• Using Personality Type to Enhance Music Education

    Using Personality Type to Enhance Music Education

    Bonnie TeVelde wasn't always a music school director—she started as an accountant and business operations consultant that helped clients develop their businesses. She was frustrated and…

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    Using Personality Type to Enhance Music Education

    Bonnie TeVelde wasn't always a music school director—she started as an accountant and business operations consultant that helped clients develop their businesses. She was frustrated and started a music education on the side to fill her soul in a way her day job couldn't. As her music business grew, she really loved it and felt like she wasn't working–she just "went into the zone"–and realized that teaching music was what she was MEANT to do.

    Pairing Music Education Students and Teachers by Personality

    Bonnie discovered firsthand as both a music student and a school director that the typical people who make it through high-level music school are really detail-oriented extroverts (Extroverted Sensing Thinking Judgers) because they:

    * require extroverted qualities (E) for performing,

    * have to be detail-oriented to play the notes exactly as conducted or written (ST), and

    * are very scheduled individuals that are product-oriented (J)

    …and those are the people who typically decide to teach music.

    However, ESTJs are typically self-minded from a personality perspective, which makes it challenging for them to be successful teachers because teaching is all about the STUDENT. Since Bonnie had been a music minor that loved psychology during college, she began pairing the two disciplines as she grew her music business, and started matching the personality type of the student to the personality type of the teacher. (As an INFP, Bonnie intuitively knew to be more flexible with the "perceiving" kids in her classes and encourage them to play for the love of music versus scheduled daily practices.)

    And she watched her student attrition rates drop as a result.

    But even with the most nurturing teacher/student relationship for the "Perceiving" students during lessons, she saw a trend after 6 months that they no longer had the zest for music that they had when they began…and began to see that the "Perceiving" students coming in that really adored playing music were inadvertently thwarted by "Judging" parents that wanted their kids to be on a practice routin–and that the "Judging" students with "Perceiving" parents weren't adhering to a more disciplined practice regimen and lost interest after several months. So she started coaching her parents with mismatched personality types on how to better nurture their little musicians…and she was thrilled to see her student attrition rates drop even further. Best of all, the program served to further nurture fledgling musicians versus potentially squelching talent solely because the mentoring style of the teacher or parent didn't fit the student.

    Success in Music Breeds Success in School

    Pairing students with music mentors of matching personality types reaped benefits beyond the music school walls. All but TWO of the students from the teVelde School of Music's 100+ student roster are on their schools' honor rolls. Bonnie feels that this is because music education doesn't just teach music…it teaches attention to detail; greater connections between the right and left hemispheres of the brain because both child's hands are occupied simultaneously while playing; and a stick-to-itiveness that is ingrained through a first-hand knowledge that "practice makes perfect". This mirrors several studies that shows that spatial reasoning increases by 34% in music students, IQs rise by several points as a result of music instruction, and music majors have the HIGHEST acceptance rates by university medical programs.

    Perfect Absolute Pitch

    Another unique dimension of the teVelde program's music curriculum is Perfect Absolute Pitch (PAP) for 2-6 year olds. These private lessons can help get a labeling system in place for pitch that is akin to the brain's labeling system for color. (How do you know you're looking at an orange piece of paper? You instinctively know it after being trained to match the tone with the appropriate label. How do you know you're hearing a "G" on the keyboard? You can only if you've trained your brain how to label that pitch as a G…regardless of octave.) Perhaps this metaphor is why PAP is often referred to "hearing in color".

    Bonnie emphasizes that if your child has three or more of the seven signs of musical talent (click here to read them all), it is critical that they start music lessons as young as possible, since the ability to develop PAP is significantly hindered if you don't expose your child to a PAP program before the age of six.

    Per Bonnie, almost all of the truly great composers in history had PAP, including Bach, Beethoven, Bartok, Chopin, Handel, Mozart, Rimsky-Korsakoff, Saint-Saens, and more. Some famous 20th /21st Century performers that have PAP are: Julie Andrews, Leonard Bernstein, Mariah Carey, Nat King Cole, Bing Crosby, Miles Davis, Celine Dion, Ella Fitzgerald, Marvin Hamlisch, Jimi Hendrix, Vladimir Horowitz, Michael Jackson, Yo-Yo Ma, Yngwie Malmstein, Andre Previn, Artur Rubinstein, Paul Shaffer, Frank Sinatra, Barbra Streisand, Arturo Toscanini, Steve Vai, Brian Wilson, Stevie Wonder, Yanni, and more.

    In fact, 69% of popular musicians have PAP, compared to the general population percentages which are 1/10,000 with the genetic ability, and much less than that who actually have training early enough to develop it fully. Bonnie is quick to note that not every child who is musical will become a great musician, even if they start young. But, if you really believe your child is musical, why would you deny them the chance of developing the one ability that could set them apart from most the other musicians out there?

