By Andy Beck
Attitude is everything! And as music educators, we strive to inspire and influence the attitudes of our students every day—sometimes forgetting to take time to nurture our own. Here are six tips to maintain your motivation in the coming year.
1. Keep a teaching success journal.
Take time to record a special moment from each teaching day or week. Entries can be practical, such as “Altos finally got the E-flat,” or personal, like “Took some time to make Brittany smile today.” Celebrating your successes in this way will remind you of the many rewards teaching can bring.
2. Visit with a mentor.
Who inspired you to become a music educator? Who gave you the special attention that lead you toward your dream? Who challenges you to be your very best every day? An online chat, a special thank you note, or a standing lunch date can go a long way in reminding you that you not only have support, but that you also provide support for your students each day.
3. Rekindle your inner artist.
Remember when you were the performer? When your instrument took the stage? Stay connected to your love of music by practicing or performing just for fun. This can be done in the privacy of a practice room, with a local performing group, or at a gathering of friends for an informal music recital party.
4. Take in a concert or show.
Your attendance at a music event not only supports our art form, but also provides a chance to simply be entertained, and perhaps collect a few ideas. While in your concert seat, don’t work too hard, just relax and enjoy. Afterwards, you can reflect on favorite moments, analyzing how they made you feel and how you might recreate them at school.
5. Go to a reading session or conference.
Attend a clinic where you can meet and work with top-notch clinicians who will offer teaching strategies, review outstanding literature, and share inspiring anecdotes for education. While you are there, embrace the opportunity to chat with other music teachers—exchanging ideas, trading secrets, and making connections. You can find a list of upcoming Alfred Music events at alfred.com/events.
6. Choose repertoire that inspires.
When preparations begin for concerts and performances, you will be practicing the same, relatively small collection of songs for many weeks. So select music and/or lyrics that will provide interest, challenge, success, and inspiration. As you pick repertoire, find pieces that touch the heart, tickle the funny bone, lift the spirit, and move the soul.
Andy Beck is the Director of Choral Publications at Alfred Music. A prolific composer and arranger, he has over 450 popular choral works, vocal resources, and children’s musicals currently in print, including the highly regarded method books Sing at First Sight, Foundations in Choral Sight Singing, and Vocalize! 45 Vocal Warm-Ups That Teach Technique.
Fantastic tips! It’s so true that finding ways to fuel your motivation and maintain a positive attitude are vital in being able to continuously pour yourself out and into the students you teach.