This month has not turned out the way any of us expected. It has only been a little over a week since Florence made landfall, but the devastation caused by the storm will take months to clean up. I know you all have been glued to the news like I have, so I won’t recount all the damage done by this massive storm. Today, I am writing about the power of music.
In light of all the flooding, damage to homes, displaced residents, loss of power, etc, it seems trifling to talk about the power of music and how music helps us deal with difficult circumstances, but please, keep reading.
Music allows us to experience and process emotions. And whether you decided to stay in town or evacuate, you probably experienced the same emotions of anxiety, uncertainty, fear, stress, and sorrow that I did. Children experience the same emotions as adults, but often they have a hard time verbalizing their emotions. So when they practice their music, it gives them a way to focus their anxiety into doing something productive. When they play a sad piece, and a happy piece, it helps them process the sorrow over seeing the community changed by the storm and the happiness at seeing the community come together. Starting back to weekly lessons helps restore a sense of normalcy. Setting a practice goal, whether that is memorizing a piece, playing a piece hands together, or practicing 5 days in a row, and achieving that goal helps the child realize that while some things (like hurricanes) are out of our control, many things are within our control.
So parents, take time this week to talk with your child. Tell them that you want to hear what they are practicing. Do not underestimate the power of being present and listening. Together, we will get through this difficult time, and through the process of rebuilding, we will emerge stronger than before.
The school routine is becoming a little more normal now, and we are becoming used to getting up early and going to bed early (I hope). Students are getting used to doing sports after school and homework after sports.
But how do you incorporate a new habit, say practicing piano, into your routine?
Forming new habits takes time and intentional thinking. Suzuki often reminded people that you have to practice a certain habit 10,000, 12,000, or maybe even 50,000 times before you master it. But if you never remember to work on the habit, how can you master it?
Sometimes all it takes is a little motivation. And this month, the motivation will be Fall into Music Practice Challenge! I heard about this idea from a teacher on Facebook, and the challenge was created by Shelly Davis, who hosts the Piano Parent Podcast.
Students who practice every day for 20 days will get a certificate, and I have passed out practice sheets to help them track their days.
And, as part of the greater musical community, teachers and students all over the country are participating in this challenge.
I am excited to see how this challenge influences the practicing habits of my students. Let's get started!
I am a piano teacher who loves teaching music and discussing personality styles. I also enjoy playing music with others, whether that is chamber music, piano duets, or singing in a choir. My favorite composers are Bach and Haydn.