Students will inevitably say these fatal words, but we can persuade them otherwise. Challenge them to look at the problem differently, slow down, concentrate on counting out loud, or isolate measures (or hands, for piano students).
KEEP WORKING until they realize they "CAN!" After they have conquered an area of a song, point out that it was once tricky and that now they have mastered it! This builds confidence! If we constantly plow forward, and never take time to look back at our successes, it can feel like an endless uphill battle.
Another great strategy is to pull out music about 1 year behind what they are currently playing. Ask the student to sightread. When they do so effortlessly, remind them that this was once hard! The light-bulb moment and bright smile will encourage them to keep moving forward with the current difficulty.
As the saying goes, if you fall off a horse, get right back on! Saying "I can't" actually shuts down the brain and turns into a complete lack of confidence. The fact is, they usually can. Have them say the words, "This is hard, but I can do it!"
When you believe in your students, and they believe in themselves, you will see success!
Jen Hickle, Author
Since I was a little girl playing "school" in the garage with the neighbors, all I've ever wanted to do is teach. I'm passionate about passing on knowledge to other people!