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Becoming a Better Music Teacher

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#31 ten left thumbs

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Posted 12 June 2019 - 15:08

er, well, Rach, it's free! So, all it costs you is time. Yes it seems good. It does presume you are already teaching, but there's nothing to stop you looking at the materials and using it as food for thought.


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#32 Gran'piano

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Posted 12 June 2019 - 15:27

I made vidoes of other teachers and was also filmed giving lessons from time to time. As our lessons almost always had an audience anyway, it made little difference to me or my ‘pupils‘ or ‘clients‘ to be recorded. They were mostly group lessons which perhaps made it easier for them.
But more important is the reason for filming. I fully agree with ‘ten left thumbs‘ comment in #25 that it is not about the teacher or the pupil but about the learning process, the lesson.
We used to look at the recording and take the whole lesson apart. What was the goal of the whole lesson, the goal of the individual sections, what was supposed to be happening as opposed to what really happened? What was successful and what wasn‘t? Did we have to go backwards to include something we had assumed had been learned already? Was everyone content with the session?
Then we looked at the ideas for the next week.
For the ‘newer‘ teachers it was a way of teaching them to ask themselves the same questions. It is simply not enough to have the skill one is trying to teach. Many of them were very good at doing the stuff themselves but really lacked the ability to chop it into tiny pieces which their pupils could cope with. And often they couldn‘t see why things didn‘t work and how this could be remedied in future.
Somewhere I still have a wonderful video of me teaching a group a new skill. I explain it clearly. I demonstrate perfectly. One detail of my demonstration caught their eye so that part is what the whole group copied and completely ignored the rest of the movement. Hilarious and a lesson I haven‘t forgotten.


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#33 maggiemay

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Posted 12 June 2019 - 19:40

(quote) ... ’One detail of my demonstration caught their eye so that part is what the whole group copied and completely ignored the rest of the movement. Hilarious and a lesson I haven‘t forgotten. ’

You scratched your nose?
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#34 ten left thumbs

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Posted 15 June 2019 - 07:37

Well, thoughts at the end of week 1? So far so good, I think, mostly. I understand the need for navel-gazing, and I'm hoping we'll move on to other things. Also, some of the teaching examples we saw I thought were a bit questionable - one especially. What do others think?


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#35 Misterioso

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Posted 15 June 2019 - 11:55

I have found it quite frustrating. It's not the actual content - and I've come away with some ideas scrawled down in my notebook - but the fact that our very poor connection here means the lesson clips constantly buffer, and reading the transcript instead is not the same.

 

Ten left thumbs post above actually reminded me to go back and finish Lesson 1, but now the connection is even worse, and I can't access Futurelearn at all. What I would give for a fibre-optic connection!!


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#36 Misterioso

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Posted 15 June 2019 - 12:01

Grrrr. Just got it back for 2 minutes, and now it's gone down again! wacko.png


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#37 mel2

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Posted 15 June 2019 - 15:44

Well, thoughts at the end of week 1? So far so good, I think, mostly. I understand the need for navel-gazing, and I'm hoping we'll move on to other things. Also, some of the teaching examples we saw I thought were a bit questionable - one especially. What do others think?


Not sure if I've viewed them all so can't say. Have only seen the trumpet teacher and there are probably a load more, but am still a bit rusty navigating the site.
Watching my own lesson was a wake-up call!
I think I need to inject more 'energy' and off-bench activities with children's lessons. I begin to see why they get the fidgets. I wish I had a bigger teaching room for such physical moves, or even a desk for playing flashcard/board games.
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#38 ten left thumbs

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Posted 17 June 2019 - 08:14

Yes, the transcripts aren't complete, even for the words spoken, which of course leaves you guessing if someone actually played music in the lesson! Even with a good connection it took a lot more than 3 hours, just clicking between the different bits and waiting for something to finish downloading.


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#39 ten left thumbs

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Posted 21 June 2019 - 10:46

OK, I must admit I'm finding somethings in the course frustrating. I'm thinking especially of the podcast 'incorporating improvisation into your teaching' with the accompanying presentation 'The value of improvisation in teaching'. This is a marked 'area in need of improvement' for me - so I was really interested. I understand everything in the material, except how it relates to improvising, and most especially how I might incorporate improvising in my lessons.

