Category: Music Teacher

An Introduction to Rockschool Music Production – Virtual RSL On Tour Playback

July 29th, 2020 by

Sit back, relax and enjoy the playback of our recent Virtual RSL On Tour webinar: An introduction to Rockschool Music Production. Stream. Engage. Teach!

This webinar introduces teachers to the benchmarked levels of progression students can expect to reach as they engage with our Rockschool Music Production graded exam materials. We look at specific examples of the repertoire at Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced Level; provide explanations of the assessment criteria and our new digital marksheets; and highlight how the grade system maps across to qualifications in the classroom. We also provide information on the different ways students can take exams with Rockschool in your region and territory.

Rockschool Music Production

music production coursework edition book covers

Rockschool Music Production – Coursework Edition expands on our 25+ year history of innovation throughout music education, providing aspiring producers and engineers with the most accessible music production graded syllabus.

On completion of a Rockschool Music Production grade, every candidate will own a wealth of technical, practical and theoretical knowledge that they can apply to real-world scenarios – whether it’s in audio production, electronic music production, mixing, editing, mastering or sound for media.

FIND OUT MORE ABOUT ROCKSCHOOL MUSIC PRODUCTION


To get in touch with team, please drop an email to business@rslawards.com

An Introduction to Rockschool Acoustic – Virtual RSL On Tour Playback

July 29th, 2020 by

Stream. Engage. Teach. Welcome to the playback of our recent Virtual RSL On Tour webinar: An introduction to Rockschool Acoustic.

This webinar introduces teachers to the benchmarked levels of progression students can expect to reach as they engage with our Rockschool Acoustic graded exam materials. We look at specific examples of the repertoire at Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced Level; provide explanations of the assessment criteria and our new digital marksheets; and highlight how the grade system maps across to qualifications in the classroom. We also provide information on the different ways students can take exams with Rockschool in your region and territory.

Rockschool Acoustic

Rockschool Acoustic Guitar ALL Grades

Rockschool Acoustic sets a new tone, with a complete set of upgrades to the Acoustic series. As with all of Rockschool’s releases, every grade features meticulously researched and benchmarked tracks from both trailblazing innovators and contemporary trendsetters, exposing each student to an array of genres, styles and instrument-specific techniques as they progress through each grade.

Rockschool Acoustic Sample Pack

FIND OUT MORE ABOUT ROCKSCHOOL ACOUSTIC


To get in touch with team, please drop an email to business@rslawards.com

An Introduction to Performance Arts Awards in Musical Theatre – Virtual RSL On Tour Playback

July 21st, 2020 by

Sit back and enjoy the playback of our recent Virtual RSL On Tour webinar: An introduction to Musical Theatre Performance Arts Awards.

This webinar introduces teachers to the benchmarked levels of progression students can expect to reach as they engage with our Musical Theatre graded Performance Arts Awards materials. We look at specific examples of the repertoire at Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced Level; provide explanations of the assessment criteria and our new digital marksheets; and highlight how the grade system maps across to qualifications in the classroom. We also provide information on the different ways students can take exams with PAA in your region and territory.

Musical Theatre

PAA Musical Theatre examinations are accessible for all ages and abilities and provides teachers with the creativity and flexibility to enable every child to succeed.

FIND OUT MORE ABOUT PAA MUSICAL THEATRE AND DOWNLOAD THE SYLLABUS SPECIFICATION

Rockschool Ukulele – Virtual RSL On Tour Webinar Playback

July 15th, 2020 by

Thanks for joining us to watch the playback of our recent Virtual RSL On Tour webinars: “An introduction to Rockschool Ukulele”, and, “Teaching Technical Ukulele Skills Through Performing”.

An introduction to Rockschool Ukulele

This webinar introduces teachers to the benchmarked levels of progression students can expect to reach as they engage with our Rockschool Ukulele graded exam materials. We look at specific examples of the repertoire at Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced Level; provide explanations of the assessment criteria and our new digital marksheets; and highlight how the grade system maps across to qualifications in the classroom. We also provide information on the different ways students can take exams with Rockschool in your region and territory.

Teaching Technical Ukulele Skills Through Performing

This webinar will look at the beginner ukulele grades (Debut – Grade 3) and give examples of how to approach the grades in an engaging way to help students develop both their technical mastery and creative expression. We will highlight the relationship between the technical exercises and the performance pieces contained in the graded exam book and look at how particular scales, arpeggios, chords and rhythmic elements support the development of specific pieces. We will also look at how our interactive practice tool, Replay, can be used in lessons as an effective teaching tool.

