Music teaching coach
Wendy Brentnall Wood
music school marketing

HABIT 5 – Effective Teaching

HABIT 5 – Effective Teaching

A successful teacher knows how to get students to understand information and absorb skills. They are a good communicator, a great listener, problem solver, psychologist and coach.

They have strategies of communicating with different age groups, genders and personalities that learn in different ways.

Make a Habit of matching learning style to students.

The 9 Strategy Secrets of Teaching Effectively

1.Strategies for preschoolers

Not everyone is interested in teaching the very young student and not all instruments are suited to it.

If however you are willing and able, you should find it to be most rewarding and enjoyable! Preschool children are often the most uninhibited students you will have, freely expressing themselves verbally and musically. They are often the ones who give more response to you, such as the thank you hug as they leave, the drawing of you they bring to their lesson and more.

For all the enjoyment and reward teaching preschoolers can offer, it can also be demanding. At this age they are not totally in control of their emotions, and depending upon their family routine, they may become tired, overwhelmed or unfocussed quickly within a lesson.

Keeping a preschool child actively engaged throughout even a 30 minute lesson means you as a teacher must monitor the fun concentration, fun, and distraction meters and remember to keep everything simple.


2.Strategies of Juniors

What I call Juniors are the age of 5 to 11 years. During these ages there is a massive amount of change and development physically, emotionally and cognitively.

Depending upon the family routine of preschool childcare, activities or not, a 5 year old can be very like teaching a preschool child an 11 year old is now perhaps known by some as a “pre-teen” with everything that implies.

In general this age group learn best by “doing” not being told, but mostly there will be a significant differences in concentration, physical limitations, reading, language, speed of learning as well as interests and expectations.

Knowing what to expect at the two ends of the spectrum will help you maneuver through the variations between.

3.Strategies for Adults & Teens

As with Juniors, this age group can vary widely from being a child of 12 through to a senior citizen, however there are enough similarities to allow me to lump them together here.

At the teenage stage of cognitive development, students are more likely to be able to accept verbal instruction compared to a younger child who likes to learn by “doing”. The older we are the more detailed the verbal instruction may be.

This age group often have fixed expectations of what they wish to achieve and you will need to “earn” their respect by demonstrating knowledge and skill early in the relationship.

4.Strategies for planning Lessons

Experienced teachers can take a lesson without planning it as they have developed strategies and routines to draw upon.

As you start or develop as a teacher, there are a few key principles of planning that you should implement to develop each lesson and provide consistency of learning.

Planning lessons avoids wasted time and loss of student concentration and focus. It will also make goals achievable.

You must observe how each student develops, the speed they learn at, their strengths and weaknesses and their goals. What motivates your student(s).

Your own values and goals of teaching are also a part of your lesson planning as what you value most whether it be performance, exams, technique or developing a broad foundation will need a place in the lesson.

5.Strategies for Pacing lessons

Lesson pacing is about ENGAGING every student in every lesson. The amount of time spent on activities, the choice of activities and the manner in which they are delivered are the key components in keeping a lesson flowing.

Consider age, learning speed, class size and goals for each activity.

6.Strategies for Learning Styles

Are you aware of how sometimes you remember something because of what you saw? Whereas at other times it was what you heard that you remember best? And then there is the feeling of doing it or the knowledge of how it works that stayed with you.

Each of these are well known different styles of learning Visual, Auditory, Kinetic and Analytic.

At different times in our lives or at a different age, we may rely more strongly on one style than another. Some students have a stronger “leaning” towards one style or another but this can be due to exposure or environment perhaps rather than anything else.

Know which style your students relate best to and have activities that connect via their preferred learning style whenever necessary.

7.Strategies for Choosing Content

As with Lesson Planning, the actual content used in each lesson should have some structure to it. The obvious first reference is whether all areas of your goals and values are being covered such as technique, method, listening, theory, creative, performance and so forth.

The second reference (not necessarily in this order) should be the short and long term goals of the student and what motivates them. Thirdly what strengths and weaknesses do you need to focus on, ultimately meaning, what can you afford NOT to miss!

8.Strategies for Engaging students

Each student is different and yet there are similarities we can focus upon to engage them. Have you ever been in a class where the instructor didn’t seem interested in being there? The impact was probably that you didn’t want to be there either!

Your engagement in each lesson as a teacher has a huge impact on how the students engage in lessons and that in turn affects what they do at home. Being clear on goals, giving choices, being selective with repertoire, making the lesson fun, being encouraging and giving rewards are all ways of engaging with the student.

Make your students feel that you care.

9.Strategies for Gender

There is an age old tradition of grumbling husbands and wives who complain there “other half” just doesn’t understand them! Research has shown that girls and boys of all ages communicate differently, learn differently, have different physical skills and much more.

You can plan and prepare a lesson for two children the same age and standard and yet because of their gender you can get a totally different response. Typically boys find it harder to sit still and need action whilst girls are more focused but can be a little “dreamy”..

Knowing some typical behaviours will allow you to be ready with relevant ideas.


To effectively communicate, we must realize that we are all different in the way we perceive the world and use this understanding as a guide to our communication with others.

Tony Robbins

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HABIT 5 – Effective Teaching


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