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#959473 - 07/17/07 05:13 PM Teaching Class/Group Piano
pianoanne Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/02/04
Posts: 650
Loc: Pacific NW
I am a little nervous about the teaching assistantship job I will be starting next month at a new school where I will be going. I will have to teach 3 sections of class piano for non piano majors and I have no experience teaching this way yet. I have experience teaching adult beginner students and kids all one on one. Are there any tips I should know about? Can you give me an idea of what to expect, what are the common problems that people have encountered teaching this way? One thing I worry about is having students who learn at different paces. In this case do I just move at a pace I think is necessary to get through everything and then just hope everyone who is behind will catch up on their own? Thank you.

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#959474 - 07/18/07 10:59 AM Re: Teaching Class/Group Piano
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 14262
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Well, first of all, have they told you what text you should use? Having a good text to work from is ideal. Most of these students will be able to read music (although you may get some that are very schetchy on it), however, they will most likely only be able to read in one clef or the other unless they had some piano background. I was a voice major and while I tested out of the first semester, I decided I wanted to take the 2nd semester to help me with sightreading and learning to play from choral music. It was extremely helpful in those two regards, even though the rest was just review. I wasn't bothered at all about the review stuff, because I love piano \:\) . This may not be the case for most students, however.

I suggest incorporating a lot of improvisational exercises to help relieve the stress of piano class. Many students are *very* nervous about piano class. At the beginning do a lot of group playing so that the mistakes won't be noticed as much. If you notice a student falling behind or not getting something, you can give assignments for everyone to do with headphones on while you go around the room to listen to their individual playing and offer suggestions to help. Your expereience in teaching one on one is very valuable, and will come in handy here.

Also, with group playing, don't forget that you can split the classroom up, and one side to RH and one to LH, and then switch. The possilibites are endless!
private piano/voice teacher FT

#959475 - 07/18/07 09:56 PM Re: Teaching Class/Group Piano
terminaldegree Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/03/06
Posts: 3667
Loc: Georgia, USA
Morodiene makes some good suggestions.

I've been teaching class piano nearly every semester since '99, but not with nonmajors.

-I would get very familiar with the text far in advance.
-Perhaps arrange for your supervisor to teach your first 1-2 class meetings and PAY ATTENTION to what they do.
-Observe others teaching the same course besides your supervisor.
-for the sake of interest, rotate activities frequently... don't spend more than 15 minutes on one topic or they will tune you out!
-vary the type of playing [this involves knowing how to run the equipment in the lab]: call on some individuals to play out loud, have groups play together, have people working in pairs on headsets, just mix it up.
-two common mistakes my new TA's will make are: talking too much [give short, clear instructions], not giving any feedback [positive or constructively negative], and not getting up and walking around the room enough to see what the students are really doing...
-if there are disk/sequencer accompaniments to go along with the book, learn how to use that equipment, mute parts, and adjust the tempo.

That's just a little of what pops into my mind right now... but I'm too tired from moving boxes of books to type any more. Hope it's useful somehow.
Pianist, teacher, apprentice technician, internet addict.
Piano Review Editor - Acoustic and Digital Piano Buyer


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