The Playground

The Simply Music blog

The Road is Long. Let’s Talk About Motivation For the Winding Turns.

Found in: Coaching

How many times have you embarked on some new project bursting with enthusiasm, only to find that motivation deflated like an old party balloon at the first setback? It’s happened to all of us, and it’s at that moment that we really see what we’re made of. Do we soldier on or surrender?



This chat between experienced Simply Music Teachers Robin Keehn and Laurie Richards, explores the issue of motivation and how we handle those peaks, valleys and plateaus on our lifelong musical journey. Robin and Laurie share their combined decades of wisdom learned on the front line, including some nifty ideas that will help keep the fire alight for teachers, students and parents.

We’ve presented their talk as a series of mini-conversations you can either dip into as you like or listen to from beginning to end.

1. When do you discuss the long-term-relationship?

At Simply Music, we always speak of music as a long-term relationship. Robin and Laurie discuss exactly when they introduce this conversation.

2. Checking In

It’s crucial to ‘check in’ on where you or your students are at in the ever-changing landscape of peaks, valleys and plateaus. Robin and Laurie talk about how often they do this and Robin shares a secret for getting a response from teenagers.

3. Practicing through valleys and plateaus

How do you escape the downward spiral of lacking motivation, the subsequent lack of practice and that feeling that you’re falling behind?

4. Staying motivated through holidays

A long break without lessons can be an opportunity to lose the plot. Laurie shares a simple “summer challenge” she employs in her studio and also mentions a 32-day challenge popular with other teachers.

5. The importance of the Playlist

Most Simply Music teachers will tell you that the single biggest challenge that they and their students face is keeping the Playlist alive. Robin and Laurie discuss why it’s so important, and offer great tips for those who wrestle with this job.

6. Practice vs Play

We can sometimes miss the forest for the trees, getting too caught up with completing the week’s new material. Robin and Laurie offer a timely reminder of why we started this journey in the first place – to play!

7. Trusting the process

Sometimes you just have to do what you’re told, and sometimes when you do, unexpected rewards can happen. Laurie shares stories of students who have made it through the valleys and discovered new joys on the other side, and Robin thanks the parents who stick with it despite the occasional struggle.



If you know that you’re going to love listening to all of these mini conversations at once, just click Play below for the continual playlist