As a teacher, it gets frustrating when you have to repeat yourself over and over and over AND OVER AGAIN.

This can get old quick and you might have even told your students something like “I WILL NOT REPEAT MYSELF AGAIN", but this can be counter productive. As much as you might not like repeating yourself, repetition and reinforcing concepts is really helpful to people who are learning for the first time.

As a teacher, it’s your job to do whatever it takes to get the information to your students in as many ways as possible. Of course every situation is different, and if you have a student who is genuinely not even trying to learn, that’s a different problem. But as a general rule, don't be afraid to repeat yourself.⠀

In a group setting this gets pretty interesting. If you have 15 people in a room and you say something once, only 5 of them might get it the first time. Then, as you repeat the information more and more people understand and sometimes you have to change the WAY you’re saying something to get the last few people on board.

In fact, I have never been teaching a group of students where all of them understand something the very first time I introduce it. And it took me many years of teaching to realize this because most students WILL NOT TELL YOU that they don’t understand something.

You will literally say “Does that make sense?” And everyone in the room will say “Yes!”, even if they don’t mean it. And I’ve had many conversations with students where they explain that this kind of behavior is so they avoid looking like an “idiot” in front of their peers. Basically they don’t want to be the only one in the room who doesn’t get something. And whether this is so it doesn’t hurt their pride, or they don’t want to hold the class back from moving forward, this type of students behavior is not a good thing. Which is a whole other topic in itself. But the point here, for the educator, is if you’re saying something one time and moving on, chances are you don’t have everyone on board on the educational journey.

 “So what do I do now? I can’t just go around randomly repeating myself?” ⠀

The tactic is to reinforce ideas as part of your process. As you rehearse and add additional information, try to reference back to the main idea, and talk about the theme of information in a holistic way. Then as your students practice, repeat the information over and over to reinforce the concept. After a while you create a web of information in the mind that connects back to the main idea.

Then you use these simple phrases as reminders for the performers to do the right things as they practice. This develops muscle memory in a singular direction and over time builds consistency which we all know is so important when it comes to percussion performance.

If you don’t like repeating yourself this isn’t the most fun way to teach, but it can be the most effective. And in my book, any teaching method that helps my students get better and reach their goals in the most comprehensive way possible, that is the most fun.


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