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Old 05-20-2016, 03:07 PM
Ryzomac Ryzomac is offline
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Default Seeking Teaching Advice

Hey guys! So i'll keep this concise, but I took up a job teaching at the start of February in a local music school. I've been playing for 10 years, (Well, I started when I was 7 so those first few years were pretty damn slow lol), so I feel capable to teach and so far everything has been going well. All but 1 of my students are under 11, with the bunch being a mixture of students that started with me, and students that have had a previous teacher thus being a little further along. It's been afew months now and i'm starting to settle but there are still some questions and issues that I feel still need addressed, and I thought asking some of the pros on here would be a good step as i d be getting genuine reliable advice. Some of my main questions are

- What approach do the teachers on here take in making rudiments and more theoretical stuff fun when relaying this info to young students. Most of these kids just want to learn their favorite songs and I believe its important they can do this but I want just as much focus on technique and fundamentals. Being so young I don't want to overwhelm anybody and the students enjoyment is something I prioritize quite a bit, but at the same time I don't want to focus too much on a kid enjoying themselves and thus loosing time to go over the important yet albeit more boring stuff in a childs eyes. Long story short, i'm trying to find a balance between the two; what way do you guys address situations like this?

- Once a student is past the "beginner" phase, what would be a wise direction to go. Graded exams are usually promoted as the step forward and whilst I agree being able to read music is important, I wouldn't want to force a student to do it if they really don't want to (for the time being anyway). I find this choice difficult as these are all young-ish children so again anything too advanced would likely turn them away, so what do you guys usually go for when all the fundamentals are in place?

- In terms of a students parents, how do you guys address issues where a student' and a parent's desires differ (I.e a parent pushing for a kid to sit graded exams but the kid would rather just learn without having to do tests). It seems that if I suggest not doing the exams the parent thinks im a time waster or I don't know what i'm talking about, any tips for this kinda stuff?

- Finally, any general tips for being an educator? Some of these kids haven't had any experience of drums before they started with me, so I know how important it is to do the best job I can and not only teach them, but inspire them. Im willing to put in the work to really do these students justice, but inevitably I just don't have the experience yet that say top class teachers who have been doing it for years have.

I know these boards are full of top class guys so try go easy on me haha. There are obviously going to be guys that do this far far better than me (As is the process of learning and developing; remember i've only been doing this for afew months!), but I want to do the best job I can and ensure that these students are getting their moneys worth and are not only learning, but enjoying the process of learning.

Thanks for taking the time to read over this, and if you have any advice please let me know!

Ryan
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Old 05-20-2016, 03:44 PM
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GruntersDad GruntersDad is offline
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Default Re: Seeking Teaching Advice

Two bits of advice. If the parents are paying, you have to pay attention. I would also suggest to continue taking lessons of your own. Being more advanced will only help you teach.
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Old 05-20-2016, 04:48 PM
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Odd-Arne Oseberg Odd-Arne Oseberg is offline
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Default Re: Seeking Teaching Advice

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ryzomac View Post
- What approach do the teachers on here take in making rudiments and more theoretical stuff fun when relaying this info to young students. Most of these kids just want to learn their favorite songs and I believe its important they can do this but I want just as much focus on technique and fundamentals. Being so young I don't want to overwhelm anybody and the students enjoyment is something I prioritize quite a bit, but at the same time I don't want to focus too much on a kid enjoying themselves and thus loosing time to go over the important yet albeit more boring stuff in a childs eyes. Long story short, i'm trying to find a balance between the two; what way do you guys address situations like this?
Ryan
I don't really teach rudiments to kids, but depending on the student I sort of introduce what amounts to about the beginner level of Igoe's LTWU and the first page of Stick Control.

My students get a kid-friendly progressive reading book that we go through. In addition we have folder where I organize other stuff that will be the main "book" once we have gone through the other book.

I use the drumset, but we sort of have a deal that I want to get halfway through the book before we do much of that, basically when we are about to start with split 8th notes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ryzomac View Post
- Once a student is past the "beginner" phase, what would be a wise direction to go. Graded exams are usually promoted as the step forward and whilst I agree being able to read music is important, I wouldn't want to force a student to do it if they really don't want to (for the time being anyway). I find this choice difficult as these are all young-ish children so again anything too advanced would likely turn them away, so what do you guys usually go for when all the fundamentals are in place?Ryan
All the fundamentals are never in place. I try to include a full traditional routine and instill that in them. All I do is kick it down sebveral notches, go really slow and make sure they understand why we do what we do, so they are self motivated to do it.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Ryzomac View Post
- In terms of a students parents, how do you guys address issues where a student' and a parent's desires differ (I.e a parent pushing for a kid to sit graded exams but the kid would rather just learn without having to do tests). It seems that if I suggest not doing the exams the parent thinks im a time waster or I don't know what i'm talking about, any tips for this kinda stuff?Ryan
A bit different from the issues I encounter, but either way, I try to explain my method and philosophy as clearly as I can on the first lesson(s). I sometimes invite the parent(s) to participate and make sure that they feel free to talk to me about anything.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Ryzomac View Post
- Finally, any general tips for being an educator? Some of these kids haven't had any experience of drums before they started with me, so I know how important it is to do the best job I can and not only teach them, but inspire them. Im willing to put in the work to really do these students justice, but inevitably I just don't have the experience yet that say top class teachers who have been doing it for years have. Ryan
It depends on your situations and the kid's environment. You simply have to find ways to include things that might be missing, which can be anything:

- teacher's status.
- students feel of mastery.
- ensembles and other more social ways to experience music.
- working from different angles to avoid unecessary prejudice
- make things relevant
- relate to what they like
- show different unknown styles from a musical and cultural perspective

....................