    More Information

    For more in-depth information on Bonnie and the teVelde School of Music, we encourage you to visit the school's website here.

    Thanks to Bonnie and all of her instructors for giving children the gift of music education that's taught in a way that truly embraces and respects each student's unique spirit.

  • How to Choose the Best Instrument for Your Child

    How to Choose the Best Instrument for Your Child

    If you have a little musician in the house, they may be chomping at the bit to graduate up from your pots and pans and belting…

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    How to Choose the Best Instrument for Your Child

    If you have a little musician in the house, they may be chomping at the bit to graduate up from your pots and pans and belting out vocal stylings to toddler tunes to their first musical instrument.

    Selecting the right instrument for your child is a very important decision because you and your child will be hearing that instrument daily for as long as they keep up lessons. Before you decide on an instrument, it's important to narrow your focus to instruments that are a great match not just for the student, but for the family as a whole.

    Here are some tips on finding the best musical instrument for your future Yo Yo Ma, Kenny G or George Winston:

    How old is your child?

    Woodwind and brass instruments (excepting the recorder) can't be started until the child has a mouthful of adult teeth–typically about 7 or 8–in order to position their lips and teeth correctly around or in front of any mouthpiece.  String instruments are often made down to size where even the tiniest tykes can start learning them at 3. Drums and piano can also be started very young–even as young as 2.5–though it's important to choose a teacher that's well-versed in teaching kids this small. If you have any indication that your child may have musical talent, though, be sure to get them started with music lessons between ages 3 and 5, as studies out of Japan are now showing that kids that show signs of musical talent and start lessons before age 6 have a greater chance of achieving PERFECT ABSOLUTE PITCH…a talent that only a rare few currently possess, but that nearly 70% of popular performers do.

    How much room do you have available in your house or car?

    While upright pianos don't typically take a whole lot of space, even  the 8 square feet an upright takes in the main living area of a small house or apartment can cramp a family's style. You may consider trying a keyboard instead, but it's important to invest in one that has 88 weighted keys…and that your chosen instructor is comfortable with your choice before you purchase one. Drum sets are another big footprint item that may be crossed off the list of potentials by virtue of space alone. But, if you have a kid that's dying to be a drummer, there are options like a digital drum kit or drum pads that take up less space that some teachers may be comfortable with. However, you may not have considered the size of a cello, bass, or tuba related to the space available in your car when narrowing down your instrument list. And if you're thinking of crossing a harp off your list by virtue of size alone, you may want to reconsider as there are smaller harp sizes built for even tiny fingers.

    How Much Does an Instrument Cost?

    Be sure to take into account what you can reasonably afford to rent or purchase (bearing in mind that you will probably want to start with a gently used second hand instrument when first beginning). There's no point in letting your child set their heart on an instrument that you won't be able to buy or rent for them. Many music shops will allow your rental fees to be put toward your future instrument purchase, so when first trying an instrument, a rental is often a great choice. Craigslist and eBay also often have great deals on gently used instruments that are locally available.

    Now for the fun part – figuring out which types of instruments you all like hearing most.

    Check out music CDs at the library or download some free MP3s and see which ones you both gravitate toward. Need a way to narrow the field? Start with instruments that you feel best match the personality of your child. Your boisterous extravert may instantly connect with a trumpet, guitar or drum, while an introvert may prefer a flute, clarinet or violin–all instruments that typically play in a section in orchestras or bands versus having a solo voice. Bonnie TeVelde, an Arroyo Grande, CA music teacher that specializes in pairing the right instruments and teachers with each child based on Myers-Brigg personality types recommends violin, cello and band instruments for "S" personality types and piano, guitar and drums for "N" personality types (AKA little composers). By taking Kidzmet's Preference Profile, you'll not only get recommendations for music and other enrichment classes that are well-suited to your child's personality, but we'll also recommend the local music teachers that are most compatible with your child and, therefore, uniquely qualified to celebrate his or her spirit.

    And now for the NOT so fun part—but perhaps the most critical.

    Audit Some Beginning Music Lessons

    See if you and your little musician can sit in on a few beginning lessons in the instruments he or she is most interested in learning to play.

    Make sure both of you can stand to hear the instrument played poorly, since you will be hearing this level of musicality around your house on a daily basis when they first get started.

    Whichever instrument you ultimately choose, your child will need your encouragement to continue practicing–especially in the beginning. Start with about 10 minutes of practice once a day and try to increase the time in 5 minute increments with a goal of approximately 30 minutes a day. As their competency improves, you shouldn't need to nag them to practice, since much of the motivation to practice and advance their knowledge will come from inside. This said, it helps to have a cheering section during and after their daily practices so that they know that their musical talent is valued by their family.

