Piano Maestro is an app that Ellie introduced me to. It is such fun for the students! It is especially nice for younger beginners to be able to play songs made into a game-like format.
As music teachers we have all experienced the frustration with ourselves and seen the frustration in our students when they're just not "getting it." Even after 15 years of teaching I still have occasional students where none of my bag of tricks will work for them, and I have to go back to the drawing board to find a solution to their problem.
I have been participating in several Teacher Webinars since this past January and I have also had coffee with other private teachers to share teaching ideas.
The one thing that came up more than anything else was having the students make more progress from one lesson to the next. It was concluded that when we explain to a student at a lesson what and how we want them to work on their pieces - often times by the time they actually sit down for their first practice session they have forgotten what we said to them. Of course we write the assignment out in their assignment notebook but many students have confessed to me that they don't read what I write. As frustrating as that is to me, I do appreciate that they are being honest.
"There is a massive benefit from being musical that we don’t understand, but it’s individual." - Dr. Eric Rasmussen, chair of the Early Childhood Music Department at the Peabody Preparatory of The Johns Hopkins University
Ellie and I see these benefits every day in our students! The excitement of learning a new skill, the enjoyment of playing a song, the pride of performing a piece well in a recital, the creativity of composing a piece...the list could go on! It is recognizing the individual experience of each student that we emphasize in our teaching.
Now that Summer is settled in I can continue my student-level composition project!
Here is the latest one:
This post is part one of this subject of "rough patches" for students. There can be many types of rough patches - practicing, attitude, motivation, enjoyment. Here are some things that I have learned a teacher can do to help get that "spark" back into the lessons.
Practicing vs. Playing
I recently talked with my students about practicing and playing the piano. I wanted to find out if the students just work on the assignments that I give them each week or do they also spend just some fun time at the piano during the week.
It was about 50/50 who just practiced their lesson and never just played for the fun of it and those who practiced their lesson and also spent time just playing.