Music has been central to my life and I get great satisfaction from helping other people develop their musical abilities and widen their musical experiences. Here are some of the elements of my teaching approach:
- I combine a sense of humour with being quite demanding. Learning should be fun because boredom is the enemy of learning any musical skill. But I also make sure there’s discipline and focus in my lessons, so lots of learning gets done.
- I think it’s important to include variety both within lessons and between them. I’ll alternate intense bursts of very focused work with less intense tasks to keep concentration levels high. I’ll also vary the focus of lessons.
- each lesson is tailored not just to the personality of the pupil but also to their emotional state in each individual lesson. Someone who’s feeling confident needs a different approach to someone who’s having a temporary dip in enthusiasm. I find it very satisfying to work out what makes someone tick and then to transfer that understanding into helping them learn more effectively.
- it’s vital that pupils are regularly taught basic skills like sight reading, oral tests and counting – and that these disciplines are not ignored until just before exams. These are foundational skills that need to be treated seriously.
- I make sure that pupils are taken out of their comfort zone regularly so they are continually challenged in a positive way, and have a chance to develop. However I also make sure that I don’t challenge them excessively or end up making them stressed
- I also focus a great deal on teaching performance skills as becoming a better performer is the key to becoming a better singer or pianist. I’ve explained more about the importance of performance skills in this article.