Maggie George

Maggie George

With her husband Peter, Maggie George owned, operated and taught in a large music school/store in Trenton, Ontario, Canada, scheduling hundreds of students each week with up to 15 part-time teachers for individual music/art/drama lessons, summer camps and more. Having sold the business back in September 2013, they returned to their home country, England, where they now teach private lessons at their home in Ash Vale, Hampshire. Maggie says: “I just love teaching and couldn't give up that intensely emotional feeling of helping students to succeed in their musical journeys”. All teachers can surely relate. "Music Teacher's Helper is a sophisticated, powerful program for us as individual teachers to keep track of all our scheduling and invoicing, with a free website too. What a bonus!", Maggie says. Maggie can be contacted at www.maggiesmusic-ashvale.co.uk

Motivating Students to Practice Scales…

Scales… Ugh!  Who loves to learn to play scales?  Arguably scales are very helpful to learn skills, pass exams, play faster, etc.

Motivating students to practice – using scale sticks for random choice has helped my students want to practice their scales.

You’ll no doubt agree that it is better to motivate students to practice their scales rather than berate them for not practicing them…

My earlier blog post ‘Scales Made Easier‘ helps my students to learn scale patterns.  However, I have added a fun element to provide a way of preparing students for the randomness of needing to play scales out of order, to sharpen their mind.

Introducing wooden sticks has helped students to practice scales in a more fun way (which scale am I playing next, left/right/together etc?).  I also use several dice with ‘left hand’, ‘right hand’, ‘hands together’ or ‘hands together with eyes closed’, 1 finger, together contrary motion, etc., for scales or arpeggios.  Students pick a stick and roll the dice (for scale, broken chord or arpeggio, depending on what stick they picked).

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Motivating Students to Practice more…

Students enjoy learning interesting facts about the composers of music they like to play and listen to.  It can be really exciting for them to learn what is ‘behind the scenes’, motivating them to want to practice more too.

Composer Time Capsules

As Samantha Coates suggests “It is not your job to motivate students. It is your job to create the environments in which students will motivate themselves.”   As part of our students’ theory classes, we have been learning about a Composer of the Month.  We have found that group classes offer a great way of motivating students.  Students discuss and understand more about the music that they want to learn to play.  They are also learning music history at the same time as well as learning some music theory.
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Goals, assignments and parental involvement

Motivating younger students to practice —  how do you do that?

My new year’s resolution this year was to get my younger students learning more quickly by motivating them to practice much more between lessons.

This was initially started by setting their goals, getting parents on board to help, and by weekly assignment ‘to do’ lists.  Many helpful sheets are available online to fill in to help with all of that (*).

In my opinion, all of these are very important in order to start creating a suitable practice environment for the year. However, practicing their instruments between lessons was a challenge for most of my younger students.   [···]

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