Vacations, Mowing and Music Practice

Vacations, Mowing and Music Practice

We all like to take vacations. A chance to get away from it all and stop worrying about our everyday lives. We get to do what we want to do and are almost always happy we went. Even if the vacation turns out to have more “downs” than “ups.”

But really, what does that have to do with mowing and music practice? Shockingly, much more than you might imagine.

Here in Minnesota, mowing is something we have to do about once a week in the summer. Usually it’s hot out and possibly buggy. After a long day of work, it’s about the last thing you want to do. The same goes for kids and music practice

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and, dare I say, adults and music practice.

Mowing and Music Practice are two activities that very much seem like chores to most of us. Both have some obvious benefits on the surface. If we mow, our grass is is shorter and we don’t have to mow for another week! If we practice music, we become better musicians.
If you’ve made it this far, we’re going to switch tracks a bit. We live in a society of consumers. We consume things every day, and the vast majority of us tend to subscribe to the “consume first, pay later” model. By this I mean that we put something on our credit card to get it in our hands. Then, whether it’s food, electronics, movies, or clothes, we then consume that item. Lastly, in a few weeks when the credit card bill is due, we pay for those items we consumed.
Let’s regroup and I’ll tell you why this is so important and why it’s tied to Vacations, Mowing and Music Practice.

Vacations make us happy. The reason why? Vacations are experiences, and they are something that we pay for and then consume. You plan your vacation out, usually months in advance, and then you get to reap the rewards down the line. Even if it’s a “bad vacation” you will have the experiences and memories for the rest of your life.

Mowing is very similar in this respect. You pay first, by mowing your lawn. Then you consume by enjoying a nice looking lawn with short grass and fewer bugs. I bet everyone out there that’s mowed before always enjoys the after effects of a freshly mown lawn. Well, maybe except those with severe allergies….

And lastly, Music Practice. How many of you musicians over 25 years old regret taking music lessons? Right, you might not have liked it, but do you regret those experiences? I might go as far to wager that you’re happy you can play music. Happy that you’ve been able to have musical experiences and have developed an appreciation for music.

Music Practice is a shining example of how paying first and consuming later brings about happiness.

Humans are creatures who crave new experiences. This has turned us into a society who consume things first, under the false guise of experiential goods, and pay later. The problem is, most of these things aren’t experiences and they don’t lead to happiness.

I challenge you to look for new experiential things, like music practice, that will allow you to pay first and reap the benefits later.

We are pushing towards these goals at LessonLogs. LessonLogs lets students chart their practice and visualize their own progress, giving them something to work for. LessonLogs also allows your students to quickly ask questions when they finish practicing. This, in turn, will decrease the amount of time they practice incorrectly.

Encourage your students to practice and teach them of the benefits mentioned here. By doing so, you will give your students an opportunity to reap all the benefits music practice has to offer!

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About the Author:

Noah Keitel, Co-Founder of LessonLogs, has been a musician for over 20 years. Noah has been a music educator and entrepreneur since getting his B.A. in music education from the University of Minnesota Morris. It is time that music educators around the world get state of the art tools to make lesson management easier for teachers and students. Create your free LessonLogs studio today.

One Comment

  1. Sometimes, for me, getting students the music they want entails me transcribing a particular pop song for them, that involves a lot of decisions for me about trying to be true to the original melody so the students can play along with the track (key, rhythm, register, etc) or transpose the piece to an easier key and with a simplified rhythm which will enable them to play it more easily. Sometimes giving them a very difficult transcription which is clearly beyond their current abilities is an excellent motivator, and sometimes it isnt, every student is a unique individual who responds to a wide range of positive or negative reinforcements- some will rise to the challenge and work their butts off to be able to conquer the piece and some will curl up in a little tearful ball and quit. One parent came up with an excellent motivator for her daughter (who was a very commercially minded girl), she paid her $5 for every day that she practiced on her own for 30 minutes or more- but at the end of the week the child had to pay for her lesson herself. Pretty quickly the student realized that if she practiced 7 days a week she would be turning a $10 profit weekly, and promptly doubled her efforts at home. Everyone is different, and part of our job as teachers is learning what makes each pupil tick, and helping them develop good discipline which will reward them with a wealth of achievements, both in music and life. This is the way we do it at my studio, anyway…

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