To Become An Exceptional Adult Musician…

To become an exceptional adult musician almost certainly requires an early start because of the time requirement, particularly for physically demanding instruments such as the piano and violin. Starting young can also set in motion a number of motivational conditions that lead to outstanding achievement.

Take the case of Johnny, who is studying grade-five violin at age nine, when most children at this level are several years older. Due to his age, Johnny will receive more praise, encouragement, and recognition than the others. People will think it is remarkable that he already is playing at the level of older children, even though it is not all that remarkable because it can be explained logically. Johnny has practised about the same number of hours as the older children who are playing at grade-five level but, because of his age, people will tell him he is a special boy and lucky to have this wonderful gift. Having started young has provided Johnny with an opportunity to accumulate more hours of practice and therefore make more progress. This will result in his receiving more attention from adults, which will fuel his desire for attention and praise. Johnny loves playing the violin and in time might develop his own intrinsic motivation. At this stage of his development, however, the recognition, attention, and feeling of specialness provide powerful motivation for him to practise.

from ‘Learning Strategies for Musical Success’ by Michael Griffin
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Public speaker, music education trainer, conductor and pianist. Author of 'Learning Strategies for Musical Success', 'Bumblebee: Rounds & Warm-ups for Choirs', and 'Modern Harmony Method'.

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2 comments on “To Become An Exceptional Adult Musician…
  1. Madelene Putter says:

    Good day Mr Griffin we are acquainted. Ihave now retired and live in Kidds Beach a village town near East London. We are still packing and sorting.. However it does not seem as if I will be doing much music teaching here as payment (our weak rand) is a massive problem. Also folk feel very threatened when confroned with a well established now retired ‘newcomer’.. And the clock is ticking.
    I hy Ave much to give as I am a specialist in the field of Piano singing juniors seniors Eisteddfod choirs performance and Teaching. BUT this is Africa and there seems to be no need for people that are not employed on a full time basis and man does not live by pretty songs a hip and a hop and idols alone. I’m a capable composer (lower level) a perfect pitch and a versatile conversational / background music player. I dread in this new place where I live now being called a ‘nosy Parker can’t mind her own business’ old woman 65 Thank you for your ideas and motivation to me however as I said I live in Africa a sad place to be at a time when one should stay out of trouble and sit and knit and be quiet. The local Primary school principal assisted me greatly abd allowed me to put my Bechstein grand in a little Prefab Hall with my wealth of music books. I don’t want to impose but am eager to do some community and bread and butter work. Thank you Maddi Putter

    • mdgriffin63 says:

      Hi Maddie
      Thanks for your message. I understand the economy in South Africa makes earning a living difficult. You sound very experienced so one would hope that local children could thrive musically with your assistance. I hope things improve for you. Kind regards – Michael.

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