Old fashioned teaching methods are interested in WHAT you should learn.
I am fascinated passionately in HOW you learn.
Some people learn Visually. Seeing and then copying.
Other people learn by Listening. Hearing and then copying.
Some people learn by Reading about something.
Other people learn by actually Doing something with their hands.
Some people learn by Staring at their hands, and willing them to obey.
Other people learn by closing their eyes and visualising their hands. (Eg. if they are dyslexic).
Some people learn by Counting out loud.
Other people are freaked out by counting, as it reminds them of maths. They shut down.
Some people learn by Singing the tune. Owning it for themselves.
Other people learn by Feeling the keys and frets.
Some people learn by being Told what to do. OK they say, relieved, and simply do it.
Other people learn by working things out for themselves.
Some people learn by practicing there and then, in the lesson.
Other people do their Practice at home, in private.
Some people learn by working on exercises, scales and technique.
Other people learn by me teaching them their favourite tunes by their favourite band.
Some people learn by being put under gentle pressure, in a controlled, safe, encouraging environment.
Other people learn by having peaceful breaks, and coming back to it repeatedly.
Some people learn better in a group. Takes the pressure off.
Others are horrified by the concept, and only learn one-to-one.
Some people learn by teaching and mentoring others.
Every method of learning is Correct! It is as unique as the individual.
My primary task, as a music teacher, is to teach!
The way I know that I have taught successfully, is that people have learned something.
Traditional methods of teaching are to throw huge amounts of information AT the students.
After all, teachers/lecturers have a syllabus to get through, so some of them see their job as simply making sure students have access to all the coursework, then washing their hands of them after the exams.
I am so far from that traditional style of teaching!
Because I had special needs in school (English and Maths), I know how demoralising it feels to be left behind by the class.
When I asked the teacher to explain something, they simply repeated what they said first time, only louder and more crossly. Listening to the class tutting, I felt embarrassed, withdrew into myself, and didn’t ask anymore. Just spent the whole lesson feeling lost and stupid.
Now I am an educator myself, I see there is a responsibility on both parties, to teach correctly, and to learn correctly. A handshaking process, like the rest of life.
The teacher must make sure the student understands, and the student must take responsibility for their learning.
The teacher must foster/ensure/cultivate/guarantee, a safe, non-judgemental environment, where questions are encouraged and the student feels able to press the pause button as many times as they need to, whenever they need to.
The student must want to learn, and take advantage of this environment.
After all, the lesson is built around the student, not a syllabus.
If the student doesn’t ‘get it’, and goes away hanging their head, where is the satisfaction in that, my fellow teachers?
Anyway, this post isn’t about how to teach, it is about How People Learn.
My job, within the first couple of lessons, is to find out HOW PEOPLE LEARN.
Not to deliver information.
Not to show off.
Not to put them in their place.
Not to baffle them with technique.
My students come to me complaining about how their previous teachers did all that.
So I react by being especially gentle, patient, slow, quiet spoken, relaxed and interested in them first and foremost.
I often say to students: This is YOUR lesson!”
There is also this very important issue called ‘Muscle Memory’.
I teach people that if we repeat the same series of movements over and over again, eventually our brain says: “Oh I get it”! and our bodies relax into the movement, and the movement becomes sub-conscious and automatic. All of us learn by repetition. Muscle Memory is vital.
Having an open, enquiring mind, is a prerequisite to learning.
As is having a positive, forward-looking attitude.
I won’t let you put yourself down when you’re with me! It will prevent you from learning.
Our lessons are always encouraging and uplifting.
I also use humour.
I’ve found that a light, airy, relaxed and supportive atmosphere is vital to the learning process. Especially with younger children, who can only concentrate for 10mins at a time.
have a giggle,
try it again,
have a little chat
try it again.
Some parents who watch us think their child is ‘messing around’. No. They are learning in a peaceful, relaxed, supportive environment. At their own pace, not mine or yours. Mix learning with Fun. This isn’t the military.
The final responsibility of the Learner, is for them to work out how THEY themselves learn.
Do they need more time?
Do they need a different approach?
This is a relationship between student and teacher. We are both equally as passionate about your learning.
Let’s do it togther!
What to know more?