If you’re a music teacher, you’ve definitely had the experience of your students not practicing. Have you ever had an experience where your students said they practiced, but they obviously didn’t get any better? Both cases happen far too often. You may have tried everything to get them to practice including stickers, accountability charts, getting […]
Do you teach classical music? If so, you’re likely quite the classical music aficionado. Are your students the same? Just because your students are young, doesn’t mean they can’t enjoy classical music. They should be enjoying classical music. It’s the unfortunate truth that a lot of young musicians won’t go on to have much proficiency at the instrument they’re taking lessons to learn. This is often because of lack of practice. I don’t believe that we should just concede that this will always be the case, but at the very least if as teachers we can help build a love of classical music in the students we’re teaching, I believe that to be a big success in and of itself.
What are the required credentials to be a private music teacher? The simple answer is, there are none! You can be a private music teacher as a high school student teaching your friend, or a college music student, or just an experienced amateur. That’s the simple answer, but does that mean anyone is qualified to teach music? Should everyone be allowed to teach music?
Music is made up almost entirely of patterns. Patterns can be defined as notes that are organized in a predictable manner. If you are able to find these patterns in music, you can often predict what is coming next. Understanding patterns can also help in learning and memorizing a piece much faster. Many students of music understand that patterns exist, but they fail to use them to learn their music, instead relying on learning one note at a time.
Finding, labeling, and sometimes extending patterns, are the first things that you should do while learning a piece of music.
Your first lesson with a new student will be the most important lesson you ever have with that student. If the student, or the parents, are not impressed, they won’t continue lessons with you. It’s not just important for your income as a teacher, it’s important for the student.
There have been many students that had a bad first impression with music lessons that didn’t continue. That’s sad! As teachers, our biggest desire is to share our passion of music with others. If we scare them off during the first lesson, it doesn’t matter how amazing of a teacher you are, they will never get a chance to find out! Here are some ideas that will make your new students beg to continue studying with you.
If you play the piano, or if you’re a teacher, you’ve likely been taught in the classical tradition. You predominantly learned to read music. By reading music, you translate the notes on the page into music on the piano. That’s the only way that I was taught to play the piano. I was never taught to improvise or play by ear. It’s a different skill set. Most often these skills are not found in classical pianists. Does that mean they can’t be applied in classical music?
Let’s look into a different way of learning, that can be extremely effective.
When I began teaching piano, I was adamant that the method books that were available were not as good as something I could teach on my own. After a few months, I realized I was wrong. Trying to create my own method was not complete enough, and I ended up all over the place with my students. I finally gave in and experimented with the big three: Bastien, Alfred, and Faber. It wasn’t until recently that I’ve finally found a method book I love. That books is Piano Safari.
Music teachers tend to do a pretty good job in teaching students, but there is always room for improvement. Giving instruction is only one aspect of teaching. Teaching students how to learn on their own is one of the best gifts a teacher can give a student. As teachers we should play less of a lecturing role and more of a guiding role.