- 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?
Do you feel that your workplace empowers you to make decisions and act independently for the best interests of the company? Do you feel that your contributions are respected? Are you happy and in control of your work life?
If not, you may not be working in a creative environment. Studies on creativity and the workplace show that more creative work is produced when the workers are empowered to make decisions and control the process.
In a creative workplace…
The Boss should be clear about her expectations, but give her employees the freedom to pursue the goal via any method or process that works for them. The boss needs to trust that the people in charge of a particular project are the ones best qualified to make decisions about it. She should guide her employees and be aware of what is or isn’t working in her organization, but must ultimately allow people the opportunity to bring their best to the table. She must be open to discussion and welcome dissent. [Read more…]