How Music Teachers Can Use the Power of Social Media
Some people mistakenly assume that social media doesn't apply to them. Take music teachers. Their work is done in person, one student at a time, right? Not at all. If you're a music teacher and you don't already have a Twitter account, a Facebook page, and a Tumblr blog set up for your music studio, you're not taking advantage of all of the ways that social media can help your students. As the TakeLessons team notes: the Internet has enabled students to learn music from anywhere, often from teachers who are Skyping halfway across the country.
Even if you don't plan to take your music studio to Skype, you can still use the internet and social media to teach your students in ways that you can't always achieve during the weekly lesson. Here are a few ideas of how you can use the power of social media to turn your students into talented, accomplished musicians.
Send out practice reminders
A daily Twitter "RT if you practiced today" or a Facebook "Like if you practiced this evening" is a great way to see which of your students is keeping up with music practice, and which are falling behind. Expect peer pressure to help push your students forward; if everyone in your lesson group has clicked "like" except one person, you'll probably get that final "like" by the end of the day.
Encourage practice uploads
Ask students to use an app like Vine to share quick clips of their daily practice. If they don't have Vine, encourage them to upload daily practice photos. Create a group hashtag, such as #MsMillersStudio. Check the hashtag to see what your students have uploaded, and find something to compliment about every picture or short video clip.
Quickly share amazing performances
Remember that charming elderly couple who sat down in the Mayo Clinic atrium and spontaneously burst out some classic piano duets? Want to show your students footage of Van Cliburn winning the Tchaikovsky piano competition in 1958? With a few clicks, you can share the world's greatest performances with your students, all via social media. They can also watch these performances on their own time, without taking up their valuable lessons.
You can also use sources like YouTube to show your students examples of great technique. If you have a student who likes to rock back and forth on the piano bench, for example, tweeting a few videos of Lang Lang or Martha Argerich sitting up straight and tall becomes an excellent teaching tool.
Send out tips and reminders
For an upcoming recital, send out a daily reminder. Something like "Remember: Seven-four time equals one-two-three, one-two, one-two" helps keep your students sharp and ready for the big day. Practice tips like "Today, keep your feet flat on the floor" or "Try playing your piece twice as slow" help students focus their efforts. They can also use social media to quickly respond and describe the results of their practice session.
In addition to sending out daily practice tips, don't forget about everyone's favorite genre, the silly music joke. You can introduce "That's no piccolo, that was my fife!" to an entirely new generation.
Share performances with the world
If grandparents or other loved ones can't be at the big recital, use social media to share video of your students' performances with the world. If you prefer, you can keep the video limited to certain viewers. Either way, your students get to watch their own performances and share them with people who might not otherwise get to see their accomplishments.
These are only a few of the many ways that music teachers can use social media to help their students become better musicians. The best thing you do for your students this year just might be logging on to Facebook.
Music teachers: how have you used social media to help your students improve? Let us know in the comments.
image: music teacher/shutterstock