Expect More From Your Guitar Students
A common mistake many teachers make is assuming they have no influence over their students. As guitar teachers we can literally be the deciding factor between a student succeeding and failing. This doesn’t take credit away from the student who still has to work hard and put in the effort, but what it does do is empowers teachers.
The Law Of Expectations
Here are a few examples of how those in charge can influence. This was taken from the book ‘Maximum Influence’
Study 1. High school girls who were told they would perform poorly on a math test did perform poorly compared to those who were not told.
Study 2. Assembly line workers who were told their job was complex performed less efficiently compared to those who were told the job was simple.
I can confirm that when I started suggesting to my guitar students that 30 mins a day of practice was easy the number who actually practiced 30 mins a day or more went way up. I went from saying “Would you be able to practice 30 mins a day?” to “I only need you to practice 30 mins a day but you can certainly do more if you like.” The reason this changed the outcome dramatically is the later subtly suggests 30 mins is easy.
How to communicate your expectations?
This can seem like a challenge. You want to make it clear to your guitar students what you expect in terms of practice while also staying positive in your delivery, but how exactly. Let me give you an example of how I would do it.
“Jack let’s see that practice log (my face like an excited 5 year old opening presents on Christmas morning). Oh no! (after seeing 10 mins on only 3 days) Talk to me Jack. What happen?” No matter what the response I keep it positive but look them in the eye and quietly say “Jack I know you can easily do the 30 mins a day so let’s just put this down to one of those week and this week I want to see 30 or more in every box. Are you with me Jack?”
Keeping it positive builds trust
By remaining positive you are allowing your student to open up to you. Each time you get to dig a little deeper until you find the real reason they are not practicing and the answer is generally a lack of self confidence in their ability, or perhaps a lack of excitement about the goal. Berating them only makes the situation worse as you are reinforcing their self belief that they are not good enough. If it’s a lack of excitement, disappointment will not help either. By remaining positive in your delivery even if they don’t believe in themselves knowing you believe in them raises their confidence. Your aim is to build their confidence.
All in all it’s best to set your expectations high and show your students you believe in them. If they are not responding it’s as much your responsibility as their’s.