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Starting to Teach

Rico Vandoren

Member
Messages
141
I've been asked by a friend to teach saxophone to her son. He is 19 years old, and a complete beginner, with only rudimentary music theory that he did at high school. I'm not formally qualified, but have played for ten years and have ABRSM Grade 5 in both practical and theory. Also, I'll be just doing it for enjoyment, and won't ask for payment.

I know this is a massive topic, and I have some ideas about how I want to approach it, but do any of you more experienced teachers have any tips on how to make a start?

Thanks.
 

Sunray

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,708
I am not a music teacher - But ...

Hey Hey Mate ...

First off - P . M . D . 2 . L

Promotion and Maintenance of the Desire To Learn ...
... ... [Make em wanna learn and keep em at it]

Next: [Most Important]

Lesson Planning - [Split it into bite size stages]

Each session needs an Aim & an Objective [Explain, Demonstrate]

A Beginning ...
A Lead in to explain/Demonstrate what the Main part of the lesson is ...

A Middle ... The actual Meat of the session ...

An End [Summarise session, remind important parts and Look Forward to next session] ...

To teach the meat of your session:
Break the subject down into about four or five easy stages [Bite Sized] ... ;}

Confirm what's been learned at the end of each stage
[a simple test - A Q&A - or get him/her to demonstrate by playing or describing]
Then move to next stage ...

Use Demonstrations and practical aids [simple drawings, handouts etc] ...
Hint: Practice your demonstrations

Leave plenty of time for Questions throughout ...

Hint: Set a Timetable for each stage and try hard to keep it on track ...

Remember: Realistic, Achievable and Available ...

Realistic - Relative to your students wants [don't teach styles they don't have much interest in]
Achievable - [Aims & Objectives - Can your student reach target that you are setting]
Available - Student has the the means to obtain Sheet Music, Instruments, Metronome or other items?

Slant your lessons to meet the needs of your student ...
Don't forget to add a little humour, it's supposed to be fun ...
Praise good work and encourage encourage encourage ... :w00t:

Hope that's of some help ... ;}

PS - Make sure you have fun too ...
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Andante cantabile

Senior Member
Messages
695
Remember: Realistic, Achievable and Available ...

Realistic - Relative to your students wants [don't teach styles they don't have much interest in]
Achievable - [Aims & Objectives - Can your student reach target that you are setting]
Available - Student has the the means to obtain Sheet Music, Instruments, Metronome or other items?

Slant your lessons to meet the needs of your student ...
Don't forget to add a little humour, it's supposed to be fun ...
Praise good work and encourage encourage encourage ... :w00t:
This is good advice. You'll learn a great deal yourself as you guide your charge along.

And remember: let the student play during the lesson. Don't turn it into a demonstration of your achievements.
 

Jeanette

Organizress
Cafe Moderator
Messages
25,901
Very important you play notes for him as you teach them, preferably with same sax so he knows what sound he is aiming for. My first tutor rarely played a sax for me and never the sop which I was learning so as I have no musical experience I didn't know if I was playing the note correctly or not and wasn't developing my ear.

New tutor much better as he plays his sop for me.

Take as much advice as you can from people having lessons as those giving them too;}

Good luck, I am sure you will enjoy teaching

Jx
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,947
Brilliant posts above. On the tutor playing, I'm on the receiving end of too much at the moment. But I wouldn't be without him playing for the reasons Jeanette mentions. Later, play along with simple tunes to get him used to keeping time/listening to you.

Something that's important is a decent tuition book. 1 copy each... This provides the structure and progression needed. Many have a supplementary tunes book as well. Good ones teach the theory as you go along.

