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11 Things Only People Who Teach Musical Instruments Would Understand

11 Things Only People Who Teach Musical Instruments Would Understand

Teaching music is a wonderful adventure, but it’s not always the easiest journey. Students struggle to learn the right technique and practice as diligently as they need to. When it comes to the brave few that teach musical instruments, there are more than a few nuggets of information to be gleamed.

1. You understand if it’s tedious, its probably good for you

Scales are one of the most painful and yet most useful exercises for music students. As a teacher, they are incredibly boring to work on, however all good music teachers know the pain is worth it. If your student can endure lots of scale exercises, that super technical piece later on will be infinitely less painful.

2. You have lots of beginning students and they are not exactly what you envisioned

As you were working on your music degree, you imagined your life as an instructor filled with prodigies. You were going to teach the best of the best. Instead, you’ve been handed an armful of beginners who hardly practice and remind you of nails on a chalkboard. At least the young ones are cute, right?

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3. You are truly inspired by your student’s passion

Although your students may not have reached the prodigy level you were hoping for, their passion often compensates. When someone is truly excited to play an instrument, it reminds you of why you are in this business. It may not be every student who is bursting at the seams with excitement, but it’s enough to keep you trekking through the long hours of tortuous noise creation.

4. You have been told way too many times that your instrument causes pain

Not pain on the ears as much as pain to the player. Whether its a nasty mark on the neck from the violin or finger tip issues from the guitar, every instrument requires some physical trials – and wouldn’t you know it, every student you’ve had wants to come in and tell you all about it. The good news is the more you play through the pain, the better you will be, so that whiny start to the lesson does not necessarily terminate productivity.

5. You have seen people from all ranks of society inhabit the music store

Whether you are renting a rehearsal space from your local store or just need to spend some time gathering supplies, the people you meet are sure to leave an impression. You can find everybody from the neighborhood stoner to the soccer mom looking to get her child started on the right musical path in life. People from all over the socioeconomic spectrum eventually find their way to the music store.

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6. You know every business trip involves extra luggage

No matter what instrument you play, anywhere you need to go for business it will need to follow. For those playing string bass this is going to be quite the challenge, but for those with the piccolo it may not be so troubling. Once you start your journey you become paranoid about the well-being of your instrument. You would prefer to keep it in sight at all times. If anything happens to that sucker, you might have to borrow another horn – a terrible thought indeed.

7. You have to motivate students not to give up almost every day

Learning an instrument is a ton of hard work. As a good teacher, you’ve got to help your students keep the motivation alive. There are no short cuts, just reassurances that it’s all worth it and a few pep talks from the instructor. Some students don’t have what it takes to make that happen, but you always do your best to give each student a fighting chance.

8. You own multiple pairs of ear plugs

Sure, some days it’s to avoid the pain of hearing the full depth of another murdered scale, but mostly its to protect your hearing. As exciting as it can be to teach music, it can be a rather loud and noisy experience. After hours and hours of such instruction, it can be quite a challenge to protect a music lover’s most precious asset: the ability to hear. Thus, you keep a handy set of ear plugs nearby for almost every session. You always take a bit of time to explain the phenomenon to the student, but you know its worth your health.

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9. You love seeing a student play their first recital

Most students are incredibly stressed about their debut performance. While their performance may not be spot on the first time, its great to see the student work through that fear and perform. This is a great sign of their dedication and the future possibilities in their musical career.

10. You have extra equipment everywhere

When students begin working with a new instrument, they often need a lot of help making sure its working correctly. As the teacher, you’ve got every kind of repair material possible. You’ve also got some extra stands, strings, tuners, metronomes and tons of other trade tricks to help whatever technical situation arises. If the horn is causing the problem, you’ve got what’s needed to fix it.

11. You can instantly recite the many reasons musical education is critical to a healthy life

Not only do you know everything on this list, you know all kinds of local and regional statistics. Its no mystery that music performance has therapeutic as well as academic benefits. When you find the doubters, you know how to drop some serious knowledge.

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Featured photo credit: dankreider via pixabay.com

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Last Updated on September 20, 2018

How to Be Happy at Work and Find Fulfillment in Your Career

How to Be Happy at Work and Find Fulfillment in Your Career

If you’re going to spend 1/3 of our life at work, you should enjoy it, right?

Trust me, I know that’s easier said than done. Difficult coworkers, less-than-desirable tasks, or even just being in the wrong position can all lead to a lack of enjoyment and fulfillment in your work.

But what if I told you it doesn’t have to be this way? Or better yet, if you struggle with all of the above (and then some), what if I told you that enjoying your work and finding fulfillment regardless of those obstacles is possible?

Don’t believe me? I don’t blame you because I was there too. Before implementing the tips below, I struggled to get through each day, much less find real fulfillment, in the office. Now, even after the toughest days on the job, I still come away with feelings of pride, accomplishment, and fulfillment. The best news is, so can you.

If you’re ready to make those hours count and find happiness and fulfillment in the office, then read on to find out how to be happy at work and find fulfillment in your career:

1. Discover the root(s) of the problem

For this first step, we’ll need to think back to 8th-grade physics (humor me). We all know Newton’s 3rd law, “for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.” When you think about it, the same can be said outside of physics, and we see this law play out in our daily lives, day after day.

Simply put, all the issues we deal with in the office (and life in general) affect us in a noticeable way.

If you’re appreciated at work, like the work you do and receive frequent praise, promotions, or raises, then this will probably have an altogether positive effect on your life in the office.

