Neurotransmitters and endorphins are substances in your brain that induce good feelings. If you’re a clever piano teacher, your student’s brain will be chock-full of feel-good endorphins.
The published benefits of piano for kids are better math scores, better handwriting and better schoolwork.
But the hidden benefit is the beneficial mental state that half an hour with a nurturing adult will produce.
The quickest way to that feel good state is humor, so if the teacher employs humor, learning becomes much easier for the child.
First you must dispel the “lecture” atmosphere. Your first job is to engage the child on whatever level they make available to you that day.
Get that kid to smile and your job today just became 100% easier.
Humor from the teacher works no matter what the mood of the child. If the mood is good, you are furthering it. If their mood is bad, you have a chance to break through it.
“Back off” is a good rule of thumb. You’ll get nowhere by forcing your ideas onto a reluctant child.
Using force, you can see the kid shrinking from you like an audience from a boring play.
Kids know when they’re being treated as an equal, and when they are expected to be a robot. Treat them as an equal, ask for a simple task, and eventually they will do it.
Perhaps the best scenario is for the teacher to first produce happy endorphins using humor, and then engage in brief, intense intellectual exploration.
I’m not suggesting you just be a clown. If you ask firmly for work, after you have let the child play, they will almost always comply, knowing that more fun is always on the way.
This approach works for any average child. If the child shows more promise, you can treat them like a young artist. Even with these rare kids, the humor and collegiality is appreciated.
Copyright 2008 Walden Pond Press