The Flute Academy

How To Fast-Track Every Student's Progress

Apr 11, 2016

Recognizing the individual abilities of a student has an incredibly powerful effect on their progress.

Just as those of us with kids know that each of them is different to each other, our flute students have their own qualities that they are “naturally” good at, and things that they generally find quite difficult.

We all tend to be aware of what we find challenging, or what we just consider ourselves to be “a bit shit” at. And it seems we get better at identifying what we’re bad at as we get older. And then, if we’re motivated, we work really hard at improving. Like talking to people at parties, or remembering to take the rubbish out, or not being so negative, or dressing more nicely, or making an effort – gosh the list goes on.

And it seems that this habit of ours starts when we’re quite young. In other words, even though our little flute students will more often gravitate to what they’re good at, as they get into double digit ages, they already know what they are bad at. They (and we) really lose focus of what we naturally find easy.

And we are find different things easier than the person next to us does. We are all naturally good at certain things, but we have, over time, learnt to ignore them.

This is where you, as a flute teacher, can play a huge part in helping your students excel. You are in a huge position of influence where you have the ability to hold a (metaphorical) mirror up to them, and reveal to them the real them.

Have you ever noticed that we can pick out something in a friend that we really like in them, but when you tell them, you learn they never had thought about themselves in that way before? Just the small amount of time and thought it took for you to point out something that is so unique and positive about them, no doubt had a beneficial effect on them – perhaps more than you realized at the time.

Sometimes we see who someone is before they see it.

If you find yourself, as a flute teacher, noticing that your students tend to all be good at different things, then perhaps YOU have a natural predisposition to identify the individuality of people. You can strengthen this ability of yours by learning to communicate what you already see. Start giving a voice to your observations. You will be amazed at the sense of achievement that your students will feel – just from your little comment. And more important, because you have helped them recognize something in themselves, they will, most likely, never forget it, start thinking about it more, and start strengthening that skill all by themselves.

On the other hand, if you have never thought about these individual aspects to other people including your students, you could perhaps use this piece of advice that I heard someone say recently: If you see talent, say talent. Why, you ask? Because they can’t see it themselves. By talent, I don’t mean “wow, you can play the flute really well and you’re only 8”. I mean, something specific – like, “you really have a good ear for picking out the difference between major and minor”, or “you get such a good strong sound in your low notes”.

I find that people who naturally see these differences in people have a preference for teaching individual lessons as opposed to group classes. Perhaps ALL of us who teach individual lessons have this ability in us, otherwise, we’d be out taking groups more often. Perhaps you do both groups and individual lessons? But do you have a preference for one or the other? Well, if you prefer groups, you certainly have a skill that I will be highlighting in a future blog… (And I find that it is mutually exclusive with the tendency that I’ve talked about in this blog – we’re all strongly aligned with one way or the other.)

If you have a fascination with people, you like to people-watch, you’re interested in who people are and what they do, there’s a good chance you’ve got this huge potential bubbling away in you that can be unleashed. The result is that BOY does it feel good when you let it out. By GOLLY do you have an impact on others. And YIKES! The progress that your students will begin to make when you connect with them in this way is astounding.

I’m “watching this space”. I want to see what happens when you implement this. You’re in for a big (and exciting) surprise!



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