Naturally, over the thirty-five plus years I have been inspiring young and young at heart musicians, my teaching methods have evolved. I have sought and found inspiration from luminaries both in the musical education world as well as many others.
It’s a good idea to ask a prospective music teacher about their teaching methods. What they say will give a lot of insight as to how they will treat you and your child, and the nature of the lessons and the attitude your child may form over a lot of time with that teacher.
Potentially years. Teaching methods matter!
“The need for imagination, a sense of truth, and a feeling of responsibility. These are the three forces which are the very nerve of education” – Rudolf Steiner
The Way a Teacher Teaches…
What do you recall from your own education, musical or otherwise?
Your Beliefs and the Positive Musician Mindset
We all have limiting beliefs.
If they are not challenged these gremlins can have us playing very very small indeed, or not at all.
They can be about our ability in general, our musical ability specifically, and so on.
Some of them we don’t even know are there, so it’s a good idea to be on the lookout for them so we can triumph with creating the life experiences we choose. Do you hear yourself thinking “I’m no good at music?” Let’s challenge that idea, but firstly, just respond with NO NO NO NO NO! Now replace it with something constructive like “I choose not to believe that. I choose to believe that I am growing into the kind of musician I choose to be”.
When people find out I am a wholistic music educator, many people have told me about their less than ideal experiences of learning music and carry the memory of these experiences.
It is a great idea to release these blocks to achieving the enjoyment of learning and playing now that you crave.
Do you want to learn or play but negative beliefs or fears are stopping you?
My Guided Meditations for Musicians may help to clear this.
The Practise Habit
Step 1: Define your values around the practise. How important is it? What is it’s priority?
Step 2: Define the ‘rhythm’ of the practise. When and how often and how long?
Step 3: Develop the ‘way’ of the practise. Nourish. Enjoy. Build success. Celebrate.
Step 4: It’s not about how much time you spend – it’s about what you do in the time.
Step 5: Learn to gently navigate the inevitable distractions to keep yourself on track.
Step 6: Acknowledge your wins – celebrate even small successes – it’s important for maintaining motivation.
Step 7: Read my blog about Practise
Mind & Heart
Becoming a musician requires space in your life. If a student is to succeed, including enjoying their music, they need time to practise, play, perform, listen, relax and reflect. My suggestion is to have in their week one heartfelt hobby (music) and one active pursuit. For a very musical child dancing, swimming and yoga are often very beneficial.
“What did you do well, and what could you improve?”
This develops independent effective practise, a healthy attitude and the descriptive vocabulary to express their ideas intelligently.
What you tell yourself about your playing/practise/performing/who you are will determine your experience as a musician and shape your success and your life.
Buy new music regularly
New music ignites motivation and fuels inspiration. It is vital to build the ability to sight read fluently.
I introduce new concepts one step at a time in the appropriate order for my student.
I aim to explain techniques in a simple way until my student understands.
The quality of the question determines the quality of the answer
Attitude to the lessons
Students prepare for their lesson by bringing all equipment, questions, and dressing appropriately with respect for a professional learning environment.
Attitude to Scales
The way I teach scales is different and makes them a simple quick way to lift energy and feel more joyful as well as building musical technique. I actually enjoy playing scales and my students are infused with this attitude
Be mindful of the praise you give a budding musician. They know how they are going with their music – they can hear it and feel it. Their music teacher will give them constructive advice about how to improve & perspective on their playing. Self-esteem is exactly that. It is something the budding musician innately has that comes from knowing they have done the work. It builds a solid growing musician identity and healthy ego. It takes 10 to 12 years of consistent work to master being a musician. Give praise where it is due.
Transferable Life Skills
My way of teaching inherently develops skills that translate to other areas of life, such as goal setting and achievement