What is the Best Approach to Teaching Children?
This is part three of our series, “What is the Best Approach to Teaching Children?” In past articles we talked about the two most common methods of teaching. Part 2 dealt with the “method book” approach. We also looked at the pros and cons of using this methodology. In part 1, we talked about the “chords” approach, and again looked at the positives and negatives attached to this.
Now we’ll talk about the “songs” approach. Lesson structure in this approach focuses on one tune, or multiple tunes. The song is arranged for that student, meaning, either note-for-note, or simplified down. Easy, playable and accessible, while still retaining the fundamental elements of the music. This, along with the “chord” approach, go hand in hand and are interrelated, because one cannot do one without the other.
- Pros: Student gains repertoire quickly. Having a handful of songs that the student can play can really push their motivation. They will want to keep going, as well as practice those particular tough sections. Having a repertoire also shows the value of the lessons to the student (and the parent) that what they are doing can be quantified. “I can play this, this, and this” song, is a whole lot more impressive than “I can play this, this, this,” scale/chord/abstract snippet.
- Cons: The teacher can make all the difference here. Critical to success, they muse zone in on the students interests. Presenting the wrong songs can lead to frustrating lessons. Wrong because they are too difficult, or wrong because they don’t interest the student, it’s a teachers responsibility to recognize this. Another big con is for the beginner student, the song in question may have to be simplified to the point that it is unrecognizable anymore. This also puts more impetus on the teacher to have a library of material on hand, or prepare pieces specifically for each student.