I can't stress the fun aspect enough for kids, I've got 3 learning instruments at the moment, and progress is very closely related to enjoyment... I hope this is coming from the student, not the parents. If it's the parents and not the kid, I'd decline.
 

jeremyjuicewah

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,890
Hi. I have had music lessons, not just for sax, for the last 4 years, weekly, and I know a bit about lessons. My sax teacher is great but elsewhere I have grievance. Big important thing is structure. Remember what you did last week and know where you´re going this week. If you say, hey practice this and we´ll duet next week, then better duet next week. Whats sometimes a throw away line to a teacher can be important to a student. Dont want to work and worry all week only to find we´re somewhere else when the lesson comes. For sax I liked the beginner books with a disc. I didnt always play along, in the early days I just wasnt up to speed, but I liked having the discs and funnily enough I now often do play along with some of that early stuff. From what you say of yourself I dont think you will have any prob teaching a beginner but I suppose if you take it on you will have an obligation to do it right. I wish you good luck and I think it will be good fun and fullfilling for you both. Hope so.
Best wishes
MIke
 

Randy Hunter

Member
Messages
34
Also, I'll be just doing it for enjoyment, and won't ask for payment.
You should charge for the lessons, even if it's a cut rate for a friend. The student will be more likely to practice and you'll be more likely to prepare for teaching. All-in-all, it will be more productive for both.

Also, teaching is very cool because as you learn about the learning process, you will likely learn how to learn better yourself. One important thing to remember is that different people learn things differently. Look for multiple ways to explain concepts.

Randy
www.randyhunterjazz.com
Lessons page: www.beginningsax.com/Jazz Improv Lessons.htm
 

MandyH

Sax-Mad fiend!
Subscriber
Messages
3,551
Just an observation - I'm not a teacher of music, but an archery coach!... never tell them they've done something wrong, always suggest a different (positive) way of doing the same thing. Always phrase in the positive, never in the negative - the mind tends to dwell on the negative and therefore improvement will not happen.
e.g suggest he relaxes his grip on the mouthpiece rather than suggest he tries not to bite the mouthpiece so hard, IYSWIM.
 

TomMapfumo

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,219
I would want to highlight that the student in question is actually 19 years old - so must have left school by now, so not really that much of a kid. I would want to emphasise the need for some Street Cred in terms of how you approach teaching. What sort of aims does the student have with regard to playing sax? What sort of music do they want to learn to play etc. I wish that I had found out about the Creative Saxophone tutor books previously, as they would have been right up my street.

When I first started learning an instrument I was bored rigid with some of the tutor books used, and the fact that most teachers were from a classical background, and stayed within that framework very rigidly. Result - no learning and practice just dried up very quickly. So knowing that there are different ways of teaching and different books to use was great for me.

Finally, regarding motivation. It was only when I found a sax hero that I had the desire to stick with it - in my case Jan Garbarek and Andy Sheppard. When I was 15/16 I would have loved a teacher who would have been aware of Junior Walker, Back Door, Roxy Music and the Average White Band, not just the odd old jazzer from the 30's and 40's.(whoever he was!?).
 

TomMapfumo

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,219
That's why I'm not charging....
I think that the point that you are not charging means that it is advantageous NOT to pay a sax teacher, hence no income for a sax teacher. I believe it is a free market, and if you do a good job then a sax teacher may be needed in the future to help realise any potential that emerges.
 

TomMapfumo

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,219
I've just been asked to teach trumpet to an 8 year old - as I have experienced 5 different trumpet teachers, been a trumpet learner at 11, and have a 10 year old daughter currently learning I should just be able to manage a bit of guidance. I can also use some basic tutor books - Abracadabra, and similar, to get then off to a good start. So, here goes........................
 

TomMapfumo

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,219
Well I would look at the Linky Thingy, but it does seem to be a repeat of this thread from reading the email sent, as on the website: www.whatdoyoucatchfishin.net !

Hope that you are actually using your collection of pristine Yanagisawa saxes, not just endlessly polishing them with the rest of the silver...........................;}
 

Sunray

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,708
I caress them fondly every chance I get ... Which is most days 3 or 4 times ... :sax:

But you are right - I do like to clean them at the end of each day ... :blush:

"I think" I am making reasonable progress and the neighbours seem to be sniffing round their empty homes looking like they may want to return ... Ha Ha ... A few well timed Squawks and ear piercing Shrills will soon sort that out ... :w00t:

On The subject of teaching - I have to report I have made taken a temporary break in my weekly lessons due to having some works by contractors at my house ... I am looking forward to them leaving again so I can get back to formal lessons ... Will be a while yet though ...

My tutor is very good and plans her session very well, she also encourages me and gives praise where it is due ... I am often getting told off for something or other, because I am as you can guess - quite the opposite to a goody goody ... ;}
 
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