There are no rules. I have simply made myself a basic plan which represents what I feel is essential. Inside that I play freely and experiment with whatever I have to do based on any experience I've had myself, playing, teaching, praciticing myself........... I quite often get new ideas when working of something that's way to advanced for my students, but there's a concept in the approach I can use.

I'm patient, I'll do it in any way I have to, but the skills we need to aquire and how we need to understand them are NOT flexible. I have a framework, but that's for me to know.

I'm pretty much always successful with a student. This is a big subject, but a very important part is my ability to look at someone and see what process is truly going on when they play. This is to explain things in the right way, but it's also to be sure that they are aquiring the exact right skill we're looking for. Most teachers I know are not very good at this and if there is a secret to what I do this is a BIG part. So called "talent" is not a concept I endorse. There's a right way to teach anything to anybody who's interested.

I use a lot of small percussion to move things along, but we can use the drum set in the same way. It doesn't have to be playing typical grooves. It's just different sounds. I'm trying to find a balance in opening interest to all sorts of percussion, sometimes kit playing is a bit of a reward at the end... it depends.

On drumset playing I go through a bit of the basic rock patterns, but I'm more into opening doors and exposing them to several styles and the jazz approach as much as the classical approach.

Ensemble playing is important and I try to involve that as much as I can in many ways. Seminars and big group things are great and they both provide variation and make it easier to keep regular lessons a bit more strict.
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Old 05-21-2016, 01:47 AM
brentcn brentcn is offline
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Default Re: Seeking Teaching Advice

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ryzomac View Post
Hey guys! So i'll keep this concise, but I took up a job teaching at the start of February in a local music school. I've been playing for 10 years, (Well, I started when I was 7 so those first few years were pretty damn slow lol), so I feel capable to teach and so far everything has been going well. All but 1 of my students are under 11, with the bunch being a mixture of students that started with me, and students that have had a previous teacher thus being a little further along. It's been afew months now and i'm starting to settle but there are still some questions and issues that I feel still need addressed, and I thought asking some of the pros on here would be a good step as i d be getting genuine reliable advice. Some of my main questions are

- What approach do the teachers on here take in making rudiments and more theoretical stuff fun when relaying this info to young students. Most of these kids just want to learn their favorite songs and I believe its important they can do this but I want just as much focus on technique and fundamentals. Being so young I don't want to overwhelm anybody and the students enjoyment is something I prioritize quite a bit, but at the same time I don't want to focus too much on a kid enjoying themselves and thus loosing time to go over the important yet albeit more boring stuff in a childs eyes. Long story short, i'm trying to find a balance between the two; what way do you guys address situations like this?
10 years is not long! Get lessons from others in town. You'll probably get some knowledge and a first hand view of how others teach.

Most kids are cool with learning some rudiments and theory, but you need to explain why it's happening, i.e. so you can play the more complicated beats and learn more fills, and also get more control of the sticks and speed into your playing. Kids will get this, most likely, but divide up the lesson so it isn't all "work". Jam a song, then hit some rudiments, then jam another song, then work on a beat or fill, then jam another song, then read some notation. At a young age, attention spans are short! Mix it up within the lesson, but be consistent about hitting the notation/rudiment/theory in every lesson. Keep in mind that most kids won't do any "homework", so it's up to you to bring that instruction every week.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ryzomac View Post

- Once a student is past the "beginner" phase, what would be a wise direction to go. Graded exams are usually promoted as the step forward and whilst I agree being able to read music is important, I wouldn't want to force a student to do it if they really don't want to (for the time being anyway). I find this choice difficult as these are all young-ish children so again anything too advanced would likely turn them away, so what do you guys usually go for when all the fundamentals are in place?

Pick songs to learn for the student, that showcase an advanced technique or groove. A Rush tune for odd time sigs, a Chili Peppers tune for ghost notes, etc. Graded exams tend to create students who put off preparation until the night before the test, no matter what the subject.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ryzomac View Post

- In terms of a students parents, how do you guys address issues where a student' and a parent's desires differ (I.e a parent pushing for a kid to sit graded exams but the kid would rather just learn without having to do tests). It seems that if I suggest not doing the exams the parent thinks im a time waster or I don't know what i'm talking about, any tips for this kinda stuff?

Most parents want their kids to be challenged, to be exposed to music and people, and to have fun. A test isn't the only way to motivate a student, so you can at least suggest alternatives to the parent. But having a concrete goal (a song, a recital, a jam session, an ensemble performance) is key. There has to be some reward beyond self-study.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ryzomac View Post

- Finally, any general tips for being an educator? Some of these kids haven't had any experience of drums before they started with me, so I know how important it is to do the best job I can and not only teach them, but inspire them. Im willing to put in the work to really do these students justice, but inevitably I just don't have the experience yet that say top class teachers who have been doing it for years have.

At first you need to meet the student where their interest in music lies. Force them to choose the music they learn; they'll be more invested, and it will encourage further exploration apart from their lessons. Kids get music from their parents, from TV, and from video games, and usually not from the radio. Later on, as the student needs more challenges, you can show them videos of great live concert performances on YouTube, great drummers playing solos, and music from your collection. In addition to drum instruction, an important part of your job is to be their "musical tour guide", where you expose them to music they wouldn't hear otherwise, from every genre.
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