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New teaching year ideas #2760727
08/24/18 01:12 PM
08/24/18 01:12 PM
Joined: Oct 2009
Posts: 126
Canada
pianist_lady Offline OP
Full Member
pianist_lady  Offline OP
Full Member

Joined: Oct 2009
Posts: 126
Canada
Hi there,

For those teachers whose students take a break over the summer, do you do anything special in lessons when starting up again in September? Or do you just pick up where you left off in June?
Most of my students take July & August off, which is fine by me as I need a break too! Usually I will choose a piece to start in the first lesson that is well within their comfort zone technically, and in a style the student likes to play. I also like to have some small activity that can be a project for the month of September. For example: learn Happy Birthday by ear; write a short composition based on an summer vacation or activity; Improvisation based on a chord progression from Pattern Play or other source. The activity can be modified based on the level of the individual student and kind of helps them ease back into playing again. I have also gotten each student to make a list of 3-5 pieces they would like to learn, or skills they would like to improve during the course of the year.

Just curious to see if anyone here does something similar. And also looking for new ideas as many of my students have been returning for several years.


Private piano teacher
B. Mus., M.Mus. (piano performance & pedagogy).
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Re: New teaching year ideas [Re: pianist_lady] #2760766
08/24/18 04:28 PM
08/24/18 04:28 PM
Joined: Jan 2016
Posts: 284
Germany
E
Eric399 Offline
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Eric399  Offline
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E

Joined: Jan 2016
Posts: 284
Germany
Most of my pupils will have practised only very little during the holidays, so I usually start with improvisation, mostly based on chord patterns. This year, I will definitely ask them about pieces they want to learn/skills they want to develop, thank you so much! Learning by ear also sounds fun - why didn't I think of that? :-)
Ooops, I forgot: this year, I thought of something called "rhythm of the week": I write down 3 rhythms and let my pupils play or clap them. Surprisingly, most pupils think this is fun.

Last edited by Eric399; 08/24/18 04:31 PM.
Re: New teaching year ideas [Re: pianist_lady] #2760791
08/24/18 06:54 PM
08/24/18 06:54 PM
Joined: Dec 2017
Posts: 308
USA
A
Andamento Offline
Full Member
Andamento  Offline
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A

Joined: Dec 2017
Posts: 308
USA

How about some music games? Music history games; theory games; anything you don't have as much time for when lessons are in full swing.

Originally Posted by pianist_lady
For example [...] write a short composition based on an summer vacation or activity; Improvisation based on a chord progression from Pattern Play or other source.


Composing and improvising are great ideas! And, speaking of Happy Birthday, consider having your students compose a harmony to the melody. They can make it as simple or complex as their abilities allow. Over the weeks, they can work on memorizing and maintaining it so that they're ready to play Happy Birthday any time there's occasion to do so with a piano nearby.

It might be fun to update the harmony once a year or so, or add new flourishes to the melody, or what have you, that will serve as a nice record of growth in musicianship over the years. (Showing increasing understanding of rhythmic and harmonic textures and complexities as time goes on.)

That last part was off the top of my head, as I've only had my students write their own harmony to Happy Birthday one time. (Which reminds me I haven't done that yet with a couple of students.)

Have fun, pianist lady! Enjoy the fresh start with your returning students.

Re: New teaching year ideas [Re: pianist_lady] #2760809
08/24/18 08:46 PM
08/24/18 08:46 PM
Joined: Aug 2007
Posts: 8,101
Orange County, CA
AZNpiano Offline
8000 Post Club Member
AZNpiano  Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Joined: Aug 2007
Posts: 8,101
Orange County, CA
Originally Posted by pianist_lady
Or do you just pick up where you left off in June?.

For reals?

I teach all through summer, and even for those "diligent" students they have severe brain rot during summer months. This is programmed into the public education system, so these kids are conditioned into getting dumber through the months of July and August. It's culturally acceptable.

I do have several families that decide to take the whole summer off, so by September the kids will have regressed to where they were in March. Or worse. I never do anything to ease them back into school mode. If anything, I hit them with the hardest materials possible and make them struggle right off the bat.


Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member
Re: New teaching year ideas [Re: AZNpiano] #2760821
08/24/18 11:02 PM
08/24/18 11:02 PM
Joined: Dec 2017
Posts: 308
USA
A
Andamento Offline
Full Member
Andamento  Offline
Full Member
A

Joined: Dec 2017
Posts: 308
USA
Originally Posted by AZNpiano
I teach all through summer


Me too. I have certain holiday weeks with no lessons on the calendar, but the longest stretch of lesson weeks off is only two weeks -- at Christmas and New Year's.

The amount of proficiency students lose over, say, a 12-week period, or even 8 weeks, is especially bad when they've only been playing a year or two (or less). Years ago, when I offered three summer plans -- 10-week, 5-week (every other), or no lessons -- the ones who took the 10-week plan (very few students) kept forging ahead well, the ones on the every-other, 5-week plan basically were in maintenance mode (not really gaining or losing ground), and the ones who totally opted out of summer lessons, well, you can all guess how that went.


Moderated by  Ken Knapp 

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