Some of my students have gotten into great practice habits.
– One parent put the names of the repertoire on the computer. They vary the chart each week so that by the end of the month all the songs have been played.
– Divide your practice into sections: review, challenge of the week, sight-reading, music theory – include some of my challenging, fast games…in the eBooks and school.
– Some elementary schools actually have the teacher practice with the student daily. It is established as part of the curriculum. If you are homeschooling, make it a daily part of the curriculum.
Use the free play-along music on my website to support your practice time.
(I’ve given you everything….it’s up to you to use it)
-I allow the students to sign up for as many lessons a week as they would like. There is no extra charge for this and gives the ambitious student the open door.
– Every musical instrument is unique and can be taught in creative ways allowing for learning a difficult lesson quickly…. backdoors to their thinking if you will. Find someone who knows the tricks and is willing to share them with you – develop an understanding of the instrument, how the notes are played, the tone connected with the note on the staff and finger patterns lurking in the shadows. (I was visiting my daughter and son-in-law last Sunday and listened as my daughter Priscilla played violin in church….she played harmony…then she would do a waterfall or arpeggio that led into the next phrase. It was beautiful to hear the sound of the violin flowing all over the music. After it was over, I said, “wow, that was just beautiful. She turned the music around and showed me what they had given her to play along with the ‘team’: it was only chords over the words. That was it. That’s all she had to embellish these songs.) Learn the finger patterns and practice fun runs and riffs.
– Of course, it always helps to hear the piece first. I have my students listen to a number of versions of a piece so they can see the artist’s interpretation of the written music. Sometimes the students attempt to play Twinkle in Vivaldi’s style or Handel’s. Then they establish their own style. There is no right or wrong in this……just expression.
– Don’t overlook the importance of learning to quickly sight-read.
Christmas Carol Sheet Music Gum Drop Notes is a unique method of speed learning to sight-read music. You will be able to play the songs in no time. This teacher manual includes twenty-five Christmas Carols for violinists including the melody and the harmony. The stems of the notes indicate which string the note is played, and the colored circle indicates that the note is sharp or flat and which note it is moving toward. Pianists can use it for two hands on the treble clef alone. Check out all the books in the series. Written in ‘Gum Drop Notes’ tm the series includes books for piano and cello as well as harmonies for each of the Carols and a book of lyrics for a Christmas evening sing-along in the living room. Carols included in this amazing teacher manual are:
A Holly Jolly Christmas
All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth
All Through the Night
Angels from the Realms of Glory
Angels We Have Heard on High
As With Gladness Men of Old
Away in the Manager
Bring the Torch Jeanette Isabella
Christmas Is Coming
Deck the Halls
Frosty the Snowman
God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
Good King Wenceslas
Hark the Herald
It Came upon a Midnight Clear
Jolly Old Saint Nicholas
Joy to the World
O’Come All Ye Faithful
O’ Little Town of Bethlehem
Pat a Pan
We Wish You a Merry Christmas
– Looking at the ocean allows us to enjoy the vastness of it but doesn’t teach anything about its composition. To learn something well, you must break it down into its simplest form and then build, layer upon layer with additional information and skill….take each measure and talk about the buried information about the chord structures hidden inside the measure.
– I ask…what promotes a healthy intrinsic learning in music education. Here are a few great ideas for promoting practice with sticking power.
- Is speed a factor? (I believe it is) Speed shows in what part of the brain the information has settled.
- Is repetition a factor? (Definitely) It takes a certain number of repetitions to take information from the part of the brain where the memory is temporary to where it is permanent (short term and long term memory)
- Is equipment necessary? (Sometimes)
- Does learning require a grade? (The rebel in me shouts ‘NEVER’ but reality forces me to admit that whether it be for a paycheck at the end of the week, a promotion, the applaud of the crowd…we often are motivated by the reward. For kids….that could be the grade.
– I’d like to suggest some ‘techniques’ for developing an intrinsic learning level in your students.
– Stop talking…start questioning. Socrates was known as a great teacher. He taught through questions…pulling the answers out of his students…intrinsic education (coming from within; not something put upon them). Here are some suggestions for developing an excellent style of teaching whether you are a parent or teacher.
– Here are a few ways to develop intrinsic understandings:
- Maintain a deliberate silence
- Make a declarative statement
- Make a reflective statement repeating as a question or statement what the student said
- Have some question or perplexity over their response
- Ask the student to elaborate and then wait until they do.
- If this is part of a group lesson, encourage other students to comment
- Give your students time to think after they are questioned (Wait Time)
- The three most productive types of questions:
- The Playground Question – We are having fun playing this tune…who wrote it? How should it be interpreted? Ask questions about what it is you are doing at the moment.
- The Brainstorm Question – Ask the student to generate as many ideas as they can about – a single measure or phrase – the path the music takes – the repetitions – (limit the time)
- The Focal Question – Do a study on the bowing or period in which the song was written
Education is fun whether you are feeding the information to others, or receiving it yourself.
Here are some Ebooks I’ve written that are music theory games that are ‘fast’, intense, simple yet easily taken to the next level.
Instructional Digital books and play-alongs can be found on https://scalesarentjustafishthing.com/school/
Here is a digital book that is just a part of one of the schools. You will need to accept ‘flash’ to see this book.