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Pedagogy Forum

Like many of you, I have numerous books in my professional library that deal with the many aspects of teaching, and some are of the more practical bent such as the specifics of introducing rhythm or solving technical problems. Others tend to encourage my thinking beyond the daily schedule of problem-solving with individual students. This year, with the new ARCT Certification program, I decided to ask my students 3 questions in our first meeting and asked them to write them down to be shared with the class at the next meeting. I was so impressed with their responses that I decided to share one of them with you. These are all young teachers-to-be, with few having any experience in teaching anything. I have also included a response from a former student who is now a very successful teacher in another community but who was 17 at the time of writing.

Why do you want to teach? (Angela)
I want to spread my love for piano to many other people who enjoy playing piano as well. Piano has taught me so many things from learning to deal with my struggles. I've felt how good it feels from the accomplishment of playing something well. I think these are the skills to be applied to everyday life and I want to help and share these with others for their success.

What do you hope and expect to gain from your teaching experience?
I hope I would know the right way of teaching and learn the right technique for teaching any student how to enjoy and play their favorite pieces of music

What do you want your students to gain from your teachings?
I want them to know more than just to play music. I want them to understand what music really is and to enjoy and love it with their heart. I also hope they can learn good techniques from me to help them achieve their goals in the future

What I want my Student to learn from my Teaching. (Colette)
I want students to know that music is a joy and a worthwhile endeavor - to find pleasure in making music - to learn to love music. I want them to realize that they can make beautiful music and have fun by constant practicing, but above all, they should love music in their heart before they sit on the piano bench.

I want them to discover the place that music has in their lives - an outlet for their creative and emotional feelings and a greater musical understanding that they can keep with them for the rest of their lives

I want them to gain values they can use in their lives, such as perseverance, patience, discipline, and the ability to communicate thru music. I want my students to be the best musicians they can be and love music as much as I do - to be so inspired that they will become teachers themselves.

And finally, "to remember that a good teacher must always remember that they, too, are a student".

In the closing statement of Volume I of "Teaching Piano" by Denes Agay, he commented about why anyone would go through the expense, the hard work and bother to study piano (or any instrument for that matter). He summed up this by stating that "the purpose of study is to acquire a skill, an understanding, a disposition to be able to enjoy music through playing and listening - a precious gift for a lifetime. To instill this ability is, in essence, the teacher's task and goal." I hope your agree.

Mary Tickner