Using Peak State in Music Education

Last weekend we finished a Tony Robbins event in Sydney called “Unleash the Power Within” and have to say it totally rocked!

It was a weekend full of energy, learning and being in an “active” state of mind . Because of it, I feel that we have acquired many new ideas and directions and over the course of the weekend, we had a chance to really think intensively about ways we can impact more teachers and students in music education.

Tony Robbins is an absolute master at teaching about life. He teaches how to control your own thoughts, emotions and shows you how to believe in yourself so you can have breakthrough’s in areas such as relationships, business, finance and time management. I would strongly suggest it to be a must for anyone working with kids. Throughout the event, he had us doing things that we didn’t think were even possible- let alone getting 3,500 people to do it all at the same time.

The Power Of being in Peak State
Have you ever had a time in your life where ideas or energy was just flowing through you and everything was just falling into place? Well the chances are that when this happened, you were in “Peak State !”

Peak State is when your brain and heart tell you that it’s all possible-no matter what the obstacles around you may be. The amazing fact about being in this state of mind is that retention of content being taught is much higher ( I think they explained it was about 80-90%). So one of the major lessons I learned from the event was learning about how to be in this powerful state within seconds- and the great news is that it’s so easy to do and it’s fun!

Why Peak State is Important to a Music Teacher
Have you ever had a lesson where you taught some new amazing musical concept only to find that the very next time you see your students, they’ve forgotten it and you end up teaching it again and in some cases several times over!

My feeling on this one is that it’s one of our “pet peeves” as music teachers! Is that right?

Well the major benefit of being in peak state is that retention increases dramatically. You probably already know what the statistics are. When you sit passively listening to content, you remember about 10%; if you write it down you remember about 50-60% , but if you are active and in peak state where you call out answers and are having fun while learning, you remember 80-90%.

Getting into Peak State is Easy!
The whole term “Peak state” sounds so technical doesn’t it! It sounds like it’s going to be hard to do, but don’t worry- it’s really easy,it’s certainly not rocket science and most importantly it’s fun! I’ll explain to you what they did at the event to get us there consistently every few hours.

The biggest component to getting into “peak state” is to move around, but not just walking – it’s a really vigorous jump to the point where the excitement level explodes in the room and gets you “pumped” . At the event they would do this constantly by putting on rock and pop songs where the audience would sing along, they would have crew members doing actions on stage which showed the audience how to move and what actions to do and they would pick songs which all had uplifting meanings and words. Some of the most popular crowd songs they used were “Simply The Best” (Tina Turner), “Life” (Haddaway), “Bad Romance” (lady Ga Ga- even though the title is not uplifting, the words actually say I want your love!). I also want to note that throughout the weekend, they didn’t just use rock music, there were times throughout the weekend they also used ballads and other powerful emotional music (songs like the theme to the Titanic) that was used to spark powerful emotions and feelings.

Here is a You Tube video I found which is a few years old, but the principle is still the same. You’ll see in this video that the dance moves are really simple- they’re basically claps in different directions and lots of movements with arms up in the air, but as Tony Robbins comes onto the stage watch how the crowd jumps off the floor – this is peak state!

This is the song “It’s a Beautiful Life “ and some simple actions to go with it which often got the audience into peak state throughout the weekend.

Finally, here is a video which show the highlights from Unleash The Power Within in Sydney. As you can see, it’s not just dancing and clapping there’s a lot of learning and content done throughout the weekend too, but it’s always done in a fun, interactive way and with the whole crowd in this state of mind, breakthroughs in people’s lives occur. You’ll see a clip of a young boy in the video- we saw throughout the event that teenage kids loved this program and were even better at some of the exercises and games than most of the adults were!

To me the whole weekend highlighted just how powerful music is! It really can be used to change the way you feel. It can get you “pumped up”, but it can also help you contemplate and become more settled (for example playing classical music in the background of a classroom can really produce a quiet calming atmosphere). I’ll always remember this quote from the weekend :

“ Breakthrough’s in life only occur in an “Active” state of mind.” ~Tony Robbins



But now I want to hear from you!!! What music do you use in the music classroom or studio to get your classes in peak state? What music do you use to get your classes into a calm and settled state? Feel free to share the strategies and techniques you use most often in the music classroom or studio to get the most out of your students!

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1 Comment

  • By Ron Reply

    I really enjoyed this post, I’ve seen Tony Robbins on TV but never heard any of his material. But your description of peak state makes a lot of sense. We’ve probably all had the experience of music changing our mood. But its incredible that it can really change our “state” to the extent that our ideas flow freely and that recall and retention is so greatly improved. I think a lot of music has the power to get one into “peak state.” Whether its slow or fast, happy or sad, moving to music has the power to change the way we feel. I’ve had the experience of listening to the news on the car radio, then changing the station to music and somehow feeling a lot better! Its probably a combination of the fact that the news can be depressing and that music is uplifting.
    Thanks for this great post!
    http://rontayebi.blogspot.com/

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