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Theory class? #2846048
05/07/19 10:05 AM
05/07/19 10:05 AM
Joined: Oct 2009
Posts: 115
Canada
pianist_lady Offline OP
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pianist_lady  Offline OP
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Joined: Oct 2009
Posts: 115
Canada
Hi, just wondering if any of the teachers here hold theory classes outside of the regular lesson?
My approach has been to incorporate theory into weekly lessons, based on the needs of the individual student. This works pretty well, though many students are not willing to do much in the way of homework because they think it is boring compared to actually playing the piano.
Where things become a little challenging is when students take theory exams to fulfill the RCM Theory co-requisites. There never seems to be enough time to really learn all of the material without taking focus away from learning repertoire. I also find myself teaching the same theory lesson multiple times per week, and often think it would be so much more efficient to only do it once.
My childhood teacher did theory lessons on Saturday mornings, though I can't remember if my parents paid extra for this or if it was part of the lesson fee.
I find it hard to imagine my busy students committing to an extra class and being willing to pay for it., but maybe it could work.
Any thoughts?


Private piano teacher
B. Mus., M.Mus. (piano performance & pedagogy).
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Re: Theory class? [Re: pianist_lady] #2846061
05/07/19 11:21 AM
05/07/19 11:21 AM
Joined: Mar 2018
Posts: 249
Texas
Dr. Rogers Offline
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Dr. Rogers  Offline
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Joined: Mar 2018
Posts: 249
Texas
Originally Posted by pianist_lady

My approach has been to incorporate theory into weekly lessons, based on the needs of the individual student. This works pretty well, though many students are not willing to do much in the way of homework because they think it is boring compared to actually playing the piano.


This has been my approach and experience as well.

Quote
Where things become a little challenging is when students take theory exams to fulfill the RCM Theory co-requisites. There never seems to be enough time to really learn all of the material without taking focus away from learning repertoire. I also find myself teaching the same theory lesson multiple times per week, and often think it would be so much more efficient to only do it once.


Ditto.

I use ABRSM, and Grade 5 Theory is a prerequisite for Grade 6 Practical and above. I only have one student doing exams at the moment (they're not that popular yet here in Texas), and she and I have been discussing setting up a separate music theory class focused on the needful for Grade 5. Some other students have expressed interest as well, but I doubt I will have a large group wanting to do it. I'll probably wind up having dedicated one-on-one theory lessons with the exam student.


Austin Rogers, PhD
Music Teacher in Austin, TX
Baldwin SD-10 Concert Grand "Kuroneko", Baldwin Upright, Yamaha P-255
Re: Theory class? [Re: pianist_lady] #2846079
05/07/19 12:21 PM
05/07/19 12:21 PM
Joined: Mar 2019
Posts: 188
Toronto, Canada
W
WeakLeftHand Offline
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WeakLeftHand  Offline
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Joined: Mar 2019
Posts: 188
Toronto, Canada
I’m not a teacher, but my area has dedicated theory classes for those preparing for RCM theory exams. I suppose you will need a lot of students preparing for the same exam to offer such classes though.

http://www.euromusic.ca/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/Spring_Theory_2019-.pdf
http://www.euromusic.ca/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/Summer_THEORY_2019.pdf

Re: Theory class? [Re: pianist_lady] #2846155
05/07/19 04:32 PM
05/07/19 04:32 PM
Joined: Aug 2007
Posts: 8,038
Orange County, CA
AZNpiano Offline
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AZNpiano  Offline
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Joined: Aug 2007
Posts: 8,038
Orange County, CA
Originally Posted by pianist_lady
many students are not willing to do much in the way of homework because they think it is boring compared to actually playing the piano.

I let these kids fail. Let them experience failure. Just make sure you document their lackluster record week after week. I would make sure I remind these students and their parents at least three times a week that they will fail.


Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member
Re: Theory class? [Re: AZNpiano] #2846172
05/07/19 05:09 PM
05/07/19 05:09 PM
Joined: May 2016
Posts: 1,040
Moscow, Russia
I
Iaroslav Vasiliev Offline
1000 Post Club Member
Iaroslav Vasiliev  Offline
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Joined: May 2016
Posts: 1,040
Moscow, Russia
Originally Posted by AZNpiano
Originally Posted by pianist_lady
many students are not willing to do much in the way of homework because they think it is boring compared to actually playing the piano.

