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lesson structuring

C_Claudemonster

Formerly saxgirl22
Messages
399
Hi All, just by chance I have accquired a pupil after he saw me on a gig and said he'd like some lessons. I am capable of doing this but as he's a complete beginner I want to be able to structure the lessons each week so that he is aware of his progress etc. First lesson went well last week. I started with discussing set up and basic learning how to get a sound from the instrument. Music reading hasn't come into the equation as yet but I'd like to combine this within each lesson. Any advice at all?
Many thanks
 

What

Member
Messages
314
Well I am not a teacher and would have to work another six months to hit novice at playing, but I will tell you what has worked for me.

With my most of my lesson books start simple with four notes taught and then exercises. The notes were middle A,B,C, and G. The first few songs only used B and C to help teach smooth movement and articulation. Just hole notes, then half. The next few brought in quarter notes and A. All the songs played staccato to begin.

For the rhythm, and timing I had backing tracks, but your student will have the advantage of you there for help with that.

Next lesson brought in G and legato playing. Using tunes that flowed from A to C to G to help teach finger movement so that you get practice at manipulating multiple keys to sound a single note.

With the book reading music was unavoidable, and I recommend it in the lessons. Though you might want to consider having the dots as supplement and teaching a bit of playing by ear for the songs (warning this advice might be rubbish). My book has you go back as and end to the G and legato lesson to try and play all the songs by ear and it was a bit hard to play without the dots. This almost feels like something I have to overcome if I am playing gigs one day and I have to follow an unexpected turn in the song.

You can even start very simple scales now just up and down the notes they know. This really helps with articulation and keeping the embouchure steady in legato. I also recommend going a bit further and bringing in the octave key and lower stack as soon as it feels right in scales. Thanks to scales I was already able to flow through the break and down to the lower stack smoothly by the time my book gave me the exercises to teach this.

I would also advise a trip to the local library or book store for a copy of "The Art of Playing the Saxophone" it is an excellent resource for players of all levels. It talks about how everything from the shape of your mouth, to the importance of air flow, to posture all kind of stuffs. I can't speak highly enough of this book.

Please be advised, you are being advised by a crazy person.
 

C_Claudemonster

Formerly saxgirl22
Messages
399
Many thanks for the useful advice. I'm glad that you've been able to tell me what works for you. The lesson went very well last night. I've introduce notes from B to now low D to get the embrochure developed at the moment. When you're a complete beginner there is so much to think about so I want to tech it in the best way I can :)
 

aldevis

Surrealist Contributor.
Cafe Moderator
Messages
12,125
Many thanks for the useful advice. I'm glad that you've been able to tell me what works for you. The lesson went very well last night. I've introduce notes from B to now low D to get the embrochure developed at the moment. When you're a complete beginner there is so much to think about so I want to tech it in the best way I can :)
My advice is not to waste time during your lesson discussing gear. You have this forum for this. Your time as teacher is precious.
 
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trimmy

One day i will...
Messages
10,272
Hi Saxgirl

Now don't take this the wrong way as I know you can play, I've heard and seen your playing but it's a whole new ball game teaching. If you have to ask about a way to teach a beginner are you ready to teach ? The reason i mention this is because my 1st teacher set me back because of the way he taught me, he could play both sax and piano above grade 8 standard and is a session player to a high standard. Like your student i had seen my teacher play live and thought 'wow' he's good, so booked a lesson with him which to me was great, it was only when i was 10/11 months into my lessons that a doubt started to creep in as to his ability to teach.

I was doubting myself 1st (who am i to doubt a musicians ability) so i looked around and found another teacher and it's chalk and cheese as to how both teachers taught me, my 2nd teacher is a lot more intense and for me a lot better in her ability to teach.
Would i recommend my 1st teacher to a beginner.... No, would i recommend my 2nd teacher to a beginner...Yes why, because she can teach and gets her points across in a understanding way.
You maybe a good teacher only your pupils will know that in time.
 

