Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Home Schooling....kind of

I'm often asked if I homeschool or not...the answer to that is two-fold. First, no because I send my kids to public school.  Second, yes because I homeschool them in piano.

When I started teaching my oldest piano, he was in first grade. Since he was the only one I was teaching at that moment, I taught him in the classic style...meaning a 30 minute lesson with us both sitting at the piano.  That went ok, but not spectacular.  But at that time, I was still a fairly new teacher, new mother and idealistic in my plans for teaching my child piano....not realistic.  Sadly there were many lessons that ended up w/ crying, screaming and gnashing of teeth!  So I actually took a hiatus from teaching him (its sad to think that  I actually thought it was my son that was the problem---nope--It was me!)  When I started teaching him again, I also began teaching my daughter so at this time, Nathan was in 3rd grade and Mandy was in 1st. Once again, I tried the classic method, and it went better.  (Probably because he was older, she was a gem to teach and I had some more piano teaching under my belt!)
By the time I was teaching 3 kids piano, I realized I didn't have an hour and a half slot of time available to sit and teach the kids---especially because I was teaching 25 other kids every week! So I came up with this method that has worked very well for us over the last year and I think it will continue to be successful now that I'm teaching all 4.

Here's the method. I teach for no more than 5 minutes at a time.   Each time the kids go to the piano, mostly on their own accord, I go to them and go over one page or one small concept at a time.  I never give more than 2 songs to work on at a time. I also treat each of their practices as a mini-lesson--meaning that I listen extra carefully while they practice and correct their form, hand position, incorrect notes, rhythm mistakes, etc while they are practicing.  (I will say that this is a time when it really helps that I know the songs as well as I do, I can be in the kitchen listening and still be able to tell them what they need to fix! :) 
I have noticed that since adopting this method, the kids are moving through the books very quickly and are very encouraged to go further! That is a wonderful thing to experience. :)

Now, will this method work for you and your gaggle of kids? Maybe, maybe not.  But I hope it encourages you to think outside the "box" of the 30 minute lesson.  If you have an idea, share it with me!  If you have a question, please ask!

1 comment:

  1. Such a great idea, Audrey! That's what I hope parents are doing (on a smaller scale) at home during practice sessions. I've been wondering how our daughter will take to violin lessons from her mama, and think you have come up with a really good system!