The value of teachers vs learning from videos
Found in: Teaching and Teacher Training
Gabrielle K., Iowa
I had a student tell me this evening that I’m not a very useful teacher because “I can learn everything I need from the videos”. However, I know this isn’t true, not only by the student’s progress, but by the speed at which I’m gaining students and the success the other students feel and tell me about their progress and when they go home every week from a lesson. I also incorporate all the special programs in order from day one and follow through on them every week (comp/improv, arrangements, etc). Have you had this or a similar situation occur to you before, and if so, what have you said in response, or how would you respond?
Stephen R., California
I can’t recall any students or parents saying that to me, but I have heard complaints about the program directly, or pacing (moving too slow). Try not to take that comment too personally. Every teacher brings their individual strengths to this program including prior music background, traditional or otherwise. It takes years to become really “good” at teaching this program in its entirety, fully knowing the content and being able to teach it with ease.
The other side of the table is the individual relationships that are developed over the months and years. Sometimes, with certain students/families, the relationship will be challenging. Sometimes, you have to roll with it, do your best, and be positive about things. So much is energy. We are the energy and knowledge source for students. Believe in yourself and your strengths and that will be communicated!. And by the way, there is SO much students learn beyond the videos…comp/improv, variations/arrangements, accompaniment, reading, blues/jazz. So, that is not true.
Leeanne I., Australia
Does this student think that the videos is all there is to teaching? If you feel it is necessary to talk to the student about that comment, I would respond by telling him/her about all the training you did before you started teaching, all the ongoing training you are doing, discussions you regularly have with other teachers (like now) and how your other students feel about you and SM. Sometimes students say things that hurt our feelings or are just plain stupid. I have had students tell me my piano is too loud!
Stephen R., California
As important as the video segments are, they won’t replace having a teacher right there at the lesson guiding you and bringing out subtleties of technique, expression, pedaling, nuance, nor helping students keep the growing repertoire alive. Playlist management requires active teacher involvement. I tell students I have a huge playlist, from Dreams to my furthest student, outside material, and previous recital pieces. We have to continually be helping students with arrangements since they aren’t in the video.
Cate R., Australia
If they are only newly into the program, then they need to know that the reason why the videos are so in depth is to give them success. As we move further into the program they might find the videos go too fast or even have no video back up so that’s why you are there.
Vicki L., New Zealand
The most frustrating thing about the videos actually is an irony, as they are such a cool tool to have, but become a hazard when parents try to beat the system by moving forward with the videos before relevant lessons have been taught. Undoing the damage is a pain for us teachers!
Your teaching is paramount to the process, and if the don’t see this, they are missing the essence of what Simply Music is all about.
Sue L., California
I have had a coach remove a student from lessons and teach purely from the Foundation music books once the student learned to read. He claimed it was due to finances. I agree with all the explanations above.
An additional thought is that in this age where learning by video or even taking online classes is so common, some people may see that as a replacement for a teacher or a classroom. This subject could become a larger conversation about modes of education and the value of making it a multi-faceted human experience and not just a solitary task-oriented process. Playing music with other people is a good example too.