As a music teacher, you are training the next generation of leaders in a vital skill: the art of practicing.
Practicing is the art of improving a specific skill. It leads to the path of mastery. What you focus on will improve. This applies to teachers as well. What are you doing as a teacher to improve the practice of your teaching?
For me, improvement begins with a morning routine. My morning routine includes a time of reflection. By setting aside time for gratitude and reflection, I am able to digest and celebrate every small win and every step forward. Reflecting also allows me to learn from my mistakes and mentally prepare myself for what’s next to come.
After I reflect, I then decide what I will focus on for the remainder of the day. Without reflecting, I end up reacting to life and putting out fires instead of designing my life.
I remember reading the funny and poignant novel, “Cheaper By The Dozen”, when I was a teen. I resonated with the father who always ensured all of his children were improving themselves daily, down to the minute! Even listening to language recordings in the shower! (If you haven’t read it, it’s quite moving as to why the father was in such a rush.)
I had a family like that. My parents were pushing for constant and never-ending improvement.
I recently came across this idea of daily improvement.
Most people don’t understand that a daily 5% improvement is exponential! It’s not a straight line, but a rapid hockey stick curve upward! And it is just a small improvement per day.
The Carnegie Foundation recently created a process known as Improvement Science. This process addresses how organizations can improve and get better.
In other words – practicing.
The six core principles of Improvement Science can also be applied to our everyday day lives. Improvement Science can be boiled down to:
1) What is the problem we are trying to solve?
2) Variation in performance is the core problem
How do we get consistency?
3) See the system that produces the current outcomes
Can you visualize a way to make it all work? Discuss it, test it, try out parts of it.
4) You can’t improve what you can’t measure
Measurement is a big part of practice. How do you know you are getting better? It’s the same with goal-setting. Can you put a specific measurable amount to your goal?
5) Iterations of plan, do, study, act.
Or what I like to call “Fail forward fast!”
The greatest achievers in any field are not great because they never fail. Instead they fail, and get on with it. They get back up really quickly and move to the next level. The more you aim for greatness, the more you will fail, but just keep going, no matter what. Just do it, and do it again, and again.
6) Use community support
You can’t do it alone.
There are so many groups that can provide you support in any endeavor you choose. Seeking support is important because in this journey, you will need all of the outside feedback, mentoring, and camaraderie that you can get.
With this in mind, I have launched a membership site.
Musicolor Members Circle is a forum for discussion and sharing my teaching ideas in my course and future courses. It contains an ever-expanding library of teaching ideas, demos, guest lectures, question and answer office hours, mastermind group and fellowship.
Musicolor Members Circle is perfect for music teachers who share my vision for embracing new ideas and applying them to music education while spreading the joy of music to as many people as possible.
I invite you to join me here.