Training Students To Use the SHM Videos
Kevin M., California
I have a tablet in my studio as a tool to help me deal with excuses/struggles that students sometimes come back with in regards to their homework being incomplete.
When a student comes to lessons, and I ask them to play their home work, and they say they watched the video but didn’t understand it or it went too fast etc., I have the child and parent in front of the screen and have them show me exactly HOW they watched the video, and what they did not understand.
Almost always I find it’s because the child and or parent did not pause the video after each event and perfect it before moving on to the next event, or rewind and watch it again if necessary before they moved on. Once the parent and or child understands that it is HOW they are currently watching the video that is the issue, and once the child understands how they will be changing the way they watch the video, they see that it really allows them to recreate the lesson at home. When this happens, a light goes on in their heads, and they get it. It is also a good time to remind the parent/child the video is not only an essential tool in their continued success, but a requirement of mine with regard to their ongoing participation. They also realize they are no longer able to use the, “I didn’t understand the video” as an excuse for not completing their assignment.
It’s been amazing to see the change in not only the students progress and confidence in playing their songs, but how much happier they are for being prepared for the lessons. The parents as well have a better understanding in their role towards helping their child go through the video process and understanding the value of the video in helping their child be prepared for their next week.
Sheri R., California
I think that’s a great idea, Kevin. I ask students how they watch the video from time-to-time (if I see problems in them not knowing the song), to make sure they are doing the steps correctly–lots of pauses and keypad use–and this way they get clearer about how great that tool is if used properly.
One thing I don’t do if a video assignment is not done, is re-teach the song. I don’t want them to have an expectation that they can fall back on me for that–otherwise it defeats the purpose of the video and them taking charge of their learning. And it really slows progress too! If I taught it once and they don’t know it, then we work on an Arrangement and/or another project; and they come to know that in order to go on to the next song, they need to do the assignment (watch the video!).
They learn quickly that, in my studio, I don’t re-teach if it’s on the video. That may sound strict but I think it’s the best policy, especially in a Shared Lesson. If someone in a group has to learn 2 songs in one week–the previous week’s song that they didn’t watch on the video and the current one that is being taught because everyone else is ready to move ahead–they make sure they don’t have to “cram” again.
By the way, I usually have students play into my voicemail a past due assignment before their next lesson. Of course, if they know the song but have a few mistakes, I will show them the correct rhythm, fingering, or notes, even if I think they rushed the watching too much.
Dena M., Iowa
What advice do have for handling this in a Shared Lesson? I have some students who would really benefit from walking though the “how to use the video”, but others in the same class who are doing fine.
Kevin M., California
You could offer a few times you will be holding a special session for taking care of this issue (perhaps even other issues as well). Of course, I would charge a fee for that. I think most people know in a group when they are struggling a little more then others and embrace the opportunity for a little extra help. They usually don’t have an issue paying for it if you make the time available.
Alternatively, you could ask others in the group to see if they would take on mentoring certain students to help with this or other issues.
I have found the most common mistakes parents, kids and/or adults are making in learning with the video is just not pausing it after each event to make sure they have it processed before moving on. For others, they are not making it a priority on watching the video on the DAY of the lesson.
The one other common problem is that they do not have the video right in front of the piano. Typically then, they also aren’t putting a keyboard, or Practice Pad, in front of the video and learning the song right there before transferring it to their piano.