music

Teaching music composition may seem like an easy task: you show your students the tools, you teach them how to use them and that’s it.

However, the most difficult thing is to teach them how to be creative and translate unmeasurable things such as feelings into music.

Teaching students to use composing skills  is not an easy subject, but to make things a bit more organized let’s go through the steps to guide a young music student through their composition journey.

A Passion for Music

Composition

Now, the first thing that should be clear from the start is that there is a passion for music.

There are many cases in which a young student can become a great performer but there is no passion for music, and it is very hard to  change that.

It might be a bit controversial since it involves parents who wish the best for their children by helping them learn music but when it comes to art, the act of creation can’t be taught, it’s an impulse and sort of a second nature.

That doesn’t mean that some young students can’t find a passion for music after learning a few key things and discovering a whole new world.

But it is important for the teacher to identify these things in order to strengthen their students’ weaknesses.

Rhythm Composition

Rhythm is the backbone of every music composition, there is no music without rhythm but there can be music with just a rhythm in the form of percussion.

This is also some of the easiest ways to make your students feel like they are making some form of music and feel the happiness of success.

It is definitely the best way to approach music composition at first, as it’s quite easy to make it fun and involve several students in exercises.

Encourage Improvisation and No Restraints Approach

This may be easier for musicians that focus on genres of music such as rock, punk, blues or electronic music due to the nature of those types of music.

But when it comes to including improvisation in the formation of music students, it’s a bit more difficult.

After helping your students build a strong musical foundation with music reading and writing, you also have to teach them to let go of all of that and just play.

This not only encourages new and interesting combinations of music due to the lack of restraints, but it also makes the experience fun because of the excitement of not knowing what will come out of a playing session.

Think about it as fishing, it’s all about being relaxed, patient and not knowing what you are going to get, and when you realize you have something, it’s time to reel in and not let the fish escape.

The waiting part is just playing and improvising, the fish is that surprise chord, and reeling in it’s about finally writing and recording that big idea.

To encourage this “fishing” idea in music makes being a musician very exciting.

Feedback

In order to help your students improve their skills as composers, you need to provide good feedback so that they can feel that sense of progress and learn from their mistakes.

But how do you provide good feedback as a teacher? Well there are a few things to consider when giving feedback to students on their compositions.

First of all, focus on the good things, a sense of accomplishment is very important in order to keep them motivated.

Then as a teacher, you need to show them where they could improve.

And lastly, you need to let them know that there is always room for improvement while also giving them some pointers in order to help them focus on their weak spots.

Remember to use Music Teacher’s Helper to allow you to have a lot more time on your hands to plan your composition lessons instead of using that precious time for tedious but necessary tasks.

 

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Technology has been able to offer teachers tools and apps that make their work a lot easier or even explore new ways to teach.

Some of these tools come in the form of mobile apps, which offer a wide range of possibilities depending on what you are looking for.

There is an app for almost every problem so there are thousands of apps out there.he difficult part is to find which ones are really worth it.

First of all, note that there are great apps for music learning but the focus here is to see which ones could assist music teachers.

On that note, let’s have a look at the best 5 apps for music teachers that are available right now.

apps

Symphony Pro

This one is all about digital sheet music and it allows you to compose with up to 48 instruments.

It offers lead sheets, chords, charts, guitar tabs and so much more such as being able to make annotations and edit notes and bar properties.

forScore

forScore is a bit similar to Symphony Pro in the sense that it allows you to manage your sheet music but it focuses more on managing rather than composing.

You can drag and drop multiple files into the forScore library from Safari or the photos app. You can also import a PDF version of your score via iTunes, email, Google Drive, AirDrop, Dropbox or Bluetooth.

Piano Maestro

If you are looking to make your piano lessons a bit more fun and interactive for your younger students, Piano Maestro is one of the best options out there to do so.

If you are familiar with rhythm games and guitar hero then this will seem quite similar to that, however, its interface and overall presentation is all about bright colors and a clear focus towards learning how to actually play piano.

The way the app works is that it shows you the sheet music so that you play it, but in a way that it also feels like a game, encouraging students to beat high scores and get better at it.

It is definitely a very useful tool to get the hang of reading sheet music while playing piano.

It also features “Home Assignments” which you can use to assign specific songs to your students and make your lessons a lot more fun. 

The Metronome by Soundbrenner

Every music teacher needs to remind their students about keeping an organized mind when it comes to music, and what does that? Well, staying on tempo.

The way to practice this is of course is using a metronome.

