Since the pandemic started, many music teachers have moved their lessons to an online platform. In this article, I will share with you some great tips and tricks for keeping your students engaged while conducting lessons remotely.
Months have gone by, and now, almost a year later, monotony represents a challenge for teachers and students. Since the online world has become the new way of learning music in many schools and extracurriculars, it can be hard to keep students engaged.
Keeping students interested in learning while on a virtual platform is not an easy feat. You are limited to a small rectangular box: your screen. What is more, you can't know what is going on the student's side. Are they paying attention? Are they distracted?
While there are some things that you can ask your student to do ahead of time, such as find a quiet place without distractions, sometimes even just the lesson itself can seem to drag on and become boring for the students.
Great resource: The Trick To Making Your Online Lessons Less Boring
MUSIC ACTIVITIES, MUSIC ACTIVITIES, MUSIC ACTIVITIES!
It goes without saying, but you should always be prepared to come to lessons with more than one activity planned. Planning your music lessons ahead of time, though tedious, is well worth the payoff. Music educators sometimes need to pivot on the fly, and the more prepared you are, the better.
Losing your audience's attention during a class can happen. Having a backup activity to pull out from the back pocket can be a lifesaver. The surprise factor will immediately bring your students back into the lesson with more engagement.
If you have run out of ideas of activities that you can do with your students, here are some great examples of games and movements you can include when conducting your online lessons:
1.Music Theory Bingo:
You can make a game out of musical symbols, notes, and phrases by creating a simple board and having them track them on whatever piece they are working on. Another way to do this is by creating a simple matching game where you match the definitions with the symbols and/or notes.
Have your students find other songs that match the same pattern to the song they are studying - it will give them insight into music theory but also help them to identify with their piece more in-depth as well.
Ask your students to get up and move during their warmups - have them create some simple, choreographed movements to go along with what they are doing. Incorporating movement with any activity during your music lesson can go a long way to help with engagement.
4.Use interactive - collaborative platforms
Flat for Education has a lot of interesting tools and resources to use with your students. It’s collaborative and made simple through the cloud to help keep lessons going smoothly.
ALTERNATE MUSIC LESSON PLANS
Indeed, keeping students engaged during online lessons each week can be difficult. A common error: sticking to a routine. Diversifying your classes will make the educational process more fun for your students and for you.
Alternating your plans is vital, especially these times. Two easy ways to do this: first, games are always engaging, second, a change of scenery can do a lot (doing the lesson in another room or going outside). Sometimes just that can refresh a student’s perspective, and you will catch their attention.
Other ways you to alternate a plan:
- Having a guest come in to teach the lesson. It can be another teacher or someone who wants to be a music teacher that is practicing.
- Have more than one student in the lesson and encourage interaction. They can bounce ideas off each other and help one another out with whatever musical piece they are tackling.
- Find a local musician to come in for a Q&A workshop in a lesson. You could do this for all of your music students for a specific day/time. It will spark more interest in music to see someone who is doing it for a living.
KEEP THE STUDENTS INVOLVED AS MUCH AS YOU ARE
Feel out your music students on an individual basis
You want to make sure that, even though you are aware of the fundamentals they need to learn and have under their belt to advance in their musical knowledge and talent, the student may not always find interest in each part.
When you can find a common interest with your student, use that as a driving force to tailoring your lessons around it. It could be a simple thing. For instance, imagine you have a student whose interest is with lots of country music artists. Make sure to include those songs in their repertoire. Also, you might have a student who is gifted in math and likes numbers. So maybe focus some lessons specifically on rhythms and counting.
To do this, you have to let them be just as involved in the lesson as you are. Make it less of a lecture-listen as a more listen-listen type of dynamic. You will be able to tell when your student interested when talking with excitement.
Go beyond theory
Give a different approach to your classes. Show your students what all the information they are learning is for. Teach them about the power of music. For example, you can talk to them about how they can project emotions through music.
Speaking to your students about culture and other topics is very important. It is essential to know and understand what drives them. Not only to learn how to spark their interest but how to keep it.
Finally, find ways to celebrate creativity and expressiveness, and allow your student to be encouraged every time they work with you. You’ll have students who want to give you their full attention and do their best to make you proud.