Teaching Strategies For Growth Mindset

What is the most important factor in a student? Many people would say it’s talent, or effort, or persistence, or luck or some combination of these.

Behind all of this is something that is more important – the proper mindset. Recent research (Blackwell, Trzesniewski, & Dweck, 2007) has shown that there are two different mindsets among students:
1) intelligence as a fixed, static trait or you got what you got
2) intelligence is a changeable, flowing trait, in other words:  you can learn whatever you put focus and effort to

Most of my music students do have a growth mindset, but may need some extra encouragement.   To do this I need to use a specific way of communicating.

The Dangers of Praise and How To Do It Right

Researchers have discovered that if you just praise the intelligence of the child, there are negative consequences.  So just being positive and saying “Good job!” is actually detrimental and has a backlash because given a new challenge, the child would rather not participate (quit) in order to “save face” and live up to the expected standard.  Rather if the child was praised for their effort, the next harder challenge was met with more effort.

Communicating Learning Goals

Almost daily I have a student who complains
“That’s too hard! I want to just stay on the same song!”

Here’s some things I say and you can too in your classroom, studio or with your own children.  Though I’ve made these specific to music, you can apply a variation of these to any subject.

  • Learning music is like playing a video game. Once you achieved the last challenge, we’re on to the next level.
  • You’re not supposed to know this already, this is brand new.

High Expectations For Forward Motion

  • I KNOW that you can do this, that’s why I’m showing you this.
  • This will be challenging, but I’ve seen you do amazing work before.
  • Remember how hard _____ piece was? And now you can play it so well. This is like that one only better.

Struggling Even With Effort

  • You are not there…YET (emphasis on the yet)
  • If you’re feeling overwhelmed, just remind yourself that you can’t do it…YET.
  • Let’s take a break and come back to this tomorrow.
  • I admire your persistence.
  • I appreciate your effort and focus on this.
  • I love how you never gave up on that last piece. Let’s do it here too.

Struggling But May Need Help With Strategy

  • Let’s work on just the one spot giving you trouble
  • What part is giving you trouble? Let’s just look at that.
  • How about we make a plan to learn this piece? You can do section A today and then section B tomorrow and then back to A…

By setting the proper belief system in place at an early age, we can guide our children to future success in music, and in life.

For more information, read this excellent article from Prinicipal Leadership, a magazine aimed at school principals.

For a free download on Growth Mindset Framing. You’ll have to register but it’s free and you can download a pdf.

What Music Should My Child Be Listening To?

A Playlist for Young Music Students – or anyone who appreciates a wide eclectic listening palette.

I hope you are having a super summer and getting some much needed recharging.
As you know, listening to quality music is one of the most important parts of being a music student. Hearing comes before sight as well as our ability to talk.  Music is a language and the more your child listens to a wide variety of quality music, the wider your child’s view of the world. With that in mind, I wanted to let you know of an amazing resource called Spotify.  If you didn’t already know, this a free software app/website that allows you to listen to about 90% of all recorded music for free – http://www.spotify.com.  It’s like an internet radio station/library.

This is an amazing resource for teachers, students and fans.  There are a few commercials, but you can pay for a premium version without commercials – which is how the musicians and composers get paid by the way.  The best part of Spotify is the social aspect in that you can easily share songs and playlists with friends…and my students!

I’ve made an Essential Listening Playlist for my students.
It covers folk, jazz, blues, rock, bluegrass, country, film soundtracks, Colombian rock including one vallenato and some classical.  It’s quite eclectic, and is chosen for quality of music, composition, styles and appropriate lyric content.  You will never hear this on commercial radio – no Justin Beiber here!  Once you subscribe to this list, you’ll receive updates as I add them, so in effect, I’ll be your DJ.

Essential Listening for Music Students

An eclectic mix of music by Andrew Ingkavet

There’s a ton of tracks here -so make sure you click through to the full list.

Here’s the link to my Essential Listening for Students:
http://open.spotify.com/user/andrewingkavet/playlist/3svXAAcxEcOrgc5V2HRSgJ

So set up your family computer, iPod, iPhone or smartphone with Spotify and enjoy!