Music is habit-forming

As we turn the corner this Labor Day into the full swing of September, many of us are sending kids off to school. At my son’s elementary school, they subscribe to a program called The Leader In Me™, a character-based curriculum based on The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People™, originally authored by Stephen Covey in 1989.

It has been fascinating to me how this nearly 30 year old self-help book is still so relevant and extremely useful in a contemporary school setting. I started to think how we might incorporate these same principles when we are looking at forming habits as young (and not so young) musicians.

Much of my job involves talking—talking to teachers, to parents, to students. One of the most common topics is practice—how do I get my child to practice, how do I get my students to practice, how do I motivate myself to practice? At its core, the question of “practice” is really about building good habits. More than charts or stickers or the inevitable parental threats (“No Fortnight until you practice piano!”) what a developing musician needs is a framework for progress. This structure will ideally motivate and inspire them to make the commitment to their musical training in a way that feeds the spiral of success.

With these ideas in mind, we’ve decided to turn our focus this Fall towards the habits of successful musicians in our Instagram “Tuesday Tips” and Wednesday Web Blogs. We will start next week by working our way through the Seven Habits, musician-style, and then expand to other practices that help to build strong musical habits for a lifetime of music-making. Tips, articles, insights from our CMS teachers and students will be showing up on our social media feeds and website, so like, follow, subscribe and stay tuned!

– Cynthia Kirkman Romoff, Director of Teacher & Student Services

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