As a musician, one of my favorite ways to start a practice session is with scales. As practice time is often limited, I don't always take the time to do so, but when I do I have SO MUCH FUN!
I don't know when my little love affair with scales started, but I think it was sometime in college when my teacher showed me all the many ways I could get creative with scales and arpeggios. Up to that point, scales had been super boring and monotonous- 4 octaves ascending and descending with the metronome, arpeggios, cadences...where's the fun in that?! But a whole new world of possibilities was opened up to me when I realized I could play scales in parallel 3rds/6ths/10ths, perform both scales and arpeggios in parallel and contrary motion, vary my dynamics, articulation, rhythm...it was exhilarating! Suddenly scales transformed from boring drills into exciting, creative experiments. I started to enjoy that part of my daily warm-up so much more and continue to enjoy it to this day.
Having the rare opportunity to warm-up with scales yesterday reminded me again how much I enjoy them and also got me thinking about the role we as teachers have in finding creative ways to inspire our students. There are teachers who merely teach, then there are those who inspire. I make it my goal to be the type who inspires.
What does it mean to be a teacher who inspires? It means constantly thinking outside of the box and looking for creative ways to approach new concepts. It means embracing new ideas rather than sticking with the tried and true. It means taking the time to learn what makes each student tick and then finding ways to teach to those specific needs. It means being willing to make mistakes. It means being a teacher who teaches with excellence but also has fun!
Being this type of teacher does mean more work. It's a lot easier to stick to the middle of the road and never go outside the boundaries of what's comfortable looking for new ideas. But the incredible rewards of the extra work make it all worthwhile!
So what do you do to inspire your students and motivate yourself to go the extra mile to make sure it happens? Did you ever have a break-through moment as a student where a particular teacher made a musical concept come alive for you?