Continue reading “Me Time”: a work in progress
A work in progress! That’s how I would describe my work life balance. How’s yours?
A Student Perspective
Have you ever asked your student what makes a good instrumental lesson?
A number of years ago I did just that in a secondary school. There was a whole class full of students of different ages, learning different instruments with a variety of teachers.
Their feedback was enlightening. Here are the main themes, the messages I believe are still valuable.
Whilst revising this, from a personal perspective, it was a useful reminder to ask and listen more to the needs of my students and to think more creatively – especially when teaching sight reading and scales.
So, what did they say …
In a special Christmas message for Pianodao, Karen Marshall offers generous words of encouragement and advice for musicians, teachers and parents during this busy season…
In my own selection of educational music, I must have over 20 Sight Reading Schemes. I see which is a best fit for my student and then get them to order a copy.
However, I still loan out many to help the student get a very varied experience. Just like reading, I think it’s important that students get a varied amount of material.
With quite a lot available out there, in order to impress me, a sight reading resource needs to be something special.
Well congratulations Sandy Holland and Peter Noke, I am impressed! Here’s why………….
We are thrilled to be able to offer this Practice Advent Calendar to Pianodao readers.
The idea of a Practice Advent Calendar went down really well with Karen’s students last Christmas. That little bit of extra reward and recognition can be very helpful to motivate music practice.
The simple logo-like Christmas symbol illustrations (for each day in December up to the 24th) are line drawings for children to colour in.
We are excited to see finished advent calendars in the future so please do take pictures and show us them on social media. We’d love to see them!
We really hope it will inspire your students to do a little more practice this festive period but most of all, to have some fun!
Practice Advent Calendar [PDF Download]
Very best wishes, Karen Marshall and David Blackwell
Sheet Music Review by Guest Reviewer Karen Marshall
I was delighted last week to receive the above publications which I have been readily using with my students of all ages and grades.
Initial impressions after using Mosaic with my whole teaching practice are that these books are best placed with the teenage and adult market, but with material also for primary age children. Younger children in my practice loved compositions in the collection particularly by Ben Crosland and Sarah Konecsni.
This is a job well done, and I congratulate all the composers and Nikolas Sideris on the contents of these volumes.
So here it is – ABRSM, the world’s leading instrumental examination board, today announces the 2019/20 syllabus, and as promised Pianodao can bring you the world’s first – and second! – in-depth review of the full package.
- First comes my own review, focusing on the overall trends in this brand new syllabus, and assessing the overall product.
- This is followed below by Karen Marshall’s in depth look at each grade in turn, commenting on the suitability and appeal of the selected pieces.
Karen and I have also jointly produced a FREE printable download in which we each list our Golden Selections of our favourite pieces from each of the eight grades.
You can print this off and use it alongside the syllabus as a resource to help with repertoire selection, and for your own interest. There’s also space for you to add your own Golden Selection in conjunction with the full syllabus, available now from the ABRSM website.
My much-read review of the 2017/18 syllabus suggested that it was a somewhat mixed affair, and teacher reactions have been similarly mixed. If there was some disappointment with the 2017/18 syllabus, this only heightens anticipation for its replacement.
So have ABRSM this time delivered the goods and struck a balance that teachers and students around the world will be more enthusiastic about? Let’s find out!..
Guest post by Karen Marshall
Multi-sensory music teaching is just what it sounds like: using all the senses to teach and learn music. The main senses employed are visual (seeing), auditory (hearing) and kinesthetic (doing).
I would also add in reading and writing (text) as the literate nature of our world shows that many people find this useful, even those with dyslexia.
Multi-sensory music teaching can be seen in some of the most respected approaches to such work throughout the world including those of Dalcroze, Kodály, Suzuki and Orff. It can benefit all learners, including those with specific learning difficulties like dyslexia. In her key book Instrumental Music for Dyslexics: A Teaching Handbook (Whurr, 2002), Sheila Oglethorpe emphasizes this, encouraging people
“to employ as many of the child’s senses as possible in the hope that the stronger senses will compensate for the weaker ones”.
However, multi-sensory teaching shouldn’t be seen as a method to just use with students who have special needs – it has huge benefits for all…
Guest Post by Karen Marshall
Pushy Parent Syndrome
Is this something you are experiencing in your studio?
I recently attended a teacher meeting where a teacher was relaying her recent experiences with a very difficult parent of a young 6-year-old student. As I pondered the topic I realised that ‘pushy parent syndrome’, luckily, has not been something that I’ve recently encountered as regularly as in my young teaching years.
I felt it may be helpful to share some practices I’ve developed which have certainly made my teaching life far easier.
My approach is partly a conflict resolution one. I would add its a “work in progress” – I would never claim to have all the answers and I’m still learning constantly after over 25 years of piano teaching!
I say conflict resolution because a relationship between a teacher and parent has potential for conflict, simply because the parent purchases the lessons and the child receives them. The relationship is a triangle – if anyone has ever had a dotted line with two managers you will know first-hand the problems that can cause.
- The parent’s needs may be different to the child’s – conflict.
- The parent’s expectations may be different to the abilities of the child – conflict.
Before you know it, you are jam-sandwiched between the child and the parent. So, what are the practical things I try to employ to make things easier and – most importantly – best for the student whilst maintaining good professional practices?