Weekly teaching tip – Nov. 28, 2011
Pick the best exercises and let them do the work. The more you have to explain the exercise and help the student do the exercise “right” the poorer choice the exercise is. Figure out the biggest problem the student is having, pick a good exercise to help fix the problem, make sure the student does the exercise correctly and let the exercise do the work.
Once the student is comfortable with this particular exercise which is getting them through whatever problem you are working on, gradually move to other exercises and progress the student to the next thing. Although not a hard rule, I like the concept of “Keep 2, change 1”. There are three basic parts of an exercise; the vowel, the consonant and the scale pattern. To make it easy for the student to progress, once you have found a good exercise that gets them into the right place and feeling, gradually progress them by keeping two elements and changing one, gradually moving them to more difficult exercises while staying in the right feeling. And remember the importance of the range you are playing the scale in to get the most benefit and result out of the exercise.
Remember the process of progression; smooth, easy, then strong. Help them release, then connect, then strengthen, then sustain, then apply to a song. If you try to strengthen the mix before the student is comfortable with it, it will just frustrate both you and the student and make you work much harder than you need to.