- Pick a day this week. I’ll choose Tuesday.
- Choose a part of your day to focus on doing something a little bit differently. I’m teaching private flute lessons on Tuesday, so I’m going to choose that part of my day. In general, I’d suggest choosing your least favorite part of the day, because it would seem to need the most attention. (It’s summer, so I don’t usually have a least favorite part of the day. Talk to me in September.)
- Consider some unique ways in which you could approach that part of your day. I love teaching private lessons, and I enjoy my students. But the lessons do get to be repetitive after awhile. I use almost the same sequence of events with each lesson, and while I’ve given thought to that sequence and would argue that it’s a strong method, I’m sure my students and I could learn something new from a fresh approach.
- Gather any materials you need to implement this approach. Aside from my usual teaching materials, I’ll need a few index cards, a Sharpie, and my favorite duet book.
- Put the plan into action. Instead of starting with a tone warm-up, I’m going to start my students with breathing exercise “target practice,” using the index cards as targets for their air, and measuring how long they can hold the card against the wall with their breath stream. It achieves a similar purpose to tone exercises, and is challenging but also fun. Once we’ve done that, I’m going to work backwards: instead of starting with etudes and working down through the solo and the duet, I’m going to start with the duet. I generally uncover a “theme” for the lesson with the first piece of music we work on, and it’ll be interesting to see how that changes when I start with something different.
- Evaluate how it worked. After the lessons, I’ll reflect on how well things went. Did it feel as challenging as a regular lesson? Was it fun? Did my student learn something new? Did I learn something new? Should I do it again, or was the novelty part of the experience?
Try these six steps on your own, and see what happens. If nothing else, I think you’ll find that your day becomes more interesting, and that “least favorite” time period may even become your most favorite.
Injecting creative energy into your work always gives the energy right back to YOU!
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