Cooperative vs Compliant

Scales Aren't Just a Fish Thing 14 issue Newsletter - free
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Another layer to the ‘selfie-profile’

Scales Aren’t Just a Fish Thing

A concept connecting how we learn

and our how our brains process information

with the study of music,

developed for over thirty years

To touch lives with a calm and gentle spirit…

Scales Aren’t Just a Fish Thing is a  back door method of teaching just about anything

(I am using music and music theory as an example)

We can avoid short circuits and mental roadblocks by working with the unique wiring and learning styles of each individual.

Let’s Talk

Igniting sleeping brains –

Being Proactive

Scales Aren’t Just a Fish Thing

It’s not uncommon to mis-read a child’s responses.

You think…ahh it’s quiet and they didn’t meltdown with what I just ‘suggested’.

Since you aren’t getting negative feedback…you are wearing your

‘life is good’ hat

Hey, I’ve been there.
Peace at nearly any cost.


moments of quiet are sometimes just the ‘stillness’ before…..


Actually,….I don’t know what.

I’ve been shocked at the new ways
being invented to replace the





Compliant and Obedient

child is replaced by a

Passive Resistance

and then

rebellion .


In an attempt to live in ‘peace’,

we have sometimes put

blinders on our eyes’ –


We are left with dropped jaws
‘what just happened’
‘who are you’?


I used to say my parents’ method of parenting was:
‘closing their eyes
holding their breath
and hoping nothing bad happened.’
and then….


Even as teachers, we mono-focus and direct our energies to the creation of excellence in the music
and hold our breath, close our eyes, and hope
that it extends into other areas of ‘life’.

I’ve met sad and shocked teachers,
slumped down a bit in their chairs at a luncheon,
with a look of
‘why would they quit’?

You’ve sunk hours of mentoring into your most advanced high school student…
definitely not for the pay.
And they come in one day with a parent and say that was going to be their last lesson.

You feel powerless

and truthfully,

of little value.

Don’t they understand how beneficial music lessons are?

Ok, not always the music lessons but the one on one time with someone who cares and listens.

Most coaches and teachers care deeply for their students and what they think

I want the students to come to lessons.

Even if they haven’t practiced,

I basically have one rule for lessons…..

If you haven’t practiced…

come to lessons anyway.

If you are busy….

come to lessons anyway.



‘don’t come if you are sick’.

One day while I was in another room,
busy gathering stuff for a performance team preparing to play a wedding….
I over-heard one of them say….
‘I’m coming even if I have the flu’.
I just smiled.

Here were high school seniors ready to do the work to play semi-professionally,

Why were they so devoted?

I am not a micro-manager except when it comes to what and how I teach.

I put the pressure on myself.

The student is in charge of their own progress.

They can come as often as they want – if I am teaching and have an empty slot…they simply need to text me and they can fill it.

I use a monthly tuition so if they come once in the month or ten times, the price is the same so they have no one other than themselves to blame if they don’t take me up on it.

Once they leave the studio,

musical skills and technical understanding,



and a solid and healthy work ethic

are hopefully the byproduct of your time together.

So let’s look at another layer in our ‘selfie-profile’


Here’s what I think.

All learning comes

based on previous growth,


The mind does not grow

like an onion with layers.

It grows by weaving unimaginably complex patterns

that correspond to the multiplicities of their world

and people who make up their world.



A quiet easy student or child isn’t always better.

Once the child reaches 13 years old, they choose one of two paths.

Compliant or

Cooperative ….maybe. (sometimes misunderstood as resistant)

One is easier but once they reach maturity they say….

“Who am I-  I’ve pleased everyone else but what would I have liked?’

Mom and Dad think they have done a great job and launch the compliant new adult into a world where life requires more than compliance if they don’t want to be eaten by the ‘sharks’.

Resistance and sorting out what they accept as their worldview,

while in the protection of the home,

is actually a bit of a good thing if done with respect for everyone.

