"You can catch more flies with sugar." It's an old saying, one I remember hearing when I was young. If you're kind, you will have a better chance of getting the things you want.
Gratitude sometimes seems to be a lost art form. As we rush through life, balancing soccer practice with piano lessons, we've forgotten about the small things that show our thanks to the people who help us make music.
I try to remind Eclipse the importance of thanking friends, family, and fans for coming to a show. We need them because performing without an audience isn't fun. They're encouraged to say thank you, not just from the stage, but to take the time to speak to as many people as possible in the audience after they play.
When Music Authority is invited to play a show like Relay for Life, I make sure to send a thank you note for including our students the Monday after the event. Having live music at an event is a hassle, I understand that, and I'm grateful for every opportunity extended to any of our students.
Early in my musical education, I was told to give a thank you note to my accompanist when I sang a solo. We use tracks so frequently now that accompanists aren't as common, but it's still something that should be done. Think of the amount of time that goes into learning your song, the time taken out of their own schedule to attend the recital, and the use of the accompanist talent. Even if my accompanist is paid, I still include a thank you note when I give him the check. He's more likely to want to work with me again when I show some gratitude for the time and effort he's put into the work. (And if I have an accompanist that isn't being paid, I will usually include a gift card - a token of appreciation for the time and effort.)
As a teacher, I don't expect a thank you note from my students. I'm doing my job, a job I love, a job I'd never want to trade for anything else in the world. But thank yous are appreciated. Student who say thank you are more likely to convince me to forego an evening of writing to come see a middle school musical, choir concert, or even football game.
As a performer, I freely give of my time when I feel appreciated. I sing every Sunday morning because I enjoy the people I sing with. Almost every week someone thanks me for being there. That feeling of appreciation gets me out of bed for a 7:45 call time when I really want to sleep in. On the weeks when my job is ruling my life, or my schedule is a bit over packed, I still get up at 5:45 (the voice needs to be warmed up) because it makes me feel good to sing with other musicians I love to make music with; the icing on the cake is knowing that they appreciate me as much as I appreciate them.
I have been involved in another musical group - one that takes a significant portion of my time and energy. I spend time each week preparing music, rehearsal time, and time responding to messages and emails. I rarely get a thank you from that group; more likely, I hear complaints about other musicians, material, or personalities. This group is the first thing to fall from my "to do" list when life gets busy. Hearing a constant stream of complaints doesn't inspire me to go above and beyond.
The next time your student performs, encourage them to say thank you. The audience, their teacher, and the other students are an important part of the performance experience. Learning to say thank you now will instill a culture in your child's life later - one that includes showing gratitude that can help them find success and catch flies.