A student’s learning experience should be fun, exciting and inspiring, as well as stimulating and challenging. All students respond differently to materials presented in class, depending on their backgrounds, interests and learning styles. I believe that existing knowledge has a significant effect on a student’s perception of new information. Therefore, instruction should be flexible and uniquely tailored to address each student’s needs, goals, strengths and weaknesses.
In teaching vocal technique, a variety of teaching methods should be available to demystify the complicated aspects of singing. The selection of repertoire for each student should be based on the needs of the individual, from a diverse range of repertoire consisting of a variety of musical styles and languages. I prefer directing the student’s focus to one specific issue at a time, while carefully observing all behaviors, making comments without causing any distractions from the primary task at hand. I only choose to stop the proceeding of a lesson to make a point when absolutely necessary, to prevent the ingraining of any possible wrong habits.
In my classes and studio, I aim to trigger curiosity, keep students engaged and to inspire learning. I often make use of interdisciplinary examples, fun facts, examples of real-life applications, as well as references to popular culture. It has been my observation that when students are able to build new knowledge on their prior knowledge and experiences, and draw connections between the two, they establish long-term memory. Furthermore, they better achieve creative and consistently successful applications of the new knowledge. I believe that this sort of positive learning experience naturally leads to a discovery that learning can be fun and rewarding.
Both in one-on-one instruction and classroom settings, I firmly believe that the teacher’s constructive feedback accelerates the learning process. Through creating a positive, energetic atmosphere, and establishing a safe, friendly environment, I always aim to encourage students to ask questions, share their thoughts and feelings in their learning process, and to exercise their creativity. These explorations are as crucial for the discovery of one’s voice as they are for the development of self-confidence and artistic expression.
Lori Şen, D.M.A., M.Ed.