For more than 25 years I have been teaching my students of all ages to achieve their goals. It has never been the academics but the connection between my student and I, that has driven me all these years.
I get to know my students in such are personal way. We experience and conquer fears together, you go through bad days, great days, and not one student is the same as another. It is almost like they are your own kids or family. 🙂
So In February my daughter picked up the violin and all of a sudden I got to experience the process from the other side. Now I was the parent who had to help his daughter practice and play. For months we’ve practiced almost daily together. My goal was never that she would play something perfect, without any mistakes. No, my goal was to instil a love for practicing in her. Where practicing was as fun as just playing music. Where mistakes feel like opportunities.
I’ll be honest, it isn’t easy. She’s a perfectionist. She has a great ear, and probably an even better memory. So to bring her focus to different places was tricky at times. One of the ways I used was to turn practice into a story. An adventure. Where the both of us would go on a journey to find gold or a treasure. (she loves anything gold, especially when it sparkles). I even made a map for her to put on her wall.
Fast forward to december and she’s about to play her first mini concert. In the weeks before I started doing visualisations with her where she’d picture herself playing in front of all those people. She would feel happy and enjoy playing. About a week before the gig I stopped correcting mistakes and focused only on the joy of playing. Since I was going to be playing with her I would share with her how much I enjoy making music. That it is such a wonderful gift to bring music into this world.
Minutes before the concert she has her violin in her hand. The moment I say: “Are you ready? We’re on.” She got looked at me suddenly, a bit scared, insecure. I just held her by the arm, looked her in the eyes and from my heart I said: “My sweetheart, do you know that I am so excited to go out there and just have fun and make some music with you?” Immediately she smiled and she said: “Me too!” And there she went, taking her first steps on stage!