We teachers are an impatient lot. We want the moon for our students, and we want it now. But our students are even more impatient. They want it yesterday. What’s the “it” they want? Progress and success. They often seem to think that playing should come fast and easy. I can almost sense them thinking “why can’t I do this already?” It reminds me of a quote by world-renowned chef Charlie Trotter that served as one of his mantras: “The only problem with instant gratification is that it takes too long.”  For our students, the sentiment behind Chef Trotter’s mantra can easily end up causing frustration, and that frustration can just as easily result in them quitting. But by assigning very small amounts of material for them to practice – all easily within reach – and praising even their tiniest bits of progress as much as their successes, we can go a long way toward fending off their frustration. Chef Trotter’s amazing recipes often took days to make, with seemingly endless steps and painstaking attention to detail. Having had the pleasure of tasting his exquisite food, it was abundantly clear that he put in the hard work, time, and effort to master his craft. Just like our students will need to. And I can’t help but believe that on his journey to becoming one of the most famous chefs in the world he didn’t have people praising his little steps along the way. Maybe it’s the teacher in me, but I am sure! 

Peter Loel Boonshaft, Director of Education
KHS America

About the Author

Dr. Boonshaft, Director of Education for KHS America, is the author of the critically acclaimed best-selling books Teaching Music with Passion, Teaching Music with Purpose, and Teaching Music with Promise. He was honored by the National Association for Music Education and Music For All as the first recipient of the “George M. Parks Award for Leadership in Music Education.” Dr. Boonshaft was selected for the Center for Scholarly Research and Academic Excellence at Hofstra University in Hempstead, NY, where he is Professor Emeritus of Music.