As a teacher, I have had more awesome experiences than I can count. A pretty good number of those times have come from having the opportunity to teach all ages, and seeing just how different the brain of a 6 year old and a 60 year old are.
To be completely honest, I myself have learned quite a few things from teaching really young kids. Their minds work in a way that can be extremely refreshing for someone grown.
Here are some enlightening tips I’ve learned straight from the minds of young ones.
Not everything you learn has to fit into everything else you know:
I’ll start with a disclaimer so that I don’t seem contradictory to my past blogs: As a teacher, I do often try to relate ideas to each other to make them a little easier to digest. The fact of the matter, however, is that sometimes, especially when you’re learning something involved in the arts, certain concepts can be a little abstract. A lot of my adult students can have quite a bit of trouble with things like theory, or certain musical interpretations. I think a big part of it is that as you grow, you learn to link everything together. Again, I like to make links when I can as well, but sometimes it’s best to let artistic concepts just stand on their own. They’re very much their own thing, so this makes sense. If you have trouble making connections, stop forcing it. A lot of my younger students can pick up on these concepts way easier than adults. Yes, I know the obvious point is that kids can just learn new things a little bit better, but I think this is a big part of it. Kids will just accept these concepts as they are, don’t try to force connections, and therefore can just digest the ideas without a problem.
Don’t create obstacles for yourself:
Another reason I think a lot of kids can learn so much faster than adults is that they don’t stress themselves about how hard something may be. I truly believe that since kids won’t see any obstacles or inhibitions, those problems end up not existing. A lot of my adult students will see a task at hand, and even though they might put a lot of hard work towards reaching the goal, they can’t help but create mental blocks for themselves. This can lead to some pretty serious frustration. Since everything is so new to kids, they tend to just assume something isn’t that difficult. From what I’ve observed, this seems to make them just immediately latch on to ideas. I’ve experimented a little with this in my own practice. If I confidently tell myself I can do something, and just try to very clearly see the path to get there, without placing the obstacles of “this is going to be too hard” or “I’ve never done this before” in the way, progression honestly seemed to be quicker. It’s just hard to trick your mind into thinking that way when you're over the age of ten.
Have fun with it; don’t only focus on what you can’t yet do:
I find that I constantly have to remind my adult students of the progress they’re making. Even if they acknowledge that they’ve been doing better, it’s always followed up with regret of still not quite being where they want to be. Kids, on the other hand, get ecstatic over every small detail of progress. I think this attitude helps keep motivation. Even I sometimes get bummed out by the never ending progress all musicians have to make, but focusing on where you came from and the progress you’ve made from time to time can not only help your sanity, but your progress as well. Approaching things with a positive attitude can make huge leaps in improvement.
Any other insights from anyone who has learned something powerful from a young mind? Let us know! As always, make sure to stick around for all of our weekly blogs here at FMS!
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Guitar Instructor, Co-Owner
Falls Music School