By Sandra Kipp
In a world of individuality, where we all strive to stand out among our peers, being able to customize our teaching techniques for our ever changing and diverse studios is more important than ever. Not only does it help to develop a reputation as an effective teacher, it also acknowledges that every student is different. The more creative we are in our teaching approach, the more quickly we will hear our student’s problems resolved, and we will inspire our students to think creatively on their own.
Students may think differently, learn differently, and bring with them various experiences and learning approaches. Students are not made from a “cookie cutter” and neither should our teaching techniques. In fact, I love creating exercises on the spot that will help a student address their particular problems. In today’s society more so than any other time, young people are taught to be unique, to let their individuality shine, to stand out, and to not be afraid to be different. Many students will simply not respond to the same teaching and practice techniques that other students find effective.
I always tell my students that if your problem is not getting solved - if improvement isn’t noticeable quickly - you want to change your practice technique and try another approach. It can be very fun to create a practice technique to solve an issue, and so satisfying to then see the effect of the technique and the improvement. We all know that simple repetition of a difficult passage is often not enough to learn it thoroughly, and we all have our list of practice techniques to apply to tough passages. I think the greatest gift we can give our students, is the ability to diagnose problems and be creative in approaching them. If they know all of the techniques we use ourselves to fix musical problems, they will also understand the philosophy behind the techniques, and be able to create their own, not only helping themselves improve, but also preparing them to be effective teachers in the future.
Being a creative teacher is as important as being a creative performer!