When popular business books speak about marketing, a large majority of them emphasize the importance of an enjoyable and memorable experience when they use your service or product. For teachers, our clients are our students…(even though it sometimes feels like we need to please parents and administrators). When kids step into our classrooms, what kind of experience are we providing?

Before we answer that question, we must first decide what are our goals? Clearly stated, we want our students to feel empowered and excited about singing, playing and creating music, while still grasping the necessary concepts to enhance their music making! The environment that we set up directly affects this outcome. Unfortunately, so does the school culture, which we have little control over in most cases. We do, however, have control over our lessons and the space we create. (This is especially difficult for those of you that do not have a classroom and are on a cart!)

So, how do we design this desired learning community? It must start with our expectations. Behavior management is an important part of our classroom culture, but it must not dominate it, although I have certainly been in situations where it has. When students have major learning and behavioral issues that are not being supported, the results can be a disaster. We all make the extra effort to try and connect with our students on a personal level so they know that we care, but it doesn’t always work. So we do the best we can. When it does work, however, it is awesome! Students feel safe and are excited about learning. Respect and kindness help to facilitate exploration and risk taking! Important components in a child’s education.

In the end, we all want to feel like we matter; that we have something meaningful to contribute to the group. Our clients want to feel special ~ as they should! It is only in this mindset that great things can happen! So this week I want to keep in mind the needs of those I serve. How am I speaking to my clients? Am I connecting with them? Do they know how very wonderful I think they are (ok, most of the time :-)? When I present material, is it possible for them to be successful at it with a bit of effort? As I continue to design lessons, this will be among the first things I consider. Stay tuned for next week’s newsletter to get some ideas!