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Benefits of Playing an Instrument

How Mindset and Confidence Can Impact Your Music Teaching

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Musicians innately believe in consistent improvement. In our own young lives, we attended weekly lessons, participated in school ensembles, searched out extracurricular opportunities, and relied on mentors regularly. This belief in consistent growth is often referred to as a “growth mindset” – a set of beliefs and values that business owners and entrepreneurs strive for. 

What is a growth mindset vs. a fixed mindset?

A growth mindset is the belief that you can always grow, learn, and improve. This is in contrast to a fixed mindset, which is the belief that your skills and abilities are set in stone. People with a growth mindset believe that they can always get better at something if they put in the work and find the right resources. They see failure as an opportunity to learn.

As a musician, you don’t see failure as a negative thing. Musicians try constantly to find new opportunities to perform again, regardless of the outcome of past performances. We believe that learning is a life-long process, and that our work is never quite done. This is a powerful way of thinking that can help you achieve your goals in life and in your business. 

What happens when you put in the work?

Just as practicing your instrument can improve your physical endurance and overall skill, repetitive action and experience in your business will increase your work capacity. 

The first student for a private instructor often feels like an enormous amount of work. The lesson preparation, communication, and set up is all a new experience. The “newness” of that work can add more anxiety but, the more you experience that work and effort, that anxiety reduces for future enrollments. 

As you start to train and practice, your total amount of work capacity gets more and more manageable. You can get better at handling stress, making difficult decisions, and managing your time. This is all part of the power of a growth mindset!

How can a growth mindset help you succeed as a music teacher?

Pedagogy is impacted by ongoing research into cognitive function, learning approaches, and physical impact. Musicians who embrace their growth mindset are more likely to experiment with new teaching methods or embrace new technologies. 

This also helps a music teacher to build resilience in the face of adversity. Maintaining enthusiasm and energy when things are tough is a muscle we have to regularly exercise. Confidence is built every time a music teacher navigates challenges like customer service, lesson planning, and event hosting in their studio.

Previous practice, performance, and teaching experience informs a musician that setbacks are just a part of the journey – there is so much to be learned from a challenge. 

How are mindset and confidence connected?

Mindset and confidence are intimately connected. If someone believes they can achieve something, they are more likely to have the confidence to go after it. On the other hand, if someone has a fixed mindset and believes that their abilities are set in stone, they are less likely to take risks or push themselves out of their comfort zone.

We tell our students this before every recital – success in performance is 25% preparation and 75% belief in yourself and your preparation. Regardless if your playing piano or playing guitar, this doesn’t change.

When you are teaching music, you have the opportunity to foster creativity, teamwork and communication skills in your students. Your own growth mindset and confidence impact the self-confidence of your students. These are essential life skills that will help them succeed not only in performance, but their career and academics. Music education can also help students learn to set goals, appreciate different cultures and develop an appreciation for the arts. Music education also improves cognitive development in young students. 

It’s important to remember that you have the power to positively impact the lives of your students. Just by doing what you love, you are making a difference and the confidence that your growth mindset creates is contagious.

Kelly Riordan Nov 14, 2022 Inspiration

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