 

First example - Steve Reich's clapping music. It's great, I love it. I don't see how it relates to improvising. It's not improvised. It's planned, notated. Actually there's less wriggle-room than Beethoven. Reich's clapping music is not only notated to a high degree of accuracy, it's also really difficult to perform, and way above the level of challenge that might be appropriate for my students. And I don't see how it points in any way to something that I might improvise - or guide students to improvise. Unless, there is a general point that one can clap, and that rhythm is important. As general points these are fine, but... 

 

and on it goes. Through very fine musical points like modes, texture, form - but giving no clue as to how these might inform, inspire or enable improvising in teaching.

 

One comment in the podcast that really irritated me is that rhythm games are a good leveller for musicians of different abilities. What does this mean exactly? That it is a good way to cut (otherwise good) students down to size? That, generally, is what a leveller is. That's not really what I'm focussed on when planning lessons. Of course, it may be more relevant to someone who teaches groups. And how many rhythm games, improvised or not, are actually given? None. Well, of course, I have my own, but I was disappointed that the content of these did not match the titles.

 

Some of the course is good, but I just felt the need to vent a bit about improvising. I feel their their heart really isn't in this topic, yet they feel the need to pay lip service. And don't really know how.


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#40 Leese

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Posted 22 June 2019 - 18:37

Also, some of the teaching examples we saw I thought were a bit questionable - one especially. What do others think?

 

Yes, one of them in particular I thought was fairly atrocious (and then I felt guilty for thinking that!) but I've found some of them very useful. I found the video of the little girl learning the new piece on flute very useful indeed and I've put a couple of those methods into practice in my lessons already with very good results. 
 
I'm mostly enjoying the course, but I'm finding that so far a lot of it is really only skimming the surface, and the reason I signed up for it in the first place was to see if I could learn anything more "in-depth" that would help me to explain things to my students better. 
 
But I am finding it a useful experience, if only for validation. I suffer terribly from imposter syndrome, as those who know me off the forum can attest, and I've discovered that a lot of the things I do naturally seem to be a good way to go about things, so that's been valuable in and of itself to help my confidence.

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#41 ten left thumbs

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Posted 22 June 2019 - 19:14

 

... 

 
I'm mostly enjoying the course, but I'm finding that so far a lot of it is really only skimming the surface, ...

Most definitely there's an element of skimming, but given it's a 5-week online course that isn't instrument-specific, that's probably inevitable.

 

I wonder if we were both dismayed by the same teaching video? I'll PM you. 


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#42 mel2

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Posted 22 June 2019 - 19:20

Have been spending the afternoon catching up with week 1 and still not quite finished it.
Having watched the other examples I think I know the one you both refer to. It was still useful to watch, if only to learn not to do it like that.
There's quite a lot of material to wade through.
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#43 ten left thumbs

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Posted 22 June 2019 - 21:10

Being kind to the teacher involved, I think he was playing to the camera, not the student. I doubt he normally teaches like that. I hope not... But I think he was more saying things for our benefit, rather than teaching the poor child in the room. Still, I feel it was an appalling example to set us.


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#44 ten left thumbs

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Posted 25 June 2019 - 09:27

Excellent material this week on the subject of piano technique! :) It's been worth it just for that. 


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#45 musicposy

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Posted 03 July 2019 - 11:06

I'm late to the party here; recorded a lesson and have delayed a week to watch it as I hate hearing myself. I have the most awful Hampshire accent and I can't bear it - I don't know how my pupils listen to me!

On the plus side my nine year old pupil is engaged and enthusiastic (easier at that age than teens, I took the easy option!) and the lesson definitely made a difference to her playing. On the negative side, I really do rush through everything. Part of this is the pressure of covering so much in a half hour lesson with a pupil with an exam coming up, but generally I need to plan better and do less in one go, I think.

My teaching of pieces I think is generally good, but my sight reading teaching I'm not sure she gained as much as she could have. This is illuminating as my pupils generally tend to get good marks in pieces and much poorer in sight reading (I don't like the test for various reasons, but that's another topic!). It's the "extras" that often cost them a merit or distinction. Watching the video I can see why.

It has made me look at the value of everything I'm doing but I don't want to repeat it in a hurry!

I will endeavour to catch up with the right week now.
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