The Flute Academy

Do your students hate playing scales?

Feb 25, 2016

Here's how I got my own flute students to become super excited about playing scales well...

There are 2 things that I use in my own teaching that have dramatically changed my teaching life.

Number 1 is my Scale Challenges, as I like to call them. And number 2 is the trick that I'm going to tell you about here...

About 12 years ago, I had a revelation that completely changed the way I approach teaching. I started thinking about every one of my students as having potential. In fact, if I were to sum it up now, it would be this:

"Having extremely high expectations for the students and encouraging them with everything I’ve got for them to be able to get there."

Now, this might seem like a whole lot of hard work, especially if you've got some "duds" who aren't interested and don't practice. If this sounds like you, I've got some good news for you:

The scale learning trick that I use with them works!

Out of 45 students that I taught at the time, it worked extremely well for 41 of them, quite well for 3 of them, and 1 of them told me it was a stupid game (!)

Imagine this:

At the beginning of each teaching term, you explain to each student that at the end of the term or semester, you're going to be running a competition, and here are the rules...

  1. "In the last lesson of term, you will have all your scales that you're working on written out on a piece of paper. Next to each scale will be a lolly."
  2. "In this lesson, you will have 1 chance to play the scale correctly. If you do, you get to eat the lolly. If you play a mistake, I eat the lolly!"
  3. "You can play the scale as slowly as you like, it just needs to be correct."

Once you've explained those basic rules to the student, you build u the anticipation of the competition by telling them each lesson how many weeks to go.

Now, leaving the instructions at that for the student could well get stressful for them, especially since they may not be very good at their scales, and they just can see a big FAIL looming ahead of them.

And this of course would be no motivation for them whatsoever. So click here to find out how to make this competition really work.

Here's to happy flute teaching!

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