6 Solid Teaching Strategies For Better Music Lessons
Here are 6 effective and solid teaching strategies for better music lessons so you can keep students engaged and increase their chances of succeeding in learning their instrument.
Keeping your students engaged with your lessons is one of the best methods of helping them to achieve their full potential, so we’ve put together 6 solid teaching strategies for better music lessons. These strategies will not only help your students enjoy your music lessons but keep your own skills “sharp” making you a better teacher in the long run.
Over the past two decades, the amount of resources available to help with becoming better music teachers has increased dramatically, but it’s up to us as teachers to apply these resources and methods in a way that best suits our students.
Here we will discuss six modern teaching strategies that you can utilise to help keep your students enthusiastic about their instrument lessons.
6 Effective, Applicable Teaching Strategies For Better Music Lessons
1. Make The Most Out Of Technology
Since 2020, it’s been made pretty obvious that incorporating technology within our lessons is the way to go. We’ve even put together a checklist on how to teach music online for you – worth reading if you’re yet to make the jump to digital lessons!
Many of your students – especially the younger ones – will be relatively tech-savvy, so using teaching methods that involve technology they’re familiar with is sure to keep them engaged.
Whether this is in the form of using a tablet/laptop to access sheet music or even teaching the basics of musical composition with a DAW, technology can make the learning experience fun for you as well as your students.
Furthermore, as accessibility can be a stumbling block with today’s learners, it is certainly beneficial for you to be able to conduct online music learning sessions.
This not only helps those students who can’t attend in person but will also potentially widen your consumer base with new students from around the globe.
2. Keep The Music You Teach Relevant
Every musician, no matter what their background or their instrument of choice, has one thing in common: they were all inspired to pick up their instrument for the first time by a particular song or performer.
When it comes to your students, finding out just what type of music it is that they love to listen to can really help you to keep them enthusiastic about your lessons. This is a key component of retaining music students.
An example of what you could do would be as follows:
A) Pick a particular song that your student loves, one with a clear music form, and listen to the song together.
B) Next ask them questions about elements within the song – such as its melody, chord progression, etc.
C) After that, introduce them to another performer or song and discuss the differences between these elements on both examples.
You can even share elements of your own personal musical journey with your students in this field, discussing your major influences and even your own learning experiences from when you were in their position.
3. Mix Things Up A Little
If you notice your students getting a little restive or bored, especially when it comes to musical theory, then it may be time to switch things up and change your teaching approach.
For instance, if you normally teach private one to one lessons, arrange for your student to work alongside another as part of a group activity.
While individual practice can be an important part of learning to play an instrument, encouraging your students to interact with one another can be even more beneficial to their advancement.
This can also help you to introduce longer, more involving tasks than would be possible individually.
We’ve even talked about the differences and benefits of private vs group music lessons here!
Or, if that’s not viable, make the most out of your available space by conducting the lesson in a larger room or even outside, allowing you to add a more physical aspect to your teaching.
Don’t forget that as a music teacher you’ll also need to ensure that you keep yourself engaged, so with that in mind it’s always best to write lesson plans that get you excited to teach.
You can also, as mentioned above, embrace the ever-evolving technological advances, and leave yourself open to new ideas so that your learning structure doesn’t become too rigid.
Keeping your lessons as flexible as possible is sure to keep your students engaged, and will help you to stand out from the competition. Promote yourself online as a music teacher as a way of teaching online and gaining more music students at the same time?
4. Keep Things Fun
Learning should be fun, especially when it comes to music lessons, and this is best achieved by doing, not just by reading and writing. It’s worth remembering that making your lessons fun and memorable will certainly help to keep your students engaged.
This can be achieved much easier than you may realise.
For starters, you can introduce some of your own personal favourite songs, music that your students may not be familiar with, and show them how to play along to sections.
Introducing basic improvisational skills is a great way of helping to engage your student’s creativity, especially when combined with modern technology (i.e. setting up a simple loop in a DAW or with a guitar looper pedal, and playing short passages over the top).
You can also arrange fun activities or concerts to keep them motivated, inviting your students to perform with you for a small audience from time to time, even if the crowd only consists of their family.
5. Inclusivity Is The Key
When all is said and done, you will most likely be teaching students from all backgrounds, at all ability levels, and with different learning styles.
This being the case, you will need to ensure that your classroom is versatile and inclusive enough to accommodate them all.
With this in mind, you should never limit your expertise to a single genre, instead broaden your musical horizons to be as diverse as your students need you to be.
Embrace diversity and adapt to the unique needs of your learners, whatever they may be, and patiently try to understand the learning patterns of each individual.
6. Never Stop Learning
Central to each of the teaching strategies discussed here is the awareness that a music teacher’s role isn’t the same as it was when we were still students.
Above all, modern music teachers need to realise that whilst their students will be learning from them, they too will be learning from their student’s own expertise and interests.
More than anything you should see yourself as a constant learner, allowing yourself to embrace new technologies and musical content to help you on your teaching journey.
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