TTTV030: Practice, Motivation and Mindset with Michael Griffin - Creative Music Education

TTTV030: Practice, Motivation and Mindset with Michael Griffin

By Tim Topham | Deliberate Practice

Feb 15


You asked and I listened! The number one requested topic from my recent survey, was how to get students motivated to practice. There’s a good reason this is the top concern for piano teachers worldwide, because when students don’t practise, they don’t progress.

So, how do we get our students to practice?

When students are making progress, they are usually motivated to keep going. This is why how students practise is even more important than how much they practise. The more we model effective practice in lessons, they more likely students are to practise that way at home. If we encourage good practice habits, our students make speedy progress and are therefore encouraged to continue.

Michael Griffin is a renowned educator, speaker and writer. His most recent book (Learning Strategies for Musical Success) talks about just this issue, how best to learn and practice a musical instrument. I’m so excited to have Michael on the podcast to share his wisdom about motivation, mindset and practice.

Take a listen to amp up the practice in your studio!

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • Why kids don’t practice
  • How to get parents involved with practice
  • Why we need to get explicit about what good practice looks like
  • The three essential elements of good practice: repetition, slow practice & chunking
  • How you can reverse the roles in your lessons to demonstrate practice techniques
  • How to foster autonomy in your students
  • Why our relationship with our students affects their motivation
  • What growth mindset is and how it affects piano students

Items mentioned in this podcast:

Watch the full interview here:

Practice Pack Download:

Thank you for Tuning In!

There are a lot of podcasts you could be tuning into today, and I’m grateful that you’ve chosen mine.

Being a full-time teacher myself, I know how busy teachers are and how much time, effort and passion we put into our students. Sometimes, the last thing we want to do in our time off is listen to more piano teaching stuff! So, well done for using this time for self-improvement.

Whether you’re at the gym, on the bike or in the car, I know that you and your students will get lots out of what you learn in the long run. Just make sure you try out some of the ideas before they get lost in the business of your next lessons.

If you enjoyed today’s show, please share it by using the social media buttons on the left of the page.

Also, kindly consider taking the 60-seconds it takes to leave an honest review and rating for the podcast on iTunes. Reviews are extremely helpful when it comes to show’s ranking and you can bet that I read every single one of them personally.

Lastly, don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, to get automatic updates every time a new episode goes live.

What are your top tips for getting students practising?

Is there any of Michael’s ideas that you can’t wait to try?

Was there anything we didn’t talk about that you think is essential in the quest for perfect practice? I’d love to hear your ideas below!


About the Author

Best-known for his blogging and teaching, Tim is also a well-respected presenter, performer and accompanist based in Melbourne, Australia. You can check him out on Google+, Facebook and Twitter.

  • Carolmae Katz says:

    Thank you so much Tim for all you are doing re. your many piano teaching ideas for teachers and students all over the world with your great podcasts. I enjoyed Michael Griffin’s interview today. Helping students to practice successfully is a skill that takes a lot of patience and understanding of the needs of each individual student. Teaching self motivation is what it is all about. Each student is different. Their differences and how we approach these differences are what makes it so exciting to teach them.

  • Michael Griffin says:

    Almost forgot – as Tim said, free postage for my range of books including ‘Learning Strategies for Musical Success’ email me

  • Michael Griffin says:

    Hi Kate – here’s the link to my Dropbox folder. I hope you find some articles of interest. If there’s anything specific you’re looking for feel free to contact me Kind regards, Michael Griffin

  • Kate Johnson says:

    Hi Tim,
    Great podcast – I loved Michael’s insights and they fit with what I am trying to focus on at the moment in my studio. The ‘Fly on the Wall’ idea was interesting…going to try it with a few of mine!
    Did I hear you mention at some point that you were going to make a few of your own practice ideas/resources available? If so, where would I find them? Also Michael’s dropbox info?

    • Tim Topham says:

      Hey Kate – great to hear you enjoyed it. I’ve done the fly on the wall a number of times and it’s terrifying!! Students will “practice” for about 30s before they give up most of the time!

      You can get my practice resources by clicking in the blue box above on this page “Practice Pack Download”.

      Sorry – you’ll have to remind me about Michael’s dropbox info – I might have missed a resource I was meant to share. Please let me know 🙂

      • Kate Johnson says:

        Thanks Tim – I agree, I think I might be in for a shock with some of my students’ practice ‘regime’…
        For some reason the blue box is not showing on my laptop but I could access it on my phone, so have requested the download there.
        Michael had said he had lots of his info in his dropbox, and was happy for you to put the link on the show notes so we can access it – sorry, I have not got a chance at the moment to go back through and find the moment in the podcast. I hope I understood that correctly – if so, it would be really good to have more of his stuff to read!

    • Tim Topham says:

      Hey Kate – dropbox link added in the links section above 🙂

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