Because I am a naturally curious person, my path in life has led me on a strange magical journey. In particular, three events have brought me a new view of teaching music: 1) my work as an information designer for Fortune 500 clients, 2) becoming a father and 3) my son’s separation anxiety that forced me to spend months in the preschool classroom. This has allowed me to bring new ideas to the area of teaching music to young children (or anyone).
As I set out to teach music, first to my then four year old son and then his classmates, I realized I had some parameters:
It must not rely on words. This is a mostly pre-literate audience.
It cannot involve highly abstract concepts like fractions,
Wendy and I connected on a LinkedIN Music Teacher’s group and got to talking. She has a successful music studio and will soon launch an online training program. She is a wealth of information and so I have broken up our interview into several parts. This is the first of three. Enjoy!
What do you think makes you unique as a teacher?
Writing my own teaching program is something that not many teacher get around to doing and mine covers currently 6 instruments with more underway.
Years ago I began to notice a problem with some of my students: Some of them would only retain the last one or two songs we were working on in the music lessons...I started to think how could I "game-ify" a solution to this problem. How could I make going back and playing these old songs fun?
How Music Teachers Are Like DJ's – As a music teacher, your job is not only to educate but also to inspire. To truly connect your student to music, you need to know a bit about them. What kind of music do they like? Do they have favorite artists or genres? But what about the earliest experiences of music?
As a music teacher, I’m also on the lookout for new ideas, technologies and techniques to help teach my students. As a guitarist, my hands are rather small, and I love the fact that I can now buy high quality half and 3/4 sized guitars from makers like Martin, Taylor and others. The sound quality is amazing and the action and finish on these guitars are wonderful.
Most children who study violin or other classical string instruments begin with tiny 1/4 sized instruments. But one thing has always been missing, a quality piano experience with smaller sized keys.
I love visiting the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City where they have a whole room dedicated to musical instruments,
We had our first webinar today on Friday, September 4, 2015. There were some great questions and I revealed some cool tips and tricks especially regarding lesson structure and a better beginning alternative to guitar.
I’m so excited to share this information with you.
For years, I’ve been humbled with an over-abundance of happy, engaged students that I’ve had a waiting list two years long and have given away many students to other teachers.
I want this to happen for you too.
It pains me to see kids struggling, or giving up after only a few lessons, or worse, hating music lessons for the rest of their lives!
I really feel I’ve figured it out – a unique way of teaching music that combines elements from so many of the best approaches out there combined with my unique experiences and crazy career path which I will tell you more about on Friday.
I’m sure you have teaching methods you love too and I’m not saying this is the ONLY way.
In product design, having the most difficult use-case scenarios usually creates wonderful results. What do I mean?
Apple originally worked on creating the computer interface to make it easier for non-technical people to work on a spreadsheet. They also added a whole subset of features for the visually impaired. By forcing the designers to think about these special needs, it lifted the whole project to create such magical results as the iPad, a device a 2 year old can operate. Heck, even a cat! (Have you seen those cat games on iPad?)
When I set out to teach kids music, I discovered a gaping hole in the marketplace. There were no methods devoted to starting kids on playing an instrument until they were much older,
I’ve been talking to a lot of music teachers all over the world. A common complaint is that there’s “too many distractions” in students lives nowadays. They blame the Internet, or the video games, or soccer or Instagram or other social media.
In my 8 years of running my kid-focused music studio, I have rarely experienced anyone quitting due to distractions or other things. Maybe it’s because I interview the parents and make them know what the expectations are. Maybe because I charge more than a lot of other teachers.
What I think it really is, is having a plan. Having a clear plan of what to teach each and every child every lesson.
Because I focus on such young children starting at 3 1/2 or 4,