Motivating students, Part one: Rhythm
Motivation comes from within. So is it part of a teacher's job to help students find their motivation? I say yes. It is the most important part of my job and I think about it every day. How can I reach my students and inspire them in their musical endeavors? Such a big question is best broken down into little parts.
I will start by sharing a life situation which influenced me greatly. The first time I was pregnant, I told my doctor I had miserable nausea when taking prenatal vitamins. His response: "Many women experience this. Do the best you can." (I heard: "He doesn't care so these vitamins are not important.")The next visit, his nurse asked me how I was doing and I mentioned the issue again and told her I really wasn't taking the vitamins. She replied, "It would be great if you could take them! Maybe try splitting the vitamin pill in half and see if taking one half in the morning, one half in the evening, with food, is any easier on your stomach. Let me know how it goes. Let's find a way to get these vitamins in you!" (I heard: "She seems to care if I take these so I will try what she suggested." )
Counting aloud and placing great importance on playing in rhythm is the hardest concept for me to get across to students. Students, especially if they have not been introduced to counting at an early time in their introduction to music, resist placing any kind of focus on rhythm. "I don't like counting aloud." "Counting aloud makes it impossible for me to play well." "The metronome gets in my way and distracts me from what I'm doing."
The easiest time to teach a student to count aloud is at the very beginning. When I am given the opportunity to teach a beginner, I have very few hinderences in teaching a student to count. These video clips show a young beginner who has no problems or feelings about counting. I tell him to count aloud, so he does! Download Clapping and counting Download Playing and counting
...more to follow!