Tips to Motivate and Inspire Teen Music Students


music student posing with teacher

Teen students are unique individuals going through one of the most challenging periods of their development. They experience moods that constantly change and may have personality traits that fluctuate as they become acutely aware of themselves. These transition years towards adulthood offer private music teachers and parents unique opportunities to inspire and motivate their teens through practice and achievement in learning their chosen instrument. At K and M Music, our teachers explore multiple, creative avenues of inspiration centered around the influence of great musicians and performers as an approach to help teen students stay on the path to music success.

Performance inspiration from Youtube™ and similar music platforms

Thanks to video and music platforms available today, music students have unprecedented access to see and hear numerous performances. These videos range from past recital clips of 20th-century giants like Vladimir Horowitz to the documented journeys of child prodigies pursuing professional music like Hilary Hahn. Videos of prestigious global music competitions are also an excellent way to create excitement. Teen music students can see and hear renowned artists, observing details of their physical playing and stellar musicianship. Access to these platforms offers students an immediate moment of needed inspiration as they study the same pieces played by these artists.

Upon watching videos, private lesson teachers can take advantage of the opportunity to discuss how students feel after observing a professional performance of their current piece. Aspects of skill and artistry displayed by the performer and the thrill of an excited and grateful audience sitting mesmerized throughout the performance entice students to consider themselves playing at that same level one day. As teen students become exposed to polished presentations of music they study, they become inspired to push through the practice, elevate their playing, and strive to create artistic achievements.

Motivation through live concert attendance

Attending a live classical concert can propel interest and ambition for teen students in their private instrument lessons. K and M Music teachers arrange and facilitate small groups of students to attend performances in the San Diego area ranging from local chamber groups to metropolitan symphonies. Teen students can also benefit from attending recitals of local university students and talking with them about their lesson journey and how they maintained their motivation. Attending live events with students enables teachers to open a conversation giving students an avenue to express opinions about the entire experience.

Live concerts allow for a complete immersion in classical music’s excitement, traditions, and prestige. It is an immense experience to see a formal event with gowns and tuxedos, witness respect for an accomplished conductor, or feel the excitement and energy of a breathtaking performance by a soloist. Engaging with symphony performers, chamber musicians, or soloists after an event can be a great way to build enthusiasm. This experience can help unleash inspiration and motivate teen students out of a practice slump.

How K and M teachers encourage teen music students

Our vision at K and M Music is to help each teen student achieve their best musical growth and potential. While many teens struggle with busy schedules, changing emotions, and possible academic issues, music teachers can maintain consistency in lessons and work with students to set goals. Teen students may also respond more positively when they have an active role in their lessons and feel free to voice opinions. The genuine satisfaction of classical music study is to experience fluent, masterful playing that is pleasing to the senses. This achievement happens through deliberate goal setting, encouragement, and accomplishing small victories throughout the year.

One of our favorite techniques at K and M Music is to play along with students in their piano, violin, or instrumental lessons. Playing along is a gentle way to push them through difficult passages of music without hesitation and provide a moment for the teacher to amplify dynamics, lyricism, and other nuances. It can be an encouraging way to provide feedback with an immersive moment, rather than the teacher only giving verbal correction. Collaboration with other students through duet playing, forming small ensembles, or accompanying instrumental students is another excellent approach to motivate teen students. Meaningful collaboration provides a way to interact with peers, encourage each other, or even step up as a leader to younger students.

Motivating teen students can be a challenge. This time of transition in their lives gives private music lesson teachers a unique opportunity to nurture their personalities and cultivate strategies targeting specific goals. Different paths ultimately inspire each student, and teachers should allow for flexibility, encourage students to speak up about their interests, and participate in their music education goals.


At K and M Music, we strive to motivate our teen students through creative, continual methods. We hope they will explore the great composers of classical music, engage in live music venues, explore videos of prestigious world performances, and set personal goals with their lesson teachers that inspire them to continue their studies.

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