Sure, it's a lot easier to ride a pony then a stallion. But, unless you're five years old, where's the fun in that? The simple fact is, I find the students that fit in my comfort zone boring. They don't challenge me. I like, as the title to one of Malcolm Gladwell's books says, The Outliers. The outliers are students who are out of my comfort zone. They keep me on my toes. They stimulate my creativity. They force me to think outside of my box. They are the reasons my two books were written. They challenge me to enroll them in their vision for their potential as opposed to controlling them into my vision.
That's an important Diamond Distinction for me. The difference between enrolling them and controlling them. Controlling students takes perspiration, enrolling them takes inspiration. I know, the ones who are easy to control are the ones who are also easier to teach. They listen to you, the obey your direction. So if you're going to teach a full lesson load of forty students a week, it might as well be easy money. Right? Perhaps, but not for me. For me, it's boring money. Boredom dis-enrolls me. Boredom is the beginning of the end for me.
I like having to come up with language that inspires them to seek out their fullest potential as musicians, but more importantly, as people. That's what enrollment is, inspiring them to take stock in their own greatness. Aligning their actions with their visions.
What would you say to your students to enroll them in their own greatness? How would you be a continued source of inspiration for them? Tough questions. But perhaps, the next question will guide you to find your answer. What would someone need to say to you to enroll you in your own greatness? What words and actions would inspire you? Those are the same words your students need to hear. Say them, to both yourself and to them. Your studio will thrive and so will you.
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.