This episode focuses on tips that private music teachers can do to make their lesson more interactive and more effective. These tips can be used for just about any type of communication/presentation. Subscribe to The Studio Drummer Chats Podcast to get the latest episodes. If you like it, please leave me a rating on iTunes, it really helps. I can be reached at [email protected]
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Welcome to the studio Drummer Chats. My name is Jonathan Kazen, Ava, and this is a creativity podcast. We talk about things like music production, drums, guitar. Today we're gonna talk about teaching because I know a lot of the listeners out there that are musicians for also music teachers I've been teaching for. I'd say about 10 years actually started teaching a really young I had my first student when I was 17 but for the past 10 years or so, I've been teaching steadily day in and day out and the kind of teaching I'm talking about our private music students that you might teach out of a home studio are out of a school music school. So while these things could apply to any type of music teaching or really any type of teaching, you could take a lot of these tips and apply them to Just communicating with people are motivating people. These air really geared towards private teaching, and in most cases, if you're teaching privately, you're teaching a 30 minute lesson or a one hour lesson. Those air there's with common timeframes, depending on the student and and all those sorts of things. But One of the things that these tips will help you do is keep your students longer. And if you are running a business, if you're self employed and running a business, that's really important. But also the longer you keep your students, the more you will be able to teach them. The more information you will be able to communicate with them, the more you'll be able to help them reach their goals. And that, by the way, is a great thing to think about this not in my list here, but as your moving forward and getting to know your students. If they're young, you're helping them develop what their goals are. They may just be there because their parents thought it was a good idea, but them thio to learn a musical instrument, and they're just trying, and I'll just like they're trying out soccer or anything else, and some of them will take to it, and some of them will just walk away from it. Ah, having that life skill that might come up later in life. And it's always been official if your ah good teacher and the student is receptive, even if they just have that experience of may be learning how to read a little music and learning how to, uh, get a sound out of their instrument. That confidence that comes from that will go within the rest of their lives. Not to mention the fact that there's a pretty good chance they might pick it up a little bit later in life, and it become a source of art and joy for them. So I I see nothing but good coming from from learning music at at at any age. Ah, you know, within reason you don't want maybe don't want to start when they're six months old, but she actually you can. You can start by playing the music when they're that age. Just don't try to teach them too much at six months or one year or two years. Yeah, unless you're in a program specifically designed for that. But that's for another podcast. Most of my students are from they started about age seven or eight and go all the way up to a 70 or 80 and everything in between. And the top thing that I want to bring you the tip number one and these aren't and they are in a certain order, but not that any are more important than others is to keep it fun. Make it fun and you've got to figure out what works for you when we talk about keeping it fun. Have one instructor that I know and his specialty is. He's really good at creating games for his students to play. He's a percussion teacher and he has games and they involve candy and it's he's got it down to a science, and it works really well for him. His retention is really good, so that's a good example of something that you might be able to just think about. Just plant that seed but figure out a way to keep it fun. A lot of us may have had music teachers that were from a more sort of conventional academic standpoint, But just remember, keep it fun. And you know, this is not a college level class. Most likely if you have an advanced student, it might be. But you have to remember teach to the age that you're teaching, too. The next one is when you are teaching a student the supplies of just about any age break up. If you're doing a 30 minute lesson, try breaking up what you're doing. 