ArtyLady

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,030
I start mine on a tune a day tutor book (the one with CDs) and then gradually according to each student, add in some backing track playalongs, ear training and improvising to blues, when they are ready. The ABRSM grade 1 jazz book is pretty good for pieces and a bit of basic jazz theory.

I did an online course with ABRSM - Teaching music effectively - that's a good introduction to teaching, and then I did PTLLS level 4 teaching course.

My biggest tip is always do a lesson plan! good luck :thumb:
 

MellowD

Lost In Theory
Messages
544
A lot of teachers advise their students to obtain the Tune A Day book or the Abracadabra book and structure their lessons working through these, and then the student still has the book as back up for homework, practice and reflection. Don't forget the Scales and Arpeggio's book too.

I agree that all good/great players are not necessarily the greatest teachers. Neither are all the greatest teachers so brilliant at performance themselves. In others words, being great at one does not necessarily mean that you are great at the other, neither does being crap at one mean you can't be great at the other.

Until you have a go at teaching someone else, how do you really know whether this is a skill you are good at?

Remember your own learning, and take yourself back to those basic, initial steps into the world of sax, and remember that's where your student is at right now, and grow them on from there. Don't be tempted to introduce them to too much at once in each lesson. Less is more for getting those strong foundations.

Be ready to explain the same thing in several different ways in order to achieve clarity and understanding for your student(s). Not everyone understands the same thing linguistically and may need a variety of explanations before the penny drops. It will serve to benefit yourself in increasing your own saxcabulary whilst also highlighting your areas of great knowledge which you may have been taking for granted, and may also open up a few gaps to go fill too (every student brings along some great lessons for the teacher too and sometimes that lesson is "how NOT to do things" :thumb:).

I wish you and your new student happy times/tunes.

Mel
 

BUMNOTE

Senior Member
Messages
573
My advice is not to waste time during your lesson discussing gear. You have this forum for this. Your time as teacher is precious.
Agree with this quote,also i think people sometimes want to run before they can walk.they start on one sax,then want to play another before they got some experience of the first one,then mouthpices,reeds come into it:shocked:
Bumnote.
 

MellowD

Lost In Theory
Messages
544
Agree with this quote,also i think people sometimes want to run before they can walk.they start on one sax,then want to play another before they got some experience of the first one,then mouthpices,reeds come into it:shocked:
Bumnote.

Guilty as charged, Sir!!
 

MellowD

Lost In Theory
Messages
544
I'd be more concerned about the bloke who sold you that tea. It's got ears!
Its my new coffee mug from Starbucks with it's comfy ergonomic handle (great for my arthritis) - it is so good that my GSD Sasha fits into it hee hee - hoped you would all like it :D
 

C_Claudemonster

Formerly saxgirl22
Messages
399
Thanks for the advice. I do sort out and prepare for the lesson each week by writing down my lesson plan and what I'm going to do etc. Progress seems to be good as is understanding what I say but like you advise, only time will tell, let's hope all goes well :)
Would be interested to know where you've heard me play Trimmy :), spooky lol
 

Colin the Bear

Well-Known Member
Messages
13,074
There's an old adage,

"Them as can, do. Them as can't, teach. Them as can't teach, teach teachers."

It's very flattering to have someone ask you to teach them based on hearing you play.

I fell into the trap once. I wouldn't teach a beginner again.


I watched a documentary where they conducted a scientific examination of teaching methods. They asked a bunch of students some questions on a particular topic before a lecture and about half of them had a good grasp of the subject. After the lecture they were interviewed again and only a quarter of them had a grasp of it. The teachers were shocked to learn that after all their efforts the net effect was to confuse and unteach their students. I'd hate to be responsible for that.

I'm very comfortable answering a specific question if it falls within my experience and was happy showing family and friends the basics but teaching is an art form in itself that I don't have the personal qualities or dedication to excel at it.

You will be the best judge of your own abilities.

Of course if it's some middle aged guy who's seen the girl of his dreams playing the sexiest instrument there is, he may have ulterior motives
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,947
Guys, please respect on-line user's privacy. As far as I now saxgirl22 hasn't told us who she plays with, or her full name. If you have private knowledge, please keep it that way.
 
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