May 21, 2013 at 1:09 AMI never quite outgrew watching cartoons. It's not like I get up every Saturday at 7am to watch them like I did back in the good ol' days. But I rent series on Netflix on a pretty regular basis. Good cartoons can have very provoking plot lines and interesting characters. "Avatar: The Last Airbender" being an excellent example.
One of the lastest series I've been going through is "Star Wars: The Clone Wars." At the beginning of every episode they have what one of my students calls "a Yodaism" (we bond over the episodes we've seen). It's a little one or two sentence bit of wisdom/life advice that usually has something to do with the episode that will follow.
So one one of the episodes I recently watched it said: "Adaption is the key to survival." It struck me as really relavant to a topic that has been coming up a lot lately in lessons. I currently have this large batch of students that have "stuck it out." Meaning I started them all when they were 3/4/5 years old when I had a ton of lesson openings in my studio.
It's been a few years so that same batch is now 7/8/9 years old which is a totally different kind of kid. If you've ever taught/raised this age, you know that the eight year old knows everything. They're independent in some areas but not all. And while they know how to play the violin, they lack the maturity to do consistent, correct repetitions.
Which leads to parent meltdowns. They know their kid is mucking up the piece and they're frustrated because all the cute little games and tricks that worked before when the student was four no longer seem to have the same impact.
Therefore, adaptation is the key to survival.
The bag of tricks no longer works so new tricks need to be added to the bag. It's unreasonable to think that the things that motivate a child when they were four will be the same when they're eight. The child has changed and so must you.
Practicing should never be a static concept. It's very dynamic. So while practicing should always take place, what goes on in the practice session must change if the child is going to both progress and remain interested in their instrument.
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