Every week, Opal, a 5-year-old student, walks into my studio with her violin already under her chin. She is so excited to play her song that she doesn’t even wait to sit down and tune up before her violin is positioned to play.
Without saying a word (and she often doesn’t the entire lesson) she is telling me she is motivated to learn the violin.
The position of a student’s body is a motivation-meter.
My students sit during their lesson. I can sense motivation immediately. There are 3 primary indicators: the back, the bow arm and the violin wrist.
Kids with high motivation will sit up straight. Kids lacking motivation tend to slouch over like a question mark.
Additionally, kids with motivation keep their bow arm up higher and their violin wrist more straight. Low-motivation kids keep their bow arms close to the body and their violin wrists bend.
Some days, kids may because they are tired and are ready to take a nap.
More often, though, a student is sending me a message — “I feel unmotivated.”
Occasionally, I will ignore the message and ask them to sit up straight.
But repeatedly telling an unmotivated student to “sit up staight, hold up your bow arm, straighten your wrist” is like trying to force the needle on the thermometer to the temperature we want.
So, I to listen to the message and make an effort to address the underlying issue: motivation.