You could buy a metronome but there is no doubt that the magic word here is convenience.

The fact that you can just download a metronome app and use it right there is very useful for every musician and it makes it all easier for teachers to show their students that it is indeed an easy tool to have.

However, which metronome is a good option to have?

The Metronome by Soundbrenner is a great choice. First of all, it’s available on android and iOS, secondly it’s free and every music student needs a metronome to learn music properly.

With this app you can go from simple 4/4 to more complex time signatures so your students can practice staying in tempo.

It also allows you to personalize your click sounds and save custom rhythms so you have no trouble finding them quickly.

Music Teacher’s Helper

Every music teacher needs some assistance on schedules, tasks, students and every little thing that comes with the job of education.

With Music Teacher’s Helper you can update student information, plan your schedule, prepare upcoming lessons and keep up to date with billing and invoices.

It’s also very easy to access your account from any of your devices so there won’t be any problems with accessibility.

This will allow you to have a lot more time on your hands to plan your lessons instead of using that precious time for tedious but necessary tasks.

If you want to try it out, you can start your free trial today!

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Musicians do a lot of physical work, which of course changes depending on the instrument they play, but there is always some degree of physical activity which could lead to injuries.

It’s very common for musicians to have injuries along their journey, but the biggest problem of all is that many musicians don’t care too much about a bit of pain in the wrist, or a bit of strain on the vocal cords.

The thing is that it should, because the more it gets sidelined the more the injury becomes worse and eventually leads you to stop  performing and no one wants that.

Most of these injuries come from not learning how to play or sing properly, which is one of the first tips to avoid injuries.

A Few Common Injuries

Among the most common injuries for a musician are:

  • Tendinitis/tendinosis.
  • De Quervain’s tenosynovitis.
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome.
  • Bursitis.
  • Thoracic outlet syndrome.
  • Strained vocal cords.
  • Back, neck and shoulder strain.

As you can see from your wrist to your back, your body may or may not suffer some of these injuries if you don’t learn proper techniques or put too much strain on your body.

How To Avoid Music Injuries

Learning is not just about being able to play, it’s about playing the right way in order to allow your body to feel comfortable.

This in turn lets you explore the possibilities of your instrument or voice more comfortably.And of course can prevent most injuries, which is our main focus here.

Let’s take for example a music student who is in a  rock band.

Rock is very well known for going against traditional or proper techniques in favor of feeling and creativity, but this comes at a cost.

This student may have seen that one of the most common ways to play rock is down strumming, but it’s not really an easy thing to do, mostly because you need the right technique.

These little things need to be one of the top priority for music teachers, and it can be easily overlooked since you’d have to check up on every student to see if they are performing properly.

No Warm Ups

Just like an athlete, no warm ups means tension, tension leads to injuries, so teachers need to remind their students to do warm ups and be very specific on how to do it the right way.

For singers, it’s also good to warm up even days before a performance and stay hydrated.

There are no excuses to avoid warm ups, as they will make you avoid injuries and  will give your body a lot more room for better performance.

Not Enough Rest

Playing and singing for hours non-stop can trigger a few injuries as well, that’s why resting is an important part of being a musician.

Accidents

Accidents can happen to anyone, but if you are a musician and the affected part of your body is essential for playing, then you probably have to pay attention for a full recovery as soon as possible.

Evaluate Yourself and See a Doctor

You don’t need to be in a terrible state or in an emergency in order to go to the doctor, and this is one of the most common mistakes people make.

The idea is to avoid problems in your body and take care of things before it gets worse.

This mindset will help you be in better condition as a musician.

Parents, therapists and doctors, are very well aware of how stubborn musicians are to stop or change when and how they play, but this is a very serious subject.

If it hurts or something feels off, it’s time to do something, because it is definitely better to stop playing for a few months than to have  a more permanent injury.

It sounds like plain logic right? Still musicians are still pushing their bodies beyond their limits.

In order to avoid losing the ability to perform altogether, remember to get medical help and stay in shape.

 Scheduling a Technique Reminder Lesson

An easy way to remember to check on your students is to schedule regular technique checks. 

As music teachers, it’s important to remember to pause and remind students of technique/posture and for those who teach advanced students, it may be a good idea to ask the students if they are experiencing any uncomfortable or painful side effects of being a musician. 

To help yourself remember, perhaps schedule a particular lesson every couple months to intentionally ask and communicate with your students. You can do this easily through Music Teacher’s Helper in their lesson note section! No need to remember to do this on your own. Try out a free 30 day trial today. 

 

 

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