Secrets of Successful Teachers and Parents, Part 1

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iSingSM.jpgI am a music teacher. I am a parent. I must teach in either role.

I consider teaching — actually, I call it “training” — to be a calling of the highest order. And music is, by far, the most effective way to reach all children because music is the most effective means of communication.

A person may be a musical artist and great performer, but that does not mean he (or she) is a “communications artist.” An effective Music Teacher (or parent) must possess the natural ability to communicate on her students’ levels!

Because music reaches the emotions so profoundly, few teachers of other subjects have the opportunity to reach their students on such a personal level.

Also, music is a universal language, transcending all cultural, language, socio-economic, racial, and educational barriers.This is especially important for the younger bi-lingual children. Music equalizes everyone in the classroom!

While music enriches and enhances cultures, in my mind music is never music for music’s sakeYes, it’s important for holidays, represents cultures, and even memorializes a person’s life after they leave this earth. But music is brain exercise! It’s enhancing for the performer’s self-perception! It’s a vehicle for many other kinds of learning!

The learning of music enables children to develop strong skills in other disciplines. Music uniquely enhances higher brain functions required for mathematics, chess, science and engineering!

Involvement in a music education program improves concentration and lengthens attention spans; it improves memory and retention; and it improves interpersonal skills and abilities to work with others in collaborative ways.

My enthusiasm spreads like wild fire, captivating and engaging my students, even at the Kindergarten level. I am a musician, yes; however, I have two specialized skills: I am a musical artist and I am also a communications artist. I know how to get through to students, no matter how their brain works! And I know how to get them excited and engaged.

To the kids, I may appear to be a light-hearted, humorous, musical “Mary Poppins”. But I am dead serious about communicating to them on their own level, through their individualpersonal combination of intelligences.
sensory learning channels and

These kids learn about the environment, math, history, music history, teamwork, cognitive stimulation, and right-left brain transfer. And I take care to teach the same lesson several different ways, in order to reach a multiplicity of intelligences.

Susie is strongest in her Verbal-Linguistic Intelligence. She learns best with the stories I tell, the inflections of my voice (“music in the voice”), the meter of my words, and all the sounds we do together.

She has other intelligences, but it is this particular one which will enable her to “get it” more quickly and with a deeper understanding. Susie will probably grow up to be a writer or an effective communicator through another media.
Secret: I would pick Susie out in class to explain concepts to the other students.

Monica is strongest in her Naturalistic Intelligence. She learns best with my analogies of nature and the drawings she does of “Nature’s Music.” She’s conscious of the world around her, and will always be a “nature child” even in her old age.

She will respond to rhythms similar to her heartbeat, and will use classical music for “atmosphere” as she’s studying and concentrating.
Secret: Have Monica draw or paint while she’s listening to music.

Janet is strongest in her Body-Kinesthetic Intelligence. She must have muscle involvement in her learning process. She learns best with “hands-on” experience. It would start early with clapping, marching, simple choreography, or building a project.
Secret: Janet is the child I would pick out to be the class choreographer. She would stand in front of the class and teach all the other students how to “act out” the words of the song, or how to dance to the rhythm.

Janet will probably grow up to be a physical therapist, or she’ll represent the US in the Olympics! (Boys typically have strong intelligence in this area and can be prevented from “acting out” in disruptive ways if they are given the opportunity to lead the class in physical movement.)

Matthew is strongest in his Logical-Mathematic Intelligence. He has to learn with problem-finding, problem solving, order and sequence. (Music is, after all, only math set to music!) He constantly tries to figure out how something works, why it works (or doesn’t work), and his curiosity will drive him to seek out the answers on his own.

Secret: Matthew’s learning time will be cut in half if he’s exposed to Baroque and Romantic Period music early in his development. He will probably grow up to be an engineer, math teacher, or be a technical designer. But whatever he does, life will have to be “logical” for him to succeed.

Adriana is strongest in her Intra-Personal Intelligence. She has the self-knowledge necessary to know when it is time to withdraw from a situation.
Through her involvement in our music program, she develops the ability to act adaptively on the basis of that knowledge. This particular knowledge is invaluable in this era of pedophiles because it teaches her to trust her instincts. She’ll know when it’s time to withdraw from a situation, and she’ll have the ability to act on her knowledge.

She’ll likely grow up to become a novelist, therapist, psychologist or philosopher. Secret: I must be very sensitive to Adriana’s feelings, but not allow her to hide in them. I would ask her to write a song about them, and then share it with the class.

Marilyn is strongest in her Inter-Personal Intelligence. She has natural ability to detect and discriminate the various moods of those around her. She can read people’s intentions and desires, even when hidden, and has great intuitive powers.

Marilyn will, most likely, work in one of the “helping” professions. One thing for sure: she’ll make a warm, sensitive parent! She’s the student I can always count on to let me know when any other student is sad, sick, or shy.
Secret: Marilyn will learn best when in a loving, supportive, and encouraging environment.

Cesar is strongest in his Musical Intelligence. He has a natural capacity to perceive, discriminate, transform, and express musical forms.
Secret: Cesar needs early private music lessons! He could easily be another Mozart, or Beethoven! He thinks in music! Teach this kid anything set to music!

With the right encouragement and some coaxing out of his inner world, I can instill confidence in Cesar, and he’ll succeed at anything he tries. His future will, most likely, be evident to his parents at an early age. He’ll show uncanny abilities musically. They will know they have a musician in the family!

(More on this subject in Secrets of A Music Teacher, Part 2)

(c) 2009 April Lorier


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