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#957971 - 06/08/06 08:15 PM New Teacher
wannasteinway Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/10/05
Posts: 69
Loc: California
Im 15...I have my certification from the Music Teachers Association of California and i go every year to earn higher levels..But i have 3 beginning students.and i know that the first lesson will be the hardest, because it all foreign to them and they are going to be very confused.
They are a young...how do you start a begginers lesson???

Thanks

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#957972 - 06/09/06 05:14 AM Re: New Teacher
Chris H. Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/05
Posts: 2844
Loc: UK.
When you say they are young, how young exactly? Their age and experience will determine the material that you use. If you haven't done any teaching before I would say follow an age appropriate method book. Get the books for them in advance and familliarise yourself with the first stages. Plan how you will deliver the lessons. The plan will most likely go out of the window as so much depends on how they respond but it pays to have ideas up your sleeve in advance.

That first lesson is also a good opportunity for you to get to know something about them if you don't already. Make sure one of their parents is present. You will need to explain to the parent just what you expect in terms of practice and commitment. If you read through most of the posts on this forum you will soon realise that most parents have little musical knowledge and have no idea what to expect (obviously forum members excepted). Make it clear that progress is dependant on practice and the kids will need plenty of help and support at home.

Another thing I like to do in the first lesson is play some listening games. Try clapping rhythms and see if they can repeat them accurately. Play them a piece and see if they can tap the pulse. Try some pitch matching and maybe see if they can sing back short phrases you play/sing to them. This will give you some idea of their natural musical awareness. Get then acquainted with the keyboard. Check that they know how to sit correctly. Show them how to find middle C and all the other C's. Go through the musical alphabet and show them how to find the other notes. Oh and check they have something to practice on at home. You would be surprised how many don't think of this!

More than likely you will find the time passes so quickly and you won't get round to everything.
_________________________
Pianist and piano teacher.

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#957973 - 06/09/06 09:36 AM Re: New Teacher
sarabande Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/18/05
Posts: 1597
Loc: Mo.
The first lesson for me always seems to last last longer since I spend a little time getting to know the student and talking with the parents. So I've gotten to the point of just telling the parent the first lesson may go longer than normal.

For children with no previous experience, I follow a primer book in a method. It may be easier in some ways to go over some things initially getting aquainted with basics of the keyboard before opening the book. Either way. I typically cover how to sit at the piano, numbers that correspond with the fingers, getting aquainted with where the 2 and 3 black key groups are, quarter note and half note, and get them to playing at least one song in the book. You can make up simple exercises for playing all over the groups of black keys with correct finger numbers and simple exercises for trying 5-finger positions, exercises for rhythms. That's another reason the first lesson lasts longer covering all that. It, of course depends on the attention span. But I try to be creative in making the explanations fun and try to keep them "doing" as much as I can rather than passive listening and explaining. I haven't tried it a lot, but kids that seem real wiggly and have trouble sitting still could have about 10 min. at the piano, then maybe stand up and do some rhythm activity - clapping or marching, then maybe sit at another small table or area and fill out a musical activity page, etc. I had my very first student get so restless sitting at the piano by the end of lessons at age 7 that she would (her idea) get up and dance around the room while I played the piece of music she was to learn that week. I always wondered if her mom came to pick her up what she though if she saw her dance around the room with me playing the piano! How old are they?

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#957974 - 06/09/06 09:44 PM Re: New Teacher
wannasteinway Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/10/05
Posts: 69
Loc: California
They are 12,9,and 5 roughly......they have absolutly no experience...

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#957975 - 06/10/06 03:24 AM Re: New Teacher
Chris H. Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/05
Posts: 2844
Loc: UK.
 Quote:
Originally posted by wannasteinway:
They are 12,9,and 5 roughly......they have absolutly no experience... [/b]
12, 9 and 5

Well they are all going to be completely different lessons.

5 - Go with a nice easy primer book and get going with it almost straight away. Take Sarabandes advice here. You will need to get them doing things as they will have a much shorter attention span. Vary the activities and avoid lengthy explanations. Maybe arrange to meet the parent separately to discuss their role in the learning process.

9 - I think this will be your easiest one. 9 year olds will soak things up quite quickly. You need material which moves on quite fast. They might have experience of other instruments or possibly from school so ask about this.

12 - I don't envy you here. Most of the beginner books will not interest them. You can get methods for older beginners which may be worth investigating but at 12 their tastes might be a little fickle. You may also have a problem in that you are only 3 years older. It can be hard for them to respect your 'teacher' role in the lessons. Talk to them about what they want from the lessons. Ask what music they are interested in. Explain that they won't be able to play the music they really like straight away and that it takes time and practice.
_________________________
Pianist and piano teacher.

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#957976 - 06/10/06 06:29 PM Re: New Teacher
wannasteinway Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/10/05
Posts: 69
Loc: California
Thanks Chris the breakdown of ages really helps...Thats great advice...There is no disrespect from the 12 year old she relizes im the teacher, and calls me Teacher..its kinda funny.
And Sarabande that really helps also..

You guys are great!!

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#957977 - 06/10/06 10:41 PM Re: New Teacher
sarabande Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/18/05
Posts: 1597
Loc: Mo.
The 12 yr. old may just work harder on practice and lessons for you as she may look up to you and you probably are more in tune with what kind of music is popular right now than the adults. I have a hard time figuring out what appeals to the jr. high, high school bunch as far as music that they would find familiar outside of classical pieces.

I find about 9 yr. olds and up catch on really easily, while 7 or 8 and younger require a little more time. I'm talking in generalities of course.

It's kind of funny how one can tell when kids get to a point of not being able to absorb another ounce of information. It's like their mind is full and they're done (sometimes they're already there after a long day at school). That's when it's a good idea to have some light, fun activities up one's sleeve when they hit the information overload point. Perhaps others have an idea on how to organize the lesson to avoid them reaching that point at all. I haven't quite figured that one out.

The youngest I've taught is 7, but I've been teaching my own 4 and 6 yr. old a little here and there although not routinely just when they ask or seem interested. They both wanted me to give them a piano lesson a few days ago and they did suprisingly well paying attention for quite a while at the piano trying to do what I showed them. But when they had absorbed all they could, they politely said, "I'm done" and that was that. It was kind of interesting how they actually verbalized that was all they could take in at once.

I'm taking piano lessons myself from a teacher right now helping me improve my technique who seems to be probably in her early 20's and said she has been teaching 9 years. So she must have started teaching around your age.

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