Music Teacher's Helper Blog

“Follow My Leader”

tractor and trailer

Now I must explain from the outset that I have absolutely no farming experience whatsoever! Completely zilch!

But I do know that a trailer will go nowhere without a tractor to guide it!

So how can we help young Jenny conquer that awkward phrase in her song?

How can we help old Mary Williams to master the art of rubato?

How can little Jonny play that scale with flair?

Enthusiasm breeds enthusiasm

The answer is simple – us! It all starts with our attitude and leadership skills. If we are enthusiastic about the various activities in the lesson and teach by our own personal example, it will be easy and natural for our pupils to follow.

“Side by side”

A massive breakthrough I found in my own teaching was when I bought a new piano to sit alongside my old one (I’m a piano teacher if you haven’t already guessed!). Instead of passively sitting, observing and commenting on pupils playing, I now practice those awkward passages with them, demonstrate how rubato may be employed and have fun working on our scales in duet style with them and a hip-hop beat!!!

Motivation is a rocket!

And guess what? My motivation for teaching has gone through the roof! I suddenly find I’m doing loads of playing through the day, we are all having lots of fun and pupils come back to their next lesson having enjoyed their practice and with more positive progress to share with me.

Follow my leader

So what are you waiting for? If you don’t already use your instrument in lessons, give it a go!

Just having a box of cheap percussion instruments or a keyboard, glockenspiel or melodica that you can “jam” along with will help. It will certainly help your engagement in the lesson and will inspire your students to greater things. Yes, every trailer needs a tractor!

See other posts by Reuben Vincent

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About the Author

Reuben Vincent
Reuben Vincent is a freelance musician working as a composer, producer and private music teacher, based from his purpose built recording studio in Bagillt, Flintshire, North Wales, UK. His main instrument is the piano although he is also known for a "mean" solo on the Kazoo!!!

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