Do you sometimes wonder if the ideas and concepts you are teaching are being understood?  As teachers it’s necessary to know how children learn and retain information.  Whether we’re teaching how to play an instrument, or explaining theory concepts, learning styles come into play. Observing the learning style of the parent and the student and being aware of the learning style of the teacher makes the musical experience much more successful.

Frances Balodis, one of the more brilliant teachers and creative people I’ve met and the Founder of Music for Young Children, has done a great deal of research on learning styles and how it affects young students and on how we teach.  Being aware of these learning styles enriches how to teach, and helps you to present concepts using the various learning styles.

While there is controversy as to whether it is necessary to change your teaching style according to your students learning style, it certainly enriches the learning experience for your students, and leads to less frustration for the student and the teacher.  Being aware of different learning styles makes it quite easy to ensure every student’s needs are being met.

Neil Fleming’s VAK/VARK model

One of the most common and widely-used categorizations of the various types of learning styles is Fleming’s VARK model (sometimes VAK). This model recognizes:

1.  Visual Learners:  visual learners respond well to pictures, visual aids, diagrams

2.  Auditory Learners: auditory learners respond to lectures, discussions

3.  Kinaesthetic Learners:  tactile or kinaesthetic learners like to move, touch, experience

This is one branch of the learning style tree.  I will explore more learning styles in future posts.  In the meantime, these three styles of learning play a prominent role in my teaching – piano teaching,  Music Theory Online teaching, and in my Music for Young Children teaching.

Do you want happier and more confident students?  When lesson planning try to incorporate the visual, auditory, and tactile senses with each concept you present. It could profoundly change your teaching style and your students ability to understand even complex concepts.

Happy teaching everyone!


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