Rockschool Ukulele

rockschool ukulele books

The ukulele is in a unique group of instruments with re-entrant tuning. The Rockschool Ukulele syllabus (Debut – Grade 8) develops instrument-specific techniques through digestible benchmarked topics guaranteed to equip students with the practical skill and theoretical knowledge to perform at the highest possible level, across a range of contemporary styles.

Rockschool Ukulele Sample Pack 7 Step Guide to Learning the Ukulele!

FIND OUT MORE ABOUT ROCKSCHOOL UKULELE


To get in touch with team, please drop an email to business@rslawards.com

An Introduction to Rockschool Piano & Keys – Virtual RSL On Tour Playback

July 15th, 2020 by

Welcome to the playback of our recent Virtual RSL On Tour webinar: An introduction to Rockschool Piano and Keys.

This webinar introduces teachers to the benchmarked levels of progression students can expect to reach as they engage with our Rockschool Piano and Rockschool Keys graded exam materials. We look at specific examples of the repertoire at Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced Level; provide explanations of the assessment criteria and our new digital marksheets; and highlight how the grade system maps across to qualifications in the classroom. We also provide information on the different ways students can take exams with Rockschool in your region and territory.

Rockschool Piano

Rockschool Piano Book Covers

Rockschool Piano seeks to both educate the modern pianist, and validate the instrument as an essential tool in the ever-evolving world of popular music.

Rockschool Piano Sample Pack

FIND OUT MORE ABOUT ROCKSCHOOL PIANO

Rockschool Keys

Rockschool Keys Book Covers

Rockschool Keys contains comprehensive, keyboard-specific arrangements, that utilise varied levels of sound manipulation, patch switching, layers and splits.

Rockschool Keys Sample Pack

FIND OUT MORE ABOUT ROCKSCHOOL KEYS


To get in touch with team, please drop an email to business@rslawards.com

Virtual RSL On Tour | Stream. Engage. Teach.

June 16th, 2020 by

RSL Awards are pleased to announce Virtual RSL on Tour: a series of webinars delivered by the RSL Awards team which will run throughout the summer.

Our in-house experts will be delivering two sets of webinars for both instrumental and classroom teachers giving insight into some of our newest graded exams, the benchmarked levels of progression, and some practical approaches for teaching.

The sessions will be a chance for you to ask questions directly to the team and an opportunity to sign-up for FREE materials to help develop the Rockschool and PAA provision in your educational context.

The Rockschool sessions are designed for instrumental and classroom teachers who are looking to teach with Rockschool for the first time or are new to the music teaching profession. Each webinar will cover a different instrument, including: Acoustic Guitar, Piano, Keys, Ukulele and Music Production. Further details can be found below.

Signing-up to both webinars will give teachers access to our Teach Today programme and access to a FREE digital version of the first three publications for a selected instrument with accompanying Schemes of Work and Guidance. Please note that webinars with the same title will cover the same material in each session.


Click here to jump to the sign up form!


Introduction to Rockschool Graded Music Exams:

This webinar will introduce teachers to the benchmarked levels of progression students can expect to reach as they engage with our graded exam materials. We will look at specific examples of the repertoire at Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced Level; provide an explanation of the assessment criteria and our new digital marksheets; and highlight how the grade system maps across to qualifications in the classroom. We will also provide information on the different ways students can take exams with Rockschool in your region and territory.

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Teaching Technical Skills Through Performing:

This webinar will look at the beginner grades (Debut – Grade 3) and give examples of how to approach the grades in an engaging way to help students develop both their technical mastery and creative expression. We will highlight the relationship between the technical exercises and the performance pieces contained in the graded exam book and look at how particular scales, arpeggios, chords and rhythmic elements support the development of specific pieces. We will also look at how our interactive practice tool, Replay, can be used in lessons as an effective teaching tool.

Fill in your details below to stay up to date with our webinar programme and read on to learn more about what we will cover in the sessions. We hope to see you soon!

 
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Rockschool VIdeo Exams

And here’s how our schedule is shaping up for the next few weeks…

DateSession Title
Tuesday 4th August 4.30 – 6pmPiano - Teaching Technical Skills through Performing
Wednesday 5th August 8.30 – 10amPiano - Teaching Technical Skills through Performing
Tuesday 11th August 4.30 – 6pmAcoustic Guitar –
Teaching Technical Skills through Performing
Wednesday 12th August 8.30–10amAcoustic Guitar –
Teaching Technical Skills through Performing

How to Build a Professional Website with Good SEO

May 21st, 2020 by

Having a great website is a huge selling point for potential students. Not only does your website act as your central business hub online, but it can also make you more visible.

