Updated: Dec 6, 2018
“We learn more on the internet than in school!”, protested 10-year-old Bill (not his real name).
He continued, “We learn things that will last a lifetime on the internet, like life hacks and 'memes' (I assume he meant humour); we learn mathematics in school, something that we will never use in our lives after we graduate.”
I asked, “Did you learn how to sum up the value of those coins on the internet or in school?”
(He was counting a bunch of coins out loud before the lesson began and yes, I was paid in coins.)
Education is a process designed to prepare individuals to communicate and adapt to our ever changing world. To communicate with our world is to understand the societal norms and to abide by them. Children grow up understanding how to pay for their groceries, initiate friendships and to stay current; they learn various languages to get ideas across to another and to render assistance from others. The Integration of numeracy and literacy proves to be essential in the school curriculum across Australia and probably in the rest of the world.
To be an effective private music educator, I believe it is important to possess knowledge that is relevant to the student’s life. This means it pays to have the ability to integrate numeracy, literacy, history and more when the opportunity arises during a music lesson. Not every child who undergoes music education will become a full-time musician but they are receiving music education to yield the benefits of this multifaceted art form. To make music relevant in the student’s life allows them to enjoy the journey and not focus too much on the destination.
Advocate Education, not just Music Education.
Bill is right. Many of us do not really use the complex mathematical formulas or science concepts in our adulthood and our careers. When was the last time you differentiated a mathematical equation at work? Or the last time you conducted a litmus test to determine pH levels? Depending on the career path that is taken, we don’t usually go back flipping our science textbooks for solutions. However, we have all benefitted as we learn to solve problems through various methods and thought processes. Our first 10 years of education has equipped us with crucial thinking abilities - to be able to know where we can find solutions and to expand our thinking capacity.
My point is that education is important, not just a single subject, but the whole process of education. The last thing I hope for a teacher to tell my child is: “I was never good at mathematics in school, and you don’t need that to succeed in life - it becomes irrelevant.” Every subject at school trains the mind to think in a different way and altogether develops a thinking child. An effective music educator does not only stand on the side of music education, but advocates well-rounded education. This includes integrating numeracy, literacy, career development, history etc. in the music lesson, where appropriate.
Possess Excellence and a Breadth of Knowledge!
A high level of knowledge and excellence in the subject area will help the educator deliver a well-rounded, highly differentiated and engaging lesson. It is important that the educator is well versed with the subject area which will open doors to endless teaching possibilities. The effective music educator will be able to deliver the same content in many different ways, well equipped for an extensive range of students. Each student has their specific method of learning effectively, including the primary learning approaches: visual, audio, kinaesthetic, reading and writing.
Music, a multifaceted art form, can be taught in a diverse range of methods. Some students learn quicker by ear and some by reading notations. The effective music educator is able to identify the student’s learning type and act on providing differentiated and effective content delivery. Regardless of how the student begins to learn music, the objective remains the same - for the student to communicate with the world around him/her. This means that the educator will discover the strengths and potentials of the student and use them to work on other areas which are also vital for communication with the world.
For example, most students begin learning the piano by ear. Being intrigued by sounds around them, they try to imitate the themes they hear on a pitched instrument, such as the piano. Should a child have an enhanced ability to reproduce music by ear, the teacher should use this ability to advance his ability to read musical notations. Musical notation is a universal language that allows communication between the student at the world and hence, it should not be ignored or replaced by the ability to play a musical instrument.
Keeping the Creative Flame Burning!
As much as we are dedicated to the child’s intrinsic motivation and their enjoyment, an effective educator continues to enjoy his own music making experience. Creativity is best thought of as a mode of motivation rather than the outcome of instruction. Educators cannot teach creativity but can only inspire creativity; it cannot be inspired unless it is actively present. Two unlit candles will never have a flame to share until one is lit. It is crucial to welcome a lit candle into your home, not one that has been blown out.
The effective educator continues to create new ideas that is not subjected to the ‘job’ of an educator, but to keep his creativity alive.
The benefits of an effective music educator is the quality of lessons delivered; meticulous differentiation according to the educational needs of the child.
Have you found your choice educator?