How To Inspire Your Guitar Students To Practice
A person’s desire to do almost anything comes either from 1. A basic need for survival of one’s self and our species (i.e. food and sex) and 2. External inspiration. Inspiration can come from a variety of sources but, I’m here to specifically talk about the subject of inspiring guitar students to want to practice. When done right your guitar teaching business will explode and in much less time than you think. Inspiring others is not something that needs to take time. It can happen in an instant. Think about when you hear a song or watch a scene in a movie or see a dramatic news story. Our lives and the lives of others can and often are changed by the influence of others. We all have the ability to change the way others feel and understanding this power is what will transform you from just another guitar teacher to an extraordinary one.
The power of inspiration
Inspiring our guitar students is not only the easiest way to get them to practice with intention but I’d argue its really the only way. Sure you can hold a gun to someone’s head and they’ll do almost anything but the association they will be left with (practicing guitar = terror) is hardly likely to inspire them long term. Its far more likely to scar them for life and cause them to break out in cold sweats at the sight of a guitar. Inspiration on the other hand promotes desire. If you had of asked me before age 12 to go jogging I would have said “no thanks” but after seeing the Rocky movie for the first time I became inspire to jog and generally get fit. The moment I saw Rocky running to the theme song and reaching the top of the stairs was the moment the desire to get fit kicked in. That one scene was all it took.
How do we inspire our students?
The place to start is with yourself. How inspired are you? Are you fired up and excited when you teach? Do your students feel your energy and excitement? The inspiration I felt when watching Rocky was not the result of some pep talk or trying to convince me on the benefits of exercise. It was from seeing Rocky so pumped. It was witnessing how he felt and the obvious satisfaction on his face from pushing himself to the limit. I wanted to feel what he was feeling. I wanted to be Rocky. To truly inspire your students ‘you’ need to be an inspiration. Your students will naturally want to know your secret to success and will do whatever is required to get it. We want what inspiring people have and we know to be like them we need to listen and follow whatever it is they do. So forget about lecturing to your students on the virtues of practice and focus on being an inspiring figure. Treat your classroom like a stage and start performing to inspire.
Start your own movement
Inspiring your students has another big benefit and thats the viral effect. When I was a young teen the band KISS were huge but it all seem to have come out of nowhere. At age 12 I had never heard of them and by the time I turned 13 it seemed they were the biggest band on the planet. Listening to Gene Simmons’s book ‘Me, Inc.’ gave me some insight into what happened. Gene said their aim was to put on a mind blowing performance every time. It wasn’t about just playing music. It was about putting on a show that people would remember and talk about. KISS were even able to release a live album titled Alive in 1975 which resulted in their first top 40 single ‘Rock and Roll All Nite”. Gene understood the power of inspiration. Everyone was soon talking about KISS and everyone wanted to see them live. This is a lesson for every guitar teacher. Inspiring your students will not only ensure they practice with intention but, your students will inspire others to join you. You will grow exponentially as word spreads.
Stop lecturing and start inspiring
If you find yourself lecturing students on practice its because you are not inspiring them to want to practice. Your students are a mirror. They are reflecting your inspiration. Uninspired students = an uninspired teacher. In future posts I will be sharing my tips on how to get yourself inspired which in turn will inspire your students.