ear

Pie Chart

I remember when I first started teaching, being anxious about how I would manage to fill a 30 minute lesson! Now, twenty years on, I wonder sometimes how I can possibly fit everything into an hour’s session!!! I’m sure you’d agree, as you develop as a teacher, it becomes increasingly hard to manage lesson time. If I’m honest, at times I’ve wasted too much time on an activity in a lesson to the detriment of other equally important things. So earlier this year I took a long hard look at time management in my lessons with a view to regaining control!

How to manage time?!?

What a question! Someone once said to me: [···]

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Arguably, the most important skill a musician can acquire is the ability to “play by ear!” Am I dismissing the art of reading notation? Absolutely not. In many aspects of my life as a musician, reading music is essential to me. What I really mean is that, whether a musician is reading music or not, his or her ability to carefully listen to the sound they are producing whilst playing is essential to creating a musical result. I like to call it the “LAD” technique (no offense LADies)! Listen, Analyse and Develop. You have to Listen carefully to the sound you are producing, Analyse the musical elements and then adjust to Develop it yet further. A person might be the best “sight reader” in the world but unless they focus on progressing their “playing by ear”/listening skills, the impact and message of the music will be lost on their audience. “Playing by ear” surely is at the very core of what we do!

So how do we as musicians and teachers develop these essential skills both in ourselves and in our students?

Ear Training Methods

One effective way is to record ourselves and hear our music back. Suddenly we are listening as a third party to the sound and can hear what’s good, bad and ugly! Carefully listening whilst simplifying the music by practicing it slower (and hands separate if possible) can help us focus on detail not previously heard. Other musicians use the

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OH! The HOLIDAYS!

As teachers, we’re not the only ones with ever increasing lists of “To-Do’s”. With extra performances, programs and parties it can become overwhelming, can’t it? Our students and their families also have their busy holiday schedules, and, as most of you can agree, the focus can just go completely out the window! So, how do we keep the lessons productive and fun throughout these seasons? Whether it be Christmas and Hanukkah, birthdays, Ground Hog Day, or summer vacation, the list can go on and on! [···]

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