Reflections on Areas to Explore in my Teaching

What have worked well:

  • Start each term with pieces that students can perform at the term’s student concert. The pieces can be learnt by rote, by ear or by score.
  • Use the one note at a time when learning tunes by ear. And getting especially older adult students to play by ear directly from listening to actual songs is very difficult. Also, getting them (especially those in their 60s and 70s) to memorise music can be challenging.
  • Showing students how to harmonise the melody by ear is doable. And some actually excel in it after a few iterations.
  • Start with reading at the very beginning of the lesson before other assignments/projects eat into the time for reading
  • When teaching improvisation, student starts with the melody, then left hand then hands together within the same lesson. It is important to give improvisation ample time during lesson time. 5-10 minutes just doesn’t cut it especially for beginners
  • Parental involvement in lessons of especially younger children is vital
  • A studio wide points system can motivate especially children to practise more.
  • Give students a choice of what to learn. I usually play 2-3 pieces and have the student decide the piece they like e.g. I would play 2 or 3 exam/rote/play by ear/improvisation pieces during a lesson and student would choose piece #1, 2 or 3 to work on.

Areas to be explored

  • Learn specific classroom management techniques for group and partner lessons.
  • Have students/parents register for the new term and make deposit 2 months before the new terms starts
  • Find and implement a method/curriculum for 4-6 years old that involves movement, singing, solfege, games and fun!
  • Create a student handbook with sections titled “What to practise if I missed a lesson”, “How and how long to practise?”, “I’d love to play in a student concert but I am fearful of it”.
  • Incorporating technology within lessons and outside of lessons.
  • Explore how to introduce composition into the lessons framework.
  • Reflect on the method/curriculum for older adults (in their 60s and 70s). Maybe the curriculum should start with reading as this focuses on their strength instead of other learning methods – rote, play by ear and improvisation.

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