Music to My Ears

7 Mar 2022

[To listen to an audio version of this blog post, please click here:]

I’ve found her… at last!

“Who?” you say.

“My Piano Teacher,” I say!

At last, I have found the perfect piano teacher… for me.

Danielle (who I shall be raving about by name in online reviews so no secrecy necessary) is the most encouraging and affirming teacher I have ever met. More than this, she meets her students where they are – musically. Then she sets a course for where they want to get to.

All my previous teachers were good teachers. They taught well. But they taught their agenda. It was ‘their way’ or ‘find another teacher’. That is no bad thing because all of them had a proven way that worked. I find it fascinating, though, that I didn’t stick with them. Their way wasn’t the best fit for my way.

Danielle uses all kinds of magic to make it work. As an educator of some sort myself, I notice that she is using ‘Pacing’ and ‘Leading’. By this, I mean she ‘paces’ me, her student, in my map of the world first. She was very astute at uncovering exactly what I wanted to achieve. She began our classes with my desired destination in mind, and we started with patterns that would be of immediate value to me.

Here’s where the ‘leading’ comes in. Once deep rapport was established, Danielle very gently nudged me towards the less exciting disciplines that were not on my agenda: note-reading, scales, and a couple of children’s books to learn the basics that are essential to strengthen my own agenda! I believe she’s got the order right: listen to what the ‘student’ desires and dreams of, give them 80% of the time on that, and then lead them, 20% of the time to the other material that you know is good for them.

As in Piano Teaching, so in Life. Perhaps Danielle’s approach could work for bigger issues.

There is a deeper magic, though. I have a chaotic personality. I’d love to be disciplined and tidy and diligent and organised… but I never will be – not if history is an accurate predictor of the future. Yes, people can change, but I doubt I will. This is where Danielle wins over every other teacher I’ve ever met. There is not one word of criticism from her. Not a word. Only encouragement. I feel like a flower, battered by the winds of Winter, beginning to grow taller and stronger to face the hope of Spring. Encouragement can do that for a person.

Here’s the weirdly wonderful part. I now enjoy every practice session I take time for. I even find myself humming the children’s tunes; oh, “Firefly,” how I love thee!

May we all ‘Be More Danielle’. May we listen to what ‘they’ want first and help them move towards their dreams, and only when we have rapport may we then make helpful additional suggestions. And may we become more encouraging with not a word of criticism. Pace, lead, encourage. Perfect.


Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.

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