YOU do the counting.

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.



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About LaDona's Music Studio

Musician, pianist, teacher, blogger.
This entry was posted in Piano pedagogy, Practice Tips and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to YOU do the counting.

  1. Yep! I make my students count us in too when we play together.

    What’s even funnier is when WE are trying hard to keep our mouth shut to give a student the time to think something through or count, the parent pipes in with the answer.

  2. blogsfsm says:

    Very nice! What are your thoughts on foot tapping, or other physical forms of keeping time while playing? Do you think this also stunts the development of an internal sense of rhythm? I believe it was Robert Schumann who said “music is made with the ear”…maybe this is at least part of what he means by that.

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