Energy Types Introduction

Hey it’s James Mays here. I’m excited to share something with you that is vital to communicating with your musician. It’s called energy types. It’s different from personality types in that it’s an expression of how we move energy in communication with one another.

Welcome to another episode of Raising Musicians, the blog for parents that helps us understand how to empower our children to enjoy a lifetime love of music.

Musicians are energetic creatures. We move energy toward you, and we pull energy from you. That sounds a little vampire-ish, but that’s not what I mean. We experience energy coming from you. Looking at your energy type as a parent and your child’s energy type will help you in the communication game. It will help to foster their creativity, help foster their happiness, and probably most importantly, your connection with them so that you’re developing a relationship that is lasting and sustainable. And in the years to come, they want to hang out with you. That’s an important goal for me. I am constantly thinking about what I am doing today that affects my son’s behavior in the future and draws him closer to me. Hence, we have a closer bond and most of the time, that means me, stretching, and taking on new ideas and understanding where he’s at and being empathetic with him.

So this is one way that we exercise empathy is by understanding a person’s energy type, so I’m going to share the four energy types that we use. This is developed by a woman named Carol Tuttle. I want you to think about what type you are. And I want you to think about what type your child is. We exhibit characteristics of all of these types, so don’t try to box yourself in, but we exhibit two primary types in general practices. So, a primary and a secondary type, right, maybe more than that, but if you can, kind of try as an exercise to read and think about the type that you are, your primary and your secondary, and what your child’s primary and secondary are.

Type one is nitrogen. The bright animated person who has a gift for new ideas and possibilities. The natural movement of type one is upward and light. We can see this in a type one person’s personality and body language, and physical features. A person with a dominant type one expression is naturally an upward light silly, and upbeat person. This person is motivated by fun. Think of Jim Carrey before his spiritual awakening: silly, goofy, fun. We’re going to talk more about each one of these types. I want to go through them briefly for you now.

Type two, oxygen. The soft and calming person who has a gift for gathering details and making plans makes the natural movement of type two fluid and flowing. We can see this in a type two-person’s personality and their body language and physical features. This person does not need to be in the limelight but instead loves to observe.

Type three, hydrogen. The swift and dynamic person who has a gift for moving into action quickly creates practical and lasting results. The natural movement of type three is active and reactive. We can see this in a type three person’s personality and body language, and physical features. This person tends to be timely and organized. That’s a type three hydrogen.

Type four, carbon. The structured and exact person who has a gift for looking at the world through a critical eye and perfecting it. The natural movement of a type four person is constant and precise. We can see this in a type four person’s personality and body language, and physical features. This person needs to be in charge. Think of Steve Jobs as an archetype.

So those are the four. Ask yourself now, which is your primary and which is your secondary. Okay, and now, which is your child’s primary and secondary. Type one is bright and animated, type two is the introverted soft, and calming person, type three is the swift and dynamic person who is always on time, and type four is the exact person’s critical eye, perfection.

Let’s go into a little more depth on who these people are; type 1, 2, 3 and 4. So type one, The Jim Carrey, the silly and goofy when we’re educating type ones. One of the things about type one that I like to think about is, one of those often falsely diagnosed as Attention Deficit Disorders. They process information in a very different way because they are processing everything at once. So type one might talk to you for a minute about Spider-Man and then play piano, and then have a conversation about your dog, and then jump over here to this thing, and want to talk about that thing, and they seem like they’re distracted. They’re constantly distracted, but they’re clocking everything they haven’t moved on to the next subject. They’re still paying attention to that spider man conversation or the conversation about the dog or the piano though, they don’t appear to be doing that.

As an adult, when dealing with a type one, especially around practicing and, you know, music lessons. I find it easiest to go with the flow. Still, I always have the direction that I want to be going and guiding them in my back pocket. Keep pushing forward, like yeah, Spider Man’s incredible, what do you think about this piano piece, then play it for a minute. Then they go to dogs, “yeah dogs, what kind of a sound would a dog make on the piano?” That kind of thing just constantly redirects those ideas back to the activity I’m trying to engage them in. I think the important thing for us as a parent is our expectations around what we’re expecting them to do because if we’re expecting them to focus in an adult fashion on a task, you’re probably not going to get that from a type one. It’s going to make it no fun for them. And this is the key for type one. It has to be fun.

