Practicing Now

Hello blog readers!

This particular update is a little different than anything I’ve done before on the blog. Bülent Güneralp, A Street’s piano, voice, and drum teacher, approached me a few weeks ago to share an article he had found, written by Wayne Dyer.

Dr. Wayne Dyer

Bülent suggested that this article, “Resolve to Get Real,” could very easily be applied to the way we practice music. I’d never heard of Dyer before Bülent showed me this article and another book with information about Dyer, so I can’t speak to Dyer’s body of work at all. However, I think that Bülent has a great idea regarding how to apply some of the ideas in the article to our students’ practice. The following is Bülent’s idea:

As we entered 2011, I happened to check Dr. Wayne Dyer’s website where I came across “Resolve to Get Real,” a short article on his blog. I read it and thought, “This approach could be helpful for many people in many different ways and areas.” I thought that students could apply the idea to their practice and may get wonderful results. I thought, “It would be wonderful if the parents and students themselves read and analyzed the article, and expressed in their won words how they could apply the idea to the students’ practice.” So here we go. Let’s consider this as homework: What does this article by Dr. Dyer mean to you? I look forward to hearing what our students and parents will say.

Dyer’s short article has a very simple thesis; in general, it’s better to live in the moment. He wrote it at the beginning of the year to explain how “living in the moment” is a better philosophy than making long term resolutions. I’ve seen similar negative outcomes from friends who have vowed to quit smoking or to start exercising, as well as some positive ones. I was younger, I would vow to practice through the summer, and I would habitually break that vow. It doesn’t make sense, because I’ve always loved playing the French horn. Perhaps if I’d approached it in a different way, I would have progressed more quickly.

Young people and parents often become frustrated by practice. Well, young people by practicing and parents by a lack of practicing. Practice is a very strange thing. Often music teachers don’t give clear cut homework like students would receive in school. Students of music are often forced to direct their own learning, which can be a huge challenge. The way we teachers approach music teaching has to help students learn how to teach themselves.

We’re going to share this article with parents and younger students at A Street, and record their response through a short survey. I’ll be back to the blog soon, hopefully with some interesting ideas from our students about how to practice. I wanted to post the Dyer article here on the blog to avoid any confusion, but the terms of use on Dyer’s website forbid republication in any form. Please follow this link or the link above to the article.

Update 2/21/11: Anyone out there reading the blog who wishes to complete the survey as well, feel free! You can find the survey through this link.

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