Today I have been observing lessons taught by one of the teachers I work with. She is a kind teacher; young, qualified and enthusiastic.

One of the lessons she taught was to a complete beginner. He was a nine year old who was very excited to commence lessons. The thing that impressed me most in the lesson was the way the teacher gauged how well the student was processing these new musical experiences and information. The student discovered the keyboard quickly and how it relates to the sounds he was hearing. Changing the way he played things to change the sound as they were making new discoveries.

This was a student who could move quickly through the initial stages of any tutor book. The teacher asked questions and reinforced concepts later in the lesson. And there was lots of singing, laughing and learning. The teacher was supplementing the tutor book with other resources and engaging with the student continuously. As an observer with an instrumental teaching background, I could see how the teacher was weaving technique, theory, aural, sight singing, rhythm and repertoire together. There were so many elements covered and it was all packaged with a big smile and lots of encouragement. She is a teacher I would happily have teach my own children.

It has also reminded me to be an observer more often. Watching the way the learning/teaching process unfolds is very informative and helps me to reflect on my own teaching. Do you ever observe another teacher’s lessons?

I particularly liked these questions the teacher asked:

  • Oh, what does that sound like?
  • Do you like that sound?
  • Can you hear the difference? What differences are there?

Do you have questions you ask to engage your students in actively listening to what they are playing?