It may be rewarding teaching children and seeing them enjoy your lessons and grow as musicians but let’s be honest… it can sometimes be frustrating too. Here are ten top tips to ensure your lessons are always enjoyable and fulfilling.
Children love to know that they have done a good job and that their practising is paying off so by making sure you congratulate their achievements they will immediately feel more inspired and motivated. A positive atmosphere creates a fun and loving space which, when you’re a young child (especially ages 3-6) really helps with their desire to develop creatively.
For young children, their attention spans are a lot shorter than adults so keeping them engaged is key to success. To do this it is vital that you switch up the exercises, changing between physical and mental stimulation.
Relate Topics With Subjects They Already Know
Children learn and understand things quicker when they can relate it to something they already know. For example, learning the names of the piano keys can be taught through singing the alphabet whilst note durations can be learnt through clapping and counting. This will not only help them understand concepts but it is also a fun and interactive way to learn.
Use Music Your Student Likes
Young students always love little tunes such as Twinkle Twinkle or Mary Had A Little Lamb. By helping them learn songs like this they feel as if they have accomplished something so great and will be motivated to practise. It is also a good idea, if they like, to get them to sing along to the song whilst they play as this gets them practising the function of doing two things at the same time whilst also having fun.
Get To Know Your Students
If you do one-to-one lessons it is important to get to know your student. Understand what they like, how they learn and how long they can keep their focus for. This will help you be able to personalise your lesson for them to allow greater success. For example, if your student is very energetic use small breaks throughout the lesson and combine physical activity within their learning so they can let off some steam. Maybe four jumps for every semibreve or two twirls for every minim.
Plan Your Lessons
Planning your lessons can be time consuming but it is also a great way to make sure your student is getting the most out of their time with you. If your student enjoys learning in a more academic way then spend some time doing worksheets with different coloured pens. If your student is more practical then try and resonate all aspects of music in a way where they can interact with it. Planning your lesson will not only make sure they are happy but will also allow you to feel organised.
It’s all very well telling a student to play something or explaining definitions but by playing an active role you are building a stronger rapport with them, which is crucial for a happy child and successful lesson. When getting them to play, maybe take some time to play with them so they feel they are playing a duet, which for them will be a great achievement, even if it is only four notes long!
If a student can see that you are passionate about what you are teaching and they can truly believe that their teacher finds music fun and exciting then they are more likely to feel inspired to think the same. Think about it, in school who did you relate to more, the teachers who read out the chapters of the text book, or the teachers who were hands on and in love with their subject?
Encourage Them To Showcase Their Music
It is important to get the child excited about the musical journey they are on. A good way of doing this is encouraging them to show their family/friends songs that they are confident playing. This will make them feel real pride for their achievements and will also appreciate that people around them that are supportive and care about the progress they have made.
Give Them Tasks To Focus On At Home
It is very easy for a child to go home after a lesson and forget about what they have learnt, especially if they only have one music lesson a week. This is why you should set them some light and fun tasks to do at home, that they can enjoy, to re establish what they have learnt in the lesson so they can come to the next one prepared and ready to progress further.
this article was written by Laura Bevan