The Music of Teaching: Learning to Trust Students' Natural Development

By Kono, Aimi | American Music Teacher, February-March 2017 | Go to article overview

The Music of Teaching: Learning to Trust Students' Natural Development


Kono, Aimi, American Music Teacher


The Music of Teaching: Learning to Trust Students' Natural Development, by Barbara Kreader Skalinder. Hal Leonard Corporation, 2016. www.halleonard.com; 148 pp., $19.99.

In this delightful and insightful book, the author Barbara Skalinder takes the reader through plenty of passages that every piano teacher would likely come across. The book is divided into four parts: teaching yesterday's child, teaching today's child, teaching the real child and teaching yourself. Each part consists of various stories with its own title that is often unique and eye-catching.

The author began by providing historical trends of each decade between the 1950s through the beginning of the 21st century, including popular television shows for young children, trends in piano instructions and the advancement of technology and its effect on teaching music. The author also introduces major music magazines in a particular period and explains how each of them reflected the societal trend and aided piano teachers stay connected with the trend.

Skalinder's 46 years of piano teaching kept evolving due to societal changes, rapid technological advancement in recent decades and the needs and interests of each student she taught. Examples of her piano lessons often point out the incorporation of modern technology such as iPads and iPods into music teaching and learning. These examples clearly show her open-mindedness, effort and skills in adjusting and advancing her pedagogical approaches according to children's lives that are unique to the period they are born. …

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