Many of us teach in addition to our performance careers. You may have a studio of private students, or may have worked your way into presenting for classes in a workshop setting. Today’s blog is a few ideas I keep in mind when I present to a group of any size. ---JA---
I have had many bad teachers in my life. Public school through college. The truth is, I am as thankful for them as I am the incredible teachers I’ve had as well. The good teachers show you how effective an educator can be, inversely the bad educators show you what not to be. I had a college professor that told us how easy geometry and trigonometry came to him….every….class…..of…the….week.
A class isn’t about how much you know….it’s how much you can teach.
What will the students walk out with? What can they put into action in the short, intermediate and long term? Focus on that. A student remembering that MIDI is that language pedals talk to each other in, is far more effective than pontificating on the history of MIDI and the in’s and outs (pardon the expression) to finally make the point of it being a ‘language’.
Be concise. Be simple in your language.
You’re teaching for their benefit….not yours.
Look at your cell phone. Notice the numbers? Notice the letters on your apps? Notice the colors? Notice the sounds it makes when certain functions are engaged? Notice the vibration when it rings? You have just experienced many of the documented learning styles. There are visual learners that learn by seeing you do something. The aural learners can learn by listening. The tactile learners are engaged by going hands on.
An effective presentation can cover many of these areas. I try to use a camera feed to a TV screen on store workshops so the audience can see the pedals as I engage them. If it is a music business class, Powerpoint and I get along nicely. The visual aids allow students to write down websites, artists and ideas I have as they are delivered. At school workshops, I try to get as many students as I can on the mic and using my equipment. As sure as a student is making live loops, there are a dozen or so of his/her classmates watching and thinking, “If he can do that…so can I.”
The students are as much of the presentation as you are……Read that again. Did you read it again? That’s ok, I will wait. Ok…..Believe me, I’ve never had a workshop where student involvement isn’t the high water mark of the presentation. You can teach all you want, but without context or application, it is a moot point. Get a student up on the mic, or guitar and make a simple loop. Remember you first loop? Why not be a part of another young artist’s first loop? Involving your audience not only bridges the gap between teacher and student, but also serves as a litmus test for how much they have retained during your workshop.
We all love stuff. We love finding cash in an old jacket pocket. We like an app on our phone that does odd things or is the most useful app we have ever seen. Stuff is fun. Why not have your students walk out with something? They walked in not knowing about looping, or beatboxing, or how effects work, or knowing what a delay is. Give them that. Give them something they can put into action that night. I have seen t shirts with a logo of a music manufacture or even my own stickers/autographs excite student who 45 minutes before had zero clue who I was or what I do.
Ideas, instruction, inspiration and items all go a long way. Give them out freely.
Just Alliance's Blog
Thoughts, ideas and musical musings from this Silver State Loop Artist.