A Questionnaire for the Average Music Teacher of the Average Child
by Mrs. John Henry Miley
In this day of intimate questionnaires for people in all walks of life a little self – investigation upon the part of the music teacher will not be amiss. Here are some practical questions which, if conscientiously answered, may result in self – betterment.
- Do you try to advance your put pupils too rapidly?
Music should be taught with the precision and deliberation usually given to the subject of reading.
- Do you take proper care when you introduce a new key?
When a new key is introduced, the tech should be very simple. Studies and melodies in the easier keys may be transposed by the teacher when they are not available otherwise.
- Do you make sure that the pupil rightly distinguishes the melody of a piece?
The melody of the piece should be studied and firmly fixed in the mind, before the accompaniment (usually in the left hand) is attempted.
- Do you assign a systematic schedule for the students practice our, and have you such a one for the lessons you give?
Five minutes for scale, five for finger technique, 10 for study, 10 for solo, is a well – balanced outline for a 30 – minute lesson.
- Do you search continually for new and better ways to stimulate the mental activity of your pupils?
The greatest day to success in any kind of learning, is interest. Class lessons are a great help by arousing a desire in the pupils to excel each other. Here – training, rhythm and melody are more successfully taught in class than in private lessons. A contest in air – training in which old familiar hymns and popular heirs are played and recognize, is amusing and beneficial.
- Do you take special pains to develop a sense of rhythm?
Rhythm, that element of music which is most universal, may be developed quickly by physical exercise in different kinds of time.
- Do you give due care to the matter of variety?
Children, with their lack of concentration and love of variety tire quickly of the same style of music. Supplementary books and solos of the same grade as the regular course of study are helpful. Money spent in this way need not to be reckoned a waste.
- Do you have recitals to which the parents and friends of your pupils are invited?
Even though your pupils are not ready for public concerts (which are often detrimental, on account of the interruption of the regular course caused by the preparation of concert numbers), you will find these private recitals and immense help.
- Do you consider how I love and understanding of music can be taught even by the use of various tone – reproducing instruments, and still more, by hearing the great artists?
When our teachers are able not only to teach the rudiments of music accurately, but to inspire love and understanding of it in the average child, the knowledge of this beautiful art will be greatly increased.