Brandon Pearce

Brandon Pearce

Brandon Pearce is the founder and CEO of Music Teacher's Helper, a web-based software program to help music teachers manage the business aspects of teaching music lessons. A piano teacher and computer programmer himself, he created Music Teacher's Helper as a side project to manage his own students, and in 2004, made it available for music teachers worldwide. Since then, it has grown to support thousands of music teachers around the world to become more organized, save time, and communicate more effectively with their students. And it is cared for by a team of over 20 talented individuals, all of whom work from home. Brandon currently spends his time directing and improving Music Teacher's Helper, traveling with his family, and writing and performing music. You can find more about him on his personal blog at PearceOnEarth.com.

I’m sure as teachers we have all come across a student (perhaps many) that has the same mistakes week in, week out, or

seems to have a very slow progress rate. The frustration in this scenario for me is that I know it is not necessarily due to lack of practice, but down to not following clear practice instructions. Good practice techniques seem counter-intuitive. The quickest way to be able to play a whole piece hands together is to play in small sections and also do plenty of hands separate practice. When a student gets home, the desire to play the piece hands together all the way through is so great that any practice strategies are forgotten and a struggle through with plenty of pausing, meticulously slow playing, and unfixed mistakes ensues. I would like to share with you the practice strategies I teach and use myself, and a book that may just help students to have that light-bulb moment that they can only truly discover themselves.

Practice Tips from the start of a new piece (piano):

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There are tons of reasons why people choose the noble act of teaching music.  Some people like the act of sharing music.  Some people teach to sharpen their own skills. Some people do it to support their performance careers. Some people do it because they’re fed up!

Now you’re probably saying right now, “Fed up?”  Yes, that’s right, I wrote fed up! 🙂 My frustration led to building the online jazz community www.freejazzlessons.com.

Jazz Lessons Community

I was in a particularly sour mood one day after hearing about another round of budget cuts to music education programs in schools. Why was this happening again??  Every few years we have to fight the same battle.

It is EXTREMELY important for our society as whole that schools teach music.  It’s been shown time and time again the benefits that a music education has on learning, cognitive abilities, and overall contribution to society as whole.  Our souls craves music and music education!

As the great jazz pianist Bill Evans said music can “show a person a portion of himself that he would not discover otherwise…a part of yourself you never knew existed.”  We all need this insight in today’s complex world! [···]

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Practicing an instrument is an act that combines both mental and physical energies. I know that is an obvious statement, but as music teachers, how many of our students use practice to “go through the motions” without engaging in what they are doing? Hopefully not many, of course, but I’m sure there are times when awareness is lacking. What can music teachers do to help students prepare for their practice time, and what can students to do ready their minds and bodies in preparation for the good work they are about to do? The answer – stretch.

Stretching brings your awareness to your body – to how you feel and move. It has the ability to focus the mind away from other distractions and to bring it into the moment. It also helps to limber up the body, to release tension that may inhibit free movement at the instrument, and to prevent strains and possible injuries related to practice. Taking three minutes at the start of each lesson to stretch with the student not only ensures that we as teachers are not building tension by teaching for long periods without moving, but also awakens the student’s mind to the task at hand. It also introduces the habit of stretching before playing at home.

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