Something I’ve been working on in studio lately is how to make sure the students really understand what to do and how to practice. To that end, I’ve been re-evaluating how I’m telling students information. The realization I came up with is simple:
Don’t do… = MANY options to replace the undesired behavior.
Do… = ONE option for the student to accomplish.
How much more efficient would our lessons be, and how much more productive would our students’ practice be, if we focused on this one small aspect of our teaching language: always tell your students what to do and how to accomplish it, rather than what not to do?
Especially as a voice teacher, I find that this little instruction helps to clarify (along with my recent posting on asking students “What does it mean to you when I say that?”) information for the students.
I then write this information into the student notes that I take on my computer as I teach. At the end of the lesson, I copy the notes from the student’s computer file and paste them into the “Reconcile lesson” function in Music Teachers Helper. Voila! The student has a reminder, I have a reminder of the language that worked for the student, so I can use it next week, and the student has a clear understanding of what to practice doing, rather than what to avoid.
What kinds of language do you use in your music teaching? Have you changed any approaches recently? Why or why not?
Happy music making!