Overcoming Peer Pressure - Keep Your Best Violin Students!
Every year tons of new, hopeful students begin to learn the violin. Whether it is introduced through a school curriculum or lessons are started through a private instructor, students are eager to begin learning how to play this versatile, unique instrument. Yet, somewhere along the way, usually in the tween years or early teens, some students just decide that playing the violin is no longer cool. It either becomes too difficult, or it interferes with other things that the student would like to do.
Yet, as an instructor, you know that continuing a music education, especially with an instrument like the violin, is an important skill to develop. It aids mathematics comprehension, builds group cooperation skills, develops upper body strength and posture and can provide confidence and satisfaction or even joy!. And all too often, promising students quit only discovering years later that they wished they hadn’t.
As a music teacher, you have the power and are in a position to guide young musicians and help them stick with their lessons, but it isn’t easy. Peer pressure at the adolescent age can be extremely fierce. The need to fit in is so strong that even kids who want to keep playing are sometimes compelled to forego their lessons simply because of pre-conceived beliefs about what their might friends think.
To prevent peer pressure from influencing your students in a negative way, you can use its power to keep your best violin students. By using the strong sway that peer pressure wields, you can ensure that your best students keep learning for many years to come. These tips and strategies can help.
Orchestrate a Good Time
Students’ days are filled with activity. From the time their parents wake them in the morning to the time dedicated for homework in the evenings, students’ schedules are jam packed with tasks. However, you can orchestrate your time with your students so that music class is the best part of their day. By making it something to look forward to, your students will stick with it. Plus, if it’s really engaging, they’ll tell their friends about it.
Some ideas include:
- Choose popular songs for practice—Amazon has literally millions of songs transcribed to violin sheet music for purchase.
- Provide plenty of opportunity for display—organize recitals frequently. It doesn’t have to be a grand affair, you can schedule concerts for local nursing homes or have students participate in local festivals; the idea is to make your class a fun way to interact.
Encourage Friendly Participation
Another great way to overcome peer pressure is by encouraging your students to enlist their friends. If you teach private lessons, perhaps offer a friendship discount. For example, you can allow your students to have a friend observe their lesson, and then if they’d like to try it, offer a free introductory lesson. When your students are able to enjoy making music with their friends, peer pressure becomes a way to help you keep both students. Essentially, each child has a comrade who will help make practice fun and foster the enthusiasm needed to continue to learn.
Educate the Parents
Many parents are ignorant about the benefits of a music education and therefore treat it differently than scholarly achievements. No parent would allow his or her child to quit math or language arts, but music is just as important to a well-rounded education as those subjects. Since parents have the ultimate decision, most of the time, about whether or not a child is allowed to quit an activity, it’s crucial to gain the support of your student’s guardians.
Early on in the process, get to know the parents of your best students and provide them with information about how advantageous musical knowledge is for success. This type of interaction not only impresses the fact that it’s important to continue, which you’ll need later on, but it also helps parents validate the costs associated with violin upkeep and advancement.
You can keep your best violin students by turning the tables on peer pressure and using it for your advantage. By making your class fun to be in, encouraging friendly participation, and educating parents about the benefits of music education, your students will be too busy learning new techniques and building their violin skills to worry whether violin lessons are “cool enough.”