I let these kids fail. Let them experience failure. Just make sure you document their lackluster record week after week. I would make sure I remind these students and their parents at least three times a week that they will fail.

You should probably rename your account to MrSmash. smile

Re: Theory class? [Re: Iaroslav Vasiliev] #2846181
05/07/19 05:37 PM
05/07/19 05:37 PM
Joined: Aug 2007
Posts: 8,038
Orange County, CA
AZNpiano Offline
8000 Post Club Member
AZNpiano  Offline
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Joined: Aug 2007
Posts: 8,038
Orange County, CA
Originally Posted by Iaroslav Vasiliev
Originally Posted by AZNpiano
Originally Posted by pianist_lady
many students are not willing to do much in the way of homework because they think it is boring compared to actually playing the piano.

I let these kids fail. Let them experience failure. Just make sure you document their lackluster record week after week. I would make sure I remind these students and their parents at least three times a week that they will fail.

You should probably rename your account to MrSmash. smile

This is not smashing. Letting kids get the grade they deserve is hardly smashing.

Don't you teach kids that just refuse to learn anything?


Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member
Re: Theory class? [Re: pianist_lady] #2846261
05/07/19 11:08 PM
05/07/19 11:08 PM
Joined: Dec 2017
Posts: 288
USA
A
Andamento Offline
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Andamento  Offline
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Joined: Dec 2017
Posts: 288
USA
I hear you, Pianist Lady. It's hard to get busy kids to come to anything beyond the once-a-week regular lesson, in my experience.

One possibility to consider, though, might be that, if you have two similarly-matched students in back-to-back lesson slots, you could occasionally have the first student stay an extra 5 minutes and have the second student come 5 minutes earlier than usual. That puts a 10-minute block in the middle where both of them are there, at which time you could do a joint theory activity.

Or 10 minutes extra for each for a 20-minute joint session. Etc. Once a month maybe?

I haven't done this for theory, but I did it for a season with two similar back-to-back students who played a duet once for a recital.

Last edited by Andamento; 05/07/19 11:09 PM.
Re: Theory class? [Re: Andamento] #2846298
05/08/19 02:31 AM
05/08/19 02:31 AM
Joined: Aug 2007
Posts: 8,038
Orange County, CA
AZNpiano Offline
8000 Post Club Member
AZNpiano  Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Joined: Aug 2007
Posts: 8,038
Orange County, CA
Originally Posted by Andamento
Or 10 minutes extra for each for a 20-minute joint session. Etc. Once a month maybe?

I have done that for two cheapskate parents who refused to pay more than 30 minutes of lesson time.

For the lazy students who never do any theory homework, I make them do the theory homework during piano lesson. Their playing suffers, but that's not my problem.


Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member
Re: Theory class? [Re: Andamento] #2846319
05/08/19 07:13 AM
05/08/19 07:13 AM
Joined: Oct 2009
Posts: 115
Canada
pianist_lady Offline OP
Full Member
pianist_lady  Offline OP
Full Member

Joined: Oct 2009
Posts: 115
Canada
Originally Posted by AZNpiano
Originally Posted by pianist_lady
many students are not willing to do much in the way of homework because they think it is boring compared to actually playing the piano.

I let these kids fail. Let them experience failure. Just make sure you document their lackluster record week after week. I would make sure I remind these students and their parents at least three times a week that they will fail.


I do recognise that it's fully their responsibility to do the homework and remind them of that fact frequently. One of my students did fail, because she thought she could cram it all at the last minute, even though I told her that was a bad idea. I'm not losing any sleep over this, just trying to optimise my teaching.

Originally Posted by Andamento
I hear you, Pianist Lady. It's hard to get busy kids to come to anything beyond the once-a-week regular lesson, in my experience.

One possibility to consider, though, might be that, if you have two similarly-matched students in back-to-back lesson slots, you could occasionally have the first student stay an extra 5 minutes and have the second student come 5 minutes earlier than usual. That puts a 10-minute block in the middle where both of them are there, at which time you could do a joint theory activity.

Or 10 minutes extra for each for a 20-minute joint session. Etc. Once a month maybe?

