Assessing a Student

Weekly Teaching Tip – Feb. 10, 2014
by Aimee Geddes

Working with young students at varying levels of talent is something that all of us are familiar with. Some are just more advanced than others simply because either they were born with it, or because they have had more time or opportunity to work at it. Particularly when they are young and putting a lot of pressure on themselves to succeed, it can be important to recognize the emotions they are experiencing at this time in their lives.

As I was working with all of my students this week, children and adults, I thought about assessment. It came to me that assessment is not something that is done simply on the first lesson we have with a student, or at the beginning of the lesson. It is not only done with a 5 tone Ah scale, or getting to know their musical background. To me, assessment is all of those things as well as taking into account their present emotional state throughout the entire lesson. It is monitoring their singing, technique, how well they are responding to direction, how well they are understanding your analogies or explanations.

I believe that good teachers are sensitive to the current needs of their students.They are aware of when it is appropriate to “back off” and not force a student to try to barrel through their music when their emotions won’t allow it. We need to remember that people are vulnerable and are trusting you with their gift. They are trusting you to know when they need to be praised or pushed a little harder, or kindly corrected.

Every student is unique and individual and I think that is what makes teaching so fun! As we tune into our students current needs, we are free to help them become the singer they wish to be.

Have fun teaching this week!

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