Chapter 7 – Putting It All Together (and a Final Reflection)

How to talk...Louise Goss once said, “(I hope) everybody would begin to grasp this notion that it’s the child first, music second, and only third is the piano.”

“How To Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk” serves as a powerful reminder that we are teaching the child first.  It explains how to do this better, and why this is so important.

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Chapter 6 – Freeing Children from Playing Roles

How to talk...“Never underestimate the power of your words upon a young person’s life!”

Chapter 6 illustrates the often self-fulfilling prophecy of assigning roles or labels to children.  Our words, actions, and even our inner opinions of our students can have a strong impact on their behavior, and ultimately, whether or not they realize their full potential.  What can we do to free our students from labels like slow learners, unmusical, bad performers, or non-practicers?  How can we instead help our students see themselves as capable learners, expressive musicians, confident performers, and smart practicers?

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Chapter 5 – Praise

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What can we, as teachers, do to help build our students’ self-esteem, increase their motivation, and instill them with confidence?  Ideas from the previous chapters are a good start: respecting children’s feelings, and allowing them to make choices and solve problems on their own. When we think of praise as a teaching tool, words or phrases that evaluate, such as “good job,” or “fantastic!” may come to mind first. However, this type of praise can bring about unintended negative reactions.  Chapter 5 teaches us how to praise more effectively and meaningfully. Continue reading “Chapter 5 – Praise”

Chapter 4 – Encouraging Autonomy

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Chapter 4 brings to mind this quote from Frances Clark:

“My primary goal as a piano teacher is to create a climate in which my students can experience continual musical, intellectual, and emotional growth, and to become increasingly dispensable to them in the process. Everything I do as a teacher, and every other teaching goal I have, relates directly to the first, most basic objective – to help my students grow by and for themselves.”

We know that this is one of our ultimate responsibilities.  So, what are some practical strategies we can implement in our teaching to encourage student independence and autonomy?

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Chapter 3 – Alternatives to Punishment

How to talk...What I love about this chapter is that the authors put the responsibility of setting expectations on the adult, but the child is given the opportunity to learn, grow, and participate in developing solutions to problems. The resulting spirit of teamwork and ownership could truly transform our most challenging lessons and strengthen our classroom management skills.

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