The biggest reason is not only to make sure your students are where they need to be, but to check yourself as the teacher. I realized, even after our very first Acheivement Test, that I teach every student differently. At first thought, I panicked. I was like on my gosh, I'm not teaching every student the same or equally. But when I really thought about it, I realized that every student is, in fact, different and respond to teaching in many different ways. With this one test, I was able to check my myself to help modify and improve how I teach per student!
My second reason is that not all testing has to scream anxiety. The goal is to remember that you aren't testing for perfection; you're testing for what is known and what may need to be reviewed. In my case, I found that there was A LOT I wasn't reviewing with my students on a day to day basis, and that's okay; it will only make our lessons hereon out more beneficial!
Lastly, testing helps you and your students move forward. Maybe a student missed a lot of the questions, maybe they got every single one correct. Either way, testing provides a basis for where your student is and provides a system to help further their knowledge of music. For example, your student could be in Lesson Book: Level 3, but maybe they didn't understand the content as well as you had thought. It let's you know that they may need to review Leeson Book: Level 2.
**One factor of review that I want to point out is that it's okay to not understand something or not know the correct answer. It is highly important that your students know it's okay to make mistakes, to fail sometimes, fear the unknown, and that going back a book or two to refresh their memory is actually a good thing for brain development. What we don't want is for our students to feel like they can't figure something out on their own, ask questions, or become dependent on others to provide them with the answer. Our goal for each of our students is to provide them with an effective music education that helps them develop the independent skills necessary for every day life!
Photo by Jacqueline Waters Photography
Our owner, Susan Flinn, started her own business teaching piano from inside her home in 1989. How she maintained a household, worked, and took care of me and my sister while my dad was at work, I have no idea. Well, I do have some idea as I do remember the many students who came in and out of the house every day and the many recitals we helped with and participated in!
It wasn't until 2005 that my mother, Susan, expanded her business to what we now know as, "The Music Studio". Pretty soon, The Music Studio was offering Piano, Strings, Voice, Band, and other instruments. We moved many times, from 2 places on Garrisonville Road and then finally settled on our current location on Bells Hill Road.
Now, here is where I, the daughter, come in! For those of you who don't know, teaching music lessons was, what I thought, the last thing I wanted to do when I grew up. Of course, music was always a passion of mine, but teaching/helping run a small business had never crossed my mind. I even went in my first year of college to earn a degree in Music Therapy!
Long story short, my sophomore year of college, I decided teaching was definitely for me; however I changed my major to Elementary Education. Once I graduated and was in need of a summer job before continuing in the Public School system, I started teaching with who I am fortunately able to call my mother! AKA one of the most influential people in my life. Don't worry, Dad, you're in there to (;
That summer, I found my true calling and decided teaching music was something I could not pass up and I am forever grateful for this opportunity!
Because of my mother's passion and an amazing staff, we now have the highest number of students we have ever seen---and counting! We have expanded our business not only by number but by number of teachers, student progress/advancement, AND teaching possibilities. This is just the beginning of our new business plan and we cannot wait for the small victories to come!
So...thank you, Mom, for making a business like this possible. For giving music teachers a chance to dream AND make a living. AND for enhancing the lives of children EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.
Hoping our minds will continue to move forward and make the business even more than we had ever dreamed...TOGETHER...with all of the amazing teachers, students, parents, family, and friends who make this all possible! <3
Can you find Ms. Susan, Ms. Pam, and Ms. Mary in these photos?
As we move into week #4 of Virtual School, the excitement of being "at school" has started to take a hit! Now, we know virtual schooling works for some BUT it is not for everyone. The question on everyone's mind, how can I make school and learning more engaging and fun for my child, while implementing the same structure they would receive with in person instruction?
One important aspect of virtual learning to remember is INDEPENDENCE. I cannot stress enough the importance of stepping back (at times) and allowing your child to discover/learn on their own. Every child learns at their own pace, and it's at a different pace with every subject. Just remember, no matter what pace they learn at, it's okay and they need time for their brain to adjust to new things! If you don't allow their brain to analyze and ask questions, they may end up struggling more in the long run and become dependent on their teacher/parent/classmates. Allowing your student to discover and learn independently is called Inquiry-Based Instruction.
This type of instruction is what we try to implement in our music lessons! Through studies and years of teaching, We have found that students who are given many opportunities to learn at their own pace and independently (there's that word again), advance at a much faster rate.
The objective is to provide resources and GUIDE students to find the answer/come to their own conclusion without giving them the answer. Often, students will end up asking even more questions about what they are learning, furthering their understanding of the material given.
Providing your student/child with a variety of resources is a key factor for inquiry-based instruction/independent learning. It provides a basis for conducting their own research and forming their own thoughts and questions.
****TIP: When storing and organizing extra books, worksheets, workbooks, flashcards etc. Make sure these items are stored at or below eye level. Things that are stored above eye level will be hard for children to find.
***Positivity During a Crazy Time
As 2020 slowly comes to an end, I can't help but see the rise of negativity--in students, teachers, and parents. We feel as if we have no control whatsoever in any aspect of our lives and the new year can't come soon enough!
Although, times are crazy, focus on the positives! Children are extremely observant and see/hear things we may not think they see/hear. When working with your student, positive reinforcement and confidence boosting feedback mean the world to them! So lend a hand and no matter what mistakes are made, begin by addressing what they did a great job on--how they have an amazing sense of rhythm OR I love how expressive you sounded in this section! When it comes down to it, our students need to be praised for their accomplishments--big or small!***
So we touched base on stepping back (just a little), and allowing our students/child think on their own. I mean what parent doesn't want to raise independent thinking children?! If we go even more in depth with this subject you may ask yourself, "how much is too much?"
What if your student is just not getting it? What if they're getting frustrated? There is a happy medium in which a student should be independently working and when they should be helped. Our suggestion, work through the problem with them, have them imitate the process and then review the material prior to what they are now working on. Odds are, something was missed or their little brains may not have fully understood the previous material learned. With review, you may find what was missing or even figure out why your student/child wasn't comprehending the new subject matter. They may have more questions they just weren't ready to ask, they may have misunderstood something you had said, or maybe they just needed to spend a little more time on the old stuff!
When it comes down to it, just remember you are doing the best you can for your student/child! There is no one correct way. Your support, love, and care are the most important factors in the year 2020. You CAN do this and the year 2021 is upon us!