10 minutes on this, 10 minutes on the next thing in 10 minutes. On another thing, that's just a general formula, but scales for half an hour. You know, leave that for the intermediate to advanced student to do at home. Try to break up the lesson in such a way that it keeps things interesting and moving, and not something that seems like a huge chore breaking it up and in sections that could even be five minutes, sections or three minutes. Sections pending on the student can really help in that regard. But just remember, if you find yourself 50 minutes into the lessening, you're still working on the same thing. You know Gage, your student, and you may want to switch gears. Which brings me to my next one, which is to pay attention to your student. To me, one of the most important elements of teaching and one of the things that can separate a good teacher from associate teacher is the ability to empathize and to really read your student what's going on with them. Everybody comes in with different day experiences and good days and bad days. But in general, you know, when you play something, what makes them light up, what makes them smile? Not everything you do in a lesson is going to get that response. But it's really good for you to note that. And, ah, that will help you get them motivated if you know what what they really like to do. Also, what was really difficult. So if you find that your student is having difficulty say reading music, then pay close attention to that, you can adjust your lesson accordingly. You can slow down on that. You can. You know, you might find that while sight reading is really difficult, maybe their ears were really good, so you can build their confidence with your training, but also Sprinkle in sight reading as you go forward. But maybe not again. Spend half the lesson trying to force him to sight read when it's the hardest thing for them at that at Young Ages and even an adult ages that is probably not going to produce the best results. We have to figure out a way to reinforce the things we want to reinforce with positive reinforcement number four Little more. Ah, this was a little more along the administrative, but it also ties in with communication that is to keep records. So if I'm, I keep pretty d to have a kind of a record system in note pad that I keep on my computer. What? We're working on the date and then I give my students a weekly play sheet. Here's what I'd like you to play this week. This could be text or e mailed to the parent or to the student. But keep records for yourself so that also, if someone needs to fill in for you, they can quickly look down a sheet of paper that says, No. You guys worked on these three things this week and pick up where you left off. As you get into more than 10 or 15 students a week, it's really important especially to have that record there. Number five is start and end on time. That's important because people are paying you essentially per minute or if you really break down. Ah, what it is you're doing. I usually in about two minutes early so that I can talk with the parents and communicate and let them know what we're doing and to encourage the student to play for their parents that week. Ah, and even with my adult students typically will walk outside. We'll walk out of the lesson room and I'll talk to them. Be continuing to discuss with them things that we were just talking about and and, ah, kind of sending them on their way. So you wanna have, if possible, a little bit of a cushion to transition, particularly if you have another student waiting on you. So if you in two minutes early or so, then that gives you time to transition from one student to another without pulling your hair out and worrying about the fact that you're running late for the next one. But starting and ending on time is a big one as you get to know your parents when you're talking about hey, play this for your for your parents this week at some point down the road, you might want to lead with this, but you might want to recommend a schedule. Other words. How about you put in 15 minutes after dinner every night and also a reward system? It might be getting that new instrument. It might be something else, and it kind of brings me to number six, which is, Remember what it's like to be 10. I just picked this age randomly, but it's This is a tough one for a lot of us. Some of ah, if we're creative people and we have a kind of a child like mindset, maybe it's not not so hard for us. But as we become adults and we're told by the world that we need Thio, grow up and do those and become, you know, do do the adult thing. Sometimes it could be difficult to remember what it's like to be 10 years old for 12 years old or years old or 13 years old. So as you are when I go back to number three, pay attention to your student. As you're paying attention to your student, try to remember, Try to put yourself in their shoes back to the empathy. Try to remember what it's like to be their age and remember that they at this age they don't view the instrument in the same way that you do to them. This is a whole different kind of experience might be might be really, really good might be different than in your experience when you were taking lessons at that age. It you just have to try to get in touch with that. But just try to put yourself in their shoes, and that will really help in terms of knowing how to communicate with them. Number seven just simply, says Candy. I resisted this for a long time, and it's not the foundation of my, uh of my teaching system, but you cannot underestimate the sucker at the end of a lesson. And ah, from someone who didn't do it for several years and then tried it. I can tell you it is a little bit of magic for kids. It's a little bit of reward at the end of the lesson, and you want to check with the parents first. But it's something to consider just just a little something that you're giving the student at the end of the