#4 What I’ve Learned from Teaching Music: Preparation Practice Performance

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I call this the three P’s I put these on the white board like this; Asking them to guess what they stand for.
The middle P (practice) is usually picked sooner or later along with some other wonderful ideas, the next word after practice is perfect, now you will notice in my three P’s there is no perfect, because quite often what makes music interesting is the lack of perfection although we all strive for perfection it is mostly elusive and momentary.

Preparation is what you do before you start to practice and is usually what students don’t do properly, because preparation takes careful analysis of what needs to done before you start to practice, and practice is simply repetition of what you have already studied carefully.

Performance like the word practice is understood and needs  no explanation, except it is always something that we would always want to do very well. A key ingredient for any performance is enthusiasm which is very infectious, make no mistake about this point, a lesson is a gig and you must put on a good performance, just don’t go overboard, it could get a bit scary. I can remember some of my school teachers who were just boring, they spoke in a monotone with no dynamic in the voice, they would just talk you to sleep. We had a woman teacher for history, this was my favourite and best subject at school because you could tell that she loved her subject. Finally on the subject of performance I’m now going to give you three more P’s pitch pace and power try and use this with your speaking voice, you will be amazed how students will suddenly start listening to you and how they will actively become involved in the lesson. Keeping the students involved can be hard work but I will cover this subject in my next blog.

When I first started to teach music I simply applied what I had learned from live performing and put the three P’s into use when teaching students. Before the students came for their lessons I would prepare each lesson sometimes writing down what I was going to do but because I have done this so many times I now simply keep a note of what the students need to practice for each week as homework.   

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