Four Obstacles of Beginner Music Teachers

Beginning Music Teachers Face At Least Four Immediate Obstacles to Overcome

First, what personal music skills do I need for teaching music?
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Second, how do I teach music effectively?
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Third, what do I teach the students?
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Fourth, how do I deal with student behaviors, especially negative ones?

What Personal Music Skills Do I Need for Teaching Music?
Four Basic Skills

Many music teachers in public, religious, and home schools have asked, What music skills do I need to teach music? There are four basic skills. However, before listing the four skills, you need to know that no one can be a successful music teacher with him or herself being artistic and musical. Preeminent above the 4 basic skills described following, one cannot be a successful music teacher without deep, inner artistry and musicianship. With inner musicianship as a foundation, the basic skills needed to be successful are as follows. Two are gateway skills that all students must learn as well. (1) Well-developed intonation with singing in tune while accurately and consistently maintaining the tonal center. (2) Mastery of performing a steady beat while accurately and consistently maintaining the meter. Additionally, a successful music teacher must at least (3) fluently know how to read treble clef music, and (4) know how to play simple chords on the piano, guitar, or any other such instruments to accompany students' singing. A successful music teacher must daily practice these skills to be leading at all times ahead of the students.

How Do I Teach Music?
Art Of Teaching

How does one teach music? This is called the Art of Teaching, which is a life-long learning process. A beginning teacher must continually assess oneself concerning his/her teaching effectiveness. Video one's teaching often and view it with an expert music teacher. Discuss what is effective teaching and what is not. It takes at least five years to become comfortable and confident with the art of teaching. The Knauss Music Curriculum features built-in, explicit, easy-to-follow, step-by-step instructions to guide the beginner teacher into becoming an experienced one, and an experienced teacher into a master one!

What Do I Teach The Students?
Trust The Experts

Many unanswered curriculum questions plague a beginner teacher. A first grade class enters your music room for the very first time and sits down, and you ask, "Now what do I do?" What do I teach Kindergarteners, first graders, second graders, any graders? How do I start at the absolute beginning? What and how do I teach primary elementary students, intermediate elementary students, middle schoolers, secondary and high school students? What music skills should be taught to each grade? How should the music skills in each grade build into the next grade? How should elementary build to middle school and then to high school? For a music curriculum that is precisely Scope, Sequenced, and Spiraling, grade upon grade, this is where a beginning teacher must trust the experts. The Preface of each KMC book features a flow chart of the book's scope and sequence and alignment with the Music National Standards. (Follow the links for printing book excerpts in Knauss Music Curriculum Overview.) When a music teacher understands the artistic "what" in each activity in the KMC, that teacher has achieved a master's level in understanding. When a music teacher understands the "why" of each activity and the "why" of the entire curricular scope and sequence, that teacher has acquired a doctorate level of music education insight.

How Do I Deal With Student Behaviors, Especially Negative Ones?
Trust The Experts

Again, trust the experts. In any school setting, public or private, partner with veteran teachers who seem to "really have their acts together." They can mentor you with many helpful tips for managing attitudes and behaviors, especially negative ones into positive ones. Partner with the student to discuss his/her appropriate and inappropriate behavior(s). Partner with the parents or caregivers to address cooperatively behaviors in school and at home. There are no teacher-preparation courses that instruct beginning teachers how to "respond with truth" rather than "react with emotion" to negative situations, but an excellent example to follow is provided in a small but giant book by Ron Clark. Read, memorize, and practice, award-winning, Ron Clark's The Essential 55 listed in the Music Education Resources.

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