Motivation, the key to talent development

Motivation trapped?

There is individual motivation and there is inspired teaching. Teaching at its best, will lead the way, will turn that music classroom into a creative workshop where those who already have that inner urge and those who still need that gentle push will feel welcome. Teaching as well as learning about music is about ownership. Acquiring our full potential in whatever field may be a bumpy road ahead. Above all, there are lots of personal stories out there that not only prove that the benefits outweigh the hardship. Their joint ownership is a story of joy.
mix doesn’t want to get trapped in this classic interpretation of “the secret of their success is…” A rather pointless search if it does not include every personal angle that so-called successful musical talents allow us to have an insight into. mix is out there to have you experience their stories.

Why do young people decide to enroll in musical education? Whatever elements are thrown into that emerging musical cauldron, their prime observers, i.e. music teachers will always bear in mind, that the sheer will to excell is only seldom a top priority. It may even be emphasized that an initial keenness to perform often entails damage to the joy of acquiring genuine craftsmanship.
(Lacaille, Koestner, en Gaudreau 2007).

A music teaching environment is no different from a regular teaching environment. Especially our youngest students can do without that competitive spirit in which there is continual comparison with others. This inevitable urge to perform will manifest itself in secondary education. By then, teenagers have (hopefully) been trained in some kind of coping strategy. It is all about finding the right tone. Creating a welcoming and warm class atmosphere is by no means the miracle medicine, but it sure is a healthy ingredient to put into every music education mix. (Schatt 2011).
Should we then avoid every competitiveness? Of course not. But performance targets are but a means, the aim is to acquire personal insight and to learn to adjust. (Elliot en Church 1997).

Music classes are about the teacher’s efforts to contribute to her or his students’ personal development. Whatever those personal standards are, there is no personal joy that will be fully relished without a musical drive and the sense of wanting to engage fully. That is undoubtedly the musical key.

21-century talent scouting

mix wants to contribute by exploring pedagogical insights, different perspectives in different contexts. Education is a long-standing house, music education even longer. Recent events have also been confronting in a way that also blended learning may offer new ways to deal with new situations. In any case, ours is an exciting scope that involves gender, a growing crosscultural musical mix, frictions that want us to have a view on freedom and social involvement, inviting us to compose and improvise, as if putting together a music piece…

Any talent search is embedded in its social context and will require an inclusive understanding and willingness to join into that mix!

Mix gives the student a central role and allows many students to have their say. By allowing pupils to give feedback on their experiences, we can also be open to the future.  Who are the students we talked to? Discover them here!

Who are the students with whom mix interacted?


Elliot, Andrew J, en Marcy A Church. 1997. ‘A hierarchical model of approach and avoidance achievement motivation.’ Journal of personality and social psychology 72(1): 218.

Lacaille, Natalie, Richard Koestner, en Patrick Gaudreau. 2007. ‘On the value of intrinsic rather than traditional achievement goals for performing artists: A short-term prospective study’. International Journal of Music Education 25(3): 245–57.

Schatt, Matthew D. 2011. ‘Achievement Motivation and the Adolescent Musician: A Synthesis of the Literature.’ Research and Issues in Music Education 9(1): n1.