Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Make Learning a Joy

Nine year old Soren groaned. "Do I have to learn this song? I don't want to do it. I don't like it."

This is not an infrequent question for a piano teacher. I smile into his big brown eyes that snap playfully with hope.

"Please?" he begs.

He is surprised to hear me answer that no, he doesn't have to learn it.  I am more than willing to let him learn the same skills in a song he enjoys.

Wise old Solomon tells us in Proverbs that a wise teacher makes learning a joy. When learning is fun, students develop skills more quickly. When learning comes easily, motivation soars with confidence.

The opposite is also true. When we don't like what we are learning, we become frustrated and more easily disappointed..

Perseverance through troubles produces endurance  Disciplined practice during challenging music creates well trained musicians. If every time Soren complained about what he didn't like, I gave in and let him skip the song, it wouldn't be long before laziness and rebellion slowed progress to a stop

Soren is tackling a challenging song for an upcoming recital. More work and perseverance at the piano are necessary. He likes the music and wants to play it, but the preparation and discipline can weigh heavy on his active little boy spirit. He isn't always fond of slowing down to work on details, but he is learning that sometimes struggle must be accepted and endured to reach a goal.

Because most of the time learning piano is enjoyable and comes easily, he has discovered  laziness and rebellion aren't worth the trouble. Periodic struggle and challenge can be accepted and endured. If he slows down to work on the details in the challenge, success will come.

I'm learning that, too. When I work on one thing at a time, focus on the details of one goal, I discover that most of my learning is a joy. Change happens more quickly and motivation soars with confidence that will move me forward to my next step. I know that victory will be mine if I don't quit.

New habits bring disappointment and struggle, but joy comes in the challenges if I discipline myself and persevere.

Recently Soren found a song he is determined to play even though it is far beyond his ability. I suggested that he try it, breaking the challenge into small sections so he doesn't give up. Every small success is increasing his joy at the piano.

Make your lifesong sing, one measure at a time. Keep walking by faith, not by sight and joy will come. Discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness, one thing at a time. You will reap a harvest if you do not lose heart and give up.

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