The curtain opens.  The crowd goes silent. 

And then he starts playing his guitar...

You could hear a pin drop in the video.  No one had ever played the guitar in his school talent show before!

You’ll get to see the entire video in just a minute, but first let me give you a little context about what makes Joshua’s guitar journey so special.  It may not be what you think...

THE QUICK BACKSTORY

We meet the summer between 2nd and 3rd grade because Joshua’s grandmother searches for guitar lessons McKinney, TX

And my teaching business, MckinneyGuitarLessons.com shows up in the search results...

She wants something fun and new for Joshua to do during the summer. She asks about my teaching background and whether or not I teach 8 year olds. And after a good talk, she gets him a gift certificate for private lessons...

MEETING JOSHUA FOR THE FIRST TIME

The coolest part about meeting Joshua for the first time is that he's learning to play on his dad’s guitar- but it's not his dad's current guitar. It's the very same guitar his dad played when he was a kid...

The Ward Family Guitar

It’s so cool to the see a legacy of music come around full circle...

THE PROBLEM

But there's a problem a month after we meet. Joshua sets ambitious goals. And I know what you might be thinking: ambitious goals don't often get met, and...

He sets the kind of goals that would scare off most adults!

His goal is to perform for his 3rd grade talent show, and we are up against a very tight deadline. We have 6 months to go from total beginner to a solo performance in front of his entire school...

Just Joshua and his guitar

IN FRONT OF 300 PEOPLE at his school talent show...

No band, choir, or team to hide behind!

And in the back of my mind, I’m honestly thinking... What if it’s an unrealistic goal? What if I encourage his goal and he fails? What if my lessons miss the mark? What if he has a horrible experience and quits music forever?

And the biggie...

What if any of these worries prevent him from taking any big risks the rest of his life?

I know it seems exaggerated, but Michele (Joshua’s mom) and I shared more than a few emails about it...

HIS FIRST PERFORMANCE IS IN FRONT OF OVER 300 PEOPLE

Yes, Joshua sets ambitious goals.  He also follows a process that makes ambitious goals happen.

We’ll talk about “The 5 Phase Practice Folder System” we use during lessons in just a minute...  

But first, let me share with you his debut performance as a 3rd Grader in front of his entire school...

AFTER 6 MONTHS OF LESSONS AND PRACTICE!

See the red guitar?  His dad played that when he was a little boy...

You almost can’t help but smile when you see his eyes light up as the crowd starts to cheer!

It is an incredible experience to witness and be a part of in the life of a young person...

How incredible to see them truly enjoy the fruits of their labor! And to hear all those efforts being rewarded with a round of applause...

“Joshua is on cloud 9 tonight,” says his mom Michele.

Mckinney Guitar Lessons Student Spotlight Joshua Ward

What an awesome experience for Joshua and his whole family. He even wins 1st place for the whole talent show!

HOW JOSHUA PREPARES FOR SUCCESS USING THE 5 PHASE PRACTICE FOLDER SYSTEM

I quickly learn that Joshua starts all his projects with an ambitious goal!  Then, he prepares a plan.  And he works hard to reach it.

We all applaud the finished performance, but it tells a story of perseverance that few will ever see...

And...

Joshua's family wants you to know that you can accomplish anything you try to make happen as long as you don't give up!

But that’s the key, and it’s a process for sure...

So...

They've given me permission to share Joshua's journey with you, so you can see what it looks and sounds like...

Listen to the difference between “Take 1” and “Take 2”...

He analyzes his performance, we discuss practice options, and he makes an adjustment that he chooses.  It’s much easier (and more validating) to ride shotgun in the learning process by using this self-evaluation and brainstorming strategy.

Students, like Joshua, who follow "The 5 Phase Practice Folder System” at Mckinney Guitar Lessons quickly learn they can make any goal a reality!

And because we brainstorm a ton of guitar practice strategies, he chooses to record his songs during our lessons. And then I email those song recordings to his mom and dad to inspire his daily practice...

We continue to follow this process and the following year, Joshua's mom writes...

Oh my, I started crying when I heard him playing… so proud! He’s going to ROCK that talent show again this year 🙂 Thank you so much for working with him on his songs and this project, it really means a lot to us and to Joshua!! See you Thursday.

Michele Ward, Joshua's Mom

JOSHUA PERFORMS COUNTING STARS FOR HIS 4TH GRADE TALENT SHOW

Way to do the work, Joshua!

And what a gift Joshua's parents give him... the opportunity to experience an empowering sense of accomplishment...

That the world can be your oyster...

That you can dream big...

That you can make it happen...

That you're capable of being competent when you show up and do the work! And, it gets even better...

JOSHUA PERFORMS RENEGADES FOR HIS 5TH GRADE TALENT SHOW

WOW!  But you’ll never guess the email I got before his last performance as an elementary student...

And remember, Joshua's family has given me permission to share this story of inspiration with you...

Here’s the unedited email...

Not sure what’s going on but the past 24 hours have been rough for Joshua. Sunday he was feeling confident and totally prepared for the auditions, but last night & this morning he’s been a basket case! You always do an amazing job of pumping him up… and he’s going to need every bit of it today!! I did my part and bought clear ear plugs and chocolate this morning 🙂 See you at practice,

Michele Ward, Joshua's Mom

So at practice, we make it a point to celebrate all of his accomplishments.  We visualize having a fun performance.  And we play through the song a handful of times while he imagines the crowd!

Now take another look at Joshua’s expression as the curtain opens on his final performance as an elementary student...

He looks just like he did in practice!

You would never guess that he struggled before this performance. Because if that’s not the face of a confident young man- I don’t know what is!

He continues to challenge himself with ambitious goals. He pushes the envelope on this performance like he does on all the others.

And he completes Phase 5 of The Practice Folder System: Living The Dream...

And this time the whole school claps along to the song! What an incredible journey. What an incredible finale to elementary school. And what an incredible work ethic...

I’m so proud of your efforts Joshua Ward. I’m a lifelong fan!

You continue to display true character through your perseverance and courage!  You stare doubt in the eye and give it your best shot...

Joshua, you inspire me...

SO, WHAT DOES JOSHUA HAVE TO SAY ABOUT MCKINNEY GUITAR LESSONS?

And so Michele talks with Joshua to get some feedback on lessons so you can hear what it’s like coming from a student’s perspective...

Here’s what Joshua has to say,

I like the fact that each week I learn something new! Pasco doesn’t just tell me what to do, he shows me how, and breaks it down in a creative, fun way so that by the end of each class I can actually play a new song! I also like the fact that he’s a guy and I can relate to him.

Joshua Ward

AND WHAT ELSE DOES JOSHUA GET TO DO AT MCKINNEY GUITAR LESSONS?

In between performances, Joshua begins a copyright project using The 5 Phase Practice Folder System...

And he does all the work! He receives a copyright for his original song, Tide, which debuts on his album of cover songs...

And yes, it's a legit copyright!

Here’s the album Bringing Down The Walls, by Joshua Ward...

Mckinney Guitar Lessons Student Records Original Copyright Song