You'd know about this. I'm talking about how it feels when you have positive reinforcement about something you've done. It makes you think, 'Yes, I made a good decision there'. And there's support for it....... sometimes even concrete evidence that you were right.
I've been hearing that quite a bit lately. Parents are telling me how glad they are about their decisions to give their children the opportunity to have music classes.
Of course they love the fact that there is actual 'music' involved. There are pleasant and recognisable sounds coming from the instrument – and they're being made by a child who hadn't believed she could play. That's brilliant all by itself.
And of course, when that learning turns into real progress in musicianship, and when a child has concrete success in the art of music, it's so exciting for him and for his parents.
But I've been hearing more than that.
So why are parents feeling so good about their children's music classes. What's it all about?
It's about fun and relaxation. Children simply enjoy learning music.
'He just shines when he comes out of his lessons', I am told. This is music to my ears!
It's about creativity. All children need ways to explore, and experiment with, their potentials skills and talents, and to find a vehicle for their self-expression. Many parents see how music meets this need, and they tell me how their children are blossoming.
It's about those personal boosts to children's self-esteem. This emerges as a major reason for parents feeling so positive about their children's music classes.
'She's benefiting so much in self confidence' says one. The pride is almost tangible in the five-year-old who has played a challenging piano piece. The tiniest musicians, who persist in their practicing, with determination and discipline, are rewarded with success (and stickers!). And the joy of performing for their families and friends is something that stays with children forever.
'It's less about the music lessons and more about the relationship you have built with our child', a parent says, and I'm reminded, once again, that the support and encouragement we give to children, as parents and teachers, is worth more than anything else.
In the end, it's not just about learning the piano, or the guitar, or the hornucopian dronepipe (we don't actually teach that last one). There is so much more that children gain from lessons. They feel able, and valued, and special – which, of course, they are!
Oh, and about that positive reinforcement. The other teachers and I are feeling pretty good too. It's great to have feedback to confirm that something you love and believe in is working so well for others.