It is my intention to empower my students with tools to develop into well-rounded, expressive, confident musicians through their musical journey in my studio. Exposure to music in the forms of notation, technique, music reading, performing, creating, and listening are crucial characteristics which provide a firm foundation of the student’s music education. All students have their own unique way of learning and through experimentation, student’s key learning aspects are bound to be activated, whether it is a) playing a piece they know by picking it out on the piano, b) coming up with their own ideas to build into compositions, c) preparing a classical piece for a competition or festival, or d) some other creative characteristic. My program, which incorporates the Royal Conservatory of Music curriculum, offers exploration with technique, theory, ear training, general repertoire, etudes, and listening. General repertoire includes contemporary, romantic, classical, and baroque genres. Students are also encouraged to bring in music that they are interested in playing. Of the elements listed here, the area in which I excel is music theory, which I attribute to my solid math background.
The parent-student-teacher triangle is a crucial element in the music learning process. I believe parents’ involvement at the lesson and at home ensures a more thorough understanding of presented elements to the student. Parents’ participation at the lesson also allows for stronger communication with the teacher. Parents are invited to take notes at the lessons and are encouraged to ask questions about their students’ assignments. For younger students, the teacher instructs the parent how to coach the student at home between lessons beginning with providing ideas for proper seating and foot placement. The teacher demonstrates hand position and points out correct fingering so that the parent can assist the student in developing good habits from the beginning.
Learning is enhanced through collaboration with other students at twice-monthly group lessons. Students participate in music activities, play the piano together, and perform for each other. Among the many music activities that may be included are a) racing to the piano to play 5 Cs with finger 4, b) playing a G broken triad, c) drawing various note values on personal white boards, d) placing notes on the proper line or space of the floor staff, and e) showing what steps and skips look like. Playing the piano together could involve the students playing the same scale or the same piece. This not only assists students with their technical skills, but it also allows them to hone their listening and cooperating skills. A student mini-recital is incorporated at the end of each group lesson. Parents or caregivers are invited to participate as part of the audience. This experience allows the students to practice performing and build confidence in playing for others.
I am constantly refining how I present information to students and conduct my program. My teaching style has definitely evolved throughout my forty years of teaching. I consider myself a lifelong learner and I have gained so much knowledge on how to teach from my students over the years. I have listened to students express insecurities with certain idiosyncrasies and I have adjusted accordingly. I continue to grow as a teacher with the help of suggestions from other teachers, multiple resources, and even from comments from parents of my students. I look forward to continuing to absorb knowledge and conveying best practices to my students.
- Youth (7-17)
- Young Children (under 7)
- At a school
- At own home
- At own studio
- Music Teachers National Association - National
- Wyoming Music Teachers Association - Provincial / State