12 Modes of Teaching and Learning

Which modes do you use? Which do you not?

EAR

“Can you play the melody of Greensleeves by ear starting on A?”

ROTE-IMITATION

“I’m playing the first phrase of Greensleeves. Can you do what I do?”

EYE—FULL NOTATION

“Here’s the score to Greensleeves. Can you read this?”

EYE—LEAD SHEET

“Here’s the lead sheet to Greensleeves. Can you play this?”

MEMORY

“Can you play Greensleeves by memory?”

EXPLORING-CREATING-RESPONDING

“Make sounds with me using white keys while I play this accompaniment to Greensleeves.”

TELLING

“You are in A minor. Start playing the melody with your thumb.”

EXPLAINING

“It’s A minor because A is now the center of gravity, not C.”

INQUIRY

“What key is Greensleeves in? What finger is best to start with?”

NON-VERBAL INSTRUCTION

“Play with me, and follow my dynamic changes and tempo changes.”

STORYTELLING

“Let me tell you about the “duel” between Mozart and Clementi!”

TALKING

“Are you feeling better this week? How’s your dad? Thank you for noticing my new haircut.”

All these modalities have their time and place. Some are overused and some are badly neglected. I think we enjoy teaching more (and students learn more) when we move between many modalities.

In my workshops for teachers, I usually explore the neglected modes of EXPLORING-CREATING, NON-VERBAL INSTRUCTION, and INQUIRY. I suggest these be substituted for much of the TELLING, EXPLAINING, and TALKING in order to promote self-guidance in the student and more creative engagement.

Share this post