Stepping Stones







What’s a game of football without goals?

Mmm! Lots of keen sports people randomly running around for 90 minutes?!

And yet, how easy it would be for our music students to be drifting along aimlessly without any real direction. And maybe even us too as their teacher!

So what is the secret to motivating our pupils (and ourselves)?

I’m sure you would agree that we need to set a combination of achievable short and long term goals. Goals give students and teachers focus. Short term goals act as “stepping stones” to the bigger ones.

And the best goals of all? Those are the goals set by the student. When they take “ownership” of their goals, they really do make great progress!

So this month, consider four small goals to encourage pupils to set. Hopefully, the bigger goals will naturally follow…

1st Goal – Let them choose the pieces (songs)

Pupils are far more motivated if they’ve chosen the song. Here’s an old trick of mine. If they are preparing for a concert or an exam, why not give them a  [···]

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X-RatingHave you noticed that almost every product online has a rating? It’s an easy way to help you decide whether you should buy something based on the number of stars awarded by other consumers.

Let’s move this discussion to the world of music teaching. Take scales for example. Often an exam syllabus will require a number of exercises to be learnt. Here are some of the problems I was finding as a teacher:

X Which scales was the pupil supposed to be learning through the week?

X Which exercises were weaker than others therefore requiring extra practice at home and attention in lessons?

X How could I get students to give as much attention to the exercises in the back of their scale books as the ones in the front?

X How could I, and indeed the student, get an overview as to how close they were to reaching the requirements of the particular grade (or standard) they were studying for?

X How could I motivate them to do more scale practice?

Enter the X-Rating system!!! After some deliberation, I came up with the idea of  [···]

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