Compliant Obedient Child The Responsible, Cooperative Child
  1. Externally motivated. Needs to please and win approval  
  2. Is obedient – follows orders
  3. Feels helplessness without support person
  4. Self esteem is on the ‘reputation’
  5. Waits for orders, lacks initiative
  6. “I am my actions”
  7. Lets others make choices for them leading to consequences
  8. Has difficulty projecting what the result of their behavior may be
  9. External value system
  10. Blindly obeys, possible he may think

  11. Has no internal red flags
  12. Self-defeating tendency to ignore personal needs, ‘walk-on-me’ mentality
  13. Win-lose mentality
  14. No personal achievement goals
  15. Avoids punishment
  16. Self exonerating behavior due to guilt over their desires
  1. Internally motivated by choices and consequences
  2. Makes decisions
  3. Confident, empowered since choices have been confirmed
  4. Self esteem is on the private self
  5. Assertive
  6. “I am responsible for my actions   
  7. Makes own choices and takes responsibility for consequences
  8. Confident to make choices, aware of possible results
  9. Internal value system
  10. Thinks, may possibly obey

  11. Has an established internal siren to establish boundaries
  12. Aware of personal needs has a healthy acceptance of needs
  13. Win-Win mentality
  14. Focused, centered, with a mission
  15. Seeks results
  16. Balance between internal and external needs and desires versus others requests.

Scales Aren’t Just a Fish Thing



Join the newsletter on our selfie profile to understand the layers that make us so unique.

If you have already gone through the 14 week selfie profile, consider a few of the other free opportunities to discover a little more about your unique way of processing information.

Just some extra curriculum to add to your already amazing programs.

Piano – Absolute Beginner


Let Your Fingers

Do the Walking





Violin Workshop Sheet Music –

Total Newbies



Let Your Fingers Do the Walking



Music Theory Card Games




Awesome Challenges

for your fingers –





Join the team –

For teachers interested in

incorporating the

Scales Aren’t Just a Fish Thing

into their programs



Advanced Violin –

The Flight of the Bumblebee



Cello Absolute Beginner



Let’s Talk 

I have written music books that are color coded and music theory card games to help make complex concepts understandable.

Please check them out.


Be sure to get your email on it so you can follow the ‘Scales Aren’t Just a Fish thing’ concept from start to finish.

Teaching Tools including

color-coded notes

for all the Suzuki literature

through Book 4 plus lots

gypsy, fiddle and canons.

Play-along music

and music theory card games

to maintain interest.

Gum Drop Note Sheet Music

Circles are the color the note is moving toward.  Subtly the student is learning complex music theory without knowing it.  When they play the music theory games, it stamps the ideas and embeds them into their thinking.  Try them.

Remember:  a note that is sharp or flat is notated with a circle the color of the note it is moving toward.  Just a little help while we are learning.



The Brain and how we process information

Tools to teach

Violin Sheet Music – Paperbacks

Book One

Big Book of Gum Drop Notes

Tools to teach

Violin Sheet Music – Paperbacks

Pretwinkle books

   tutorial videos on computer and iPhone/iPad

and music theory games

digital books









Book One

Big Book of Gum Drop Notes



Violin  Book


Big Book of Gum Drop Notes


Violin  Book three

Big Book of Gum Drop Notes


Violin Great Extra


Big Book of Gum Drop Notes





Bass Clef Piano or Cello Note Locator (Sight-reading Music)



The ’10 Minute Music Theory Card Games’ ™ is a year long series of card games intended to be played at the end of each lesson.  This slowly builds understanding from the simplest concept until it is intrinsically understood. Students want to come to lessons because they are motivated and excited about learning.  Their progress is solid and steady.  They understand intervals and otherwise difficult music theory concepts by playing games until they are at lightning speed.  All games include ‘clue cards‘ with all the answers ‘nurture don’t test’.

‘The Magnificent Fingerboard ™’  is the basis for reference.  Students become familiar with the notes and the patterns. Combined with listening to the music, the understanding of the notes and their relationship to the notes around them, is a great musical foundation.

Ten Minute Music Theory

Card Games Series


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