The Super Power, that we all have.
Updated: Oct 4, 2018
I was having an entertaining talk with my little brother about how he is so excited that him and his wife are about to have their first baby.
To give you an idea of our conversations, this is the same guy who announced to me that the baby is going to be a boy while he was on the phone, on the roof, and when I asked what all the noise was, he responded quizzically that it was "just the weed-wacker", so you can imagine how his enthusiasm for life and multitasking Michigan style, has definitely spilled over into soon having a son.
So while he was going over how he was planning to train this little nugget in trail running and exercise routines, we realized something together and I said "You're not trying to teach him how to be a good runner, just like I am not trying to teach my students how to just read a note, we are teaching more than that." It is important to my brother, thru mediums like exercising, to teach his little one passion, and how to channel that passion, and just like this, what has always been really important to me is that I teach my students lessons they can take out of the studio and into life. But how!..and why?
I look at every facet of my life (music, writing, painting, traveling, teaching..) as different garden patches that all work together to make one giant garden palette useful for creating any kind of meal I want.
The meal is life, and I clearly cannot hide my passion for food;)
One of my "gardens" is my music studio, teaching music is just to me one of the most life filled, vibrant, challenging, mind stretching & communal ways of living I could ever imagine. This week I had not my first but my second student join after waiting since birth to take lessons with me, what is more communal than that! And last week I tearfully read a letter from a high school senior student proclaiming she was only now feeling excited about about life and learning who she really is because of our time together every Tuesday since she was 13.
This week I learned something that made it all make sense.
I knew from experience that giving students (and I really have them in every age you can imagine) a moment to tell me anything they want before we begin, calms them and gets them to focus on a much deeper level for the rest of class, but I always wondered WHY this works.
Listening to my students pulls out a certain quality in them, they even exclaim in class, "how did you get me to do that!" Or this week when I offered a new perspective on a stuck measure ( ha ha the stuck measure is life again!) and I showed how to break up the notes in a different way, their hands just start playing the part more fluidly. My student looked up and laughed incredulously, like he couldn't even believe his own breakthrough.
A dear friend of mine took a break from her Psychology studies to have tea and visit my favorite Summers Past Farms with me, and she told me WHY all this listening, works.
Studies show that academically it is SO POWERFUL if you allow students to be listened to - it improves academics by 11% just because you show you care by listening. When they did the same study across opposite demographic schools in high and low income areas, the test scores alone were affected not by access to materials and funding, or background or status, but just by listening to the students. Thats 52% improvement in all combined areas like behavior and anxiety. I was so happy to hear about all the work being done in this field and I know these results extend beyond working with students.
What if we all just take a moment this week to listen to someone, or if you're feeling adventurous, to everyone, and watch the world grow with 52% more love and understanding.