lesson that they're always gonna look forward to just think about that. Number eight used technology. I use my laptop in every single lesson, and I commonly used YouTube to listen in, watch things, listen to things. I got you to bread, by the way, so I could get rid of the ads. It's worth worth every penny just for that alone couple of APS I use for guitar bass. I use an app called Musician as something for either as a warm up or for fun. It's a pretty good learning tool also, and what you'll find is that some of your students will download this on their tablet and out of the all the things that you asked him to do over the week. That's really the only thing they did, because it's a game and kids love games even again. I keep saying this, but back to my adults death. But my dull students, same thing. They they did a lot of stuff on musician and kind of ignored the rest of the stuff. So you have to try to balance that out and say, Hey, you know, this stuff over here is really gonna help you grow as a musician. Musicians good, too. But you know what? If if they're getting their hands on the instrument, if they're playing, if they're picking it up, it's not just if the instruments not just sitting in the corner all week. Then you've made headway. So another one that I use is called drum school from my drum students. And it is an app that has a lot of cool beats, demonstrations that encourages sight reading. It starts really, really basic and gets into some really advanced. Ah, beats that are, ah, popular songs. And I like the drums school laugh a lot. I use that very, very frequently. Also, there's a bunch of them out there. I'm just gonna mention those two or three things. If you want more, send me an email. Um, and you can send that to J C eight Jake as music dot com J. C at j. C ese M u S i c dot com and I'll send you a list of some other APS. I use number nine. Share your passion for music. This can be just in the way that you talk about the things that you're trying to teach on a minute to minute basis. If you're really passionate about music and you enjoy talking about music, I mean I do. Then that's gonna come across when you're talking to your students. But keep that in the back of your mind that you're trying to convey how fun an important this can be. Another way that I I share, my passion for music is occasionally just out of the blue. I'll pull up one of my favorite musicians on YouTube, and we'll watch, watch and play for five minutes if your ah and then well, then I'll stop it and we'll talk about I'll say, this is who this guy is, who this group, this girl is. And this is kind of why I like him and they're one of my favorites because of this. And check out this cool thing they did here, you know, just a little discussion. You never know what's going to Smarck. Their creativity. What's going to spark their interest. So little things like that. Every now and then, I can convey go a long way. If you're a gigging musician, you can invite your students to your gigs and again, seeing you play on stage can be very impressive. If you're a studio producer, if you write songs and you've got something on iTunes that that can be away, you can share your passion and connect with your students. And of course, if you have stuff on YouTube, that's probably the most impressive of all. Specially if it's good material, because all of my students are on YouTube and of course you can always play for them. You know you can. I wouldn't recommend that you do this all the time, But every now and then, um, you know, you can say, Hey, here's a little thing I'm working on and ah, maybe play for a minute or so for them. Um, okay, Number 10 the last one. His end with fun. What this means to me is, sometimes I'll start with Let's just I'm just gonna pick some stuff here. Let's say we start with scales and then we go to sight reading. But then the last thing I do is theme musician because, uh, musician at, because I know that's something that they really want to do, or the last thing we do is the song they're working on. That's often the thing that we're that they are really looking forward to. Playing is playing along with the song, so end with fun. The idea is to to have them leave with a smile and then the last thing that they do. Ah has a, you know, positive reinforcement. They're like, man, that was fun. If you end with drudgery, let's say you end with the 10 minutes of scales. Guess what? They're gonna walk out of the room like, ah, unless they just love scales. But which is, you know, happens sometimes, but not as common. So end with something fun, Have them think about them leaving with a smile. And this has a lot of benefits. Um, as they're as they're leaving their lesson positive reinforcement. Parents see that they're enjoying their lesson. And those are all really important things to keeping your students for long periods of time. I hope that this podcast has helped you in some way. And if it has, please subscribe. Also, if you can, I would love it. If you would leave me a rating on iTunes and a review would be awesome. You just go to the search feature. You search for either my name, Jonathan Kazan IV or the name of the podcast, and when that comes up, you scroll down and you'll see a place to leave or rating. Thanks again. And I will talk to you soon.