Motivation versus Inspiration

I heard an interesting comment on Radio Sport this morning from Warriors coach, Matthew Elliott. (The Warriors are a Rugby League team competing in the Australian NRL competition).

Five weeks ago the Warriors succumbed to their record loss of 62-6 to the Penrith Panthers after what had been a disaster first half the season. They have since won four matches in a row, something that hasn’t happened since 2011. Their most recent win was an amazing spectacle by the way, with great counter attacks and try saving tackles.

The Radio Sport interviewer asked Matthew Elliott what had motivated his players to turn things around, and Elliott replied something along the lines of…

“Motivation is an external influence. I’d prefer to think their success is a result of inspiration.”

Elliott admitted that some see him as playing with words a little, but he has a point. Motivation is like someone (the external influence) offering a reward for doing something, whereas inspiration is that internal emotional desire to fulfil some aspiration.

It seems a concept that wouldn’t be out of place in a class setting. i.e. motivating through the fear of failing an exam sounds like the complete opposite to what one should do (hey, for some kids is works), but ideally the teacher is there to help facilitate inspiration in the student by seeding a desire to achieve better and greater things.

The initial way to achieve this, I believe, is to play something awesome for the student. Grab some amazing piece of music, play it, and have the student think, wow, so that’s what a is supposed to sound like. Similar to that is to perhaps bring some recordings in to lessons of some famous (or not so famous but still great sounding) musicians. If your class room / studio is equipped with wifi, youtube is just a smart phone and a few megabytes away.

One of my issues with my university clarinet teacher was that he didn’t play much. He was this amazing clarinet player, so it made no sense to me why he talked so much (he had this weird habit of analysing my behaviour as if he was some kind of psychiatrist).

My point is, the teacher is there to make playing their chosen instrument (or just playing music in general) seem like the best thing ever. The student, knowing that they have this awesome teacher to mentor them, now has a far greater chance of becoming inspired to play, to practise and thus reach a greater standard and/or enjoyment. All the tools (i.e. playing recordings, giving the student Top-40 pieces that they like, etc) are all facilitators to that core idea.

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One thought on “Motivation versus Inspiration

  1. Pingback: The Benefits of Audio Recordings | glennmccord

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