Monday, April 7, 2014

Teacher Prep Period

El is taking her nap (please, sleep for three hours!) right now and I have been prepping for my first cello lesson in several years with a student who is completely new to the cello.

My last student I taught was in his elementary school orchestra, so had had some introduction to the cello. He was very distracted though and not very musically inclined. He kept telling me that he was going to quit cello and play lacrosse. A) don't tell your teacher that. B) after a while where you don't practice at all, it seems to be better to just quit.

I do think this new student will be a little easier to teach for a few reasons.

  • He has taken a few years of piano lessons so already reads music. I started piano lessons when I was 6 and pretty much learned to read music alongside reading printed words. I don't remember learning to read music and it was difficult for me to help my previous student.
  • He is a little more focused on music and the arts. I don't think he's very interested in playing sports, just in watching the Mariners and Seahawks.
  • His parents will help him. They are a musical and performing arts family. I think there will be more pressure to practice and advance in the cello.
  • I am not trying to write a master's thesis or go to school so can spend more time prepping for lessons.
Some things about teaching this student will be difficult.
  • Having a clingy child. This will hopefully be resolved by having lessons and his house, where his teenage sisters can dote on El.
  • Finding a good cello method book. He doesn't have one from orchestra, which is what I used to go along with. This may actually be a good thing. Recommendations are appreciated! So far, I've just told his mom to buy Suzuki Cello Book 1. I'd like a method book and maybe a scale book. I think we've got a trip to the music store in our future.
  • Teaching in general is difficult. But it's a good difficult.
But overall, I am excited. I've been reviewing "Action Studies" for beginning cellists and they are great reminders for me about sitting in a good position, arms positions, and the bow hold. Action Studies are boring and kind of cheesy, but now that I'm looking at them from a teacher's perspective, they make a lot of sense.

Are you a music teacher? Do you have any tips for teaching?

Any cello teachers with a recommendation on a method book?

To you athletes, did/do you practice drills for your technique?

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