No matter what teaching environment we find ourselves in now, I think we can all be well-served to remember the current research that tells us that people are like parking meters. It turns out we have one minute to “hook” a person: sixty seconds to do or say something that captures their attention, captivates them, makes them curious, or stimulates their interest. If we do that, we get ten minutes of their attention. But at the end of that ten minutes we’ll lose them if we don’t hook them again, thus buying us another ten minutes. Test it: the next time you find yourself getting bored, “checking your watch” or drifting off in a movie, a speech, a meeting, or anything else, check the clock – it will be at about ten minutes in. Should we keep a timer on our stand, desk or computer? I do. That’s how convinced I am of this notion. But how do we hook them? A story, a joke, switching to a new and exciting activity, a thought-provoking quote, hearing the climax of a beautiful composition, a laugh, a tear, or any emotional moment will do just that. When you think about it that way, there’s little wonder music education is so powerful.
Peter Loel Boonshaft, Director of Education