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Engaging Your Music Students Is All About Sharing

Dave Hemann
Sep 29, 2017 · 2 min read

Help Your Students Help Themselves (or Sharing is Caring)

Your students are trying to learn something difficult. No matter how awesome things go during the lesson, they’ll have to spend time at home. Practicing. It’s simply the nature of the process. If they don’t practice in some capacity on a regular basis, they won’t progress and they will quit. You know this. No one wants this. The student, the parent and certainly not you.

Give your students the tools to practice like they mean it by really sharing what you know.

Of course you already share. You’re a teacher, you share all day long. Really good stuff.

But you’re dealing with kids who forget or adults who forget (and feel bad about it). Yes, you gave them assignments and they own the lesson book(s), but they just might need more.

  • Record a Video. Nothing is quite as instructive as a video. What we can glean from the combo of visual and aural is immense. In combination with the written note we have the trifecta of learning styles! Use that trusty camera on you device of choice and record the piece, the passage, the exercise, the riff and send it to the student/parent. It should not be long, 2–3 minutes tops. Videos are large files and large files are tough to send in an email (check out wetransfer.com for video file sharing). Plus, no one wants to watch a long video.
  • Record Audio. Next best thing to video. Record an MP3 during the lesson that can be emailed and referenced by the student if things start to get a little hazy mid-week.
  • Send an email of links to awesome YouTube clips of great artists doing great and interesting things. Have a guitar student working on Purple Haze? How about a link to Kronos Quartet playing it? Have a cello student playing one of Bach’s cello suites? How about a link to a baritone saxophonist playing the same piece?
  • Give them soft copies of materials as well as hard copies. Papers can get lost. If you have your materials saved in storage, it’s pretty darn simple to drag them to an email to send. This also gives the parent an opportunity to see what’s going on (more on that later)

Ok, a quick list.

-Record a video, send it home.

-Record just audio, send it home.

-Email YouTube links.

-Email home copies of assignments.

Simple stuff, but effective. Remember, the line between a student quitting and holding on can be pretty fine at times. Regular practice is hard and the small, simple stuff counts. Having a full, happy studio counts in our quest against stress.

Happy teaching!

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