When you think of Music Education, do you think about music class? Or do you think about the music teacher or band director you had when you were in grade school? I believe most would associate their “education” to a person or a time in their life. Because of this, music lessons are so very influencial and could possibly be one of the most important opportunities parents could offer their children. When you really think about it, music is apart of our every day life from the time we were learning our ABC’s to our adult lives. It is apart of our worship, our national pride, our commute to work or school and most importantly, our education. This is why my studio’s purpose is to instill in my students a love for music and teach them the skills they need to be the best musicians they can be.
My goals for my students are:
1) To instill a love for music
When speaking about a love for music, it not simply an enjoyment or pleasure but a deep appreciation for something that has been passed down to us from previous generations. That love for music will eventually develop into a desire to create music. My hope as a teacher is not just to show and coach them music, but for them make music of their own.
2) To Cultivate a teachable spirit and challenge them to do their best
It is with a teachable spirit that a student will be able to obtain the skills to become proficient. Having a teachable spirit will train them to have good work ethic and even when something is difficult, to not give up. After they have learned how to “learn” so to speak, they can move onto the next goal.
3) To Obtain the skills to become proficient to be able to teach others
As a teacher, I have a great responsibility to transfer the knowledge I have about music and make it attainable for them to understand. It is my hope that they will one day do the same for someone else. Ultimately my highest goal would be for them to teach others one day.
What makes me different from other teachers?
After understanding the goals I have for each of my students, one must also understand the perspective I teach from in order to understand why my teaching is unique.
- Influences with my Christian worldview.
I believe music was created by the Creator and therefore, every talent or skill we learn or obtain, the glory we may seem to have for a time should really be given to the One who created it. My christian worldview often sets me apart from most music teachers. Sadly, I have been to many recitals where intellect and proficiency is still empty because honor was given to the performer rather than the One who allows our minds and bodies to learn and perform these skills. I believe there is true joy in knowing that music is a special gift and we simply get to unwrap it as muscians. This is apart of what makes my teaching influential, however, this approach is not directed at the student personally but is the overall purpose behind my teaching. In other words, I do not force my beliefs on my students but use the principals I just discussed throughout my teaching.
- Motivates with positivity and encouragement.
- Words of encouragement and praise are not uncommon to hear in my studio as I try to take the advantage of every opportunity to tell each student not only did they complete their assignments sufficiently but that I have noticed their effort and appreciate their hard work.
- I include weekly prizes for practicing.
- I also offer incentive programs where students are challenged to work hard, stay dedicated and have courage.
- Theory based games and off-the-bench activities are provided each week so that students will have another avenue of learning new musical concepts.
- Composition training is another way of helping student express themselves and apply what they know about music to their own musical piece.
- Recitals and other performance opportunities are used to help students see progress and give them a chance to share music with others.
- Develops a relationship with the student and includes parental support.
Perfection is not the goal in my studio, however, having the best attitude is and will enable to students to do their best. Every student has a different learning modality (or mode of learning through visual, aural or kinesthetic approaches) with which I can teach or coach them to achieve the highest educational goal possible. I focus on developing a relationship or “rapport” with the student in order to make them most comfortable. By keeping this comradery and friendship connection with them, I hope to make it the best experience possible for them. All of these methods cannot be successful without the parents support. I encourage and welcome all parents to be apart of the process. A parents involvement is greatly appreciated!
Practically speaking, the curriculum used for all students (except advanced students) is Faber’s Piano Adventures which lays a solid foundation of musical concepts and builds to a proficient level. Among developing the skills to play and create music, other subjects such as theory, improvisation, history and composing all play important parts in a well rounded musical education. I implement all of these avenues to help students understand music as a whole. Music education is not limited to the piano but I encourage students to begin piano as their first instrument as it lays a solid foundation for all instruments. All methods are kept fun and light hearted with games and treats to make things interesting!
Music is fun and a joy to teach. It has many educational benefits such as developing critical thinking, mechanical and motor skills. It has even proven to help many children with special needs. Without even considering the educational benefits, I believe the benefit of adding creativity, fostering a disciplined work ethic and being aware of the personal accomplishments and victories can all be life-altering for children (and adults too). I will conclude with Plato’s quote “Music is a more potent instrument than any other for education.”