As students are heading back to school here in Charlotte, NC, and all over the country, we should ask ourselves; are we teaching the way students learn in today’s environment. Honestly with the competition between extra curricular activities we as teachers need to be up to date on the latest methods and learning styles. Are we incorporating the newest technology in our lessons? Are we excited about teaching?
What are questions that we should ask ourselves as teachers and what same questions should parents be asking?
1. What curriculum do you use? And part two of this question. Why do you use this curriculum?
As as teacher, do you use the same material because it is always what you’ve used, or because you believe it is the most relevant to today’s students? Do you use the best correlation with local festivals? Do you try to expose students to a wide variety of music and print styles?
2. Are your students active in the community? Festivals, talent shows, recitals, playing at nursing homes.
3. Do the students use technology to help keep them interested during the challenging parts of the curriculum? Online apps or flashcards? Notation software? Youtube performances? Are you utilizing these resources?
4. Are you following a curriculum of any kind that can aid a parent in understanding the rate of progress for the student?
5. Are the students learning about areas outside of music that relate to music? Roman numerals, world history, different cultures that have influenced nationalistic music?
Many times I think as teachers we can get in a rut. Even with a tried and true curriculum, there are opportunities for evaluation and introspection. As parents are calling and emailing, do you seem excited about the coming year or are you feeling the grind of hearing those same pieces again? It is up to us as educators to try to instill excitement for music and knowledge in our new and returning students.
I just got home from a few days out of town. Disney World is great this time of year, but it wasn’t just for relaxing. I want to show you some of the ways music is integrated into the Disney experience. First up was the hotel. Since this was a last minute trip we stayed at the All Star Music Resort. This is a value resort. The rooms are quite small but are still themed really well. These pictures are not mine since I forgot to take photos in the room, and it was pouring rain 3 of 4 days.
It is a little hard to tell from these pictures but the border around the room is music themed and the print on the wall is Mickey Mouse conducting an orchestra.
The resort itself is totally decked out in music décor.
I will be updating this blog series throughout the week. I am very excited for fall lessons to get started back here at Brunner Studios in Charlotte, NC. Brunner Studios offers piano, voice and oboe lessons. At Disney World, I saw piano and vocal performances and heard many selections of oboe music. It’s funny how much you notice different instruments in scores when you are listening for them.
Summer is always a tricky time for music teachers. You want your students to continue taking on a normal schedule if possible but many families travel extensively in the summer. So as a teacher you have to be prepared for the drop in pay during the summer months.
The past few years I taught piano, voice and oboe at a school of music here in Charlotte, NC. It seemed like a pretty good deal as far a summer lessons went. Students were required to take 6 lessons in order to obtain VIP registration for the fall. People would twist and turn their schedules and gripe and complain, but mostly they seemed to fit those lessons in. Only 1 or 2 of my 35 odd students would take more than 6 lesson. Everyone was just so busy in the summer. On the surface, it seemed beneficial to have a required amount of lessons.
Fast forward to this summer. I am teaching exclusively from my home studio and I was really worried about how summer was going to pan out. While not wanting to pressure students into lessons, paying my bills is important as well. So, I highly encouraged my students to take lessons if they were in town. If they are traveling, don’t worry about it and you don’t pay for that lesson. However, if you are here I expect to see you in the studio those weeks if at all possible.
Talk about surprising. Almost all of my students are taking a full schedule for the summer. We are moving lesson days to accommodate summer plans, but the students are really stepping up to the plate. The flexibility of being able to change lessons with little notice is really keeping the lesson going.
So fellow teachers I would encourage you to give your students a little wiggle room in the summer. They might surprise you with their dedication.
If you have been looking for lessons at Brunner Studios, there is good and bad news. The good news is that Tuesdays are now open for lessons. The bad new is that Wednesdays are now a wait list day. Wednesday is officially full. If you are looking for a Wednesday time slot as a new student or to change your regularly scheduled time, please contact me.
It is so exciting to see the studio growing and adding students of all ages!
So often I hear adults say “I wish I hadn’t quit piano (fill in the blank for other lessons here) lessons when I was younger.” I never hear adults expression gratitude for their parents letting them quit. Sometimes an adult will say that they wish that they had gotten the chance to take music lessons. My response is always that it is never too late to start lessons.
Why should adults go ahead and take the chance and take lessons?
Adults are going to pick up learning to read music more quickly than a young child. Being more independent and able to reason through problem will keep the learning process moving at a steady pace. It can take a young person several months to learn all of the notes on the musical staff. A dedicated adult can learn the same information in just a few weeks. This will allow more time to focus on learning to play with the proper technique.
Adults are more apt to practice and focus as they are the ones paying the lesson bills. You probably aren’t going to pay for something that you don’t enjoy or don’t spend time practicing. If you go back to lessons after many years away, the desire to learn is there. Mom and Dad aren’t making you take lessons and the initiative is yours.
Adult students are more active participants in picking out what music they would like to play. Often adult students will come into lessons with a specific goal in mind. They would like to learn to play or church or to play in a band. Lessons can be tailored to fit your needs in these areas.
So if you are thinking about beginning piano, voice or oboe lessons and you are an adult. Go ahead and jump in.
Brunner Studios offers flexible scheduling for adult students. If you want lessons in the morning, during lunch, or after work, then there is a time on the schedule for you.