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Putting a curriculum together for my students

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by oniman7, Dec 5, 2012.

  1. I've been teaching for about 5 months now and I've learned a lot about myself and music. However I'm not the best teacher I could be. I believe in an individualistic approach, teaching the student their favorite music and applying littler bits of music theory in relatable, ready to understand ways. I do a lot of this by ear though, and sometimes i feel I miss the mark. I have a week before my next lesson and would like to get some tips on how you build curriculums. My 2 current students are on guitar. One is learning chords and applying them to songs by artists like Taylor Swift and the Beatles while going over introductory music reading. The other is younger and plays a lot of 80's metal that i also happen to love, but I'd currently getting less of the theory aspect.
  2. BassyBill

    BassyBill The smooth moderator... Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2005
    West Midlands UK
    In a way, it sounds a little like you're starting at the middle of the process and then trying to "make things fit". That's really common amongst people who know their stuff well enough, but have never been taught how to teach.

    The trick is to think about what to teach before you decide how you're going to teach it and keep these two aspects separate to some extent. They can't be totally separated, obviously. But it will help you to be clear about the former before deciding the latter, rather than the reverse process of choosing something for a lesson and then trying to figure out what the student might learn from it.

    Formal curriculum planning in general usually follows this sort of process:

    - Where are your students currently at with their learning?
    - Be very clear about what you're trying to achieve long term, then break it down into smaller and smaller chunks for the medium and short term objectives.
    - Decide what CONTENT you're going to cover.
    - Then think about the METHODS you will use to deliver that content and the RESOURCES you will need.
    - How will you ASSESS the progress that your students are making?
    - How will you and your students EVALUATE their learning?
    - Rinse and repeat the cycle.
  3. MalcolmAmos

    MalcolmAmos Supporting Member

    That is why teachers, in the public school system, go to school to learn how to teach before they are turned loose on our children.

    To help with your curriculum I suggest getting one of the "how to play" books and let the chapters guide you. Most of the books I've had do follow a structure that you could use. How to hold it, tune it, etc needs to come in there somewhere before how to play it. Which comes next, scales or chord tones, kinda depends on you and the student, what does the student need next?

    Might pick up some hints from this; http://www.infed.org/thinkers/et-knowl.htm Focus of this paper is kids get lectured to and drills are important. Adults like to have some say in what they are taught. Probably a combination of the two methods should/could have value. Little more on the subject; http://www.lifecircles-inc.com/Learningtheories/knowls.html

    I used to teach adults, no, not music.

    The best music teacher I ever had gave me three things to work on each week. Understand we had already gotten the fundamentals down and were now working on taking the fundamentals into songs.

    1) I started the lesson playing last weeks song for him. He then gave me suggestions on what more I needed to do with this song. If I had the song down I then got a new song and the old song went into my gig book.
    2) A new song was given in sheet music form. Normally fake chord perhaps lead sheet. Plus a short theory paper dealing with things specific to this new song.
    3) If I still needed to work on last weeks song I received suggestions on what I should concentrate on this week. Great thing about this is John had all of this written out and presented to me on paper, before I left, so there was no question about what I was to do once I got home. That one thing set John's lessons apart from the other instructors I've had.

    Good luck.
  4. MostlyBass


    Mar 3, 2002
    Oak Park, IL
    -You can never go wrong with fundamentals!
    -Break things down into small steps. Then break it down further.
    -Think of the students next teacher. You don't want that teacher to have to correct issues.
    -As a teacher study body mechanics with a method such as Alexander Technique or Feldenkrais.
    -Have a balanced 'diet' for the student - exercises, scales, reading, ear training, learning tunes, and end with a 'fun' section such as learning pop tunes

  5. The first job I had teaching (also guitar) was through a music shop. Before I started, I spent a day with an experienced teacher who laid out the curriculum, the books they used as reference, and generally just gave me advice on how to get started. While I agree that you do have to shape your lessons to suit the student, it's good to have a specific method, especially when it comes to theory.

    Teaching is daunting when you first start, so I wish you well.
  6. Thanks for the advice. Tine to crack open some books again. I am going through the Christopher Parkening guitar method with one student and it's going well. Hopefully after a while I can outline some things on my own.