TTM: Talkative Teacher Mode.
*Most teachers feel compelled to speak, as if explaining, defining, reminding, admonishing, outlining, encouraging, and a host of other “ings” were of paramount importance, all the time. It’s as if TTM… was a built-in feature of the pedagogoic personality, or as if the formula was “to teach is to talk.”
And THAT includes counting out loud. When it’s the student who should be counting.
When the young ones are playing and I’m counting for them, they’re not learning. They’re not feeling the beat. They’re not internalizing any sense of rhythm.
If we’re lucky, they’re just following my verbal cues – especially when I make them repeat something so I can count louder for them.
Many students find it difficult to count out loud and play. I read something about the brain functions at this point – sometimes it’s not a matter of refusal, but of inability. It can be overcome.
**Tapping and counting out the rhythm on the lap before even touching the keyboard goes a long way. Do it from the beginning and it becomes a wonderful habit and builds in the sense of rhythm.
I play every duet in the method books with the students. I’ve recently made the student count us in. Two full bars of whatever time we’re in. It sets them up for actually continuing to count.
Which makes for more secure rhythm, better music, and a happier teacher :)
*Quote: by Marienne Uszler in Time Flies… How to Make the Best Use of Teaching Time (FJH)
**One of Mary Gae George’s principles in the Artistry at the Piano method.