Refresh and refocus: Becoming a better music teacher

Published 28th October 2019

We are proud to have a long-standing partnership with ABRSM. They have kindly have pulled together some fantastic tips and advice to help and guide you on becoming a better music teahcer.

Teaching music requires a broad range of skills, knowledge and understanding. Creativity, confidence, persistence, energy, commitment and collaboration are just a few of the qualities that all teachers put into practice every day, and they are the skills pupils need to develop to thrive. Therefore, effective teaching requires you to use all of these skills in order to pass them onto your students - modelling techniques, approaches and behaviours for pupils.

If you’re looking to build your teaching skills, or refresh and refocus your approach, there are some key areas and questions all teachers can be thinking about.

  • Good musical progress is dependent on the development of a complement of musical skills. Of course, no one takes up and instrument to learn scales and arpeggios but a range of skills, knowledge and understanding is needed in order for pupils to be able to interpret the music they love, join in with others and express their own musical ideas communicatively and creatively. How will you introduce these fundamental musical skills in the earliest years of musical learning?
  • Your time with a pupil will usually span a number of lessons, over a number of terms and a number of years. A question to ask your pupil is what do they want to achieve in that time and of yourself how will you shape and form their musical journey? Do you have a long-term plan forbec their progression? Will it be reactive lesson-to-lesson, wait and see, do and adapt, or will you have an instrumental or vocal teaching ‘curriculum’ to guide their journey towards progression and independent learning. Whether you teach classes, small groups or individuals, developing a well-structured yet adaptive curriculum will enhance your ability to be an effective teacher.
  • How can you help your pupils to set clear and achievable goals for themselves? The link between progression and effective practice is very clear, so helping your pupils to structure their practice and establish good, adaptive strategies is very important.
  • How do you keep your pupils motivated? Motivation and progression are inextricably related. Each drives and fuels the other… though if one fades, the other suffers. They are two vital ingredients in successful learning and understanding how they influence each other is essential to keeping students on the path to success.


These key areas are just some of the fundamental principles at the heart of ABRSM’s teacher development offer.

Teaching music can be an isolated profession and events are a great way to connect with other like-minded professionals. We are thrilled that Allianz Musical Insurance are supporting us at the ABRSM Teacher Conference 2019. Join us on 9 November in London, for a day of inspirational talks and workshops, led by expert presenters including: YolanDa Brown, Paul Harris, Karen Marshall, David and Kathy Blackwell.

Our Chief Examiner John Holmes says: ‘ABRSM is wholeheartedly committed to supporting teachers in further developing their skills, knowledge and understanding in what is such a vital, yet sometimes solitary, role. An effective teacher is a reflective teacher and professional development is a journey rather than a destination, so that belief lies at the heart of our support for teachers.’

Find out more about the ABRSM 2019 Teacher Conference, sponsored by Allianz Musical Insurance.

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