Welcome to the Rubato Music Therapy Blog!
A resource for music therapists, music educators, and other professionals who work with individuals with intellectual disabilities, as well as their families and care providers.
Introduce yourself to the student and their family. In group settings, have all of the students introduce themselves.
Get to know the student. You can ask them about their favorite food, movies, TV shows, music, hobbies, etc. Try to find something that you have in common!
It can be helpful to explain what will happen during a lesson, especially if the student is shy, has a short attention span, or has difficulty transitioning between tasks.
While you can do this verbally, it is usually more effective to write a numbered list of the planned activities. Incorporating pictures can be even more beneficial.
Try to start and end with easier or preferred activities to motivate the student. Cross off activities once they're completed!
Assess the Student's Skills
For beginners (and non-beginners):
What comes easily to the student? What is difficult? Some examples are below:
What is the student's current level? Ask them to show you previous method books and the piece that they were last working on. Ask them if they can play any pieces from memory.
In addition, have the student sightread pieces of varying difficulty. Ask them if a particular piece or section is "easy," "medium," or "hard." Let them know that it is okay to tell you if a piece is too hard. Emphasize that you don't want to start with a piece that is too hard for them.
Here are some sample lesson outlines. They can be adapted for different instruments.
*Focus on one thing at a time and build as you go: identifying notes, identifying rhythms, using the correct hand, using both hands, using the correct fingering, playing at the appropriate tempo, playing with appropriate dynamics, etc.
**Remember to balance praise and constructive criticism when giving feedback! Check out our blog post www.rubatomusictherapy.com/blog/praise-vs-constructive-criticism for more on this topic.
It is important to set boundaries from the beginning. This requires you to reflect upon your own teaching philosophy as well as your experience as a student.
Some Food for Thought
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Kirstie Gallacher-Ang, MT-BC