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#26167 - 08/25/04 10:03 AM New teacher - please help!
kcowley Offline
New Member

Registered: 08/24/04
Posts: 8
Loc: Herriman, Utah
Hello all. I am a new piano teacher and need some tips. I only have a few students right now and they will all be on the Accelerated PA. I was planning on having them use the four books: Lesson, Theory, Technique and Artistry, and Preformance. Is there anything I am missing? Should I have them buy a notebook to write down what they need to practice? How much of the lessons should be divided up into what books? The lessons will be once a week for 30 minutes. Is there an assignment book? Please help! Thank you!

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#26168 - 08/25/04 10:25 AM Re: New teacher - please help!
shannonspiano Offline
Mainstay Member

Registered: 07/01/04
Posts: 694
Loc: WI
Hi i hope you have a great start to teaching. My suggestion yes use a notebook or student organizer of some sort. They make remembering much easier. I'm a game person... Play lots of games with your students, if they look bored switch and get off the bench.. I don't use the theory books for the first 2 books, my students don't do them, hence the games. But to each their own. Don't expect to play from each book each week..
Hth
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www.shannonspianostudio.com

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#26169 - 08/25/04 11:03 AM Re: New teacher - please help!
Carole Offline
Star Member

Registered: 06/08/00
Posts: 2229
Loc: southern California
Welcome and good luck with your teaching. My tip would be to REALLY know your ACC. books well and also the Primer-sometimes it doesn't work out with the ACC (goes too fast for some I have found)and you need to go wtih primer instead. As you think about each unit and the skills, try to come up with some activities to reinforce and make yourself a folder of ideas. As Shannon mentioned, make games. Ideally, you introduce technique first with the T&A (maybe a week or two in advance). Get to know the Pre-Bigtime supplements too-they are terrific. We all do differently, but I just have the student buy a spiral notebook for assignments, make or buy a practice calendar and a pocket folder for keeping misscellaneous things. Well, that is more than one tip! ;\) Here is one more \:D :when you have time, go thru the Archives. There is a wealth of information there, get a subscription to Keyboard Companion and ask questions here! Well, I'm done! Aren't you glad? \:\)

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#26170 - 08/26/04 06:00 AM Re: New teacher - please help!
Susan Offline
Star Member

Registered: 01/03/01
Posts: 2168
Loc: Texas
I second Carole's suggestion that Acc might move too fast for some students. I started a 6th grader in it and it was a disaster.
Also, in a 30 minutes lesson you probably will not have time to do all 4 books. My suggestion is to always use the technique book and drop the performance. In the beginning you want to hear everything they have practiced for the week.
I use the assignment book that goes along with Piano Adventures called Practice Time. ($4.95) It's better than a spiral and the book is written in so all you have to put is page numbers and practice suggestions. There is a place to mark your practice time, and I always require my students do it. Don't balk at the price. It's a lot cheaper than dance stuff.
Remember how you start is how you will go on. Insist on being paid at the beginning of the month, the same each month. Ask for a book deposit at the beginning of lessons if you're going to supply books. Don't get in the habit of making up lessons unless you're a martyr. Act as if you have a studio of 35. I think a lot of teachers start off slack when their studio is small and they have time for it. Later, when they have more students and have to get more strict, the parents resent it. Be professional with a policy sheet and a calendar. Good luck teaching. I hope this helps you. I was lucky to have a mentor, but I still made a lot of mistakes. ;\)

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#26171 - 08/26/04 07:57 AM Re: New teacher - please help!
kcowley Offline
New Member

Registered: 08/24/04
Posts: 8
Loc: Herriman, Utah
Thank you all! Your suggestions are great. Thanks for the input on the Acc. I have a 14 year old just starting and I think it would be good for him. But for my 10 year old, I will just use the regular PA. Should I drop the performance book just for the beginning level/primer (for the 10 year old) and start it after? It is used pretty much as supplementary music isn't it? Do you think I need any of that right now? How should I organize my lessons? Start with technique and artistry or follow the lesson book? What do I asign them to do at home for the week? Thanks for all your input - it is really helping me out!

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#26172 - 08/26/04 12:40 PM Re: New teacher - please help!
shannonspiano Offline
Mainstay Member

Registered: 07/01/04
Posts: 694
Loc: WI
 Quote:
Should I drop the performance book just for the beginning level/primer (for the 10 year old) and start it after? It is used pretty much as supplementary music isn't it? Do you think I need any of that right now? How should I organize my lessons? Start with technique and artistry or follow the lesson book? What do I asign them to do at home for the week?