This article has been written for Rockschool on behalf of MGR Music by Leigh Fuge

But, I’ve never built a website before…

Don’t worry! Building a good website doesn’t have to be rocket science anymore. Sites like WordPress allow you to use their modular builders to craft a great looking site with minimal effort. You can download loads of free themes (And even a bunch of paid ones!) to give your site the perfect look

By using a theme, you don’t have to worry about design. You just choose a layout and drop your content in.

You can further enhance your website with plugins. Most website services will have some option to install plugins from their “app store” style area. Many of these are free but there are also a load of paid ones for anyone who wants to take it to the next level. Plugins can range from contact forms and newsletter opt ins to embedded social media feeds linking all your services together.

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When you build a website there are only a few things you need to really get in place to make it work:

A web host – This is a place where your website will be stored on the internet. There are loads out there from GoDaddy to 123-Reg. Each with their own pricing and feature set.

A web building client – Some hosting services offer their own clients but you can also use websites like WordPress to build your website.

A Domain Name – This is important! You need to create a domain name. This is often the name of your business or something that describes what you do. It’s important to try to get the .com domain for your business name.

Plugins – The plugins you add to your website will allow your potential customers to enjoy your website. You could use contact forms for keeping in touch, a forum for a social area, social media feeds to show what you’re up to and way more.

Rockschool VIdeo Exams

SEO – Why is this Important?

SEO stands for search engine optimisation. If your website has good SEO then it will get picked up faster by search engines and rank you higher for searches related to your business or service.

The better your SEO, the better your website ranks.

So what can you do to increase your visibility? Here are a few things to ensure you add to your website content:

Key words for Searching – If you are a guitar teacher, make sure you’ve got “guitar lessons”, “guitar teacher”, “learning guitar” and other related search terms in your website to help Google recognise what you go.

Location Information – This is particularly important. If someone searches for “Vocal lessons near me”, Google will need to know that you are near that person before it can point them to you.

Links To Your Website – Google likes to see websites with a lot of links pointed at them. This tells Google that the website is an authoritative area and therefore will rank higher. Register for all your local business directories to have links pointed at your website. If you can partner with other local business to share links, this will also boost your presence online.

Use an SEO Plugin – Most web clients plugin areas will contain an SEO plugin if some form. You can use this to help make suggestions and recommendations to what you can improve. Things like the overall readability of your website are important. Get your headers, URLs and Meta titles in order too. There are loads of great tutorials online about how you can make these improvements to your website.

Rockschool Ukulele Method

About the Author:

This article has been written for Rockschool on behalf of MGR Music by Leigh Fuge, a professional guitarist, tutor and journalist from Wales in the UK. He has been working in the music industry for over 10 years as a touring and studio musician with various artists, guitar tutor and writer for many high profile guitar publications. Read more of Leigh’s pieces relating to Rockschool here…

How to Teach Music Online | What are the benefits and where are the pitfalls?

March 19th, 2020 by

How to Teach Music Online. What are the benefits and where are the pitfalls?

As the effects of the Coronavirus spread around the world we all face an extended period where meeting face to face could be off the table. However, this doesn’t have to mean the end for your teaching, but it does mean we all might have to think differently about how we teach, or more importantly how students learn.

This blog seeks to set out a few key strategies for online teaching and learning, referencing some good practice and highlighting some of the pitfalls. We interviewed Rockschool Examiner Georg Voros, DIME Online Head of Education Mike Sturgis, and Rockschool Drum Syllabus contributor Pete Riley for their views in using online platforms.

Using the right technology

Skype, Zoom, Whatsapp and the like all provide great services for video calls, however, we are at the mercy of our connection speeds and those of our students.

Rockshool Drum Syllabus contributor Pete Riley has invested in a fully mic’d teaching studio for his online lessons, but even with great technology in his studio he still finds that the student’s environment can create challenges as they may be working with internal microphones built into laptops and phones.

Video conferencing is useful, but not the only technology to rely on. Virtual Learning Environments (also called Learning Management Systems) are an excellent way to set interactive tasks that your students can respond to and most have video conferencing built in.

Click here to find some of the best free tools…

Mike Sturgis, Head of Education from DIME Online uses Canvas for his faculty who teach RSL Awards Vocational Qualifications online. DIME have built a bespoke environment for learners built around tasks that are submitted for assessment online – giving students an individual learning experience.

It doesn’t have to be the same!

For centuries teachers have utilised a mentor/apprentice style of 1-2-1 teaching in music lesson. The challenges regarding online learning mean that it is often not possible to hear the nuances of a performance over video conference, so referencing great recordings and curating well recorded video tutorials is going to really help. For example, RSL Fellow and drum legend Steve White’s YouTube channel has some amazing rudiments that you can set for your students to watch.

