Music Teacher's Helper Blog

When you choose to become a teacher, one of the most important responsibilities is to have a good relationship with your students.

There are many reasons as to why this is a priority but the most important is that if you don’t get along with your students, your lessons won’t get through to them, even if they are well thought out and planned.

Of course there are many teachers out there that keep things very strict and are considered good teachers but it’s also not as simple as being friendly or not.

Having a good relationship with your students is about getting to know them and be friendly without crossing any lines, you have to remember you are a teacher not a friend.

To make things a bit clearer, these are a few tips you can keep in mind that will help you build a good relationship with your students.

And of course, try to remember their names!

Know What Your Students Like

The first impression of a young student is that the teacher doesn’t have the same interests at all, whether it is in music, movies, TV shows or clothes.

One of the best ways to get someone’s attention is a pleasant surprise, and you will, without a doubt surprise them if you show interest in what they like or maybe mention something that they weren’t expecting like talking about a videogame soundtrack or something out of the ordinary in terms of traditional music education.

Of course, connecting through music would be the best scenario in this regard, as it not only helps you make that connection but it also gives you inspiration to develop your class.

Be Ready to Learn From Your Students

Yes, you may be the teacher and it is your job to teach them music but, a teacher that is willing to learn from their students is even better.

Students are always being pushed to think and work around things, so sometimes they come up with amazing ideas or music that cannot be overlooked.

Some teachers dismiss many ideas from their students because they “clearly know less than the teacher” but this is far from the truth.

Having this approach in mind will also make you be more excited with each lesson, with the hopes you might learn something too, and that excitement will be displayed when you teach.

A Sense of Humor

A teacher with a sense of humor makes everything a more pleasant experience, which is a very important thing in order to make students really appreciate your lessons.

No matter what is being taught, it’s easy for a class to get heavy and hard to process, however, these moments of humor to loosen things up a bit helps keeping things fresh.

Students

Story Time

One of the best way to connect with your students is sharing things about you, maybe an annecdote from another group of students or just a funny story related to the class.

This makes the whole experience a bit more human, which is necessary.

Students, especially younger ones, can see a teacher as this big authority that is very far from their world that it’s almost impossible to empathize.

These “storytelling” times can help you avoid this and maybe spark a few laughs or inspiration.

MTH Features

As a part of the MTH team, we recommend that you make the most out of the features we offer in order to help build your relationship with your students.

Remember to use birthday reminders, as your students will appreciate that you are aware of those important celebration dates.

From automatic lesson notes, to easy scheduling, Music Teacher’s Helper will assist with your needs as a music teacher giving you the space and time you need to build a good relationship with your students, based on trust, respect and a genuine love for music anywhere in the world.

 

 

 

 

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It’s true that the internet has been around for quite some time now and we are quite used to video conferencing as a means to communicate with friends and family.

It’s also true that when it comes to other things such as teaching, video calls were not a first choice even more so with music lessons.

However we have been forced to embrace video calls and other tools in order to keep teaching, and we’ve learned that it is actually a great alternative even if we think of a world 100% free of Covid 19.

It’s been almost a year since we adapted to this way of teaching, but that is a relatively short amount of time.

That is why it may be a good idea to stop for a moment and review the tools available in order to make the most out of video conferencing.

Video Conferencing as a Music Teacher

This is not a tool but,it is a reminder that you must find the tools that suit your job.

There is a focus on sound quality and a good connection when it comes to online music lessons.

Video conferencing can be messy at first but there are some things that have to meet a certain standard if you are going to teach music.

Under this idea, let’s review a few tools.

Zoom

It’s no secret that Zoom was the most used video conferencing platform in 2020. It’s very stable, it offers great video and audio quality, it lets you record calls and it’s very easy to use.

One of the pros of this platform is that it has the highest capacity of people in one call without any issues. Of course the limit is 500, and you’re probably not going to be giving a lesson to that many students at the same time but, it does show how stable the platform is.

There is however, a free version and a paid version. While the free version covers most of the features you’ll need as a music teacher, there are some things such as scheduling and a cloud recording storage that are only available if you get the pro version at $14.99 a month or the enterprise version which gives you access to an unlimited storage for $19.99 a month.

In general Zoom is a very good choice and it will work just fine for your music lessons.

Rock Out Loud

Video Conferencing

There are many reasons why Rock Out Loud could be the best choice for you, but the main reason is that it is a platform with a focus on music.

This is important because not only does it offer a higher quality audio codec but it also offers features that enhance the learning experience such as on screen chords and on screen music sheets.

This is one of the features that set it apart from other video conferencing tools as it allows you to see your students, and teach with the instrument in hand without having to switch to a presentation mode to screen share or get the camera close to a book.

It’s very useful, but if you want to screen share, you also have that option.

When it comes to all the other important aspects of a video conferencing platform, it’s very good, offering a great quality audio, video and a stable connection.

However it doesn’t get close to the amount of people Zoom can hold in a call, with a limit of 35 people, although most teachers probably have less than that in one online lesson.

It’s also very easy to use for both teachers and students.

It also offers a free version, a paid version with lesson rooms for $9.95, and the most expensive version at 13.99 for multi lesson rooms and the ability to assign sheet music to each room.

for more information check out the Rock Out Loud Live website.

Skype

Skype has been around for a while and most people are familiar with it which can be one of its strengths.

