Menu
Cart 0

Navigating the Music Lesson Spring Fever Slump - 3 Tips and 1 Tricky Talk

Each season of the year has its own magical moments and its own musical distractions. In the spring, many students are ready to be outside after months of being cooped up. Extra-Curricular activities also pick up during this time. Want to take action against distraction and dump the slump? Check out the tips below to help you “breeze” through spring music lessons and keep students excited and invested in learning their instrument.

Tip #1: Play Games! 

Games are not just a fun change of pace – they are an educational tool and a great motivator. Games can transform the mundane into the amazing. (Just ask the guy who thought to put a basketball net on a laundry hamper.) As a teacher, bringing games to lessons doesn’t mean extra work – there are countless amazing music games and activities available to you (including our very own Note Quest Note Reading games). One of the simplest ways to game-ify a lesson is to  take a few minutes to create a game with your student that they can then use on their own throughout the week. Having trouble staying consistent with practicing? Make a practicing game! Having trouble remembering dynamics? Make a Dynamics game! Any trouble spot is fair “game” for creating an activity (see what we did there?). Click here for a free “Create Your Own Game” template to get you started!


Tip #2: Use March Madness to Your Advantage 

The March Madness bracket system is an iconic sports concept, and can be an exciting tool for your sports-minded students! One of the biggest reasons kids end up quitting music lessons is because instrument lessons are such a solo (a.k.a. lonely) activity. The lure of social sports activities is strongest in the spring! Sometimes all a student needs is some competition to spice things up and keep things interesting. Use this free "March Madness" printable to help your student compete against themselves using their greatest hits over a series of weeks, or if they need outside motivation, set up a friendly competition between students. At the end of the month, the best song wins a prize! Students will not only have another reason for consistent practice, they will feel a sense of accomplishment as they review their songs. Both things will help to keep them “in the game” until the end of the school year. (Yup, we did it again). 


Tip #3: Find the Pot of Gold at the End of the Rainbow!

St. Patrick’s Day provides great inspiration for games, improvisation and songwriting! Using droning left hand fifths in dorian or mixolydian modes, music can be improvised or written about elves, shamrocks, leprechauns and so much more. As a bonus, add hand drums for flair (and rhythm practice)! 

Bonus Tip!
As we discussed last month, making a blues song about a usually happy topic (like Valentine's Day) can add a fun, unpredictable twist to lessons. It's not just for Valentine's Day, though – you can make a blues song anytime, about anything that is a bummer! Wanting to quit lessons or navigating through the last dreary days of winter are great excuses to jam out and sing some blues! Here is a link to the simple blues accompaniment from our Piano Castle book that we posted last month, and check out this video of an MW Method students' self-composed blues piece for inspiration:


 

…And the tricky part: Have a talk about quitting lessons BEFORE it comes up.

Even the best students have slumps, and having moments of doubt or wanting to quit are totally normal. Acknowledging this fact is a huge RELIEF to students and parents. Often, they don’t want to say anything and instead let frustrations build up. By this time it is often too late to remedy the situation. 

In all our years of teaching, we have never had a parent tell us they are glad they were allowed to quit lessons. Being unable to play an instrument themselves is one of the leading reasons parents sign their kids up in the first place. We are big advocates of having proactive conversations and consistent check-ins with parents and students to see what is working and what could improve. We have found that simply taking 5 minutes every couple of months to ask how things are going can reap huge rewards in the long term. Ultimately, it is up to the parents to decide if quitting is or isn’t an option, but good communication and engaging lessons can keep that option solidly in the “now why would I do that?” category.

Spring fever, spring slumps, sunshiny distractions – these are all completely normal parts of the learning process. With a little creativity on your part you can navigate through this season and help enhance your students’ love of music and learning along the way! 

Now, for the more pressing question: who did you put your money on for March Madness? The perennial champion Fur Elise, or that spritely newcomer, “How Far I’ll Go?”

 

 
About Meridee Winters: Meridee Winters is a professional educator, musician, author and director/owner of a successful Philadelphia area music school. Meridee began her journey as an educator teaching elementary students in a Florida public school, where she discovered the curriculum and school system left little room for divergence and creativity. She made the bold decision to leave and attend graduate school to study Music Composition, eventually starting her own private music school. Today, that school has spent two decades introducing thousands of students to not just music, but to Meridee’s trailblazing method that encourages creativity, play and higher-level thinking with each lesson. As a composer and professional musician, Meridee has instructed at all levels ­– from professional recording artists working on albums to computer music classes in the recording studio, and from young beginners taking their first steps on their musical path to intermediate students writing their first songs. Meridee is a dedicated advocate of creative intelligence whose foremost passion is empowering creative and authentic self-expression in each individual. She now spends her time developing new materials and books to nurture these. She does her work as an author, as well as director of the school, from her home in Delaware County, PA.
 
If you love our materials please leave us a review!
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️


Join our list! Get even more fun stuff fresh from our school's monthly workshops: teaching tips, free handouts and smart, creative seasonal tips about everything from the Monster Mash to mashed potatoes!
 
© 2019 Meridee Winters. All Rights Reserved.

Share this post



← Older Post Newer Post →


Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published.