My son was a type one. He exhibited more type one from ages four to maybe 13, And now he’s shifting to exhibit more of type four. I’ll share more about that later. But he, as a type one. I’m not a type one so, I had to go overboard in my mind and say, “okay, what’s going to be fun for him? What’s going to be exciting for him? How can I make this a cool experience for him, whatever it is we doing?” For example, like with sports or basketball, which he liked a lot, I couldn’t be too competitive with him. It had to be super fun. I’m super competitive, so, you know, I do just set up experiences where he’s going to win, and he’s going to enjoy himself. It was the same with practicing his instrument or playing music together, or any of that kind of stuff is all about how this will be fun for him? How can I make this fun for him, getting myself out of the way as an adult and just being there for him? And, you know, I think I have to know my limits. When can I get myself out of the way, and when am I just spent, and I need some me, and I don’t have to give. And so, you know, then setting up his world in a way to where, you know, I’m present for him and able to give him as much as I can. For example, things that I would do is I would get myself up earlier in the morning, which was hard for me as a musician, right, I’ll get myself up earlier in the morning, than he would get up, because I knew I wanted to be present for him in a way where I could give him fun activities, so I had to get my meditation and my exercise and all the things that I needed to get myself in a peak state done before he woke up, so that I was there for him. Stretching in those ways to help, you know, any child. I’m going off-topic here, but you get the point like we need to stretch for them.

Type two is that soft and calming person. That flowing person, that introspective kind of wallflower person that doesn’t need or want to be in the limelight. That prefers taking in everything, so they don’t miss anything they’re taking in. They don’t need to comment on it, they don’t need to get out there and being engaged, out in the outside world they’re more comfortable internally now as musicians. Type twos are some of the most profound artists, and they can access a level of intimacy in their music that others have to work toward. They naturally pull that out. That’s why you’ll hear some type twos play, and it’s just like, “oh my gosh, that moved my heart, you know you’re only a kid, how are you doing that?” Because that’s where they live, down in there, so when we’re interacting with a type two, they can’t come in and go, “hey, how’s it going? Okay yeah great, let’s go.” They’re like, sometimes terrified of that, like, whoa, back up, and so they’ll back off. So, meeting a type two where they are and being introspective with oneself and energetically, allowing them that kind of space that they need to be creative, to practice in the way that they need to, is going to be significant in having a solid relationship with the type two.

Type three, hydrogen. The swift and dynamic person has a gift from moving into action quickly to create practical and lasting results, so type three is super energetic. They’re ready to go. They’re what we would typically call a type-A person; they’re getting their homework done, and they’re showing up on time, and they’re ready to go for the next assignment, and they’re a great student to teach. A type three will stop you in the middle of the sentence and ask you to clarify something: “wait, you said this. What do you mean, now?” That’s a type three-person. And so if we have our expectation set for keeping them engaged and staying ahead of them and keeping them inspired and keeping them challenged. They’re going to be happy in the musical world, right. So that’s an essential key for type threes keep them awake, alert, keep them challenged. When teaching a type three teacher needs to up their game up their energy. Get, get going, get ready because that’s what type three is like, they pair up and are energetic; they’re ready to go.

Type four, carbon is a structured, exact person who has a gift for looking at the world through a critical eye and perfecting it. The difficulty with type four is that they’re very critical of themselves. If that is not disciplined, it can cause harm to type four. If it’s balanced, that can be a great tool. The ability to look out into the future, see where you want to go, and see the pitfalls ahead of you and get there is a type four. That’s why type fours tend to be leaders, and they’re more comfortable in the leadership position. Type fours need to trust us, especially as a teacher. I sometimes find with type four, they don’t want to hear, “Oh, that’s great.” because they know they just made a mistake. They don’t want to make that mistake. They want it to be better. They know it can be better.
Stop fooling around with them on this. “Oh, everything’s great,” be honest with them. Acknowledge the mistake and acknowledge that you understand where they want to go and help them get there. That’s how you gain the trust of type four.