Building your lessons around material that learners have already watch/listened to is often referred to as ‘flipped’ learning, making the engagement with students much more valuable. Imagine if you were teaching how to play a song, if the student already knows the song before you start it makes the whole process much easier.

Our good friends and Rockschool public exam centre, Roar Music Academy, moved their teaching services online due to current circumstances. Click here to find their learnings so far…

Time is flexible

The traditional model of 1-2-1 teaching often requires strict lesson times. Online learning can be much more flexible. A 30-minute lesson in person might only contain 6 minutes of talking with the student and lots of demonstrating. In an online model you might stretch the lesson out with several bursts over a few days. Setting a task and asking the student to record themselves for you to review saves both students and teachers time.

Mike Sturgis points out the main advantages to online study are the 24-7 access to the content and the complete flexibility to study your lessons when you want to.

Find the right resources

Part of all teaching is to help guide the learners, and the job of curation is even more implicit when thinking about online learning. We recently helped Music Gurus out with their seminar on Online delivery at the Music and Drama Education Expo. The number one comment from teachers was that it was hard to find resources they could trust.

We spend a lot of our time at RSL creating material that is suitable for different levels of learners. If you haven’t already got the Rockschool books, sign up for our Teach Today, Shape Tomorrow programme that includes books and teaching resources free to teachers.

Replay - interactive sheet music tool

The Replay interactive sheet music tool can be a great way for students to explore the Rockschool repertoire and allows them to loop, slow down, or even change key of the pieces.

The student sets the pace

In other areas of education there has been a long-established movement to place the pace of learning in the hands of the learners. A movement from traditional cognitive models into constructivist models can help learners engage in topics for longer and in more detail. Setting goals and benchmarks with individual learners will give positive reinforcement.

For example, the overall goal for the learner might be to complete their Grade 2 Electric Guitar exam with Rockschool – but to get to that end goal the student will need smaller objectives such as learning part of a piece or technical exercise broken down into tasks. Every time a task is completed there is an opportunity for encouragement.

Online communities

Along with constructivism, social constructivism encourages the idea of learners supporting each other. Learners sharing their progress is a great way to create an environment where all your students support each other. This will help retain the students and support your teaching business. Social media groups are an excellent way to connect all your students together.

Mike Sturgis sees many benefits to working in this way…

“some of our tutorials are allocated for the entire group, so this functions like any conference call that you might have experienced in Zoom or Microsoft Teams. However, it’s the forums where students upload examples of their work where we see a lot of discussion between students and staff.”

Finding Students

Recruiting new students is always tricky, but using platforms like Rockschool’s Teacher Registry can build and online profile. Promoting this through social media is a good way of boosting a profile, and with online learning there is a whole world of students who might be looking for your services.

What do you miss out on?

Pete Riley highlights that the physicality of teaching instruments is challenged when we use online methods, as well as the ability to move around the students to really observe technique from different angles. Of course, extreme situations call for extreme measures and whilst we may never be able to recreate all the features of an in-person lesson, for the time being we may just have to adapt. Currently having a live ensemble jam together is a big challenge for the technology, but perhaps not for long.

Safeguarding

When delivering online lessons, remember that safeguarding and child protection remain paramount and you need to ensure that you have considered this carefully to ensure that you can provide a safe and secure online learning environment for both you and your students. The professional bodies at the MU, ISM and Music Mark have both created some very useful guidance, so we recommend that you check it out:

DIME Online Head of Education, Mike Sturgis’ top 5 tips for online teaching

  • Tip 1: Ensure that the platform you’re using to deliver the course will meet the needs of the student learning experience.
  • Tip 2: Communication surrounding assessments must absolutely clear. This includes how the assessment will take place, what is required from the student, how they need to submit their work and the deadline for this.
  • Tip 3: Opportunities for developmental assessment at key points in the term.
  • Tip 4: Prompt, regular and incisive feedback for students on their work, including 1-2-1 contact time with a tutor at key points in the term.
  • Tip 5: Course content must be of a high standard, preferably with a combination of text, notation, graphics, video, images and audio as appropriate. Also, the presentation of the content needs to be done in a way that is easily navigable and considers diverse learning styles.

