Using Teacher Demonstration to help the Student

Weekly Teaching Tip Apr. 3, 2011

Don’t forget the importance of teacher demonstration in helping a student. Many times it is easier for the student to match the pitch and timbre of a voice than of an instrument such as a piano. Many times a quick, “This is what you did, and this is what you should have done” is much quicker and more effective then a verbal explanation. Many times you can (and should) teach a whole lesson with very little verbal explanation. Showing the student what they did so that they are visually aware will also help them understand better what they are not doing properly.

Another reason you should “imitate” and demonstrate proper vocalization is because many times it will become clearer to you what the singer did wrong when you imitate them. Even though you weren’t exactly sure what they did wrong when you started the imitation, you realize during the imitation that they really changed the vowel, or went wide or reached up or ‘let go’ or any number of things they might do. You can then show them how they are supposed to do it.

For this reason it is important that a teacher continue working on and developing their own voice. Many times we as teachers neglect our own vocal exercises and development because we are so busy focusing on teaching. We need to make sure we can demonstrate effectively and properly.

Having said all this don’t rely entirely on teacher demonstration to help a student however. It is important that a student can match the pitches on an instrument and even match the pitch they hear in their head. But a teacher’s voice and demonstration can be very beneficial and should not be neglected.

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