In this short video, I explain a useful way to think about your teaching practice. It helps both with being the best teacher you can be, as well as a more successful business owner. And it may surprise you why…
This is three types of music teacher, which one are you. I’m Andrew Ingkavet that’s me on the right, down there and I wanted to introduce you to this idea of three different types of teachers.
These three teachers, I’m going to represent them just as basic shapes.
We got the circle, square and triangle. So we can also call them Type I, Type II, and Type III. What I’m meaning about these three types is that there’s a different focus for each one.
The first one Type I, the circle is the foundation builder.
This is the first music teacher, the one that’s going to be introducing all the basic concepts, techniques, introducing styles and genres, and hopefully instilling the joy of music and a life long love of music.
Type II is the next level
As the talent is rising and we’re going to take that student to go to a higher level.
Then Type III is when you’re getting more specialized focus in a specific area.
So you can see that these three types are actually in a specific order, and you can also think of it as that Type I is working with beginners, Type II is intermediate, and Type III is advanced students.
This is pretty basic stuff but there’s a lot of myths about being a great teacher, a great music teacher, and one of the most common myths is that you have to be all three types. That might have been the case back in the day where you had these small towns when you were the only music teacher in town and you had the one room school house and had to serve all different levels at all different times. This is actually quite difficult because you have to think about all the different needs for the different groups, the different levels, and maintaining lesson plans and curricular for all three types is quite a lot of work. Also, some of us are just better at one type than the other type. Some of us want to work with young beginners and other ones want to work with more advanced.
If you think about it, there are teachers who teach specifically first grade. These teachers are different focus than those who teach high school English. There’s a huge difference in the type of focus and the curricular they have to learn to work with those groups of students. So the more specialized you are, the easier it will become because you will be actually getting better at serving that audience, and also you might prefer to work with that student subset.
Now it’s the same thing as you were thinking about your teaching practice from a business standpoint. They always say to specialize to have a narrow focus a niche. You’ve heard there is a niche market, the narrow the niche it’s a smaller pond. You become the big fish in the small pond, you can stand out, you can be a more dominant force. It’s also much easier to communicate to one audience than many.
So if you’re working just with say grade school kids, talking to parents who are the most likely client for that group, is much different than say talking to an adult audience who wants to come back to learning piano after many, many years away from it. Or they already had some training. So every audience has a different way of speaking to them, a different messaging and you can stand out much easier by just narrowing the focus. There’s less to worry about. Then you get to work with your ideal students. The ones who you really most want to serve and are best suited to serve.
Let’s go back to that graphic of the three teachers. Which I or II or III maybe, maybe you’re all of these.
So some of us actually are a multitude of these because say we play one instrument at a very high level. I know somebody who is a great cellist, who can take a child at the very, very beginning and can take them up to the next level and can even take them all the way to level III, the Type III teacher. But for piano, who wants to introduce the basic foundations of music through the piano is probably best suited to work with just in the beginner area as a Type I teacher.
If you’re a Type I teacher working with a beginner student, there’s a lot of benefits that you may not even realize that can come from working with this group. There’s the possibility to start very, very young and keep them much longer than most other teachers can, because this group is usually less busy, there’s less competition for their time. I start teaching kids at 3 1/2 to 4 years old and I can tell you a little bit about how I do that a little bit later, but this way I can keep these students with me until they’re 10, 11, 12, even 16 years old. This is over a decade with me.
This group of students also is glad to have structured lessons. You can have much more structure curriculum and lesson planned than when you get to working with the other groups where you may be working on the fly a lot more. This is the group that you are really looking to spark the joy of music. As early as possible in a multitude of ways through listening, playing, performing and all kinds of fun activities to show that music can actually teach life skills that are vital to success in life. Things like focus, grit, goal setting, public performance. All the things that parents want from their children.
So the Type 1 teachers, many of them have tried using traditional music method, so they need to start around 7 or 8 years old when children can actually read. But, I have created something that’s called the Musicolor Method® and this is very suitable for pre literate kids, even special needs kids, kids on the autism spectrum, and Asperger. They all respond very well to it because we are using color as educational scaffolding. Meaning, we don’t have to read to play, we can get kids playing right away.
I encourage you to check out some of our other videos, subscribe to this channel, and also check out our website. We also have a full comprehensive training program for professional music educators and school and studio owners called the Musicolor Masterclass. Take a look at that and I’ll see you in the next video.