It’s not a new game. It’s not a new piece of music. It’s not a new gadget or office supply (though you know I would have loved that)! It’s a return to a basic concept of learning.

Parents Want Learning to Be Easy…Hmmmm

As you may have noticed, many parents these days want lessons to be easy. They want their kids to have fun while learning to play the piano. They want them to get great experiences in the arts. They want them to always be perfect at their recital. They push for them to get highest honors in piano exams. And all of this comes at the expense of struggle. The struggle of learning. The difficulty of practice. The discipline of consistent practice.

I know because I am a parent. I see both sides now. I don’t want my kids to get a bad grade, forget some of their lines in a play, have a memory glitch at the recital. I want to shelter them from that. But I was so encouraged as a parent and a teacher by this video and I think you will be too.

Have you gotten flack for pushing your students?

Have parents ever criticized you for their child’s lack of perfection? Have they ever asked you give them a piece too difficult so that they can play a crowd pleasing piece even though you know they don’t have the technique for it?

Well, this video is your encouragement for the year. Brene Brown, an amazing research professor in social work, talks about such an experience she and a colleague had when coaching swimming.

Watch this video starting at 8:30. It’s worth your time (and don’t quit until you’ve at least heard her swimming story). And if you get distracted and miss the point…remember that the “struggle” is good. This difficult experiences, when combined with nurturing teaching and encouragement, produce produce hope – one of the cornerstones to whole-hearted living.

Keep the main thing [good teaching] the main thing

Don’t put all your games, motivational programs, and handy teaching tricks in the closet just yet. Just keep them in the context of good teaching. Push your students to learn. Help them through the struggle. You are one of the few people in their lives that will be at their side for those formative childhood years.