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Create unique music teaching for each music student

Mizue Murakami

6 different ethnic kids with music notes

I live and teach music on the West Coast of the U.S. In the West Coast. There are all kinds of people living here, including a lot of immigrants from all over the world. It's delightful to run into people from different cultural and musical backgrounds. But I don't think West Coast is the only place in the world that is a melting pot. More and more places (especially cities) in the world are becoming a melting pot. And I strongly feel that music teachers need to be more open-minded and teach more creatively than ever before.

Traditional and conservative teachers are still only using classical music (Western) materials. But it's time for teachers to engage and find out each student's interests instead of just dropping materials that teachers think the students should learn. Of course, if they want to go to classical examinations or competition, they need to learn classical music. But on the side, I like students to explore all kinds of music, especially something that they are interested in at the moment. Even if the songs that they are interested in seem very cheap, not artistic, cheesy, and low quality to the teachers, those silly songs can connect dots for the students.

Not only I'm suggesting using different kinds of materials and genres, but also suggesting that the way to teach could be even different depending on the student. For example, some students have the excellent hearing ability. But they may not be good with sight-reading. If the student is not planning to go to classical exam or competition, I think it's OK to let this student learn music by ear only. Later, this student may become interested in learning sight-reading.

I find it's enjoyable to be completely open-minded and see each student without any prejudgement. From there, I can create a unique lesson program for each student. Everyone is so different. Why not enhance their strength first and accommodate the weak spots on the side slowly?

Music is a universal language. And each student comes in from a different "door." I mean this "door" could be a silly song that they want to play on their musical instrument. Let them use that "door" to come into the universal music space. It doesn't matter which door each student comes in from. They will all reach deep in the music eventually, probably a lot faster and a lot more meaningfully.

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