One thing that I’ve realized that I do frequently with my students that keeps my enthusiasm for teaching fresh is visualize them in the future. I imagine that Landon is no longer a 9-year old boy with hard-to-control fingers, but a mature 19-year old who sits at his family’s piano accompanying hymns while his family sings along. And 7-year old Holly is more than just a precocious little sight-reader flying through her books; in my mind she is a 17-year old graduate, playing a beautiful rendition of Chopin at her graduation. And so on.
When I view my students in this light, it makes me care more about the sound that they create. It makes me want to put in the extra time and energy to make sure that they can do more than translate notes on a page to sound; I want them to hear the beauty in what they are playing. It makes me willing to work week after week on the same technique until they master it, knowing that it will serve them well whatever their musical future may hold. It makes me excited to see them not only saying the “right” answers, but actually grasping the concepts that I am teaching, for then they can transfer them to all learning.
Every piece along the way contributes to the whole, but it is in stepping back and looking at the whole that I find the energy and motivation to focus relentlessly on the pieces.