  • Kidzmet’s Teacher Student Fit Evaluations

    Just as a seed needs to first grow roots, then develop a shoot, then a bud before becoming a flower, introductions to new pursuits for children…

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    Kidzmet’s Teacher Student Fit Evaluations

    teacher student fit evaluationsJust as a seed needs to first grow roots, then develop a shoot, then a bud before becoming a flower, introductions to new pursuits for children need to be approached in a similar way. Kidzmet members use our teacher student fit evaluations in three key ways:

    • Parents often put their child as the main profile in their member dashboard and use the student profiles to evaluate the fit of potential tutors, enrichment teachers, or coaches.
    • Teachers and/or tutors put themselves as the main profile in their member dashboard and profile all of their students to identify where they may need to modify their teaching approach.
    • Homeschoolers put themselves as the main profile on the account and profile their children as students so that they can easily see with which kids they need to modify their curriculum selections.

    Here’s how you’ll see the “fit types” defined on Kidzmet…

    Natural fit :: a compatible personality type, matching cognitive style and many parallel interests and strengths make this a comfortable teacher-student relationship from the outset where the teacher and student intuitively connect.

    Complement fit :: this teacher is compatible with the student on many levels, but different enough to be able to stretch the student’s understanding of the world and what makes other individuals tick. A good way to discover new passions and ways to learn.

    Growth fit :: while not an intuitive fit, when both students and teachers are aware of each other’s “ingredients” (e.g. personality, interests and learning style), they can learn to adapt to create a relationship built on mutual understanding. An incredibly valuable match because the student has the opportunity to learn how to interact in a positive way with colleagues and family members that share this personality type.

  • Effective Breakout Groups for Practice Lessons

    Effective Breakout Groups for Practice Lessons

    "Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it…

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    Effective Breakout Groups for Practice Lessons

    "Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid."

    Albert Einstein

    MBTI Manual, p32

    Break by Multiple Intelligence FIRST

    Place at least one child with a parallel preference in the Intel 1, Intel 2 and Intel 3 columns of the Strengths Grid with each of your breakout groups.

    E.g., for a history lesson, place a child with and intra- or interpersonal preference in each breakout group; for a geography lesson, place a child with visual-spatial preference in each breakout group; for a life science lesson, place a child with naturalist preference in each breakout group.

    Cog Style SECOND

    For maximally effective breakout groups for practice lessons, try to place kids together who prefer to learn visually, auditorially or kinesthetically together so that they can learn techniques from each other to cement the concept

    Judging vs. Perceiving THIRD
    (the last character in the Myers-Briggs column)

    If you're planning more than 3 breakout segments, do your next cut by breaking apart judgers and perceivers as much as possible.

    Because perceivers are focused on "what's the end goal?" versus a judger's focus on "what's the next step?", these approaches can be annoying to each other during a practice session. Your judging groups will try to come to a conclusion as quickly as possible and move on to next steps. "We already know enough to make this decision," is what you might hear from these groups. Perceiving kids, on the other hand, like to drink in as much as possible of the situation before "time is up" to come to a conclusion. "I don't know enough yet to make a decision," is a more typical response from these groups…but they may have explored more of the peripheral concepts of the topic when you come back into a group wrap-up. Another way to look at it is that the judgers will be more interested in concept DEPTH, while perceivers are more interested in concept BREADTH.

    Dominant Personality Type FOURTH
    (the middle character in the Myers-Briggs column)

    Again, depending on how small your segments are for your lesson, your next break will be to create blended groups with complementary dominant types – e.g. NT / NF / ST / SF.

    Dominant type preference blending during practice lesson breakouts will help kids gain a broader view of the concept being taught without adding in the layer of inferior preference that the students may find jarring during this stage of learning.

    Other Breakout Group Types

    Intro Lessons
    Long-Term Projects

  • Effective Breakout Groups for Intro Lessons

    Effective Breakout Groups for Intro Lessons

    “In dealing with people, when we keep their type in mind, we are respecting not only their abstract right to develop along lines of their own…

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    Effective Breakout Groups for Intro Lessons

    “In dealing with people, when we keep their type in mind, we are respecting not only their abstract right to develop along lines of their own choosing, but also the importance of qualities they have developed by making that choice.

    MBTI Manual, p32

    Break by Multiple Intelligence FIRST

    Place at least one child with a parallel preference in the Intel 1, Intel 2 or Intel 3 columns of the Strengths Grid with each of your breakout groups.

