Practice Challenge Update | Week #10 of 20
"Go the distance" is an idiom that means to achieve one's goal; to complete something, especially if it is difficult; to persist on a path until it ends, literally or metaphorically. The expression go the distance was used in a literal sense in the 1800's in horse racing to mean to run an entire race. The phrase has also been used in boxing and means the ability to box for an entire round without getting knocked out or disqualified.
Halfway through our 20-week practice challenge, students who have been putting in practice time on a daily basis are starting to see some fruits of their efforts. Just as a mountain climber may not notice the height they've climbed until they reach the summit, so the incremental progress of practice has begun to manifest itself in our lessons this week.
One such example of this is three young women: Audrey, Evelyn and Lucy, who prepared both a solo piece and an ensemble piece for the Minnesota Music Teacher's Association Vocal & Instrumental Festival. Their participation required musical "distance"-additional time spent above their scheduled practice and lesson sessions and concentrated focus to learn and perform new pieces of music. These young women are an example to everyone. They are embracing their passion for music and allowing it to catapult them into high levels of achievement.
Thank you for inspiring us to go the distance and congratulations on your achievements!
Practice Challenge Update | Week #9 of 20
The stroke of midnight of Selection Sunday-it's the hour when one must lock in which teams they (or a reputable Bracketologist) predict will advance in the NCAA March Madness Tournament. There are a ton of factors that determine which team will take away the trophy: who worked the hardest this year? Were there any injuries? Do they have a stellar coach? Do their fans show up for them? Who wants it the most?
The art of music and the art of basketball are not so distant! From a woman who has had the chance to work with some high performing students and communities of parents and friends, here are the components needed to build the Triangle of Success-an unyielding structure indestructible by the competition.
The PLAYER's job...
Show up to practice.
Players who show up and put in the time on a regular and consistent basis are pretty tough to take down. And at the end of the day, no matter how good their coaching is or how supportive their parents are, they are the only ones who can shoot the ball into the basket, play the keys on the piano or sing the phrase of the song. When it's time for the big game, they are confident and ready. *They must communicate their needs to their coach and parents/community.
The TEACHER/COACH's job...
Show up to practice and teach the skills of the task. They guide and challenge the player.
The coach should be able to identify the strengths and weaknesses of her players and give them the resources and skill sets to move forward with confidence. The coach strongly believes in her player's abilities. *They must communicate expectations and progress to the player. They must communicate the player's needs and success to the parents/community.
The PARENTS/FRIENDS AND COMMUNITY's job...
Show up to practices and performances to encourage and support the player.
Strong parental and community supporters will commit to the process along with the student and the teacher. They create at-home practice routines for the student and encourage the student in the low moments . They are also the ones shouting and cheering in the front row. *They communicate their expectations to the student and the student's needs and success to the teacher.
Being a private music student can sometimes feel like a lonely endeavor, but when the team of coaches and community are fully engaged, the journey becomes not only fun, but successful, too.
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