Advice for a beginning teacher?

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    Hello all,

    I’ve been lurking around the forum for a while, and thought I might ask you guys for advice, since so many of you have a lot of experience in this field.

    I’m mostly a classically trained harpist, but I’ve also been studying Celtic harp. My Celtic harp teacher has recently gone on maternity leave, and has asked me to take her place for the next few months, until summer vacation begins


    My first teaching experience was similar – taking on one student during a summer when my former teacher was away.


    I would advise you not to underestimate the utility of a pupil’s parents.

    John McK

    About the tempo issues – could you try recording the student and then play it back? Perhaps with a metronome going simultaneously?

    This is a good thing to nip in the bud. One of the guys in my Irish band, after 20 years of fiddling, has no internal metronome and it takes months to work out a good rhythm for the piece.


    While she is walking the beat, you play her piece so that she gets the feel of where the long and short notes go. Then you walk, doing exactly what she’s doing. It may help her to realize, when you do little frisky uneven dancy steps, that she’s doing that when she plays.


    Rhythm is much more easily learned away from the instrument, by clapping out figures and seeing what they look like on the page while hearing what they sound like. An excellent book for this is Phil Perkins’ A Logical Approach to Rhythmic Notation. Practice skills can be taught using Philip Johnston’s The Practice Revolution or Not Until You’ve Done Your Practice! Technique and relaxation are very important. Here’s your chance to do these kids an enormous favor. Do not let them get away with inefficient, uncomfortable technique. Teach progressively more technical figures with exacting attention to the correct way to accomplish them. Note reading: try turning the page sideways to equate the staff lines with the strings on the harp. Start with a recognizable note like middle C and set a goal for a different note name leanred every week. There’s a great article on teaching beginners in this months’ Harp Column magazine with lots more great suggestions; thanks to the wonderful teachers who contributed to that article!


    Hello Inbar, i am now teaching in the conservatory of Damascus in Syria, now i have only one student, she studied before with another teacher for 7 monthes, and when she become my student i had to rebuild


    Sorry for not replying earlier, but I just wanted to say a huge thank you all for the advice! It was very helpful, especially the suggestions about working on rhythm away from the harp. They’re absolutely perfect for my eight-year-old pupil.


    My first question: My teacher has

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