What your teacher does in your music lesson and how to adapt online

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16 March 2020, 13:25 In order to see the learning potential of online lessons, it helps us take a long-term view and think, “What’s going on in weekly music lessons? I tell my violin students that the goal is for them to learn something about the violin and about themselves. Any lesson where we learn something is a valuable lesson. This article will take a look at the many things music teachers do during private music lessons, in order to open the door for everyone to think creatively about how to get online and continue to achieve those goals, without the hassle. physical presence of the teacher in a room.

Connect and build relationships

One of the main things a teacher does during a lesson is to build a relationship and establish a connection through which learning can occur. It can be something simple, like asking how the student’s day is going, what discoveries he or she made during practice this week, or sharing a story about the teacher’s own experiences. These conversations can still take place through a virtual connection, whether through a video call or even just through emails. Parents of younger children may have to read e-mail aloud to them. Parents can also encourage their children to write a note to their teachers themselves, either by email or on paper. Or, just take a photo of the paper and email or text it to the teacher.

Teach new skills

In lessons, teachers often teach new skills, such as new bow stroke, new finger pattern, move, etc. body to do it, and how to help each student find that sound and feeling for themselves.

On an online connection, this can be adapted in several ways. First, the teacher will need to use very body specific language to make sure the child feels it for themselves. Second: Rather than using the lesson time for a video call, the teacher can make a video demonstrating the technique in several ways, or even a step-by-step video. The student can download this video at home, watch it as many times as needed, train with it, do it in slow motion, etc. One advantage of video is that you can change the angle of the video, adjusting it to get a close-up seen with one hand or another to demonstrate a technique in detail. Depending on the situation, this type of video can offer an even better perspective than a live demonstration!

Teach new materials (ranges, studies, parts)

Unfortunately, some people think that’s the only reason to go to class – to pass on their old material and be assigned new material. Teachers really do a lot more, but if that’s what you’re most afraid of losing with a virtual connection, there are ways to teach that as well.

What does teaching new material involve? Here is a list:

  • Identify notes and rhythms
  • Explain what the musical directions mean on the page
  • Explain how to physically create these sounds on the instrument
  • Identify techniques that the student already knows and that are necessary to play the material
  • Demonstrate new techniques the student can use to play the material
  • Demonstration of the material on the teacher’s instrument
  • Discover the good feeling, character and expression of the room
  • Discuss the musical structure and historical / cultural context of the piece

Phew! It’s a lot. But most of these operations can be done through video call or pre-recorded video. A teacher can also write step-by-step instructions and challenge the student to learn independently.

Assess short and long term progress

Teachers assess a student’s progress every week: whether he has completed the work with precision, whether his physical ease with the instrument allows him to produce the best possible sound, whether each element of his musicality is in balance (for example example, do they play beautifully but have difficulty keeping a steady pulse? Are they wonderfully expressive but fail to play in tune?)

Teachers also assess a student’s progress with their long-term goals in mind. Are they learning the skills they need to successfully audition for their high school orchestra? If they want to major in music in college, are they playing the tracks and developing the technique they need to be on track to audition? How does music fit into the big picture of their life, and what materials and activities are needed to ensure their continued enjoyment and also their success?

Taking regular lessons for detailed assessment can be extremely helpful in helping students understand where they are in their musical journey: what their current skills are, what they need to develop next, and where they are mentally and emotionally with their music. music. Asking a teacher for this written assessment instead of a lesson can give a student (and their parents) tremendous insight.

Define aims

Teachers also work with students to set short, medium and long term goals. Whether it’s practicing a difficult passage a number of times, planning when to memorize a piece for a concert, or developing a game plan for auditioning for a music school, teachers are constantly jumping from current reality. from their students to their hopeful future. .

A good idea for this period of online lessons would be to set goals with your teacher for the next two weeks of play – and maybe challenge yourself! Can a student play all the scales he knows every day with a truly free and balanced posture? Can they read all the notes for each of their studies as well as play them? Can they practice some time each day? All of this can be done in writing or by video call.

To answer questions

Teachers answer many questions during class, such as “How do I practice this? Can I audition? When can I play this piece? What can I listen to this week?”

These questions can be answered in writing or via a video call. There are very few questions that require the physical presence of the teacher to answer them.

Remind students of what they already know

Music teachers spend a good portion of their class time reminding students of things they already know, such as proper posture, reading notes accurately, maintaining a steady rhythm … the list goes on. lengthens again and again.

Online courses can be perfect for regularly informing students of those details that are eluding them. The students are given a little refresher, and it continues to improve their musicianship overall. If students came back from this period of online lessons fully incorporating all of their teacher’s usual instructions, this would be a huge leap forward for most students.

Attribution

Teachers make decisions about what to assign, how much to assign, and how to assign practice. This can be done in writing, via pre-recorded video, or by video call.

Cultivate independence

The ultimate goal of every teacher is to help contribute to a thoughtful, artistic and independent musician who feels empowered to learn, create and share music on their own. For small children, it can be as simple as carrying their own instrument, learning to care for their instrument, and checking off items on an exercise list (even if the parent needs to read the list to them). For older children, this may mean making a list of practice strategies they know from their teacher and trying them out. For teens, this might mean learning a song independently or preparing a special recording or concert project on their own. Switching to online video lessons will require more independence, as there will be things that the teacher can not do for them. And, getting students to develop more independence is actually part of the blueprint – so we’re really still on the right track!

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