A teacher’s job neither starts nor ends in the studio. Preparation, brainstorming, caring, ideas, inspiration, creativity… these are only a few words to describe the immense responsibility we have outside of the studio. Have you ever found yourself writing a letter outside teaching hours to encourage a student who is struggling with their first Minuet or help a parent who needs advice on inspiring their child to practice, or researched the best local pianos for sale?
Nothing will be super easy. Everything will be worth the time. Encourage determination and faithfulness. Luke-warmness in teaching is pointless… the ideas to brighten the day and make worthy the challenge, are endless.
Take your job seriously in all respects. :-) I have discovered that when we, as teachers, enjoy what we do, our students have a sense of ownership, joy, and satisfaction in the accomplishments they have made at their instruments. Keep pouring into your students and enjoy every moment and opportunity you have to make a difference in their lives through music.
I will always try to…
* pray for my day’s list of students before entering the studio.
* look students in the eyes, let them know how glad I am to see them, and smile!… be cheerful
* give clear practice instructions, demand only the best and be patient when practice weeks don’t reach those expectations
* teach and enforce proper technique… especially by observing away from the piano. We will video-tape the student playing so they can evaluate themselves (position, alignment, posture, tone, musical shape and imagery, etc).
* apply music theory in a composition or accompanying aspect… using Finale & Garage Band & PianoMaestro & Notion.
* students will play music games online as part of their assignments.
* come up with creative ideas for lessons each week. This includes games and visuals for students of all ages.
* spend time looking for the songs the students request.
* keep up with the points & placements of those participating in the “Monopoly Music” challenge.
* keep explanations simple and free from too many analogies – which can be confusing for many students. Simple, concise, and direct answers are best.
* not let exhaustion take away my sense of humor… appropriate individually for each age.
* celebrate student’s accomplishments with them!
* Your music means so much to everyone who hears it!
* You have a special gift and opportunity in piano (work hard, be responsible, and share it with a humble attitude – every professional musician was once a beginner… and there is always more to learn – yes, even for teachers). :-)
Other Assignment Ideas…
* listen to a particular classical song and write a review on it (short, but informative).
* create songs to describe certain moods or objects.
* use online music games to learn, play, quiz, and challenge – continuing through the levels – highlighting the time & effort & diligence, rather than the successes.
* music games to play at home and teach family members.
* use metronome for a steady beat/tempo… march around room to metronome & then to music… only stepping on the beats 1 2 3 4 (and not the notes and runs in between).
* clap/tap the rhythm.
* white board (symbols, writing counts, drawing notes, etc).
* apps on tablets & smart phones.
As a reward, generously use incentives… small candies, fun stickers, music games in that lesson or the next, and worksheets they enjoy (and don’t realize they’re learning!). Fun! :)
I repeat what I said at the beginning of this entry… “Nothing will be super easy. Everything will be worth the time. Encourage determination and faithfulness. Luke-warmness in teaching is pointless… the ideas to brighten the day and make worthy the challenge, are endless.”