Improve your teaching by Paul Harris

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Having revealed the worst side of instrumental teaching in Teachers . . . you are lazy! I thought I’d better redress the balance and suggest some ways in which teachers could improve their teaching. A book that sprang to mind was Improve Your Teaching by Paul Harris, he of Improve Your Practice fame.

At 64 pages this book is brief but it does provide a lot of useful ideas and exercises you could incorporate into your teaching. From new ways to describe music, making up pieces out of others and making sure what you say is clear to students there are a lot of good ideas.

The best idea to come from the book is what Harris calls ‘Simultaneous Learning’. This is a concept where both teacher and pupil are engaged in the learning process. Pupils learn in different ways but if they learn at the same time as the teacher they become more involved, are more motivated and learn better. For the teacher this ensures a more positive approach to lessons, practice and learning.

Whilst not a cure all for lessons this book does cover some good ground. I would like to have seen the ideas expanded and also for those ideas to have been widened outside of a lesson situation. There is very little said here about practice, though Harris does concede “If only all pupils could learn to make some decent use of all that time between lessons, what an effect it might have on their rate of progress”.

Improve your teaching by Paul Harris (2008, Faber Music, ISBN:  978-0571525342) is available from:[amazon asin=0571525342&template=htp price]

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