When type fours who are older, for example, I’ve had to stop, band rehearsal, and say, “Hey man, your vocals, they’re just not good. They’re just not getting any better. What are you going to do about it?” Now, I don’t usually talk to people like that, but with that particular type four, it stopped him. He was like, “oh my God. Okay, now you’re talking sense to me. Great. What do I do?” The other thing about type four is they need to be in charge. So, it’s important for us, even if we’re a parent or a teacher, to ask them for permission to give them advice. “Can I give you advice? I enjoyed hearing that. That was super cool. Would you like a suggestion?” And then see what they say. Sometimes they say no, don’t give it. Still, they’re only looking for suggestions when they’re coming to you for suggestions. Now, you know, when kids are young four or five, six, I don’t know, that’s up for grabs. As they progress, and they get older, and they route more in type four they aren’t looking for suggestions that they’re not asking for. So something to keep in mind.

Now, if we’re mixing, right? I’m a parent, I’m a type three, four, and my son’s a type one, when he was growing up now, he’s a one four. When he was a lot more one, everything was about fun up until about, I don’t know, 13? From age four to 13 everything was just fun, “hey let’s do fun fun fun.” And for me, a type three, I’m like, “let’s get some things done whoo hoo,” and I’m a type four; critical minded like we have to think this through. So that was like a tough recipe for a type one relationship. I had to put my stuff aside, and this is one of the important points I want to make today is that we as parents need to put ourselves aside and stretch and grow, and recognize that our relationship with our child is dependent upon our ability to stretch and grow, not theirs.

Now once you get into the teen years, there’s a cooperative relationship that needs to start happening as they develop, you know, some responsibility in the world. When they’re younger, it’s really about us stretching and changing so that we can support them. Stripping down some of our limiting beliefs so that we can support them, because they’re free right unless you know they’ve experienced some trauma and maybe even abuse or something like that. That’s a different situation, but I’m talking about, in general, a relatively healthy relationship for us as parents to get out of the way we have to stretch and grow.

So understanding these energy types helps improve our relationship right and especially around music and around practice and performances and how can we support them musically. I’m a type three and type four, right? I want to get it done. Type One is woohoo, let’s have fun, and I had to stretch my mindset. For example, one of the things that I did is I recognized, “wow, okay. I need a lot of self-care. I need meditation, I need exercise and I need my world to be in order. I know what I’m doing today so that I feel comfortable and calm and relaxed, and I can let go and be woohoo fun, right.” I committed to just getting up before everybody else and getting my stuff done to feel in a peak state. I got the exercise. My blood is flowing. I’ve had some breakfast. Everybody gets up, then I’m available for woohoo fun, because I know what my plan is for the day, and I got myself taken care of.

So that was one of the ways that I was able to stretch and adjust myself and make sacrifices for myself, you know, maybe that meant going to bed earlier, I’m a musician I was used to staying up until 10 to two. That was my creative time, but, when I had my son. I realized, “wow, I’ve got to get up earlier, so that I can be available for him when he gets up.” And so it’s that level of commitment as parents that allows us to be able to be in a position to support a different energy type. I hear a lot of examples from parents, you know, I’m a type three my child is a type one. I’m like, “get it done, you got to practice you got to have your practice.” The type ones don’t respond to that, it’s got to be fun for them, so keep that in mind.

The contradiction between type two and type three or type four is also the type two, being introspective; they don’t want a lot of pressure, they don’t respond well to a lot of pressure sometimes. So recognizing that and developing ways to kind of get around that type two and support them and let them feel comfortable and confident being quiet and introspective and not as gregarious or not as go-getting, but making it easy and flowing for them. That’s important for us as parents.

Those are some examples of how we use energy types. I hope you got something out of that. I guess my first attempt to describe this on a blog. Hopefully, you got something out of it. Please leave some comments to let us know what other episodes we could do. If you want to dive down into one of these energy types a little bit more, we can do that kind of thing. Would love to hear from you. Thank you for listening to raising musicians.