“I didn’t have time to practice this week, I had too much to do.”
It’s an excuse that everyone who has been teaching for more than 15 minutes has heard.
It’s also an excuse that almost everyone who has played an instrument for more than a week has made.
But it’s a lie.
And no one can say that clearer than Seth Godin.
“I don’t have the time.”
…almost always means, “this is not a priority.”
When we care, it’s amazing how much we can get done. One way to choose to care is to be clear about your priorities, which means being clear in your language.
One thing that I’m going to try to work on when I talk to students about what they did (or didn’t) practice is that priorities are shown through actions, not words.
If a student is coming to lessons, and the parent is paying for lessons, and the student is not prioritizing the most critical part of the process (their practice), then that is a worthy conversation to have.
But that conversation will only happen if the student is upfront and clear with themselves and their teacher.