Throughout my years of teaching, I’ve found that the term “practice” brings terror to my students’ eyes. I’ve learned that the best way to escape this reaction is avoiding the term altogether. Why should we use a term that only brings negativity and discouragement?
Even switching to a term as simple as “play” could make all the difference. After all, we are “playing” the piano, right? Why not use a term that reflects just that. When a student hears “you must practice the piano,” they are immediately disheartened and any joy they might have gained from playing the piano is diminished by the feeling that “practicing “ the instrument is now nothing but an unwanted chore.
The goal is to initiate desire to improve. We must focus on the intrinsic value that playing the piano might bring a student. One intrinsic value could be a sense of accomplishment. This feeling alone could be enough to motivate the student to continue playing the piano without deeming it a chore.
We live in a fairly unconventional society that accepts originality. Why not get creative and replace this word that has such negative connotations. Let your imagination run wild. If you’re a student, think of term or even a phrase that might motivate you specifically. If you’re an educator, talk to your students and ask them what motivates them. Brainstorm and come up with a solution to completely replace this discouraging word.