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The Final Success Factor – Importance of the Simply Music Coach

Found in: Coaching


Last month, you saw how the Formula for Success could help you better understand yourself as a student and point the way toward improving your results. The 100 possible points came from ten different success factors.

But the success factors actually go to 11, and so we need a new formula!

A seat can’t be held up by two legs. It needs three. Just the same, Simply Music lessons succeed when three roles are played. The student learns, the teacher is the method coach, and someone must serve as the student’s life/practice coach. The importance of the coach has been discussed here before. The key points:

  • Students who are children have an adult playing the role of practice coach for them, supporting their practice routine, helping them learn how to navigate the ups and down of a long-term relationship with music, because they haven’t yet learned how to maintain long-term relationships themselves.
  • Adult students may play the role of practice coach for themselves, though adults who for whatever reason have trouble managing a successful practice routine on their own can benefit greatly from finding someone else to play that role for them.

Whatever the situation, the coach role cannot be underestimated. Indeed, Simply Music teachers all around the world generally require the involvement of a practice coach for all students under age 18 — even those who have been in the program for many years and may seem self-sufficient. The skills involved in coaching — including self-coaching — are very different from those involved in most of the rest of piano practice, so needing support is something that is truly okay for anyone of any age.

When looking at the Formula for Success, one may find a student having room for improvement in any number of areas. Low scores on those success factors, though, may not indicate a failure on the part of a student. The student may be doing his or her best with an insufficiently developed ability. A crucial question is whether or not that ability will develop further without assistance.

It’s always worthwhile to ask what more the student can do to improve with any success factors. When students are doing all they can on their own and not achieving the desired results, though, they may simply need someone else’s support to help them learn how to do better. The same holds true of a student achieving good results who could be attaining excellence. So while the Formula for Success is a valuable self-assessment tool for students, the practice coach should have a self-assessment tool as well, a coach-specific formula for success.

This much simpler formula has just one success factor, and it is coaching itself. As with the students’ success factors, coaches can score themselves from 1-10 on how well they fulfill the coaching role for the students in their charge. Here’s what a score of 10 out of 10 points looks like:

Coaching — All students must have someone fulfilling the practice coach role for them, whether they do it themselves or have an adult do it for them. Coaches understand that the simple fact of students being unable to do something on their own is itself evidence that those students require someone else’s support in order to eventually learn how to do it themselves. Therefore, practice coaches take full responsibility for — and understand that teachers will hold them responsible for — students’ engagement in all the factors involved in the student Formula for Success. By attending lessons and understanding the method content as well as possible, the coach can help the student with the details of practice, participating hands-on as needed to help the student achieve excellent results. Most importantly, by supporting the management of a student’s practice routine through peaks and valley’s alike, the practice coach ensures that the student achieves ongoing success with music, gains all the benefits that musical success has to offer, and also continually improves in the ability to effectively navigate long-term relationships in general.

Because of the unique position a coach holds in the program, the quality of the students’ 10 success factors is in a very real sense determined by the support provided by factor number 11, the coach. Each improvement of just one point for a coach can lead to improvements of any number of points in any number of success factors for a student.

Given the value available in student’s Formula for Success and this new supplementary formula for coaches, the Lesson Line newsletter is now going to grow into a new phase. More in-depth writings of the kind you’ve seen so far will become less frequent. At the same time, other more brief references and points of interest may arrive more frequently. Enjoy!