MG teaches the following subjects:
- Ensemble direction
- Ear Training / improvisation theory
- Guitar / guitar pedagogy
Below are a few general comments, opinions and thoughts concerning the subjects and my teaching.
The course is an auxiliary to the ensemble direction. The students play together on any instrument but their main instrument. The classes are usually fun and informal. We’re talking about playing techniques, riffs, notation for the different instruments, sound, tips and tricks, gear and so on.
The aim is e.g. to be able to play a qualified demo on all instruments (including vocals) in ensemble direction and to have sufficient “hands on experience” on the instruments to arrange and assess the severity of the musical roles used in an arrangement.
I teach pt. ensemble direction at third year of the bachelor studies, where students have achieved a certain level of professionalism and a certain degree of independence. The form of teaching is class tuition. We usually start the year with exercises with each other, talk about arranging, etc.
Later, children of 12-15 years of age, will be invited to the academy and will be taught by the students under my supervision.
I operate with 9 “commandments” which I think is important. I discuss them with the students and relate them to the upcoming teaching course.
- Distribute no written music (or limit the use of it), but keep written notes for your own use (to your fellow students or in addition to your otherwise secure excellent long-term memory).
- Think “Communication”: how you serve your material (and yourself)? How is your lesson structured? What is the most logical progression?
- “Keep the pot boiling”. Think about the possibilities for collective messages and rehearsal with several instruments activated simultaneously. It could, for example be a break, rhythms in different instruments that are alike, have someone supporting while others rehearse new material, etc.
- Flexibility. Be aware of how you can upgrade or simplify your material on the fly in the classroom.
- Pursue your goals. Check that the students actually play what you taught them – and play the way you want it. Correct them if it is not, for it is you who know how it should sound.
- The rotating ear: Work actively with your listening. Force yourself to listen in turn to all the individual instruments. Do you hear everything you hear nothing!
- Create your own classroom for teaching. Demand respect if necessary. Demand silence if you want silence.
- Remember that pedagogy is about being able to see the world with your student’s eyes! Be responsive to the signals – conscious and unconscious – your students send.
- Finally, remember, that music has to be fun and exciting.
Ear Training / Improvisation Theory
I can not say enough about how important I think this subject is. If you can not hear and respond to what is happening around you, it is not possible to play or teach music.
I am very inspired by the methodology and theoretical systems used at Berklee College of Music (Boston, USA). I visited a few weeks when my brother studied there. I was allowed to attend classes in various subjects including ear training and theory. I discussed with some of their professors and bought all the available material in the Berklee Bookstore.
For nerds: I use DO-RE-MI system to build a strong relative pitch. DO always root – also in minor, as it (I think) gives the best scale and pitch understanding. This is especially useful when ear training I combined with chord/scale-theory. It is also an advantage in the music that switches between major and minor – e.g. Blues. The classic ear training tradition swear more to LA as the root of the minor, but in my field of work it is preferable with the DO as the root – always.
My teaching includes all the conventional elements such as sight singing, rhythm reading, improvisation, transcription, analysis, training of musical memory, etc.
I guess I’m a kind of “jazz guitarist”, but to me jazz just as much a mindset as a style. I’ve always been very interested in the question “What do people think when they improvise.” What thoughts have gone through the mind before the cool riff, the sublime solo. By analyzing others’ solos I try to get behind and beyond the notes and figure out the undelying mindset – and later use the same approach to produce my own phrases.
Different ways of playing requires different ways of thinking. I try to help my students to find a way of thinking that can help them the sound they want.
See more at: http://www.martingranum.dk