I read a story in Jack Canfield’s book “The Success Principles” that was very powerful. He recounts a story from 1977 in Tallahassee, FL. A woman who was 63 at the time, picked up the back end of a Buick to get it off her grandson’s arm. Before that time, she had never lifted anything other than a large bag of pet food. When she was asked about it later in an interview conducted by Dr. Charles Garfield, author of Peak Performance, she said she didn’t like to think about it because it challenged her beliefs about what she could and couldn’t do, about what was possible. If she was able to do this, what else could she accomplish that she thought she couldn’t?
What do our students think about what they can or cannot accomplish? Where are they getting their information?
As an educator, I immediately want to look at the messages I send my students when they are in my class. As I have written before, music is still thought of as a subject where talent is a requirement for success. Do our students know of this false belief and do they buy into it? Do we?
When I started teaching music many years ago, it never occurred to me that I should be composing. When you read Lucy Calkin’s (a big wig in the language arts world who wrote The Art of Teaching Writing), she emphasizes the importance of being a writer as you teach writing to students. We too need to experience the process, for it will make us better teachers. It would stand to reason, then, that we should be composing, as well, if we want to teach it; but the voice in the back of my mind is screaming “Are you nuts??? You are a violinist, not a composer”. I, too, have been conditioned to think that only the “chosen” are able to compose.
It is certainly time to let go of that limiting belief! …imagine what is possible if we think we can accomplish absolutely anything that pops into our heads!! So here we go……