Today I welcome Nicole to my blog. She’ll be talking about Effective Strategies for Engaging Teens in Music Education.
Children can begin to lose interest when learning music as they progress to their teenage years. Suddenly, practice pieces on their instrument don’t hold their attention, or their music lessons and studies have them nodding off during class.
Since the global pandemic, many music educators have switched to an institution for online music lessons, allowing students to work from home. The online platform has also caused more instances of losing teens’ attention and keeping them engaged in their learning.
Educators, and particularly those still working in a virtual setting, need to learn to adjust their teaching methods as children progress and grow. Just like their skill development, educational techniques need to grow and move, too. Here are some ways to adjust teaching styles and utilize strategies to make music education more inspiring for teens.
Teenagers tend to grab more of the reins within their learning than younger children. In other words, they want to experiment and find ways independently to teach themselves. Instead of squashing this desire, teachers should encourage and cultivate this need.
Allowing students to work at their own pace and have more power over the decision-making when it comes to their education helps develop and build confidence in their education. It also makes it much more exciting for them to learn and appeals directly to their interests.
Connecting with the Music
Making music education relatable to real-world situations is essential at all ages – teenagers included. Teachers should work to incorporate more than one genre of music within their lessons. Many start with a foundation of having their students study and learn classically, but this can become boring for teens.
Try changing it up with some jazz or pop music, maybe even working with the student on a song that they particularly enjoy and might want to learn how to play or sing. Ask them what they gravitate to on their social media music-wise and apply something to it in the next lesson. When you create a music space for the student with songs and musical pieces they enjoy or connect to, this helps keep their interest.
Another excellent suggestion for working with teens in music education is to do a group lesson or class, allowing your students to meet other music-loving teenagers like themselves. You could create a masterclass either in-person or online, allowing them to show off their skills and demonstrate the musical pieces they have been working on with one another.
You can also have them pair up with another teen, possibly working on the same musical piece or studying the same artist. Then, they will have the opportunity to work together, bounce ideas off of each other, and help one another. It is also a nice change-up from a one-on-one class or vice versa. If you do group classes, you can just have them pair up one-on-one to work together.
Start Something Brand New
Creating a change in how you teach might not be enough. You might finds your teens still feeling bored in their music classes. Changing the curriculum or having your student play a new instrument can go a long way to developing their love for music again.
Sometimes the instrument they are learning or the music they study no longer appeals to them. Giving a whole new focus to something else is sure to gain interest from your teens. Working with them on creating their own songs through writing and composing may be a nice change for them. After all, they will be applying it and directly relating it to themselves. Allowing them to create their own work can be very rewarding for both you and the student.
Music education provides students with many benefits, including improved socialization, confidence, and even academics. At the same time, we can’t force musical learning upon students just because we know it will be beneficial. Sometimes we need to follow our students decisions to keep learning music exciting. Make sure you listen and take heed to their interests, so you can incorporate them into your curriculum.
Music education is not just about studying theory and practicing scales. Though they are great foundations to begin learning with, teenage children will become bored with these methods quickly. Engaging in music they enjoy, working with other teens, and starting a new music education project such as composition, are all fantastic ways to engage your teen student and keep them interested in developing and enhancing their musical skills.
This has been a guest post by