Context from the print article . . .
Video clips | Audio clip | Additional photos
Throughout my teaching career, I have found that the development of rhythm skills remains one of the greatest challenges for students. I have been very thankful for those students who came to me with a natural understanding of rhythm, but I have learned the most about teaching rhythm from those who have had to work hard to build their skills.
For most of my years of teaching, I taught in the traditional, one-to-one format, with a typical lesson being a half-hour or forty-five minutes. This never seemed like quite enough time to allow me to spend the time I would have liked on "just rhythm," even though this could easily have filled the entire lesson. With a weekly agenda of repertoire, theory, sight-reading, ear-training, and scales and technique, there was precious little extra time to devote to rhythm alone.
How I have organized my studio and instruction to deal with the "lack-of-time" factor
I found a solution for dealing with the frustrating situation of never seeming to have enough lesson time when I decided to redesign my studio. I set up three separate "stations" with three students rotating to each within an hour's lesson. I am fortunate to have a studio with three adjoining rooms, which allowed for this arrangement. In each room, the students work individually at their own pace on the various aspects of their musical training.
In one room with an acoustic piano, I work with each student for twenty minutes on repertoire and all aspects of performance. In a second room, another student works with a teaching assistant. This is a carefully selected high school student who is both an advanced pianist and a keen teacher-in-training. They work together on an individually designed program of skill development that includes scales, technique, sight-reading and ear training. At a third station (in another room), another student works independently at my computer-piano, a fully integrated digital piano with a touch-screen computer. There are many possibilities for the use of this instrument, which I will discuss later.
At twenty-minute intervals, the students rotate to each of these stations, resulting in a fully engaging one-hour lesson. This allows time for all the aspects of musicianship that we as teachers know are important. I have found that this teaching method allows for rhythm skills to develop in many ways, especially by making connections between stations. . .
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Here are several
brief video and audio clips from Paula McLaughlin's videotape,
"The McLaughlin Method: A Multi-Station Approach to Group Piano Lessons in the
Development of Comprehensive Musicianship."
© (C) 2001 Paula McLaughlin. Used by permission.
In this short
audio clip, Ms. McLaughlin discusses some of the
pedagogical and business practicalities of teaching these kinds of group lessons:
1 MB WAV sound file
Additional photos from Ms. McLaughlin's studio
A performance class learning new rhythm concepts together
Van Koevering piano with interactive software
|Paula McLaughlin completed her Bachelor of Music at Western Washington University, where she studied with Ford Hill. She has a Master of Education from the University of British Columbia, where she is an instructor in the Faculty of Education. She works with a cohort of pre-service teachers, called FAME (for Fine Arts and Media in Education). She is a lecturer in the UBC Dept. of Music, teaching the multi-station method which she has developed for her private piano studio as a solution to the challenges of integrating all aspects of musicianship into a semi-private lesson. She presented this concept at the World Piano Pedagogy Conference in Orlando, Florida, in 2001. Ms. McLaughlin has given numerous workshops for the British Columbia Registered Music Teachers in the Vancouver area. She is an active member of this organization, and has worked as an adjudicator for Student Pianist Guild Festivals. She is also an associate member of the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto, having completed her associate degree with Peggy Prior. She has taught for several years in the Delta School District as a music specialist for grades K-7, and has chaired a community arts festival for high school students called MADDfest, ( Music, Art, Drama and Dance), which awards post-secondary scholarships to students of the arts. She is an executive member of the Canadian Federation of University Women, an international organization which supports literacy and education.|
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