Teaching young children is like cultivating a garden. We nurture these delicate seedlings and with a little patience see them grow and become more and more independent, maturing into healthy, well-established plants. The best teachers are able to connect with students on a personal level and support and inspire them as they work to achieve their goals. My long-term goal for my students is that they become independent, competent, life-long music makers.
There are many milestone goals along the way, for starters basic tonal and rhythmic competency. Playing with a steady beat, developing a healthy technique, and attaining musical literacy are high priorities. As students progress we focus on artistry and performance skills. Additionally, I want students to develop a rich vocabulary and musical understanding. I hope students develop a deep appreciation for the music of great composers such as Tchaikovsky, Bach, Scarlatti, Beethoven, Chopin and many others as we explore music in many different styles and genres.
I help students to become proficient sightreaders, enthusiastic improvisers and composers. I give them experience with rhythmic and melodic dictation so they can write down their own music. Composing requires students to apply all their musical knowledge and skills, enhancing their learning for the long term. The realization that they can create their own music opens up a whole new understanding of their abilities. As a teacher I help students see their strengths and build self-efficacy so that they are motivated to set goals and work to achieve them. Success and fun motivate children so my teaching assistant, Hop (see photo below), makes sure we have plenty of that to go around! 🙂