Parents think about music lessons as investments for the future benefit of their children.
I want to describe 2 very different types of investments: annuities and equities.
An investment in an annuity involves putting in money into an account and drawing a fixed payment in the future. The investment neither grows or shrinks, it simply guarantees a consistent payout over time.
An equity (such as 10 shares of Google) is an investment that may pay dividends, but also can grow the investment itself.
Both are investments, but each has a very different outcome over many years.
Music teachers (and parents) often have a sense of urgency to invest as heavily as possible in students in the school-age years. Like an annuity, they believe that the principle investment will not grow after lessons end. In education lingo, it is a fixed-talent mindset.
When we help students grow intrinsic motivation, we are creating an equity-like investment. They will build their skills and musicianship throughout their lives. Educators call it a continuous growth mindset.
If teachers treat music in a way that promotes continued growth after lessons end — it will make the education years less pressured and more relaxed.
Not only will we have more fun as teachers, students are more likely to develop intrinsic motivation that is the super-fuel for growth and enjoyment in music.