Each Tuesday we bring you a quick teaching idea that you can implement in your lessons right away! Here’s our sixth tip in this series:
Most teachers get in the habit of sitting in the same general area of their studio for lessons each week. I sit on the bass side of the piano, next to or slightly behind the student. Sometimes I stand as well, but I’m usually in the same general area. But recently I tried standing on the other side of the students.
The first advantage of this was noticing issues that hadn’t been apparent before. Some of my students had really flat right hand fifth fingers! Because I was assuming that their right hand was mirroring their left, there were technical issues I was totally missing. So, standing in a different place can help you see things you were missing before!
The second reason you may try standing in a different place is to break your students of some bad habits. I have students who are constantly looking at my for verification that they played correctly. They look up to gauge my facial expressions and it drives me crazy! I want them to know if they are playing correctly, not to rely on my always. They also look at me to try and find the answer to a question I’ve asked. I have to say “the answer is in your book, not on my face.” Moving to a new place will break the muscle memory of this automatic response and could help break this habit.
Move to a new place in your studio today and see what happens!
Spring Seals, NCTM, teaches 60 piano students ranging from age 3 to 70 in Fort Worth, Texas. She also serves as the Director of Certification for TMTA. She is passionate about helping teachers become more effective in their studios through professional development, new resources, and fresh ideas.