Inspirations and Motivation for Piano Students

A piano teacher gets inspired to make a special project for her students.

By Jeanne Sparks, Washington

Categories: Abundance, Guidance

"…and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations."

Several years ago I was discouraged with the way performances and practicing were exhibited by my forty plus piano students. I read professional journals, attended seminars, and discussed the predicament with colleagues in an effort to resolve this situation. It was now within a couple of weeks of starting the fall session. Nothing yet hit the bull's eye, so I continued to pray.

Then one Wednesday evening church service's Bible lesson included the statement from Revelation 22:2: "…and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations." That's it! I didn't hear anything else from that lesson because thoughts of how to implement it flooded my thought. Yes, a bulletin board project with a large tree cut out of black poster board! The five roots represent theory, sight-reading, technique, repertoire, and ear-training. The seven branches represent the seven letters of the musical alphabet. A tree must have leaves, and this became the most fun part of this project. Qualities of God that would apply specifically to piano practice and performance, but also to life in general, would be the leaves. These would include such words as beauty, balance, rhythm, accuracy, persistence, inspiration, feeling, success, and fruitage. Each became the "leaf "of the week: A green leaf displaying the word was tacked on to a branch, and the student received a handout each week showing the definition of the word and a sentence using its application to music. Of course, a tree must bear fruit, so the ten recitals were pinned on as bright red apples.

This project increased my own understanding of God's qualities and their application to our daily activities. With my own thought being inspired, it was exciting to share these concepts with all of my students and apply it to their repertoire. By the end of that year's teaching, the tree was in full leaf and loaded with fruit. The bulletin board provided easy opportunities to continue to use the leaves throughout the year. In addition, there was a total healing in the studio, evidenced by better practicing and recitals that improved remarkably. Several times in the course of the academic year, students "accused" me of choosing a leaf just because of them. To me that was just the proof of its timeliness to the tasks at hand.

The Bible certainly answers our prayers in wonderful ways.