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Oh My GOD! Six new Students at Once! (Read 2080 times)

Offline josh93248

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Oh My GOD! Six new Students at Once!
« on: August 07, 2015, 06:53:20 AM »
Okay so I had an interesting day today.

Basically I have potentially 6 new students...

So I was busking at a shopping centre and 2 different people, each with 3 kids asked about me giving them lessons. I had to do a bit of a discount but I'm okay with it, especially considering the fact I get 3 at once each! Now I don't have much information about them yet but presumably they're all different ages.

The problem is that I have only a bit of experience teaching, really I only have 1 student and she's an adult who came knowing how to read music almost totally.

So I guess I'm looking for advice on how to handle this, but here are some specific questions.

1. What is different about teaching kids as opposed to adults?

2. What books should I recommend they get to work on?

3. What're the best things to start with?

4. What should I do to capture their interest and keep it?

This is, potentially a really big deal for me, it's one step closer to quitting my stupid job and just doing music all the time, Yay!  ;D
Care to see my playing?

http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCBqAtDI8LYOZ2ZzvEwRln7A/videos

I Also offer FREE PIANO LESSONS over Skype. Those who want to know more, feel free to PM me.

Offline schumaniac

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Re: Oh My GOD! Six new Students at Once!
«Reply #1 on: August 16, 2015, 09:36:34 PM »
Congratulations; it's really great to hear that! :D :D
I'm a student, not a teacher, but I can make these conclusions/conjectures too, with the perspective of a student... Of course, I cant be 100% sure with all my comments, and the teachers who have real experience may very likely call "bullshit" on the statements I've made here. I'm also assuming that all your students want to learn classical pieces:

1) for kids, it is somewhat difficult for them to grasp technical principles right away (because of their coordination, and in a way, their strength). While you might not touch on this right away, this happens especially when they're learning about arm weight, as many haven't really had to use their arm in such ways before and probably find it hard to "imagine" or to relate it to something else. This is different from adults, who can usually make some reference to anatomy or physics to give themselves a better idea. So you'll have to carefully lay things out and be rather patient.
Teaching kids to read music is also a bit of a slow process. Some will find it fascinating, but others may find it counterintuitive ("why is C called C and not 'A' when it's the key I always 'start with???'"). So you'll have to be quite patient there too. There's also a brand of pupils who think much more in terms of "hand positions" (a lot of beginners pieces are formulated so that the hands rest in a "five finger position" in the key of C), as opposed to "musical elements" (e.g. notes, harmony...) which could be musically harmful in the long run.

2) In the stage of "learning to read music," I found the books by James Bastien quite helpful; I'm not sure if they are very widely used or if it was just around Southern California, where Bastien lived. But it's not very helpful to go very far into those books (they progress by "levels"), as they don't have very many "traditional pieces."
Once a student has gotten far enough to be able to read music and play steadily in both hands (at a moderate pace), you could probably recommend a book of scales and arpeggios (there is one published by Alfred). Such a student could also look at Czerny etudes (e.g. op. 823) and the simpler classical sonatinas.  For more repertoire, you can look at the books of Keith Snell which have a lot of "classic" classical pieces and are organized by "levels." They can give you ideas of what sorts of pieces to give to your students as well.

3) To start with, I would acquaint them with the keyboard (which side is low, which side is high, black & white keys, etc.) :P It is probably too intimidating to introduce note names and esoteric terms so soon.

Maybe your own experience learning music might help as well, if there is anything you personally remember that really helped you understand, learn, etc. (this applies to other parts of teaching too)

4) This is where I'm not completely sure how to answer, as my fascination personally is a little "nerdy" :p well I think it was fascinating when I was learning to know the composers as people; their character, what they were sensitive about, etc. For the kids who are older (10+?) at some point you may want to get them to know the letters that the composers wrote to their family- sometimes,, they described really festive and interesting occasions or wrote in awe of other musicians. (Examples: the "Schubertiades," the concerts where Liszt played, the time when Chopin just stepped onto the scene, the silly things that Mozart did, etc.) It's really enriching sometimes; you get the impression that in those days, there was always a big, fun party of musicians.

For kids who are 10-12 or teenagers, they might be interested in relating music in the context of things they know about in history (e.g. the Enlightenment)- or maybe not- but it will help them make sense of the music.

And it is really nice for kids to have friends who are also playing piano or going through the same process of learning music- that really makes for a difference in attitude, and usually for music students, these types of friends are more "understanding" and more easy to talk to in some cases- and if you can, finance a recital of all your students once a year, perhaps if your local piano store has an auditorium-type space! This could be a nice "culminating moment" for a student, especially if they've been learning a piece for a long time. If you can as well, offer a potluck sort of reception and encourage your students to mess around on the piano after the recital. (Personally, that's how I'd remembered recitals- sort of like a "PianoStreet" in real life where we'd talk about things we'd seen on YouTube, about competitions, about jerks like BachScholar and Richard Kastle...)
All that is also a pleasure in music- the social aspect; it also helps you realize early on how music fits in the rest of your life. 

Offline dcstudio

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Re: Oh My GOD! Six new Students at Once!
«Reply #2 on: August 16, 2015, 10:03:20 PM »


the trick is to learn as you go...  we were all new teachers once.

new teachers tend to micromanage things with their students...   just go with the flow... 

if you prepare their lesson ahead of time --even if you just make a few notes---and have at least an idea of what you are going to focus on then you will be way more comfortable.  try not to jump on them every time you hear a mistake...IMO that's not good teaching.

with kids sometimes it's a good idea to break up the lesson a bit---do a little theory with them--then have them play--then ask some questions about the theory you just went over to reinforce it...have them play some more

the tend to get distracted if you just make them sit there on the bench the whole time.

Offline josh93248

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Re: Oh My GOD! Six new Students at Once!
«Reply #3 on: August 17, 2015, 08:33:22 AM »
Thanks a lot guys! But now it looks as if I won't e getting any kids at all as it's been a while and I haven't heard back from the parents.

I do however have a 15 year old potentially starting in a couple weeks, he has some musical background too.

Anyway, thanks again for the help, I'll keep these things in mind :)
Care to see my playing?

http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCBqAtDI8LYOZ2ZzvEwRln7A/videos

I Also offer FREE PIANO LESSONS over Skype. Those who want to know more, feel free to PM me.