Growth ownership comes in stages. These stages are related to both age and experience. In my thirty year career, I have witnessed seven year olds who have more ownership for their progress then some sixteen year olds. Those younger learners were most frequently nurtured into accountable learners by their parents. While the sixteen year olds had not yet had the model or guidance to adopt the adage "It it's to be, it's up to me." It's imperative that students learn how to flex these new muscles and I always felt it was both my job and in my student's best interest to nurture this important skill.
Early in a student's tutelage, the first stage is to make sure the student has his or her materials ready for the lesson. That simply means bringing the necessary books to the lesson. The important strategy from the teacher is to acknowledge that the student has done this by validating this level of responsibility. Often, as teachers we miss opportunities to reinforce behavior that we want repeated. A simple "Hey I'm proud of how you remembered all of your music and assignment books," will do wonders for creating a repeat behavior.
As an Empowered Music Teacher, after introducing a new concept during the lesson, try asking the student how many more times they think they will need to review the concept before they feel comfortable. Don't ask tell you when they think they have it mastered. You want them keyed in on the feeling they create when something is mastered, because ultimately, the feeling of pride is both their internal GPS AND their reward. Condition that level of thinking early in a student's education and it will reap rich rewards as the student grows, both in music and in life.
The tips in this blog are culled from my two books, Coffee With Ray and Lessons With Matt. If you would like more strategies that will both nurture your students into self-directed learners while making your job less stressful and more rewarding, please check them out on Amazon.