Tips for Preparing and Teaching Level 4
Jeanne W., Connecticut
I’ve heard a bit about how much harder Level 4 is. As I’m moving into that now with my students, could you share experiences of how Level 4 did or did not work well for you, and how to avoid pitfalls.
In a nutshell – Set up, set-up set-up conversations-
e.g. the eye of the needle one from Neil, expectations on micro dosages, why micro dosages in different areas are best approach brainwise, checking LTR diligently, making sure all concerned (parents and kids) get it and keep your sense of humor in the delivery so everyone doesn’t get too serious about it.
Last, Kerry Hanley’s Teacher Training on Level 4 is gold – available on SM ordering. I wish I had listened to it before my first FDN 4 person.
Breathing in breathing out – I love how once they are through and on FDN 5 , they find this level more cruisy ( and are wondering when it’s going to get tough).
Hilary C., Australia
I ‘set it up’ during Level 3 when I talk about getting towards the foothills of the mountain which we begin to climb in level 4 and how exciting it is …. the pieces get more challenging, more interesting (or vice versa), probably take a bit longer to learn, so that students don’t suddenly find their progress is slower. But that’s OK.
With regard to level 4 ( as for any other level) – I cannot overstate how important it is to be absolutely imbued in the content yourself and take it at the student pace, not yours, when delivering the dosage – sometimes easier said than done As well there are other things going on in the lesson so it’s easy to deliver small segments in among the other material. I teach only private lessons so some of this is easier than delivering in a group, I suspect, with differing levels of student ability and etc. I suspect the important thing is that students feel they are moving forward .It also sets up a student mentality of the OK-ness of achieving segments, not just whole sections or songs which comes into its own in later levels.
Robin Keehn, Washington
I also think it is really important NOT to say, “Level 4 is going to be hard.” I do not want to set an expectation that they are going to find this difficult or be a struggle. That is the wrong conversation! Instead, I let them know that this is an exciting level where we are going to explore new concepts and learning strategies and tools. The solid foundation we’ve laid in Levels 1-3 has prepared them for some new challenges. I let students know that they are going to have to be diligent in keeping the good practice habits that they have established.
I have found that Level 4 pieces are the ones that students are most likely to forget. I am not sure why this happens so I am all over the playlist to make sure that nothing slips.
Gordon Harvey, Australia
I completely agree with Robin – we don’t want to create the preconception that level 4 is “hard”, because if they have that preconception, it probably will occur as hard for them. That said, it’s true that there is a new concept, that of Fragmenting, that begins around Foundation 4 and it’s important to prepare students for it.
To minimize the potential impact, I discuss the concept of fragmenting before F4, in particular with Greensleeves. I take a lot of time with that piece, being very deliberate about the process, often delivering only a very small amount in each lesson, explaining that with the increasing complexity of the pieces we’re learning now, one way of handling this is by reducing the dosage. I will particularly urge that they resist the temptation to go forward.
For example, when first processing the RH first half positions, I will explain that here we are Learning a Way of Learning, that we will be using “positions” a lot in future, and that, even though they could probably work out the melody easily, they really need to get used to the positions first. I’ll have exactly the same conversation when teaching Lullaby and other appropriate F4 pieces. Never is managing the process more important than it is at this stage!
There will be lots of Arrangements that will provide further opportunities to explore fragmenting before F4.
I do still have a preparatory conversations in the lead-up to F4, but mostly about time, explaining about fragmenting and dosages, and also reminding them that the reading, and maybe Blues too, is an additional stream that takes up time, so it’s completely normal that F4 could take longer to finish. It’s an intense and exciting time when they’ll be learning heaps, and there’s never any hurry. The fact that they are moving slowly means they’re learning more, not less!