‘the complete resource for all instrumental and singing teachers’, said the subtitle. Rubbing my hands together with glee I pressed the order button.
What arrived was a book, A4 in size, that wasn’t really a book. It’s more a collection of musings by different teachers and educators, all of whom have some sort of affiliation with the Trinity Guildhall examination board. Nonetheless the topics on offer are very pertinent:
- the best way to get a beginner started
- a complete guide to planning lessons
- top tips for practising
- exam preparation
- integrated learning
- tips for memorable teaching
- etc, etc
A really good variety of topics for us practising musicians.
The most successful section in the book is the first by Lucinda Mackworth-Young who discusses the psychology of teaching. These 8 pages really are a good primer for understanding what goes on inside students minds. It’s also very well written, clearly understandable for those (like myself) who are not particular fans of dry academic writing.
Sections follow on a variety of topics, each by a different author. This is where I feel the book falls down slightly. There is no consistent flow or continuation of argument. It’s very ‘bitty’ and whilst some interesting points are made none of them are given space for further exploration.
Section 4 of the book deals with motivation and practice. I was I have to say underwhelmed by the short shrift given to this important topic – six pages in total. The content is also a bit old and doesn’t add anything to the discussion on practice. I can’t imagine any teacher reading this section and changing the way they perceive or teach practice.
Whilst there are weak points in this book there are also some concepts which cold be useful to teachers. Would I recommend this book? Partly, there are better books out there. This is however inexpensive and you will gain something from reading it.
The Music Teacher’s Handbook by Stringer et al, (2005, Faber Music, ISBN: 978-0571523307) is available from:[amazon asin=0571523307&template=htp price]