Wednesday, September 7, 2016

My Teaching Methods!

My methods don't involve the dreaded 'Ear Test' and the usual practice of singling out children who the teacher might feel are musical, but rather and when possible, I prefer to offer musical tuition to anyone who is interested, that way no child feels rejected, or worse, feels that they are not musical. 
I don't demand that children be musically gifted, I just like them to be interested, keen and enthusiastic, and to that end, I do my best to make their weekly lesson fun, that way I find they look forward to it, and are more likely to practice, and stick at it.  
I don't put pressure on my students to sit tests or exams, I reckon they have enough of those in school already, so the only incentive I use is the opportunity to play in front of their own class, or the whole school, usually at the end of term, with informal concerts. The thought of playing in front of their peers usually brings about the necessary levels of practise to see real improvement, but in a fun way.
As well as providing individual tuition, in small groups, for those wishing to learn to play Fiddle, Tin Whistle or Bodhran I also take whole classes for Tin Whistle tuition, from P4 upwards. 
I find the Tin Whistle to be the ideal instrument to learn, for those taking their first steps into the wonderful world of Traditional Music. As well as being cheap, it is also one of the easiest instruments to learn to play, so students very quickly learn to play a few simple tunes, in fact they can play tunes from the very first lesson.

Incidentally, for the local musicians in Ulster, traditional music has always been a mix of both Scottish and Irish Tunes, with each sharing tunes from the other's tradition, so it seems very natural for me to be giving children an appreciation of both musical traditions.
The cross community aspect of my work is very important to me and I teach daily, on a number of instruments, in local Primary Schools of all denominations. 

I also provide Traditional Music Tuition in the evenings for adults.
Giving a talk on the Development of Musical Instruments,
with some of my more unusual instruments.
Performing with some of my young Fiddle players,
at my school's annual concert in Ballycastle.
Playing on stage at an open air concert with a group of my students,
as part of the very successful Northern Lights Festal, in Ballycastle.
Playing at an open air event in Campbeltown, Argyll,
with some of my students, as part of their annual Folk Festival.
Busking with some of the students from my Music School in Ballycastle,
which we did for charity each year at the Lammas Fair.
Students from my Music School,
performing at a function in the Marine Hotel, Ballycastle.
Performing at the Annual Concert in Ballycastle,
which I put on each year to give my students an opportunity
to show just how much they'd learned during the year.
My Fiddle students in the Ballymoney School of Music.
My adult Fiddle and Tin Whistle students and I,
performing a few of our favourite tunes for residents of a local Care Home.

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