Rockschool Examiner Georg Voros’ 5 Tips for teaching Online

  • Tip 1: Connectivity. Without good connectivity you’re dead in the water and this will never work. You may have fantastic connectivity your side, but if the person on the other side hasn’t then this won’t work. So aside from making sure you’re well set up your side, make sure your student has good connectivity before you get started.
  • Tip 2: Audio quality. Very challenging for drum lessons if all that’s being used is a laptop microphone or similar. The result is not always great. As the teacher make sure that YOUR sound is clear and audible. Maybe test this with a friend before starting to teach online. Give suggestions to your student on how to best improve sound quality their side in the most affordable manner.
  • Tip 3: Camera angle. If you’re a guitar teacher or similar, then this is easier as you don’t need a hugely wide shot. If you’re teaching drums or keyboard then you need to angle your camera or cameras to make sure that everything is visible.
  • Tip 4: Lesson content. Be selective in what you can teach. Not everything transfers well online. If part of your lesson is very interactive and works well in a room with a student in front of you, eg. teaching technique and helping to physically implement this somehow, you may want to rethink how you can get this across.
  • Tip 5: Lesson scheduling. It’s all very well wanting to teach someone in a different time zone, but you will need to take into account when they are able to have a lesson. Will 3 am in the morning suit you?

Tell us about your teaching

We’d love to hear more about your experiences teaching online. Head over to our social channels and send us a message! Facebook // Instagram // Twitter // YouTube

Teaching Rockschool Drums – Grade 1 | Guest Blog

March 5th, 2020 by

Welcome to the second instalment from drum tutor and guest blogger, Michael Hutchinson, on how to teach Rockschool Grade 1 Drums.

Your student has moved forward from Rockschool Drums Debut to Rockschool Drums Grade 1… let us celebrate! Grade 1 is a significant achievement for them and you. They can successfully read music and play their instrument, and as their teacher you now need to focus attention onto the more delicate movements and technicality of playing the drums.

What to teach in Grade 1?

Grade 1 is about building speed and acquiring the skills to move around the drum kit.

It would be best if you were focusing teaching technique on:

  • Hi-hat openings – open the hi-hat on all the quarter notes, and then on all the eighth notes and then freely when improvising
  • Bass drum independence – placing the bass drum on all the quarter notes, all eighth
    notes, and then doubles in eighth notes, once comfortable then freely while improvising
  • Cymbal crashes – with the lead hand and non-lead hand
  • Ride cymbal – including ride line embellishments and playing on the bell of the ride in quarter notes
  • Drum fills – eighth note fills, and sixteenth note fills in single strokes, double strokes and paradiddles, using the full drum kit and make use of exploring drum sounds. The student will be able to identify musical notation from debut grade, so allow them to navigate through the chosen piece by themselves, with guidance from you, if needed, however, there is some new notation within grade 1 you need to explain.
  • Repeat signs within the piece
  • Ride cymbal
  • Bell of the ride notation
  • Hi-hat opening and closing
  • Crash cymbal
  • Ties – e.g. allowing a cymbal to ring on

Music theory to reiterate

  • Time signature – what does the top number mean (Numerator – Beats per bar) and what does the bottom number mean (Denominator – Note value)?
  • BPM – beats per minute


SIGN UP FOR FREE! RSL’s Teacher Registry advertises your services to music students in your area

Practice plan

It’s now an excellent time to start getting that practice plan in place, starting with time management. How long should a student practise? Intrinsic practice is what you aim for, and the student needs to want to practise rather than forced to practise.

Fifteen minutes is a good start, starting with a warmup and ending with a cool down, preferably playing a song that they want to play, with the middle section focusing on lesson content, a section of the piece, or a technique the student struggles on which was identified in the lesson. Practice should be aimed at feeling comfortable with the rehearsal set out and not aimed at speed, unless this is what is lacking.

A good practice plan should involve some or all of the below:

  • Listening to the piece that the student is learning – familiarising the student with listening to the piece they are learning allows them to prepare mental strategies and performance cues when they play the song live
  • Repetition practice – going over the bar or exercises including rudiments over and over to place into long term memory will allow them to access this information in performance using implicit (unconscious) memory
  • Counting out loud – note value, the rhythm of the piece, allows the student to hear what they are trying to play, which allows the processing of this information to sit within auditory memory and can be used as a performance cue
  • Reading music – This allows the student to become aware of reading notes and identifying patterns but also allows visual memory of the piece they are playing which, again, can be used in mental strategies to prepare for performance
  • Implicit practice – I would say that this is the most important variant of any practice. The student needs to want to practise, without feeling that it is “homework” or a chore.

  • About the Author:

    Michael Hutchinson is a drummer, educator, and music psychologist from the North East of England. He runs Triple-T Drumming school of drums and has been teaching privately for 12 years. He is currently researching drumming from a psychological point of view studying with Sheffield University, music psychology in education performance and wellbeing and his main interest is drumming and its effects on working memory.