    E.g., for a history lesson, place a child with and intra- or interpersonal preference in each breakout group; for a geography lesson, place a child with visual-spatial preference in each breakout group; for a life science lesson, place a child with naturalist preference in each breakout group.

    Extraversion/Introversion SECOND
    (the first character in the Myers-Briggs column of your member dashboard)

    For maximally effective breakout groups for intro lessons, do your best to make the groups exclusively extraverted or introverted.

    This is especially important during an introductory lesson because while extraverts like conversation “layering” through interruptions, introverts’ require concentration and a well-meaning extraverts interruption may set them back to square one. If this is impossible, try to balance the groups so that introverted students don’t get drowned out by their fellow students and extraverts have a way to “talk through” the new information.

    Dominant Personality Type THIRD
    (the middle character in the Myers-Briggs column)

    If you’re planning more than 2-3 segments, break your I and E segments up into straight T/F/S/N, but if that’s impossible, go for these blends: NT / NF / ST / SF.

    Because using our inferior preference FEELS uncomfortable, we don’t practice it or naturally use it well and putting it to use can be stressful…ESPECIALLY if we’re in a group with others who are adept at the opposing type preference or just can’t understand our point of view. Because of these factors, placing a student in a group with an opposite dominant type preference means that the new understanding won’t be contextualized for a way for the students in a way that they will both absorb and retain the information.

    Judging/Perceiving FOURTH
    (the last character in the Myers-Briggs column)

    At this stage of the game, it’s not as important to break apart judgers and perceivers as it is during practice lessons.

    Understand that your perceiving groups will try to make the learning PROCESS fun, while your judging groups will want to bring closure to tasks BEFORE they feel comfortable goofing around or playing.

    Other Breakout Group Types

    Practice Lessons
    Long-Term Projects

  • Effective Breakout Groups for Long-Term Projects

    Effective Breakout Groups for Long-Term Projects

    Break Apart by Multiple Intelligence FIRST Place at least one child with a parallel preference in each of your breakout groups. E.g., for a history lesson,…

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    Effective Breakout Groups for Long-Term Projects

    Break Apart by Multiple Intelligence FIRST

    Place at least one child with a parallel preference in each of your breakout groups. E.g., for a history lesson, place a child with and intra- or interpersonal preference in each breakout group; for a geography lesson, place a child with visual-spatial preference in each breakout group; for a life science lesson, place a child with naturalist preference in each breakout group.

    Break Dominant Personality Type SECOND
    (the middle character in the Myers-Briggs column)

    Be sure to balance dominant types in a group, rather than weighting too heavily with Thinkers, Feelers, Sensors or iNtuitives. During a long-term project, it’s valuable to have the group see “all sides of the elephant”. By balancing the different dominant types in a group, you can ensure that the group won’t feel that one view is “right” while another is “wrong”, but that they all weave together to form a more complete picture of the assignment.

    Break Judging/Perceiving & Extraversion/Introversion THIRD
    (the first and last characters in the Myers-Briggs Column in your member dashboard)

    Go for the balance of both of these type preferences in long-term project work. Use techniques as discussed in our Project Lesson page to manage conversation flow. At this stage, mixing Js and Ps can be incredibly beneficial. Balancing the group will make sure that the project scope is not too broad or narrow as a result of too much layering by the perceivers or not enough breadth from the judgers.

    The beginnings of type management at this level needs to be facilitated by the teacher. Before breaking into the large groups, provide a deadline for the project, then look to the perceivers in your class to help shape the interim steps that need to be executed in order to achieve the long-term project goal.

    Then, look to the judgers in your class to help develop the timeline for completion of each of the individual steps in order to hit the deadline you defined at the beginning. Now that you’ve got a framework, break the class up into judgers and perceivers. Take each of the specific tasks and ask the groups to define responsibilities for each group member and where, how, and with whom each group member will need to collaborate.

    If there are certain sub tasks that need to be repeated several times during the project, suggest that the perceivers experiment their way through the 1st iteration, while the judgers document the steps and estimate timelines, then create interim deadlines for each iteration. In this way, both judgers and perceivers can complete their responsibilities without jeopardizing the final project submission because they’ve left too much until the last minute.

    During each class time regroup, allow time for the breakout groups to focus on the scope of work for the next interim deadline. The perceivers will be able to take the knowledge they’ve gleaned from the previous deadline and recommend adjustments or expansions to the project. The judgers will be able to look at the timeline and help the perceivers understand what’s possible, given the timeline.

    Break Cognitive Style FOURTH

    Go for diversity at this stage of the game and try to vary the cognitive styles in each group, so that they will naturally employ a variety of techniques in group and homework and more fully absorb the material through the use of all modalities.

    Other Breakout Group Types

    Intro Lessons
    Practice Lessons