30DSR Day 16: Improve your Student Teacher Relationships

Welcome to Day 16 of the Music Teaching Studio Refresh. Today we’re thinking about music student teacher relationships. Do you get on with your students? How much do you know about the young people you teach?

30DSR Dat 16 Taking an interest in your students

Developing music student teacher relationships

Learning even one little detail about your students’ lives can really make the difference in your teaching. When we remember about the upcoming basketball game, or swimming gala, or grandparent visit – our students notice. They know we care about their lives outside of music lessons.

We have a unique position as music studio teachers. Most of us don’t have classes of 20-30 students at a time, we have one-on-one or small group lessons. Not only that but we have the opportunity to teach the same kids for years at a time.

This privileged position means we can develop real and lasting relationships with our music students. And when we take the time to develop these relationships our students will be happier, learn better, and grow to trust our judgement. (A very useful thing when a pupil can’t see the end goal in a scale, piece or exercise that we’ve assigned them.)

It’s the Little Things

The key to building relationships is in the details. Building trust means showing that you care about them and what they care about. Those details are what make for real connections.

To find out these details we need to ask leading questions.

When your students come in today, don’t ask…

  • How are you?
  • How was your week?
  • How did practice go?

Try to replace those with…

  • Did anything exciting happen since I last saw you?
  • What did you get up to over the weekend?
  • What was your favourite part of the last week?

Don’t get carried away, we don’t want to eat up too much lesson time. But 1-2 minutes spent on your student teacher relationships at the start of each lesson will be time well spent. It’ll pay off in the long run.

This may come very naturally to some of you. For some of us teachers though, myself included, there’s a tendency to want to get the lesson started. We’re impatient to get into the teaching and therefore we can forget to work on the student teacher relationships too.

Take the time to get to know your students today. You might be surprised what you find out. 😉

Action Steps

  • Decide on one leading question to ask your students today.
  • Take note of any interesting answers.
  • Put in your diary to ask them about it next week.
  • Rinse and repeat until it becomes second nature. 🙂

 What’s the most unusual hobby your students have?

Do your students tap dance, do macramé or windsurf? What questions do like to ask students to get to know them better?

Tell us what your students get up to, and other ways you’ve found to bond with them over in the Vibrant Music Studio Teachers group on Facebook or in the comments below.

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