Unit 13: Motivating Others

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Written Content

This could and should be the shortest chapter in the book since there is no way that you can motivate another human being to do something they do not want to do. You can only create an environment where motivated people are drawn to be a part of your group. Think of it like a magnet.

As a leader, you act as a magnet. As a general rule, people seek to spend time with people who share their values, interests, and ideas. We tend to draw in closer and hold in high esteem those who we can identify with on a personal and academic level. The closer our beliefs align, the closer the relationship will be. While there is something to be said for “opposites attract,” in schools and in our society, we are more likely to see “likes” attract. Think about it, student council kids hang out with student council kids. Dropouts hang out with other dropouts. Smokers hang out with other smokers. Gamers hang out with other gamers, Music kids hang out with…well, I think you know the answer to that one.

In our modern world, we use magnets to keep our purses closed, hold trains to their tracks, keep paper clips in check, and keep our most cherished pieces of art stuck to the fridge. The uses for the magnet are many and mighty…Ahhhh yes, behold the magnet, a wonderful and yet simple invention.

Magnets also repel. Part of the function of the magnet is to oppose things that do not meet its values of attraction. While it opposes with equal force as it attracts, we rarely use the magnet as a repellent. Most of us see it only for its use as an attractor and overlook its equally significant other use.

As a leader, what type of person do you attract and repel? Different groups (band, choir, orchestra) attract different types of kids. Different instruments attract different types of kids. Different teachers attract different types of students. Your section is a reflection of you. Your section members to an extent are a reflection of you. Your values serve not only to attract those who share your views but to repel those people who do not.

As a leadership team, your magnet is your greatest asset.

It is important for you to have a clear and concise understanding of what you believe and what the group is about. This is not an area where you want to be ambivalent or unfocused. Think about it this way: what are you trying to teach, who are you trying to teach it to, and how are you going to teach it? Brevity and clarity are key to being able to communicate it to all that are associated with the program. The clearer you can be about what you are trying to attract as an academic, musician and person, the stronger your bond will be with those who share your program’s values and the stronger you will repel those who do not share your ideals. Prior to watching the videos, think about the questions below.

As a leader, have you ever tried to use motivation on someone who was not motivated?  Did it work?

In your group, do you focus more on positive or negative behaviors?

Think about some positive behaviors, that are rewarded with time and attention.

LEADERSHIP TIP: In music, we oftentimes are so focused on attracting and recruiting new members, that we lose sight of what we are trying to repel. Before deciding on how to recruit, focus on who to recruit. Keep in mind, “music is good for everyone, but not everyone is good for music.”

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