Get Your Students From Fear To The Fun Zone!

Let them experience the fact that they can create music, even if they think they’re too busy, have no talent or are tone deaf.

Get Your Students From Fear To The Fun Zone!

Let them experience the fact that they can create music, even if they think they’re too busy, have no talent or are tone deaf.

Practicing safe music

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Getting Students From Fear To The Fun Zone – Or, why I wrote this book

Many people on the planet have had some kind of traumatic experience around music has left them feeling like they are locked out of a magical world.

The myth of this seemingly impenetrable magical world is fostered, in part, by unspoken cultural beliefs that only people from the special talented planet can learn how to make music, and do it well. It seems like Beyonce popped out of the womb brilliantly singing, dancing and writing songs.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Really, it takes 10 to 25 years to become an overnight success.

Kids and adults who show up to learn from me are often easily discouraged when they encounter the hurdles that everyone experiences when they’re beginners. Because they don’t know that they’re having a normal experience, they take it as evidence that they can’t do it.

This can make it difficult, if not impossible for us to have compassion for our learning curve and live with the discomfort of being a beginner at something. Especially when there are things we’re at least competent, maybe even brilliant at.

The result is that guitars languish in attics and closets for decades while their owner sits in audiences longing to be able to play like the musicians on stage but believing they never will. Kids watch videos of their favorite musicians wishing they could play music but never ask their parents to sign them up for lessons. Or, the kids do ask and the parents decide not to because they think their child has no talent, not understanding that anyone who has the desire can learn how to play.

Many of my students report having deeply painful experiences with a trusted teacher or family member saying something cruel to them about their musical abilities. The stories are usually about teachers who told them they couldn’t sing, so they should just mouth the words or parents who lurked nearby while they practiced and criticized their efforts.

These stories make me so sad, not only for the person who experienced these painful situations, but also because I understand that their perpetrators were likely operating from their own past wounds. I’ve often heard stories similar to one about a mom criticizing her daughter as she practiced, who was carrying pain at having had to give up her own musical dreams in the past. Or the wounds came from a teacher who’s performing aspirations were cut short. I don’t condone the mean behavior, but I have great compassion for its context.

Most importantly, I understand ways to heal these kinds of wounds from personal experience. While developing and running a highly lucrative music school in the Boston area (the land of Berklee, Boston Conservatory and where music teachers are a dime-a-dozen), I figured out the secret sauce for helping hundreds of struggling humanoids leap easily over the hurdles that have held them back and hurl themselves into THE FUN ZONE.

My fab students get to experience the fact that they can create music, even if they think they’re too busy, have no talent or are tone deaf (tip: the only people who are tone deaf are deaf).

I also know how to create a classroom atmosphere where middle school students are happily learning and creating music while also being nice to each other.

Feedback from Students and Colleagues

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