When teaching music online, you may not always have students who remain focused and engaged in their music lessons. As a result, you could come across students who are busy disturbing others, showing aggressive behavior, or displaying other problem signs that could be triggered due to social issues, problems at home, clash of personalities, etc. Whatever be the cause, such unruly behavior can interrupt your online group classes and even take an emotional toll on you. But what can you do to address such situations? There’s a simple answer – set aside a few minutes at the start of every online music class of yours where you and your students practice mindfulness techniques.
Given below are some effective mindfulness techniques that your students can practice. Each of these techniques will offer multiple benefits, such as improved concentration, self-control, calmness, focus, present-moment awareness, compassion, and acceptance.
Try beginning each lesson by guiding your students through a set of 10 mindful breathing cycles, where one cycle includes slowly inhaling and exhaling through the nose. As they breathe, ask your students to notice how their body rises and falls with each inhale and exhale. By helping them bring their attention to their breath, you can make your students focus their attention on the present moment better.
Ask your students to sit in a relaxed position, close their eyes, and meditate. Use a soothing piece of music to guide their wandering mind back to the present. If you can make your students practice this technique regularly, they’ll benefit from being less distracted and more focused.
After a solo or group performance, or an online recital, set aside 30 to 60 seconds for practicing silent reflection before sharing your feedback. Encourage your student too to think about their performance and their observations related to it. Instead of jumping in right away with your feedback or starting a discussion, this silent reflection will calm your students’ nerves and help them evaluate how the performance went, what they did right, and the things they could have done to make it better.
Making your students more aware of their body movements can help to correct postural problems, pave way for vital technique adjustments, and even prevent injury. But how do you do it? Say, you have an online violin group class. You can ask your students to move the bow on an open string for 5 minutes while focusing on how their right arm is moving. Ask them to notice when their mind tends to wander away and let them bring it back to their bow arm the moment they notice it. Such mindful movements and body awareness would help your students unlock higher levels of technical expertise.