November 10, 2008 at 4:30 AM
buri, it is great that teachers like you bother to think outside the dumpster. at least with me, the biggest torture is boredom that you have nowhere to run. if the teacher becomes predictable-- the same routine week in and week out-- students will fall asleep with glassy eyes open and start wondering when the class will be over. meanwhile, a teaching point will make a more lasting impression, with staying power, if it is instilled with an interesting experience.
a little creativity and fun goes a long way.
Superb idea. You never realize how much you don't know until you try and teach it.
I agree wholeheartedly. As an adult learner, I don't hesitate to ask my teacher to clarify something I haven't understood...or to play and replay a passage I can't seem to get right so I can get it in my ear. Now...for my kids lessons. Their beginner teachers were great. Ideas were simply explained, etc. Then they progressed to needing (for lack of a better term) better teachers. Their current teachers are professional musicians with outstanding credentials but...they don't relate to how a young child learns. I can see it in their eyes when the teacher is explaining a concept and it is going right over their heads yet the teachers is completely unaware and just keeps going.
This is why I take notes during my kids' lessons, in language they can understand. I encourage them to ask question's if they don't understand but they're both too intimidated to speak up. I don't like to interrupt their lessons but my one child especially, will look at me with that deer-in-the-headlights look, and I know I have to speak up and ask the teacher to clarify.
I wish we could edit on these responses as I didn't make myself clear!
I too would like to see my kids' teachers ask the child to explain how they are playing something or why they think a concept is important. It would help them to understand that which they are not understanding and also help them to understand why things need to be done a certain way. Such as your vibrato example.
As teachers, we always run the risk of talking at our audience instead of talking to them.
This IS such a great teaching technique, and it's something I love to do. It creates ownership of the knowledge and concepts for the students. I always found it interesting that students could correct me and be so specific on some things (like posture, for instance) even though they didn't always do it themselves. Shows they listened...and then you have to find ways to have them realize what their own bodies are doing.
Your blog makes me want to go back to teaching middle school again :)
When teaching a beginner one of the Great Classics (Mary, Twinkle, Hot Cross Buns, etc), I have the student place down and pick up my left fingers whilst I pizzicato. After the student has successfully helped me, I say something on the order of "Now, look at that! If you can show me how to play this song, then I know you can play this song too!" The kids get a huge kick out of it! Great fun.
thanks for all the interesting responses.
Anne, I aways sit on the utside in orchestra so that my stand partner can lift my fingers up and down when I don`t know what I am doing. Very useful in Bartok`s cocnerto for orchestra.
What a great idea! I can't wait to try this with my students.
I love to do this as well, and have fun with them when I do exactly as they first say—with a slight exaggeration when the opportunity arises, as I am a very bad student:-)
I must say that I've never had a teacher "reverse-teach" me before. Sounds intriguing. The closest I've had was being "tested" on something, like in my last lesson: do I start forte or piano?, mark the phrases, etc... However, being put on the spot in any form to show your understanding of a concept does make you think alot of what you are trying to do yourself.
Maybe I should "teach" my teacher how to do 1st finger vibrato in 1st position?
Thanks again for your blog. One of my goals in teaching is that my student will become better and be able to do more than me. It's the same for my kid's, that's all a parent can wish for.
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