how to teach

Jazz Music and Improvisation Guide Books

As I mentioned earlier, I recently presented to the Piano Pedagogy Group. The piano teachers in this group are currently working on their Grade 10 or their Piano Pedagogy certification through Royal Conservatory of Music, Conservatory Canada or London College of Music . They are all classically trained (translation: improvisation, lead sheets and chord charts are scary). This is a list of the "How To" books that I use whenever I teach and play contemporary music (e.g. pop, rock, Latin, jazz, ragtime) that I shared with them:

Conservatory Canada Contemporary Idioms Syllabus

How To Play From A Fake Book look inside How To Play From A Fake Book By Blake Neely. For Guitar, Piano/Keyboard. Piano. Instructional. Instructional book. Standard notation and instructional text. 88 pages. Published by Hal Leonard (HL.220019)Smp_stars40 (1) ...more info
Lead Lines and Chord Changes look inside Lead Lines and Chord Changes By Ann Collins. For Piano. Piano Collection; Piano Supplemental. Early Advanced; Late Intermediate. Book. 80 pages. Published by Alfred Music Publishing (AP.199)...more info
Volume 1 - How To Play Jazz & Improvise look insideListen! Volume 1 - How To Play Jazz & Improvise By Jamey Aebersold. For any C, Eb, Bb, bass instrument or voice. Play-Along series with accompaniment CD. Jamey Aebersold Play-A-Long series. Beginner, intermediate. Book & CD. 104 pages. Published by Jamey Aebersold Jazz (JA.V01DS)Smp_stars30 (22) ...more info
Volume 3 - The II/V7/I Progression look insideListen! Volume 3 - The II/V7/I Progression By Jamey Aebersold. For any C, Eb, Bb, bass instrument or voice. Play-Along series with accompaniment CD. Jamey Aebersold Play-A-Long series. Beginner, intermediate. Book & CD. 100 pages. Published by Jamey Aebersold Jazz (JA.V03DS)Smp_stars40 (6) ...more info
Boogie Woogie for Beginners look inside Boogie Woogie for Beginners Arranged by Frank Paparelli. For Piano/Keyboard. Keyboard Instruction. 48 pages. Published by Hal Leonard (HL.120517)Smp_stars40 (2) ...more info

There are a few more in my "To Check Out" pile. I'll add them once I've had a chance to go through them a bit.

The most common question

By far, the most common question I get from people I first meet is, "How do you spend your days?" There seems to be a misconception that private music teachers don't do much outside of teaching time. I've wanted to tackle this for sometime now. Here goes... Private music teachers are basically a one-man/woman show. Corporations have separate departments for sales and marketing, information technology, accounting, administration, research and development, human resources, professional development, planning and maintenance. In my line of work, all those functions are performed by one person - the teacher (in this case, me).

I'm not sure how my colleagues do this, but I designate one day a week for each "department". I aim to get my work done before I begin teaching for the day, but that isn't always the case, especially since I usually need to address an issue from each "department" everyday. For instance, today was "wrap up "Peak Performance Conference sponsor packages/reports"" day but I have also made it "website update/overhaul day" and "ARMTA Website Committee Meeting Day". Bookkeeping is next on the list (my least favourite activity but I wear a goofy hat to lighten the mood).

It's not a typical 9 to 5 job. Often, I will get phone calls and e-mails outside of office and studio hours. But since I can't train my dog Maestro do field calls for me, I will usually take the call.

Practicing, transcribing and composing are best left for the evening after I've finished teaching for the day. I read somewhere that a study proved that you sleep better if you practice before bed. It helps the brain in someway. Unfortunately, the name of the study escapes me.

In addition to these job functions, there are workshops and events hosted by the Alberta Registered Music Teachers' Association (ARMTA Calgary branch) and the Alberta Piano Teachers's Association. These are usually scheduled in the mornings, when most teachers can attend. I currently sit on the Board for ARMTA Calgary, which means meetings, meetings and more meetings. It's not so bad though, compared to last year, when I was going to meetings and working on projects for three teaching organizations. What's scary is that I saw many of the same faces at all these meetings for the three groups.

As I also do some writing on the side, that usually is left till the wee hours of the night or when the fancy strikes me. Back in university, my best papers were written at 2 AM. That really hasn't changed since then.

The days are long, but I try to squeeze in breaks during the day - running errands, meeting with friends, hanging out with my dog. Maestro insists upon it.

(c) 2005 by Musespeak(tm). All rights reserved.