As music teachers, we instinctively know that creating a safe space for our students to learn is vitally important to the success and mental health of our students. We regularly promote to our students the importance of accepting each other without judgement in order to create a safe learning environment, but it’s harder to get across the concept of self-acceptance.
Our society has programmed us to constantly compare ourselves to others to see if we measure up. It is drilled into us by our parents, the media, advertising, and in the social media environment that is ever-prevalent in our students’ and our lives.
You can be sure that most, if not all, of the students in your class, are engaging in negative comparisons that are counter-productive to their well-being – particularly those who are progressing slower than the rest or not progressing at all.
So, how do we counteract this? How do we show students that comparing themselves to others is an exercise in futility? In fact, how good are we as adults – especially your typical string playing adult – at accepting ourselves for who and where we are?
In this quick tip, I venture outside to share with you an analogy that I think will really hit home with your students – and with you too. Let’s start creating a world where self-acceptance is as easy as walking to the store!