Music and Mindset
I was sitting at the piano in a practice room at Butler University with my music open, unable to make a sound. A typical day included 2 hours of vocal practice and 30 minutes of piano. I had been struggling with some vocal problems- hoarseness, vocal fatigue...I wasn't really sure what was wrong, but I was down. Thinking about all the songs I needed to learn and practice, but all I could do was sit at the piano bench, staring blankly at my music, unable to make a sound for fear of what would come out of my mouth. Voice cracking, breathy tone...I felt frustrated and defeated; like I shouldn't be a voice major and I didn't know what to do other than play a few soothing improvisations on the piano...something that hopefully wouldn't sound like a middle school boy.. I had a choice to make in that moment....was this who I was going to be- a failure, someone who just gives up; or was this just a minor set back and something that I could ease my way through with patience and persistence? What was my mindset going to be? I had a choice.
My kids go to school in Farmington, MN where the school has adopted the 7 mindsets approach to learning and development. The basis of this program says, "Happiness and success are not predicated on what we know or where we come from; it is predicated on how we think." (7mindsets.com) The mindsets are:
*Everything is possible
*We are connected
*Attitude of gratitude
*Live to give
*The time is now
I have noticed a theme in my studio that the way my students think and the way they approach failure has a dramatic impact on how quickly, effortlessly and, most importantly- how HAPPILY they progress through their lessons. Because of this, I have created a mindset shift worksheet that I have used to help students reframe their thoughts.
As much as I can do to set the expectation of a growth mindset during piano or voice lessons, joining forces with parents and teachers, and starting NOW....is the best way to engage students in thought patterns that will benefit them for the rest of their lives, in all ways!
You might be wondering what happened with my voice studies, but you know the ending is happy considering I teach voice lessons today. I discovered vocal jazz which was like a balm to my soul and to my voice. Finding the joy of music freed my voice in a fresh way and allowed me to continue my vocal practice. I was diagnosed with Vocal Cord dysfunction, but have worked with professionals on how to soothe and protect the voice: information that I love to be able to share with students now as they need vocal health tips. Below, find a free mindset printable! I suggest posting this by the piano or wherever you are distance learning with your students.