Just like you, Lucas' parents wanted their child to reap the benefits of a high quality musical education, but Lucas really didn't want to do it.
It all came to a head in with tears in one lesson. We convinced him to see a term out - aided by a little promise of reward - knowing that we would adjust our approach. His teacher focussed less on getting Lucas to do the activities the teacher wanted him to do and instead allowed Lucas to guide the teaching and learning.
The result: he is still with us, fully engaged and experiencing immense personal growth. He doesn't even ask if he earned any points towards getting his next reward. It's as though he has completely forgotten about the promise of an extrinsic reward. Breaking that resistance has allowed him to experience the cognitive benefits of music and explore his creative potential.
So how did his teacher do it? Did Lucas' teacher just entertain his distractions? Let him do whatever he wants? Absolutely not. Here's an example of what his teacher did.
Lucas was playing from the book but got distracted by a mistake he made and began to make his own tune out of his mistake.
What did his teacher do? Stop him? Tell him he's wrong? Keep him on task? Correct him and have him repeat it 10 times?
His teacher closed the book and allowed him to explore his curiosity and turned it into a learning opportunity. He gave Lucas a framework and some boundaries. After only three tries, this is what he came up with:
'Is that it?' you might ask. 'Where's the video of some 4-year-old playing Mozart?' Maybe it's not some crowd-pleasing finger-gymnastics but if that's what you looking for, you've missed the point!
We could show you those students, too. But this is where Lucas is at, this is what he needs to advance his learning, and in fact, as simple as the product appears, what he is doing is cognitively and creativity quite complex. We're not about monkey-see-monkey-do.
Not only was the creative process a learning opportunity itself, it created a great number of other learning opportunities as we had to then explore concepts that he was not familiar with in notated form as we wrote out the music.
Here's another example.
Lucas shared with his teacher that 'The Last Post' was being performed at school for ANZAC. His teacher played a couple of notes of the melody on the piano. Lucas was really impressed! His teacher said, 'it's easy, you can play it, too, but I think you can make your own bugle call that's even better!'
Again, with a framework and boundaries, here's what he came up with...but this time, it was completely improvised. What you are seeing and hearing was his first attempt (and only 10 seconds of it).
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