Do you view practicing your instrument like a chore? For some students, a simple shift in the way you look at practicing can change your whole experience. Read on for one helpful strategy from Fort Collins, CO teacher Jim H.:
My father was a guitar teacher and as a child, I often went with him to his lessons. I learned about different teaching techniques while watching my dad instruct his students. Over the years, I have incorporated some of my father’s teaching styles along with developing my own. My dad ran into the same challenges that all teachers do, including how to get his students to practice their guitars.
Over time, he realized that most of his students did not like the word “practice,” as it implied something that had to be done. This was especially true of some of his younger students, who were attending school classes as well. Eventually my father changed his approach from demanding his students practice their guitars to simply encouraging them to play their guitars. I have found this to be a much more positive approach in my professional teaching.
I encourage my students to play their guitars – and play them often! And why not? Isn’t music a wonderful and magical gift that has been given to us? Why would we hold ourselves back from the joy, pleasure, happiness and satisfaction that comes from playing our instruments? I let my students know that the more they play their guitars, the better it gets and the easier it becomes. I explain that they need to schedule specific times during the week to play their guitars and if they do so, their skills will continue to grow.
I also share with my students that I understand that sometimes we don’t feel like or are not in the mood to play our guitars. But if we pick up our guitars anyway and start playing, we will find real happiness and a yearning to continue to learn. Make no mistake, I do present weekly lesson plans for my students. But I emphasize enjoying the lesson plans through the wonderful opportunity of simply playing their guitars.
Jim H. teaches guitar and ukulele lessons to students of all ages in Fort Collins, CO. He specializes in folk, folk-rock, jazz , classic rock, classic pop and contemporary music, specifically on the acoustic guitar. Jim joined the TakeLessons team in September 2012. Learn more about Jim, or visit TakeLessons to search for a teacher near you!
Photo by Cee-Lo Knows.