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My Teachings For Beginners

Teaching beginners are the most important and challenging tasks. It is when they learn the most basic and building strong foundation for the intermediate and advance courses.

Praise

Praise right notes and correct rhythms.

Compliment the student on successful accomplishment of each goal, no matter how small.

An Opportunity to Make Decisions

Beginners need to be heard. This motivates them to work hard.

  • Give them a voice in selecting music to play.
  • Let them formulate their weekly goals.
  • Encourage them to enumerate the practice tasks they’ll carry out at home in order to reach those goals.

Plenty of Repetition

Beginners nearly always need more repetition than we teachers suppose. Rather than ask, “Do you understand this?” I ask my beginners: “On a scale of one to ten, where ten is water and one is mud, how clear is this?” We go over (and over) the concept or difficulty until the student announces he is at least at 8.5 or 9. Sometimes it is helpful also to inquire: “Do you know what you’re supposed to do even if your fingers won’t do it yet?” This helps the beginning pupil differentiate between understanding and proficiency, which are two different things.

 

Help in Organization and Time Management

Nearly all beginners need help in these two areas. Setting a practice time at home is one thing to suggest. Setting up the assignment in an orderly way is another. I will always put the same thing first (such as technique) and ask my student to follow the order as I write it; this helps him establish a routine.

 

Help in Practice Techniques

Beginners need help in learning to practice at home. I will show them the way to pinpoint trouble spots and what to do with them. I will also show them how to integrate the newly-repaired section into the piece.

 

Fun!

Beginners– need fun! Lots of giggles and smiles and anticipation of lessons.

If beginners think that playing the keyboard is a satisfying activity, they’ll keep at it and become intermediates.

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