Thursday, May 15, 2014

Technology or Board Games?

I realize there is a place for iPads, apps, computers, technology in general.  The days of just teaching beside your acoustic piano are said to be fading away.  What do we hear?...You need to have a studio with technology!  You need to offer a computer lab!  You need to use GarageBand and record all your students!  You need to have an arsenal of apps and computer programs available so your students can learn!  You need to stay up on things like ever other teacher around you!

Hmmm...I didn't learn with ANY of that.  My teacher - the organist and choir director at my church growing up - sat beside the piano, gave me instruction, handed me a theory book to complete and expected me to practice during the week.  Period.  And yes, I learned to play the piano!  And every day now that I sit down at my piano, I am reminded of her commitment to help me learn to play.  It didn't hurt that I loved it and wanted to learn, but she still stuck with me through the highs and lows of my playing and motivation.

Why do I say this?  I've struggled at times feeling like I needed to make sure I offered technology as well!  And because I didn't grow up with computers (I used a manual typewriter with carbon paper in college!) technology has been something I had to teach myself.  So if I were to give myself a grade?...I'd probably need to repeat the class!   I've tried however to provide as much as possible - within my scope of understanding!  I do have a computer lab in place, but only have four students whose parents are willing to pay for it.  I do have an iPad with loads of apps - some free, some purchased that is available and yes, my students do use it and some like it.

But, ALL of my students LOVE a board game or activity they can do with me or with each other.   Hands down!   What does that tell me?  That technology is a tool - not a necessity!

I sit by the piano and give instruction.  We play games and do activities away from the bench to encourage learning and to have fun!  Learning to play the piano is work, so in my opinion, lessons should be fun.  I create incentive programs, build a games library, run summer camps, do group lessons - mostly without technology and guess what?!

My students learn to play the piano...and play it well!  I invest in them and like my own piano teacher, I help them find their motivation and stick with them through the highs and lows.  I'm committed to helping them learn to play so that they will enjoy this skill for life.

And that is why I'm not stressing about technology.  And why I'm committed to finding and creating games and activities that my students enjoy and that will help them learn to LOVE this magical world of music!  That doesn't mean I'm not trying to improve those areas, certainly, but I want to keep it in perspective.

Which is also why I put together the camps I currently have for sale in my store.
 Right now I have 15 kids signed up for one of my weeks of camps because they can't wait to come back after last year!  And there's still a month and a half left to sign up!  The revenue from the camps (for those outside my studio) normally covers the entire expense and helps fund instruments, resources, etc. for my studio.

So just as a reminder...there are only 8 more days for you to post a comment to win a free copy of any of the camps I have for sale!  Just post a comment under this blog entry!

13 comments:

heather jane said...

I totally agree with the notion that we needto keep technology in perspective. I don't want to spend precious lesson minutes fiddling with an electronic device with my students. Though I do feel that the addition of recording my students has made a monumental difference in their motivation this year. It's been more work for me, and another thing to try to squeeze into an already bursting lesson, but that has been one technological advance I have appreciated. As far as games go I know that my students would much rather play something with me than play with an app on a device. I have been wanting to look closer at your world adventures summer camp curriculum. That would be my choice if I were to win.

jzuber said...

Great reminder, thank you! I love looking through all your game and camp ideas and have been interested in the Road Trip USA and World Adventure for a long time!

Jennifer Foxx said...

Good reminder to keep technology in check. As you know I'm pretty big in technology. However I totally view it as a tool, just as you mentioned, amongst all the other tools we have at our fingertips. We enjoy our board games, group lessons, camps, etc... too and I think they are equally as important tools, plus a lot of fun! I think there are room for both, but it is our responsibility to make sure neither overtakes what they are there for in the first place. I totally enjoy all your fun games and ideas! And can't wait to go on our 'Road Trip' in a couple weeks! Thanks for continuing to share!

Aziz Makhani said...

If you, your students and patrons need a "brain break" and wish to get into the spirit of the World Cup starting in 26 days on June 12, consider KickShot Soccer Board Game, www.kickshot.org. I designed this game to engage, entertain and educate as well as stimulate family time.

Thank you.

Aziz Makhani
Creator of KickShot Soccer Board Game
Moscow, Idaho

Saundra said...

My students also love board games and such! They always ask "can we play a game today "?
Your camp materials look so fun. Lots of good material for a fun learning experience!!

Roshi said...

Having a balance between the two would be ideal. Board games encourage group work and social skills. Kids always love when they can interact through games with their teacher , parent and friends. Thanks for the offer, love your ideas and teaching material!

Val said...

I use very little technology in my studio. I would like to add more, but this is a great reminder that it should not be the focus.

I would love to win some of your camp materials! I'm doing a summer camp (piano olympics) for my very first time this summer!

Kate said...

I just stumbled on your blog looking for game ideas for my students. I'm so happy I did! I am so with you on your thinking about technology and games. Most of my students already get a lot of screen time outside of lessons. I'm definitely not anti-technology, but I think there is real value in person-to-person interaction (and games!) that is maybe falling by the wayside in recent years with the advent of iPhones, etc. Just another valuable aspect of piano lessons! On that note, I'm super excited to have discovered your summer piano camp resources. Thanks!

Heidi said...

these look really interesting! would love to win. :)

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