It’s free and offers all the basic things you need for a video call but it is one of the most limited and it does have some issues with performance and there are some problems sometimes when adding contacts.

They’ve recently added the Meet Now product, which enables hosts and participants to create and join a video call without making an account or downloading the app.

Skype has been around for quite some time so it’s safe, easy to use and it offers a seamless user experience, but if you want to think outside the box when thinking of your music lessons, it may be best to think about other options.

Google Hangouts

After all we’ve mentioned before, what could Google Hangouts offer that the other platforms don’t? one of the good things is that, like Zoom, you don’t need to have an account, you just need the link to go to the call which can be useful sometimes.

The big thing about Google Hangouts is its connection to all other google platforms such as gmail and google calendar, which helps with accessibility.

Other than that is good, it’s free but nothing particularly amazing.

Others

There are other options that can be of use but not as the main platform, such as Whatsapp, Facebook messenger, and many others.

These shouldn’t be your main platform mainly because it doesn’t offer the level of quality that other platforms have, due to the fact that social media isn’t specialized in video conferencing, but still, it can work as support tools.

As always if you got the video call covered but you still need to manage your own studio and music lessons, Music Teacher’s Helper can be a great tool to support you as a teacher.

 

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We know that 2020 wasn’t the best year for many of us, but it was also a year that brought some good things in terms of music.

Being isolated and making us step back from the fast paced day to day, can change our perspective quite a bit, and in music it has made both teachers and students explore new things, making the most out of their creativity.

It’s important to remember that even if it was a hard year, there were so many things we could learn from it that will stay with us even when there is no pandemic to worry about.

Did 2020 Bring Good Things?

There was no lack of time to explore and find something to get attached to, something that kept the spirits up and the hope for a better tomorrow.

This was the case for music teachers as it inspired them to make new and creative things during the pandemic.

Some teachers even learned to enjoy teaching online a lot, and this is because of a few reasons:

  • More family time
  • A change of pace
  • Learning new things and familiarizing with new tools
  • Review goals and strategies
  • Realizing that online lessons have no bounds
  • Online teaching has its own set of good things and bad things, it’s not just a worse alternative

According to the data from colorfulkeys.ie

Overall, teachers have an average of about 22 students.

The youngest ages which teachers taught skewed younger than we expected, with nearly 90% taking on students under the age of 7.

Over 60% of teachers teach 30 minute lessons as their standard format which mostly varies up to 45 minutes.

Only 3.4% of teachers said that they were not interested in composing or improvising with their students, and this is a very good thing, because most traditional music schools don’t give enough attention to composition and improvisation.

More than 90% of teachers taught online in 2020 which makes sense, and Zoom was the preferred platform.

More Personal Approach

In music education, sometimes creativity is put to the side in order to focus on performance and technique, however being in lockdown has been an interesting test.

This without a doubt gave many musicians around the world something to write about, while dealing with their own issues, this includes music students and beginners.

What happened was that many students couldn’t resist the fact that they have the skill to play an instrument and there is a lot of time on their hands. This can fuel their passion even more as it is a more personal approach to music, one that doesn’t rely on just attending classes on a tight schedule, and as consequence, students enjoy their lessons even more.

Education Through New Technologies

This has been one of the hardest things to overcome, for both teachers and students, since it’s a very different environment and learning process.

The idea of a classroom and sharing the same interests with other students it’s very important to stay motivated and invested in every lesson.

However despite the harshness of 2020, there was always a way to maintain that human connection through a virtual classroom as teachers got creative and less traditional in order to adapt.

There were many things we learned about relying on the internet and many apps such as Zoom and Skype. One of them is that these new technologies have great potential, but there are some things to overcome.

The most notable issue is that the internet, while it has no bounds, some places in the world don’t have a really good connection.

Still, even though the world will eventually get back to normal, this was a big reminder that these tools exist, and they are meant to be used.

Better Tools

Most music teachers hadn’t been able to get an”upgrade” when it comes to the tools that new technologies offer, and can in fact improve and widen the possibilities when teaching.

Making room for a home office to teach online lessons was both a useful and encouraging part of 2020 for music teachers.

Maybe redecorate a room a little, or just using an old storage that wasn’t really being used that much.

Investing in a good pair of headphones, a mic and maybe a new computer was also a big part of adapting to this way of teaching.

Parents Role

It’s true that students have to learn how to be responsible and organized on their own, but at the same time, it’s also true that parents have been very absent in general when it comes to their children’s education, and this shouldn’t be the case.

This is also a good thing if schools and teachers manage to engage with parents in creative ways.

This is definitely one of those things that doesn’t seem to hard but it’s very easy to overlook, thankfully 2020 was a step in the right direction when it comes to parents support.

Learning Experience in 2020

Most of us can agree that in many ways, 2020 was a year that made us reflect and put ourselves to the test on various areas.

For musicians in any area whether it was teaching, composing, learning as a student, it made staying at home a bit of a strange exercise, as music became a window to breathe and meditate.

Just like any intellectual process, music offered a cathartic element from its art and sounds either directly, by making or playing music, or performing another task with music to help keep a positive mind.

This was easier due to the fact that students were at home with a lot of free time.

There is a lot to have in mind moving forward to 2021 that could improve the way musicians teach and learn music, making the most of  every tool possible.

We hope to keep offering the best content and support at MTH, and we thank you for choosing us to help you with your lessons.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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