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Showing posts from 2011

Giving Students Power or "This is Harder than I Thought"

So sometimes students need a little motivation.  A goal of some kind.  Kids are naturally competitive so I try to harness that trait and direct it in the direction of hard work and improvement.  I often have little contests.  It's me versus the whole class (this keeps them working together as a team, and of course they would just love to beat the teacher).  Now of course this isn't fair, and I tell the kids that straight out.  But I also tell them how incredible they would be to beat me when the odds are stacked against them (they do win more than half the time).  Some groan of course, but most are up for the competition.  Basically I do whatever step we need to work on by myself, and then they do it all together after me.  If they are exactly together and do it right (heels up etc.) they get a point.  If they are almost all together, it's a tie and no one gets a point.  If they aren't together or do it wrong, I get a point.

They generally lose the the first 2 or 3 po…

Computers Make My Job Easier or No They Don't

Everyone is aware how much computers have worked their way into nearly every aspect of our lives.  Teaching tap is no different, at least for me.  Granted I'm a bit of a tech-nerd, but nevertheless some of the tools available are REALLY helpful (and occasionally hurtful).

Currently I use a macbook when I teach for a variety of reasons.

1.  Speed control - There is an app called Djay (See the sidebar for a link) that allows me to control the speed of the music I play which is very helpful to adjust for students who need to go slower or want to go faster.  It also has cue points which allow me to jump into any specific spot in the music just clicking a button.  In addition to that it automatically calculates the BPM of each song and allows me to sort by it so I can make up a combo and then look at the BPMs to find music with a speed that would work well.

2.  Garageband - I use this for choreographing and rehearsing routines.  It is not the best music editor BUT I can still do the …