Imagine for a moment you’re teaching a room full of guitar students paying rapt attention to your every word. The students are buzzing with curiosity and enthusiasm, and joy is clearly written in the smiles on their face. You lose yourself in the moment, and time melts away.
That state of consciousness is known as flow, and it can be replicated again and again if you master these three principles for injecting flow into your group guitar classes.
“The best moments in our lives are not the passive, receptive, relaxing times… The best moments usually occur if a person’s body or mind is stretched to its limits in a voluntary effort to accomplish something difficult and worthwhile.” -Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience
1. CLEARLY DEFINED RULES
Whether you’re teaching your students the musical alphabet or moveable power chords, you must clearly define rules for each activity. For example, when I teach the musical alphabet, I keep track of expected and unexpected points. Each time a student answers correctly, he/she receives one expected point. The student with the most points receives three bonus points—and the envy of their peers. This turns music theory into a thrilling game for kids with real stakes. With a little creative thinking, you can turn even the driest lecture into a flow experience for you and your students.
2. PROVIDE IMMEDIATE FEEDBACK
Students need immediate feedback to enter a state of flow. In the example above, expected/unexpected points provide instant feedback. Students either earn a point for answering correctly, or they have to wait their turn for to get it right the next time.
3. BALANCE BOREDOM AND ANXIETY
When you’re teaching a room full of kids at different levels of musical experience and abilities, one of the biggest challenges is keeping each student engaged. This requires a fine balancing act between boredom and anxiety. If an activity is too difficult (anxiety), students will give up rather than face failure. If it’s too easy (boredom), they’ll check out.
So how do you find the right balance between boredom and anxiety? Well, the Rock Dojo has you covered. We created Guitar for Kids: Rock Dojo The Complete Belt System to create maximum flow. Each study features 3 – 5 layered guitar parts carefully graded to balance boredom and anxiety for all levels of skill and experience, so even the most advanced guitar students can play in an ensemble with absolute beginners and never get bored and vice versa!
The Rock Dojo is currently looking for 10-rock star guitar instructors or music teachers who would like to leverage their time, earn more money, and have more free time to enjoy life. We’ll train you and help you launch the Rock Dojo in your city. Contact me today if you’re ready to join the musical revolution!