"fun" and lessons - How important is it?

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Moderator: Dr. John Zeigler - PEP Ed

Postby Tranquillo » Thu Sep 25, 2008 1:11 am

Dr. John Zeigler - PEP Editor wrote:Aside from questions of attitude and approach, what can the teacher do to help make lessons more enjoyable for students? Can she teach the lessons in a way that makes them more enjoyable?

Variations. The human brain needs stimulation and it would be monotonous if a whole lesson consisted of sight reading activities.

I think also, another thing that is 'fun' is ensemble work. I've mentioned it several times on the board. I've realized from my association with many different pianists many don't get the 'full' musical experience that a violinist or a flautist would have. I mean that in the sense of communication. There are many youth orchestras and many youths form bands. From pianist to pianist, there is often not much association. I think the thing that would make lessons fun is supplying students with opportunities to work with other instrumentalists and pianists. This is truly a satisfying and 'fun' experience.

Also, another fun thing is teaching composition and improvisation. I think that sometimes this area is neglected in teaching. Theory often is the basis for composition but the problem is that sometimes theory becomes boring. There are many teachers out there that just teach with a pen and paper, its when a teacher shows its application to music where it becomes 'fun'. Improvisation, is another area. Some teachers choose to teach a set of Scales and riffs and allow the students to improvise. This works, but knowing other methodologies so that there is variety makes the whole experience worthwhile. The Orff Approach is simple yet effective. It consists of students improvising on an ostinato. This is another fun thing to integrate into lessons.

Amongst young students I know some teachers tend to encourage the use of larger muscles, hence enhancing gross motor skills. We have rhythm ingrained into us through our pulse, our walking pace, our heartbeat, etc. By having a student stomp to the time of the music encourages awareness of pulsation in music. This teaches the student about the concept of duration and is also fun!

I think having students listen to different types of music, not just piano music enhances imagination and thinking. I think its important that students become musicians not just pianists. Its by listening to different types of music and instruments where students can understand different tone colors or timbres. A student also cultivates musical awareness and has better listening skills as well as a good appreciation for music.

Having students attend concerts is a fun thing. Its a great atmosphere and its also very encouraging to associate with different students.

Last but not least performing. Its such a pleasure to perform and to share the musical journey you discovered with a crowd. Its an experience which I percieve to be enjoyable. I think sometimes the problem with performing is its done once a year or twice a year. Its a rare occasion amongst students and I think performing once in year is more nerve wracking than doing it 12 times a year ... When a student performs at regular intervals s/he becomes used to it. Setting performances up allows students to have goals to aim for which makes lessons have purpose, hence students do have fun.

They are just a few of my ideas on how lessons can be fun and
more enjoyable.
Music is organised sound
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