Bonnie TeVelde wasn't always a music school director—she started as an accountant and business operations consultant that helped clients develop their businesses. She was frustrated and started a music education on the side to fill her soul in a way her day job couldn't. As her music business grew, she really loved it and felt like she wasn't working–she just "went into the zone"–and realized that teaching music was what she was MEANT to do.

Pairing Music Education Students and Teachers by Personality

Bonnie discovered firsthand as both a music student and a school director that the typical people who make it through high-level music school are really detail-oriented extroverts (Extroverted Sensing Thinking Judgers) because they:

* require extroverted qualities (E) for performing,

* have to be detail-oriented to play the notes exactly as conducted or written (ST), and

* are very scheduled individuals that are product-oriented (J)

…and those are the people who typically decide to teach music.

However, ESTJs are typically self-minded from a personality perspective, which makes it challenging for them to be successful teachers because teaching is all about the STUDENT. Since Bonnie had been a music minor that loved psychology during college, she began pairing the two disciplines as she grew her music business, and started matching the personality type of the student to the personality type of the teacher. (As an INFP, Bonnie intuitively knew to be more flexible with the "perceiving" kids in her classes and encourage them to play for the love of music versus scheduled daily practices.)

And she watched her student attrition rates drop as a result.

But even with the most nurturing teacher/student relationship for the "Perceiving" students during lessons, she saw a trend after 6 months that they no longer had the zest for music that they had when they began…and began to see that the "Perceiving" students coming in that really adored playing music were inadvertently thwarted by "Judging" parents that wanted their kids to be on a practice routin–and that the "Judging" students with "Perceiving" parents weren't adhering to a more disciplined practice regimen and lost interest after several months. So she started coaching her parents with mismatched personality types on how to better nurture their little musicians…and she was thrilled to see her student attrition rates drop even further. Best of all, the program served to further nurture fledgling musicians versus potentially squelching talent solely because the mentoring style of the teacher or parent didn't fit the student.

Success in Music Breeds Success in School

Pairing students with music mentors of matching personality types reaped benefits beyond the music school walls. All but TWO of the students from the teVelde School of Music's 100+ student roster are on their schools' honor rolls. Bonnie feels that this is because music education doesn't just teach music…it teaches attention to detail; greater connections between the right and left hemispheres of the brain because both child's hands are occupied simultaneously while playing; and a stick-to-itiveness that is ingrained through a first-hand knowledge that "practice makes perfect". This mirrors several studies that shows that spatial reasoning increases by 34% in music students, IQs rise by several points as a result of music instruction, and music majors have the HIGHEST acceptance rates by university medical programs.

Perfect Absolute Pitch

Another unique dimension of the teVelde program's music curriculum is Perfect Absolute Pitch (PAP) for 2-6 year olds. These private lessons can help get a labeling system in place for pitch that is akin to the brain's labeling system for color. (How do you know you're looking at an orange piece of paper? You instinctively know it after being trained to match the tone with the appropriate label. How do you know you're hearing a "G" on the keyboard? You can only if you've trained your brain how to label that pitch as a G…regardless of octave.) Perhaps this metaphor is why PAP is often referred to "hearing in color".

Bonnie emphasizes that if your child has three or more of the seven signs of musical talent (click here to read them all), it is critical that they start music lessons as young as possible, since the ability to develop PAP is significantly hindered if you don't expose your child to a PAP program before the age of six.

Per Bonnie, almost all of the truly great composers in history had PAP, including Bach, Beethoven, Bartok, Chopin, Handel, Mozart, Rimsky-Korsakoff, Saint-Saens, and more. Some famous 20th /21st Century performers that have PAP are: Julie Andrews, Leonard Bernstein, Mariah Carey, Nat King Cole, Bing Crosby, Miles Davis, Celine Dion, Ella Fitzgerald, Marvin Hamlisch, Jimi Hendrix, Vladimir Horowitz, Michael Jackson, Yo-Yo Ma, Yngwie Malmstein, Andre Previn, Artur Rubinstein, Paul Shaffer, Frank Sinatra, Barbra Streisand, Arturo Toscanini, Steve Vai, Brian Wilson, Stevie Wonder, Yanni, and more.

In fact, 69% of popular musicians have PAP, compared to the general population percentages which are 1/10,000 with the genetic ability, and much less than that who actually have training early enough to develop it fully. Bonnie is quick to note that not every child who is musical will become a great musician, even if they start young. But, if you really believe your child is musical, why would you deny them the chance of developing the one ability that could set them apart from most the other musicians out there?

More Information

For more in-depth information on Bonnie and the teVelde School of Music, we encourage you to visit the school's website here.

Thanks to Bonnie and all of her instructors for giving children the gift of music education that's taught in a way that truly embraces and respects each student's unique spirit.

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Using Personality Type to Enhance Music Education