’s a real icebreaker.
I never say the words “trust me.” Teaching is more like an adventure into an unknown world. Together, one step at a time, we investigate and learn how to learn. If a student knows that you are scaffolding them as they mature, then they are more apt to take possession of their own learning and eventually perform without assistance.
Maturity is the result of trust. A music student develops personal fortitude through consistent methodic daily pursuits of a goal. They learn how to work through difficult situations and emotions by developing a positive determined mindset according to their uniqueness. They learn how to receive and implement positive critiquing and suggestions. Some aspects are non-negotiable since tried-and-true technical parts of the instrument reproduce a particular song style. A balanced perspective of learning is important to mature.
Ultimately, trust is not earned, trust is developed, fed, and nurtured, a one-way street with two lanes, two people, working two-gether.
Studio 237 Music Lessons is in Santa Rosa Beach. Our teachers are ready to teach guitar, piano, drums, voice, ukulele and more. Call Ray or Lisa Cyr at (850) 231-3199 to schedule a visit or lessons. www.Studio237Music.com.