Thanks to everyone who made our winter Rockband concert a rockin’ success!
For people like us who are looking to foster great habits, an environment conducive to development, and the peace of mind of knowing that what we’re doing has been tried and tested, The Talent Code by Daniel Coyle is a must read. Coyle breaks down the science of how our brains develop when learning and goes on to fill the book with examples of how to practice, how to inspire, and why long term commitment helps us to outperform.
I found the book to be so useful that I’ve asked all our instructors here to read it themselves. It is a fantastic resource.
The following is from Daniel Coyle’s Website:
Greatness Isn’t Born. It’s Grown. Here’s How.
What is the secret of talent? How do we unlock it? In The Talent Code, Daniel Coyle provides parents, teachers, coaches, businesspeople—and everyone else—with tools they can use to maximize potential in themselves and others.
Whether you’re coaching soccer or teaching a child to play the piano, writing a novel or trying to improve your golf swing, this revolutionary book shows you how to grow talent by tapping into a newly discovered brain mechanism.
Drawing on cutting-edge neurology and firsthand research gathered on journeys to nine of the world’s talent hotbeds—from the baseball fields of the Caribbean to a classical-music academy in upstate New York—Coyle identifies the three key elements that will allow you to develop your gifts and optimize your performance in sports, art, music, math, or just about anything.
Knowing how to practice and learn properly can be one of the more daunting challenges facing both parents and students. I highly recommend The Talent Code and I’m certain it can help all of us get better at our instruments and beyond.
As always I’d love to hear your thoughts on the topic. Feel free to drop me a note.
Looking forward to the music you’ll make,
Our schedules are almost full for our school year schedules. Get in touch with us to secure a spot.
The 2018-19 school year pricing is as follows:
Summer is just around the corner. Both my kids are already counting down the hours. Daydreams of school free days and freedom from responsibilities is forefront on their minds.
While I too look forward to spending some extra time with my kids I also become concerned that the time off may bring some unintended consequences. My wife and I have made some real progress helping my kids develop better practice habits and my son even has an award to show for it (Sorry I had to brag. We’re so proud of him). But the summer time presents a risky time for those hard earned habits and skills.
In my decades long experience teaching music I’ve witnessed many students make great leaps during the predictable and consistent school year only to fall behind or totally lose interest during summer break. Like any change in pattern staying consistent with disciplines can be quite challenging. Over time we develop certain grooves in our everyday routine and when that routine changes we can easily let things slip by the way side.
So the question is how do we develop a strategy for the summer that allows for the much deserved break yet still maintains our skills and habits as musicians. Here’s the plan that my wife and I are implementing this summer. Hopefully some of these suggestions can help you or the young musician in your house stay on track this summer:
Plan Ahead: Develop a practice routine that fits into the new summer pattern before the summer even begins. We had a school year routine that involved practicing immediately after school that helped my son develop a good daily rhythm and get his after school hours off to a good start. We plan on doing our summer practice in the morning leaving the rest of the day open for summer fun.
Priority System: The best strategy we ever implemented was requiring our kids to practice before taking part in other daily recreational activities. For us the big one was video games. We had a strict “no video games until you’ve practiced” policy in our house. We almost couldn’t believe it when they started practicing without us asking. We’re going to keep this going for the summer.
Slow Down: Lightening up on the frequency and length of practice is okay to do as long as there’s consistency to the plan. Vacations and camps are also a time to slow down and get refreshed before returning to the routine. The most important part in slowing down and taking short brakes however is communication. It’s important to let your son or daughter know that they’re receiving a well earned break or a lightening up of their routine. Let them know that they’ve earned it but they’ll start up again come September.
Lessons: Staying motivated and on the right track is a difficult task even with a consistent weekly lesson but with no lessons at all it’s virtually impossible. The guidance and accountability of a music instructor can prove to be the most powerful tool to staying on task. Lessons don’t have to be every single week but a few sporadic lessons spread out between vacations and camps can be a crucial motivating factor. Here at the school we do offer a more flexible attendance policy and packages that fit most student’s summer schedules. We’ll be announcing our summer lesson plans shortly so keep an eye out.
Again, I hope that you find some of these suggestions helpful and are able to find a good balance between a summer vacation and maintaining good habits. I’m looking forward to it myself. I love the summer!
As always I’d love your input on this or any other topic. Feel free to drop me a note with any questions or suggestions that you may have.
Looking forward to the music you’ll make!,
Congratulations to all who participated in this year’s Mid Atlantic Music Teachers Guild music competitions and evaluations! We’re so proud of all who participated. Great job!
8 Things Top Practicers do Differently
by Noa Kageyama Ph.D.
As my kids were (begrudgingly) practicing their Tae Kwon Do patterns the other night, I caught myself telling my oldest that he had to do his pattern five times before returning to his video game.
My goal, of course, was not for him to go through the motions of his pattern five times like a pouty zombie, but to do it one time with good form and authority. But the parent in me finds it very reassuring to know that a certain number of repetitions or time has gone into something. Beyond the (erroneous) assumption that this will automagically solidify his skills somehow, it feels like a path to greater discipline, and a way to instill within my kids some sort of work ethic that will serve them well in the future.
Some degree of time and repetition is necessary to develop and hone our skills, of course. But we also know on some intuitive level that to maximize gains, we ought to practice “smarter, not harder.”
But what the heck does that really mean anyway? What exactly do top practicers do differently?