I only give the solos book for that solos in recital or if I feel they need more time in that area. So have it for yourself but not nessesarly for your students. Start each lesson by asking them what they want to play from that weeks lesson.. it will be the best prepared thing.. and thus the the best for you to hear.. start off good than get to the bad. In the beginning I start with the concept in the lessons, than as the technique advances faster than the lessons, you'll get ahead in that. Asign whatever they played for you that lesson that was new, and then also what they made lots of mistakes on from the week b4. You'll know so just trust your instincts. There are some teachers who automatically assign everything 2 weeks in a row, but i'm not one of those people.
_________________________
www.shannonspianostudio.com

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#26173 - 08/26/04 01:27 PM Re: New teacher - please help!
Carole Offline
Star Member

Registered: 06/08/00
Posts: 2229
Loc: southern California
Personally, I always use the PA Performance book in primer and Acc. It gives that added reinforcement. Sometimes the lesson book only stays on a skill for a page or two and that is not enough for some kids. They need more of the same. Since the perf. is meant to go with the lesson book it is perfect. About the time kids get to playing in the C position, I add a pretime book (even for Acc). For Acc. often it is the classical book because it is more grown-up. Also I am giving some sheet music along too. At the end of the first level books, I "test" their knowledge by doing a fun game that covers everything in primer/ACC. If they are not ready to go on (and even sometimes when they are), I usually loan them Hal L. Solo 1 book (music out of the mid C and C positions) or First Favorite Melodies (Alfred). We may not do all of the pieces, but enough to experience different positions. After the first level, you can pretty well know whether the student will need the perf. book as they go into other levels. For those students who learn more slowly, it is a must, IMO.

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#26174 - 08/26/04 10:23 PM Re: New teacher - please help!
Susan Offline
Star Member

Registered: 01/03/01
Posts: 2168
Loc: Texas
For my 45 minute lessons I often use Lesson, Performance and Technique. For the 30 minutes lessons I don't have time for all three, except for 2 exceptions: the very slow learner who needs a lot of reinforcement, and the very fast learner who needs a lot of work to keep her busy.
IMO, the Technique books are the best thing out there. They are wonderful! If used correctly, they just work wonders for a student's technique. But you can't just go through the motions with the technique book. You have to really know how to teach the concepts.
I always start the elementary students' lessons with warmups, such as pentascales or scales. Then I do technique. I prefer to be ahead in the technique book. After that I go to Lesson, then supplimentary work. I do theory last. If we're working on an upcoming festival I do that right after the warm up and then go on from there. Half of my studio has finished lesson books so we have a different order. But we always start with warmups (scales). Every teacher has to do it his or her way and we're all different. It's fun every now and then to do things differently and shake everybody up.

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#26175 - 08/27/04 05:44 AM Re: New teacher - please help!
pianoc Offline
Star Member

Registered: 08/14/03
Posts: 1088
Loc: Goshen, Indiana
I only teach 30 minute lessons and I still use all 4 books.

Each student is different - but almost always they have a brand new song, a song that they've started but not finished, and a couple of songs that they're either memorizing or just playing for performance practicing.

For a slower student - we do the theory pages during the lesson. They don't leave without having played whatever I want them to practice on. Most of the lesson is spent looking at what and how to practice the next week. They are given very small, measurable things to work on.

For a faster student - theory is done at home. I try to know both the student and the music well enough to know what to pull out of each new song so they will not practice something incorrectly at home.

That's probably one of the things that as a new teacher I didn't understand for awhile. It doesn't matter if you are able to play their songs. It doesn't matter if when they play for you - you can tell them what's wrong and help them fix it. You have to be able to look at a song - even at the very easiest levels - and learn to ANTICIPATE what THEIR problems are going to be. Show them - tell them - have them work through it - before they go home and practice it.

It's a much more encouraging lesson to be working on something new then to always be fixing up what you've been working on.

I would STRONGLY encourage you to read through these posts - take seriously the teaching comments, especially when someone says they messed up.

I would also encourage you to find an experienced teacher that would allow you to observe them teaching. Whether it's actually live or through a video - live I think is best. If you can watch the same teacher with the same student several different times you will learn more than most books can tell you. Books can't show you tone of voice, hand gestures, body gestures, attitudes, praise - those you need to see in action and watch for the students response.

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#26176 - 08/27/04 08:17 AM Re: New teacher - please help!
jaydub2 Offline
Resident Member

Registered: 01/29/04
Posts: 250
Loc: WA
a couple of years ago i discovered......you can use all 4 books, but you don't have to do every song. Sometimes it feels deliciously naughty for the student to skip a song.

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