I haven't done this for theory, but I did it for a season with two similar back-to-back students who played a duet once for a recital.

I have done this for duets as well. What I am thinking about is a longer session... maybe a review class close to the exam dates would be a good way to try it out.


Private piano teacher
B. Mus., M.Mus. (piano performance & pedagogy).
Re: Theory class? [Re: pianist_lady] #2846587
05/08/19 09:59 PM
05/08/19 09:59 PM
Joined: Jul 2017
Posts: 534
Virginia
D
DFSRN Offline
500 Post Club Member
DFSRN  Offline
500 Post Club Member
D

Joined: Jul 2017
Posts: 534
Virginia
Pianist Lady, the school I have been taking piano at for the past 5 years offers children 30 min of lesson piano and then 30 min theory for pre-school. Middle school kids can take 30 or 45 min theory lessons. Adults are only offered theory by the hour. I took theory for 3 years, took 2 hour classes in addition to my 2 hour piano lessons. I would think it would be hard to teach piano and theory in one class and cover each sufficiently. I remember taking violin as a child for 10 years, theory was incorporated into the lessons never had a separate class.


Deb
"A goal properly set is halfway reached." Zig Ziglar
Re: Theory class? [Re: AZNpiano] #2846589
05/08/19 10:28 PM
05/08/19 10:28 PM
Joined: Jul 2017
Posts: 534
Virginia
D
DFSRN Offline
500 Post Club Member
DFSRN  Offline
500 Post Club Member
D

Joined: Jul 2017
Posts: 534
Virginia
AZN Piano, I agree with you, there are positive or negative consequences to behaviors. Failure teaches life lessons, I did not study, hence I did not pass. Not only do we learn this as children, adults experience failures as well or negative consequences. I was speeding...........got tickets... enough of them and you can't drive. Did not pay taxes on time...........fined. Don't show up for work............lose your job.

I taught online adjunct, adults failed because they did not do the required class work. Not doing the required work is not unique to children. Learning positive and negative consequences as children will better prepare them for life as an adult. I would not contend the child will fail, I would word it the child has a high probability of failing because................

Parents have a responsibility to take interest in their children's activities. Children need support and guidance to be successful. Teachers cannot fix everything, all you can do is try to motivate the student and provide information to the parents. It is the parents call what they will do with the information.


Deb
"A goal properly set is halfway reached." Zig Ziglar
Re: Theory class? [Re: pianist_lady] #2850869
3 hours ago
3 hours ago
Joined: Oct 2010
Posts: 11,646
B
bennevis Offline
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bennevis  Offline
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Posts: 11,646
Students need to know why theory matters.

Divorcing theory from practical (teaching each separately) makes no sense: all my teachers taught theory during piano lessons, as and when. The two became one in my young mind. After all, if I was playing a childhood Mozart piece (like K6) which modulates to the dominant at the repeat barlines, it made sense for my teacher to explain that, as well as why accidentals come in, as I was learning it.

Of course, because I was doing ABRSM exams (Theory concurrently with the Practical, grade by grade), I also had to learn theory anyway......


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
Re: Theory class? [Re: bennevis] #2850894
2 hours ago
2 hours ago
Joined: Oct 2009
Posts: 115
Canada
pianist_lady Offline OP
Full Member
pianist_lady  Offline OP
Full Member

Joined: Oct 2009
Posts: 115
Canada
Originally Posted by bennevis
Students need to know why theory matters.

Divorcing theory from practical (teaching each separately) makes no sense: all my teachers taught theory during piano lessons, as and when. The two became one in my young mind.


This is not really what I was asking about. Of course you have to refer to theoretical concepts while at the piano; there is no way to separate theory from playing. However, if I'm teaching 3 different students how to complete measures with rests in compound time so they can pass the level 6 theory exam, why not try and do it in a class? This way I only have to teach it once, and the students can learn from each other. It just seems like it would be more efficient.
My childhood piano teacher did group classes for all of us taking theory and history exams, but I suspect she didn't charge very much (if anything). I'm thinking about ways to encourage students to come for an extra theory class, while also getting paid for my time.


Private piano teacher
B. Mus., M.Mus. (piano performance & pedagogy).

Moderated by  Ken Knapp 

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