teacher Tag

TransferInterviewing the Transfer Student

The interview process for the transfer student provides a window of opportunity. First, to see if your studio is the right fit. Second, to assess skills and knowledge, and third, a great way to start planning curriculum if it turns out to be a good fit! I have developed a form I use with a list of activities as well as questions that include the obvious (name, age, date of birth, grade in school, and school that they attend). I take notes on this form so that I can refer back to it later. After the initial questions have been asked, I launch into the following assessment activities.

bloggityLast month I wrote about how I use my completely non-professional equipment (as in iPhone) to record my students playing and allow them to hear mistakes, or record myself playing a passage they struggle with so they have a sample for home practice. I recently decided to use recording technology to record a few lessons and evaluate my teaching abilities.

I recorded myself teaching when I was introducing a new piece to a student, and then recorded the middle stage of the piece, where it was coming along nicely but we were working out a lot of rhythm kinks and adding layers and such. Besides being an awkward viewing experience (does anyone really enjoy seeing themselves on camera?), it was actually beneficial. I was able to pick up on little things I did well in the lesson and watch how it “clicked” with the student, and I was able to see the moments where I was losing the student’s interest. I learned from watching myself during the first recording that I have a tendency to talk and explain how I want something to sound. Certainly explaining and talking is a part of lessons, but seeing myself in action caused me to realize that I need to keep the student playing or listening to keep him engaged. I now have added awareness of this tendency and work hard to let the majority of lessons be about the student’s playing and putting into action the things we talk about.

Our interview with The Catoctin School of Music of USA SH: Tell us about your studio.  The Catoctin School of Music is passionate about music, education and how we share that in our community. Our rooms are spacious, climate controlled, comfortable, quiet, well-lit, with plenty of room for teacher, student, and parents. And if you wish to not sit in the lesson, we have several waiting...

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iphoneI have long wanted to purchase recording equipment for my studio, but it has always been cost prohibitive. I have recently realized that I don’t need fancy recording equipment for some of the things that I’ve been hoping to do with my students.

I may be the last person in this country to purchase a smart phone, but a few months ago I took the plunge and bought an iPhone. The built-in video camera in the phone makes it easy for me to use a bit of recording as a teaching tool for my students.

pianopracticeIn my years of experience as a piano teacher, I can honestly say that the most challenging part of the recital isn’t the recital itself — it’s the preparation for it. Getting students to practice efficiently and well in preparation for a recital can seriously do me in. Here’s a few things I include as part of my students’ preparation for an upcoming performance:

-Technique: I try to include technique exercises that will enhance their recital piece. If a student is learning a sonatina filled with scales and trills, her warm-up exercises each week will emphasize building strength to play these scales and trills quickly, accurately, clearly and confidently.