But what if we reverse this? What if you feel under appreciated, get passed up for promotions, or get denied raises? This is sure to affect the way you feel at work on a negative level.

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So, before you can implement the steps of feeling happy and fulfilled at work, we first have to discover the reasons why you don’t feel that way already.

Think about it, write a list, or make a mental note. Run through all the reasons you’re dissatisfied in the office, and don’t hold back. Knowing the exact obstacles you’re facing will make overcoming them that much easier.

In fact, as a side-challenge to this article, I recommend picking the top three reasons contributing to your dissatisfaction at work and using the following tips to tackle them.

2. Practice gratitude for an instant uplift

Did you know the simple act of feeling grateful can increase your happiness and make you more fulfilled at work?[1]

Well, it’s true, and it’s scientifically proven.

Dr. Lisa Firestone notes that practicing gratitude “reminds us of what we lacked in the past.” Meaning, it serves as both a boost to happiness and a bit of a wake-up call that things have been or could be, much worse.

Trying to conjure up feelings of gratitude can seem almost impossible when your work situation seems bleak, but hear me out: There are incredibly easy ways to get started and it doesn’t involve trying to “force” yourself to feel grateful about things that stress you out.

For an instant pick-me-up, try this:

Find a loose piece of paper, a blank sticky note, or anything you can write on, be it physical or digital. List just three things that you are absolutely without-a-doubt thankful for in your life.

Now here’s the trick: Don’t just list what you’re grateful for, you have to list why you’re grateful for them, too.

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For example, simply saying “I’m grateful for my kids” will probably make you feel good, sure, but what if we could amplify the warm, fuzzy feeling into real, lasting motivation?

Instead, write the reason you’re so thankful for your children. Is it because they make you laugh and forget about other stressors? Or maybe they help to remind you of why you go to work every day in the first place?

Whatever your reasons may be, jot them down and keep your list somewhere you can see it while you work. A quick glance at your gratitude list throughout the day can provide powerful, positive motivation to keep going.

Bonus:

If you can find just three things to be thankful for that specifically relate to your job, and list why those things make you grateful, your list can also help you find fulfillment in your work itself which can give you an even bigger boost of positivity throughout the day.

3. Take meaningful time for yourself

We all know creating a strong work-life balance can be crucial to feeling satisfied in our jobs, but rarely do we ever address how we’re spending our time outside of work.

Many of us survive a 9-hour work day and commute home only to find ourselves busy with our personal to-do lists, running a household, and taking care of a child (or 2 or 3, and so on).

If you spend all your time working, whether in the office or within your household, you’re going to feel drained at some point. This is why setting meaningful time for yourself every day is highly important.

Look, I get it: I don’t know anyone in the working world who can shun all responsibility for a 3-movie marathon or happy hour with friends whenever they feel like it. But finding time for yourself, be it just 30 minutes to an hour, can really make a difference in how you feel at work.

This works because you’ll have time to actually relax and let the day’s stress melt away while you enjoy something just for you. The to-do lists and stressors will still be there after you’re refreshed and ready to tackle them.

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No time for me-time? Try this:

If you have a busy household, you’ll need to capitalize on a block of time you know will be completely uninterrupted. The easiest way to do this: try waking up 30 minutes to an hour earlier than usual (or push bedtime back an hour if you’re a night owl, like me) and take time to do something you enjoy.

This could be reading with a cup of tea, catching up on Facebook, spending time on a passion project—anything! As long as it’s meaningful to you, it works!

Bonus:

Starting your day with meaningful time for yourself can set you up to have a positive mood that lasts well into office hours, and having your me-time in the evening can give you something positive to look forward to during the day.

4. Get productive and feel accomplished

Don’t you just love the feeling of checking the last item off of a hefty to-do list? That’s because self-motivation can be a huge driver of positivity and success.

When we accomplish something, no matter how small, it makes us feel good, plain and simple. Applying this tactic to your daily work can be the motivator you need to find fulfillment during the daily office grind.

While there are tons of steps to get more done at work, I’ll share my personal favorite: Prioritizing.

Now, many people handle prioritizing differently. Some like to tackle the little tasks first so they can spend focused time on the big to-dos. Others like to knock out the big items first and get to the smaller ones when they can.

No matter which camp you’re in, you may be missing one crucial step: Time management.

So how’s this work? When you factor in the amount of time your priorities will take, it can transform your productivity ten-fold.

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Say you have three top priorities for the day. You might jump into the smaller ones or the bigger ones depending on your preferred method, and then find yourself out of time and bringing work home with you at the end of the day.

This is prevented when you factor in time. Knowing how long each item will take, or deliberately setting specific blocks of time for your priorities can help you accomplish more in the same 8-9 (or 12) hours that you typically spend at work.

Try this:

Take a look at your priorities and consider how long they should take. Pop into your Google calendar (or Filofax, whatever works for you) and schedule time to work on your priority items around any important meetings or events of the day.

The most important thing to remember is to stick to your dedicated time.

Often, when we know exactly how long we have to work on something (and honor this time limit), we’re motivated to get more done on time to avoid taking work home at the end of the day.

The bottom line

There’s no need to waste 1/3 of our lives feeling unsatisfied at work. Luckily, you now have the tools to get started, take back your time, and become happy and fulfilled at work again.

The only question is — which tip will you try first?

Featured photo credit: Ellyot via unsplash.com

Reference

[1]Psychology Today: The Healing Power of Gratitude

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