Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Teaching 'Aha!' Moments (For the Teacher :) )

It's so easy to get caught up in what I as a teacher am doing wrong that I can overlook the times I get things right. That's what these 'Aha!' posts are for- the moments when I experience a teaching breakthrough. I hope that these posts will encourage fellow teachers! Read on for installment #1...

I love love LOVE it when my students have 'aha' moments and you can literally see things click in their brains! But, I'm also a fan of those times when I have my own 'aha' moments as a teacher.

Sometimes finding a way to effectively communicate can be a real trial and a test of my ingenuity and creativity (and my level of patience!). It's always so rewarding when I finally light on the right explanation or solution to a given problem.

Like this afternoon...
I was working with a student on a piece of music that has a lot of ascending and descending scale passages. It was his second week on the piece, and even though I'd assigned metronome practice over the past week to try and get a more even, smooth speed something wasn't working! As he was playing, I suddenly had an inspiration: Why not change the metronome so that it was beating the eighth note instead of the quarter note? Once he finished his current run-through, I offered my idea and we tried it. WOWOO! It made a world of difference. The passages were smooth, steady, and confident. Seems like trying to subdivide while playing was really causing more stress than help. I was so excited to have landed on an effective solution.

Now, keep in mind that this is the same student who told me later in today's lesson that he felt that metronome practice wasn't really helping him...and you can see I've still got some work to do, both to convince him of the benefit of the metronome and to find better ways of assigning metronome practice so he feels like it is working and worthwhile. But it was a step in the right direction!

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