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Simultaneous Learning in the Piano Studio

Simultaneous Learning in the Piano Studio

Does it sometimes seem like there is not enough time to cover EVERYTHING in lessons?  And with limited time, how do we have students simultaneous learning multiple concepts?

This year, I’ve been on a mission to give my students more choice in their repertoire & more opportunities to improvise & explore the concepts within that repertoire.  But, with more choice can come overwhelm … at least on the part of the teacher trying to plan lessons.

What is simultaneous learning?

Simultaneous learning is an approach to teaching from Paul Harris.  The idea is that we have students interact multiple ways with their music.  Often even before seeing the actual score.

It’s an approach that focuses on exploring a concept from the music without the noise of all the other information on the score.  It’s also an approach that links all the different aspects of a piece into a learning web.

How it saves time

After reading both “Improve your teaching!” & “Improve your teaching! Teaching Beginners“, I was interested in how to best incorporate this into my studio teaching.  And, I’ve realized it’s been quite easy.

Once a student chooses their favourite song (out of 3 choices), I look at the score & pull out a couple things that can be used for improvisation.  Maybe it’s a particular scale or rhythm.  Maybe it’s the articulation or accompaniment pattern.  By choosing 2 small concepts, students can experiment a little in lesson.

And here is the key for me.  Then I  send them home to experiment for a week with those concepts.  By the time I see them the next lesson, they have experimented many ways with those 2 concepts & it’s easy to add another layer to their learning without risking overwhelm.  When my students see the music, they are already familiar with different parts & the score is no longer so overwhelming!

Where to learn more

Would you like your students to say, “What!?!  Lesson is over already?”  Read about what a lesson could look like using this approach.

To learn more about how our brains process information, read “How We Learn“.  (Geek alert.  This is a topic I can happily geek out to any time.)

This exploration of music doesn’t have to be cut into different lesson sections.  This is how I incorporate this approach in a seamless manner in my studio.

And to get copies of these great books, click below!

(I am not an affiliate & do not get anything out of you clicking … except knowing I helped you find a great resource!)

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