In the summer of 2014, Zoe canceled her third guitar lesson that month volunteering to dust her karate studio when I realized martial arts was doing something I should know about. Like so many music teachers, I struggled with last minute cancellations, no-shows, and a reliable system for rewarding my students’ efforts on the guitar. While creating the Rock Dojo, I discovered music education shares a value system with the martial arts. The following values are essential for fun and effective group classes of 10 to 15 students.
Music is a conversation and needs to be a respectful one, especially when the dialogue involves a room full of seven years olds with electric guitars and amps set to full distortion. For more tips on encouraging kindness and fostering a respectful musical environment, check out expected vs.unexpected classroom management.
Playing the guitar is challenging. At first, fingers hurt, the fretboard is conceptually and spatially challenging, and the music is moving leaving some beginning guitar students behind. To help my students overcome these, I created a complete teaching method based on a rewarding belt system. In the long run, the best way to build courage is to create small victories.
Just like with the martial arts, advanced Rock Dojo guitar students are required to help beginning students complete musical assignments, memorize the fretboard, and learn their parts. Leadership transforms my students. They develop pride, responsibility, and friendships helping each other on their journey to the next belt level.
by Sophie Parham.