The Challenges Of Teaching Pre-literate Preschool Music Students
“Most music method books are confusing, cluttered, and just plain suck!”
If you take a look at the way traditional music publishers present information, it makes little sense. There’s too much visual noise on the page, along with confusing notes intended for different audiences. Nevertheless, this is how so many music teachers begin the first lesson with their students.
Have you noticed some of your pupils struggling more than usual to learn to read music? Do they score low in sight-reading tests? Do they take a really long time to learn a piece and then seem to be playing more by ear than by reading the music?
Maybe, just maybe they are dyslexic.
Sadly, many dyslexics go through life undetected. They’ve learnt to somehow find ways of avoiding situations which involve numbers and/or words and have endured endless frustration at the hand of parents, teachers, peers and themselves. Going back a little in time, before such learning difficulties were widely acknowledged, dyslexics were often Read more…
As students return for lessons after the holidays, why not kick off 2016 with pop music? Surprising your students with some Coldplay along with Chopin–or any favorite tune from the past or the present–could strike just the right balance to keep things interesting during the long winter months ahead.
The beginning of a new year is always a good time to reflect on the past year and make some revisions for the months ahead. Has your curriculum remained relatively the same and even become stagnant? Could you better match the interests of potential and eager customers in your local area by revamping your curriculum and adding some hit tunes from Adele, The Piano Guys or Star Wars?
David Cutler, author of The Savvy Music Teacher, discovered from his extensive research that music teachers who generated substantial (successful) incomes were more likely to integrate three elements into their instruction compared to other teachers who did not. They include: improvisation, technology and multiple musical genres.
Need to spice up 2016? Considering a fresh approach? Ready to integrate more improvisation, technology and musical genres, ie, pop music in to your teaching? Then you will want to sign up for and attend the 88 Creative Keys Winter Webinar Webshop. Watch the video below for more details. Read more…
Two weeks ago, my student Addison entered my studio and declared, “I wrote a song for Paris!”
A little puzzled by what he meant, I probed further and learned that he improvised a piece on the piano based on his feelings about the terrorist attacks in Paris and posted it on his YouTube channel. It was Addison’s way of processing the tragedy, paying tribute to the victims, communicating his sorrow and as I thought about it more, this was Addison’s way to give what he could: he wanted to play it forward.
I always found the rhythmic grouping of notes and rests very difficult to explain to students. How do you try and explain this concept to your theory and composition pupils?
Here’s an idea I stumbled on recently which seems to be helping: “money, money, money!”
• Before attempting to beam notes up into the correct groups, I first lay out a mixed selection of coins equivalent to four pounds sterling (I’m from England but the principle is the same whatever the coinage of your country. You can use real money or plastic play money).
• I then ask the pupil to organise the coins into four stacks equal to one pound, no more no less. The principle that this exercise demonstrates to them is that Read more…
What would you do if I sang out of tune, Would you stand up and walk out on me? Lend me your ears and I’ll sing you a song And I’ll try not to sing out of key Oh, I get by with a little help from my friends Mm, I get high with a little help from my friends Mm, gonna try with a little help from my friends
– Lennon & McCartney
You can’t do it alone. If you look around you, all the things in your life, from furniture, to electronics to clothes to even books and works of art – none of it was done by a lone genius.
I used to be seduced by this story of the lone creative genius toiling away in an isolated studio somewhere and emerging two years later with…the greatest thing ever! But, the work of all the famous authors, painters, inventors, teachers, musicians – they all needed a team to make it’s way to us. Van Gogh would not be known without his brother’s financial support and the art dealers and the scholars and the museums who have all promoted his work.
For years, I tried to do it alone and it was painful, hard, lonely. But, there is a better way and that way is called a mastermind group which I am certain has the potential to change your life.
On Monday, November 16th at 12 p.m EST, join Brandon Pearce, David Cutler, and Kristin Yost for a one-hour live talk answering your pressing questions about running a music teaching studio.
Don’t miss out on this unique opportunity to gain insight that will help you to flourish as a music teaching studio owner! Head over to the page to learn more about the panelists and ask questions in the comments section. The panelists will answer your questions during the talk.
The Savvy Music Teacher is a new book just out this month, offering a comprehensive look at what goes into making a decent living as a music teacher. The goal of the book is to provide a strategy for making a positive impact on your community and translating that into a good income for yourself. The book includes detailed discussions about music teaching options, a variety of income streams, financial explanations and strategies, and stories about successful experiences from over 150 savvy music teachers.
Author David Cutler, the Director of Music Entrepreneurship at the University of South Carolina, starts by asking the readers to become aware of their own teaching formulas and priorities, while highlighting numerous ways to freshen or rethink methods and content. For many teachers, this discussion might inspire some new ideas about how to match teaching approaches and formats with their personal interests and style.
A review of Cutler’s previous book, The Savvy Musician, can be found in an earlier Music Teachers’ Helper blog post at this link.
Read on, and enjoy an overview of the book, as well as a look at the book’s companion website… Read more…
Competition for a good piano teacher is fierce these days. How do you make yourself stand out? Somehow I’ve managed to make a business for myself in the musically congested city of Los Angeles. Here are some of the tricks in my bag:
Use your phone’s video camera.
Most of the time, parents are not around to watch their kid’s piano lessons. Sometimes, they aren’t even home (nannies are there instead). If you have a studio where students come to you, it’s likely the parents don’t sit in the room with you. This means that the very people who hired you never get to see your actual work. You need to show them what you are doing for 2 very important reasons. Read more…