What support material should we send our learners home with after an instrumental music lesson? The simple answer is nothing ….
In this article I hope to explain how by embracing new and emerging technologies Instrumental teachers can connect with their learners in modern and exciting ways.
We all know how frustrating it can be for Instrumental Teachers when their learners forget, lose or in extreme cases deny all knowledge of last weeks work or exercises that were covered in class. A more modern and progressive way could be to put all of the support material on-line using a blog. At Hertfordshire College of Music (HCM)we have been supporting our learners with an on-line resource in the form of supplemental blogs for all lessons. The teachers can then ‘post up’ notes from the lessons, which may include PDFs of worksheets, MP3s or even video to help their learners practice at home.
Blogs and Blogging is now a free-to-use way of distributing information via a constantly updated website. Blogger.com, Tumblr.com and Wordpress.com all offer blogging services that are free, easy to use and all contain templates so that even with limited ICT skills an Instrumental teacher can quickly build an impressive looking website to support their lessons. And let’s face it, most people nowadays will attempt to teach themselves via an on-line resource at some point.
“Learners should bring their questions TO lessons rather than go home WITH questions”
When teaching in groups for example, unless we are adopting a behaviourist Suzuki-style of instrumental teaching, we may well have a broad range of learning styles within one lesson. This could mean that although some learners will understand everything covered during a lesson there may well be some other learners that will need to go over the information again. A blog therefore, allows learners to go home and cover the information as many times as they need – in effect they are able to re-do the lesson again and again as any times as it takes for them to understand. We have even gone one step further at HCM where almost everything that WILL be covered in class is already posted on to the blogs. Why is this? Well, we feel that if we have learners that require expansion tasks or as is often the case with adult learners, simply want to do some ‘further reading’, that this information should be available for them so that they can bring questions to the class.