Resource of the Week

Having reread Paul Harris' Improve Your Teaching! and just read his partner volume, Improve Your Teaching! Teaching Beginners, I am completely inspired to reinvigorate the Simultaneous Learning in my piano lessons.

 
 

Simultaneous Learning is what Paul Harris calls the idea that everything is connected (aural and theory and pieces and technique and pulse and rhythm and key and ...). By teaching through the ingredients of a piece (the title, the key, the time signature, the rhythmic patterns, the notes, the style, the dynamic markings, the articulation, the technical aspects, the theoretical aspects...), rather than starting directly with bar one of a piece of music, you can cover all these different aspects of musicianship in your lessons and pieces of music should be taught extremely thoroughly.

 
 " connected. " by  Heather  is licensed under  CC 2.0

"connected." by Heather is licensed under CC 2.0

 

As a teacher planning lessons to teach a piece it is of course imperative that you know what the ingredients of the piece are. 

As a student studying and practising a piece, it is also essential that you know what the ingredients of the piece are.

To this end, I have created my own mind map for recording the ingredients of a piece. This can be used in my lesson preparation. I will also issue it to students for them to fill in as part of their weekly practice. Students will have to carefully examine the music of a new piece (they will actually have to read the music!) and think through all these crucial aspects.  They will be encouraged to look up or ask about any ingredients that they do not understand. To further help students learn about a new piece they will be improvising using these same ingredients, both in lessons and during practice.

Here is a link to the mind map for you to use with your students. Let me know in the comments, or by email how you get on with it!