How has technology changed music lessons?

Two weeks ago was my birthday, I realized I have been teaching for 25 years. It got me thinking about the changes in equipment since I began teaching. I have taught in the public school system, privately, and in a music store.

The  most important part of my teaching is what I carry in my head. The minimum equipment I have taught with is instrument, pencil, and stickers. Having stickers to reward success is something that has not changed in my teaching years. Much of what I do is encouragement and corrections. It is helpful to have a quantitative way to measure progress.

The student is an equal partner in the learning process. It is important to bring all of the music, notebook, and instrument to each lesson. Unfortunately, this doesn’t always occur. The level of uncertainty  is why it is helpful to have duplicates of some of the lesson material or an extra instrument available.

When I began teaching, if you wanted a recording of something, you used a cassette tape. Now there are many more options available. I record my students on a digital recording system and make a cd at the end of the year. If I want them to have a demo of a passage, it is easy to use the recording ability of the student’s cell phone. Almost everyone has one now.

I used to tell a student to listen to a piece. Some would remember and others would forget. Now I can often quickly find an example of something we are discussing using my tablet and YouTube.

Now can be faster to gather music. Sheet music is readily available on the internet now, some with instant downloads. Every piece doesn’t take a trip to the music store.

When I started teaching I would have not envisioned a one on one experience with a student not in the same room. Welcome to the world of online lessons! Weather, travel time, and family emergencies are much less of a factor. It is easier to maintain the momentum of learning when there are fewer barriers.

When I began teaching, if I was creating an arrangement or writing a piece of music. I was using staff paper and a pencil. Now I use computer software for the same task.

Even with all of the technological advances, the true measurement of success is the student.

About miriamtroxler

Miriam Troxler resides in Beaver, Pa, where she runs a private music studio. After graduation from Chatham University, she toured in Europe with the Continental Singers Orchestra as principal cellist. A long time member of Greenville Symphony Orchestra, she is also the founder and musical director of CelloBrationS. Miriam enjoys composing and arranging with several published pieces to date.
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