First of all, congratulations if you graduated or if you finally reached the goal of your first job at school. You are officially a Music teacher
I got my degree a year ago and have been working in a school for a year now. I have always worked with children of all ages and also adults.
When we follow a course the best part is always the practical advice we get, right?
Teachers experience more stress than other workers, study shows like you can read in this post from “The Guardian”. Therefore, I want to help you with my experience to make you less stressful possible.
So here I am ready with my 10 tips for new music teachers.
1. Be prepared
I know it seems trivial, I know it seems the first rule of the universe, I know that every teacher will have repeated it to you a thousand times. But I also know that you always have to repeat it to yourself. We only notice our shortcomings after our lessons.
Learning from experience is the motto that takes us forward. It’s not easy to be a teacher and you have to prevent any problem. And with children…well…problems happen to the next second. Maybe you’re singing and a child starts crying and then 10 children are crying the minute later. What to do?
Maybe prepare a different activity, a different song, ask for help from a colleague even before the lesson starts (if it’s possible). There are many hitches but the more repertoire/exercises/games you have, the more chances you have to find a faster solution to the problem. Follow your theme/plan
2. Follow your theme/plan
I’m talking about a theme or a plan because you have to follow a program at school or I advise it even with your private lesson. Depending on the theme of the month/week, you need to create lessons that have educational and practical value.
Ok, teaching music notes, but if the theme of the month is for example “Spring” then maybe you have to integrate with appropriate images, with cards, with themed books. Music Stories are my favourite themes to follow. Fortunately, we are full of music of all styles. For instance, creating your own personal story through carefully chosen music or creating a musical activity on BEETHOVEN – Symphony No. 6 in F Major, Op. 68 “Pastoral”, might be an idea.
Don’t leave your lessons to chance, always give a goal to yourself for your students.
The main things you need as a music teacher are:
1) Instruments for all the students or for a smaller group (from 5 to 10), piano/piano or guitar for you (or however an instrument that helps you during the lessons of your choice).
2) Enough sheets to drive you crazy.
3) Tablet, laptop, mobile phone, cables, USB flash drives, microphones, speakers, Bluetooth speakers, mixer. In short, everything you need electronically.
3) Order in your class.
4) Laminator machine. I bought it and it saves your life at your Toolbox (see tip n.9 below).
5) Make sure you have a WiFi connection if you need it before lessons.
6) If you have the possibility, use a whiteboard during your lessons.
7) Pen, pencil, colours, rubber, scissors, glue (always missing when you need them)
8) Be creative in your lessons and try to make your students have as much fun as possible (I used coloured balls, spoons, wooden sticks…have fun too).
4. Keep up the Motivation
An unmotivated music teacher is a sad teacher. I admit that I am also sad sometimes, because who is always motivated h24? Good for you. I don’t.
Therefore, we must remain motivated. I help myself with a lot of research on Pinterest and Teacherspayteachers.
They are my favourites also Bethsnotesplus.com is a great source of ideas and inspirations. Keep trying to read books that can help you get new creativity. Instagram is a great community that can help you find new books, new activities simply by following those teachers, those colleagues like you.
In my wish list for my piano lessons, there is this fantastic book by Key’ndergarten, maybe you’re interested too (it’s not an affiliate link).
Maybe you are also interested in my post about “How to organize your first music lesson“.
5. Find your structure with the students
In my case, since I work as
a music teacher with very young children, I need a song for the beginning and the end of the lesson.
But I’m sure it’s the right rule for all classes. With the right style and individuality.
The rules are necessary, we must remember that children must still see a leader in us. Children love to take advantage of the slightest kindness. So, creating rules of conduct, how you treat the instruments, the order of the class, where to sit when you listen will help you to have even more control of the situation. You’ll need time to get the control situation you want.
6. Encourage your students
It’s right to follow the rules, but you also have to give moments of satisfaction. Encouraging our students must be the main element of education most of all with music.
They must understand that it is possible to learn, that they can do it and that with dedication and concentration they can achieve more than positive results. You have to be positive and congratulate even for a small achievement.
Who doesn’t like to be supported?
7. Exchange of ideas
Relationships with your colleagues or former classmates are important. Also relationships with new teachers via online groups. The exchange of ideas is important for motivation and to learn from the experiences of others.
Any advice is to be welcomed.
Having a good relationship with your colleagues creates a situation of psychological peace for you too. For any
problem you know that you can count on someone to help you. A positive environment can only make you work better.
8. Build Relationships
Through rules and encouragement, it is important to make contact with your students as well. They also have NO days. They may not always be ready, they may be scared or shy. Every child is different and we must learn to understand their needs and their doubts or curiosity.
The relationship with your students will be more special for your personal growth than for the growth of your students
. It is perhaps the most important part of this work for me.
9. Create your Music Teacher Toolbox
Don’t forget the songs and exercises you did the years before or with other classes. Create your own toolbox where you keep all your cards, lesson plans, small instruments that you have used for certain exercises. Organize everything. By theme, by
composer, by colour, by time of year.
As you like, but start doing it right away. On
Pinterest you’ll find millions of different ways.
10. Be patience with yourself