Good music teaching can be a transformative force for good. If your teaching style is engaging, adaptable, and sensitive to different learning needs and styles, you can make music interesting and easy to learn. However, music education is not without its challenges. Many concepts can be difficult to grasp, particularly for beginners.
Inertia is also a constant challenge for teachers and students alike. If the material hasn’t been updated in a while, you risk falling behind the times. And it’s not easy to teach the same subjects for years on end. If you’re not creatively challenged, you could pass on your growing indifference to your students.
Fortunately, there are ways to make your piano lessons more engaging and enjoyable. Many students struggle to learn music because the teacher has checked out, not because the subject is challenging. Here are a few tips and tricks you can use to improve your instruction.
1. Maintain a positive attitude
There are many ways to teach the same curriculum. Children have unique learning needs and styles, and you may need to approach each class in a different manner. It’s not uncommon to feel overwhelmed while planning and preparing for your students. In fact, you may even spend more time planning your lessons than actually teaching. But we do this because it’s the only way to get results.
All your hard work will be rewarded once you see your students responding to your carefully planned plans. Of course, if you feel happy about your students’ progress, you need to let them know. Your students will work harder if their teacher goes into the classroom with a positive disposition. But don’t just stop there.
Consider including positivity as part of your planning. That means including opportunities to connect with students and ensuring that the classroom experience is rooted in positivity and productivity.
2. Focus on practical approaches
Books and lectures can only get you so far, and music is best learned if your students practice it in real life. Make sure to incorporate activities in your lessons to keep your students energetic and engaged. Even theoretical concepts can be explained through games and activities. This can help break down learning blocks and make music easier and more fun.
3. Break down the lesson into smaller chunks
Children aren’t exactly known for having long attention spans. You can’t just talk for hours on end and expect that your students will learn anything. If you want to keep your students engaged, you need to break down your lessons into digestible chunks. Consider incorporating technology into your lessons to facilitate learning.
Another common teaching mistake is focusing on one big task. Instead of focusing on one thing, you can do smaller activities to keep your students focused on the lesson. The more varied the activities are, the lower the likelihood of disengagement. Just make sure that each activity adds to the lesson plan.
4. Be relatable
Music is all about patterns. And there’s no better way to show how music works than to play it. Many music teachers often play classical pieces to show how each element adds to the greater whole. While there’s no denying that composers like Mozart and Schubert have created good music, you don’t have to use them as examples all the time.
One easy way to improve student engagement is to use their favorite songs and genres in class. Music is still music, regardless of who made it or where it came from. Make it a point to listen to pop music (the Billboard Hot 100 is always a good place to start) so you can break it down to its components. You can then show how rhythm or melody is used in today’s hits.
5. Use technology to your advantage
Students today are more tech-savvy than ever. They probably use a smartphone, a laptop, and a tablet regularly. All these advancements have transformed education. Consider using technology to make your music instruction more interesting and effective.
For starters, you can use videos of live performances to show the importance of group dynamics. Many famous musicians have also uploaded masterclasses and digital lessons. You can also use smartphone apps to show how music is created.
The bottom line
These five strategies will help you make your music instruction more fun and effective. Students have to deal with numerous barriers that affect their learning. Your goal is to break down these barriers and make music accessible. Hopefully, you can apply these tips to your lessons.