I’ve spent the last month really focusing on self-confidence. I’ve been reflecting and journaling about self-confidence daily. As I did this deep dive into the concept of self-confidence, I realized that developing self-confidence is a big part of why my children are in Suzuki lessons. I also saw how a lack of self-confidence can make being a Suzuki parent and teacher really difficult.
Why is self-confidence important for Suzuki teachers?
When Suzuki teachers lack self-confidence, they don’t do the things they need to do to run successful studio businesses. They don’t market effectively. They don’t charge what they’re worth. They don’t have frank and important discussions with their studio families about tuition, attendance, and other vital issues.
Why is self-confidence important for Suzuki parents?
When Suzuki parents lack self-confidence, they don’t bring their questions and concerns to their child’s teacher to collaborate and get help. They don’t practice effectively with their children because they doubt their ability to do it well. They don’t advocate for what their children need, because they are afraid of what other people think. They may quit lessons entirely because they assume that their child’s slow progress means they are doing something wrong.
Why is self-confidence important for Suzuki students?
When Suzuki students lack self-confidence, they refuse to try because they are afraid of failing. They miss opportunities to grow and learn with other musicians because they are scared they won’t play well in orchestra or chamber groups. They don’t feel the freedom and joy of performing because they are so worried about what other people are thinking about their playing. They may decide to quit because they aren’t the best player they know, and not being the best doesn’t feel safe.
So self-confidence is important, but where does self-confidence come from? We often act like some people come into the world with confidence, and the rest of us are out of luck. “Oh, she’s so confident. I wish I was confident like that.”
Fortunately, just like talent, self-confidence is a skill. It can be practiced and developed. Confidence does not live in our DNA, it is an emotion. And just like other emotions it is created by our thoughts and beliefs. This is very good news, because there are often times when we need to call on confidence to help us be successful in new or difficult endeavours.
We need a little self-confidence to make that first effort–to start teaching in a new way, market your studio more aggressively, practice with your child more creatively, perform a new piece. Once we’ve made that first attempt, we have the self-confidence PLUS a little experience, and that gets us over the next hurdle, and so on.
As we get older, we begin to believe that we have to have experience to be confident. This isn’t the case with young children. They learn to walk and talk without any prior success or experience. Experience doesn’t increase confidence, experience increases capacity and capability. Plenty of very experienced teachers and performers have very little confidence. This is because confidence comes from your belief in yourself.
If you’re willing to experience failure and disappointment, the more likely it is you’re going to succeed. This is because you are open to try, experiment, grow, and learn. If you are confident, you know that even if you fail it doesn’t mean that you are a failure.
Next week, we’ll dig into the topic of helping our students develop self-confidence. Why you may want to focus on it in lessons and practice times, and how you can encourage your child to develop a strong belief in themselves.
How would developing more self-confidence help you and your students? Please share in the comments.