If you have a private music studio, teach at student’s homes, or teach for a music school, you will likely find that your students have a wide range of preferences for…pretty much everything. This includes using tech tools to learn music. Depending on where, how, and your preferred use of curriculum, it might make sense to utilize a personalized approach.
What does this mean? In other words, instead of introducing the same tech tools to every student at the same points in their development, you would take the time to get to know each student and tailor your approach based on both their skill level and personal preferences. How you implement this is of course up to you. Please see below for some ideas on effectively introducing and using these tools as a part of your private lesson teaching:
In person lessons: Start slowly and first build rapport with the student. Once a basic level of trust has been built, begin working how to use basic music technologies into your teaching. For example, if you are teaching electric guitar, show the student how to use a tuner pedal, electronic tuner, and amplifier. If they continue to express some interest in these tools, record a short jam session on GarageBand or your phone and send the recording to the student. From there, you could then progress to how to use mics, audio interfaces, and recording software to create a high quality recording. If the student does not seem interested, focus more on their areas of interest for now, and gently mention or introduce one EdTech tool at a time, preferably ones with a low bar to entry. This could start with an online metronome or tuning app, and progress in complexity depending on the interests and goals of the student.
Online lessons: The same underlying principle of personalization applies, though it can sometimes be easier to introduce EdTech tools to students already accustomed to using a phone or computer to attend lessons. Conceptually, it’s less of a leap for students to go from synchronous online lessons via video conferencing software such as Zoom to using various apps, programs, and other software as part of their learning journey. Perhaps a student who is composing original music can learn how to notate their works on free music notation programs such as NoteFlight or MuseScore. This can be introduced during lessons, and eventually lead to part of their asynchronous practicing once they have some foundational knowledge of the program.
In short, EdTech tools can be used in a variety of ways within the context of private music lessons. They can supplement practice routines or become an integral part of a student’s musical journey. For students considering a potential career in the music industry, learning to use these tools may take on a heightened significance, as proficiency with recording, mixing, mastering, notating and communicating digitally are now essential skills in this field. In any case, take it slowly, get to know your students, and then begin to take stock of where EdTech tools might fit in to your student’s preferences, strengths, interests, and goals.