Through my teaching, I would say that I want my pupils to:
- experience the pleasure that music-making brings for its own sake (must come top of the list!)
- learn more about listening to different styles of music
- feel the emotional qualities of music
- be able to communicate what they feel about music
- be able to play with and accompany others
- play with good technique
- learn to read music
- learn to play by ear
- improvise or create melodies of their own
- understand the theory of music
- perform for others
- know how the piano works
These depend on each other if we are to create all-round musicianship, which I suppose is my overall aim. Whichever one of the above takes precedence must depend on where our pupils are at any given time. For example, pupils who find improvisation difficult usually opt to take theory exams before being able to move on beyond ABRSM Grade 5. I have a few pupils for whom the Grade 5 theory exam is on the horizon. Consequently, talking about and exercising theory knowledge is something that has to be included as often as possible, which puts pressure on teaching time and affects other aims. I find it helpful to plan for concurrent practical and theory learning for that reason.
But these are still only short/medium term goals and a means to a particular end. Step back and think about the bigger picture - that of someone who carries on with music-making into adult life, even becoming a professional musician and/or teacher and who continues to experience that 'feeling' at the top of the list while communicating music to others.
Step back even further and think of the effect of our teaching on the pupil as a person... That's a big one! If, through teaching, I have helped:
- character or personality to develop positively through music
- a pupil to become more sociable
- to develop pupil skills in coordination and control
- a pupil to concentrate better
- to motivate pupils into becoming independent learners
- pupils to feel great about their progress
- my pupils to create their own learning goals...
In my next blog - some thoughts on the selected Grade 4 Piano Pieces 2015-2016...