Curriculum Building and Development in Music Education for Private Instruction

If you’ve ever taught private or group lessons, you know how important it is to have a curriculum that you can fall back onto for ideas and repertoire. A curriculum that works and is easily malleable to fit any student can be complicated to find and create. Many curriculums are treated as very fixed methods of education which further assumes the inaccuracy: everyone learns the same way and at the same rate.

As music educators, we need to continuously come up with new ways of teaching music because all students learn at different paces and not all of them have the same goals. When we lack a malleable curriculum in music lessons, the student’s development is unclear and thus can turn a fun lesson into a complicated mess, sometimes even resulting in losing students.

At EchoKids, we understand how difficult and time consuming curriculum building and development can be. Our original curriculum is created by a team of music educators who have years of experience in studying and teaching music. So with this team, we have created a list of important details that can help you build a curriculum that could help improve the quality of your private lessons!

How to build a curriculum that works?

1. Do your research!

There are many resources online (such as this one) that can help you build your curriculum. Don’t try to do everything on your own, there is really no need! Take ideas from any sources you can find and make them your own. Remember, you are building a curriculum that works for you and your private lesson students. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel.

2. Set Goals!

First, you must set goals for your lessons. What do you want your students to achieve by having lessons from you? Goals can be short-term (from 1 - 6 months) to long-term (1 - 4 years). These goals must be appropriate for the student’s ages, abilities, and aspirations. Be realistic with how much the student can work with you, and how much the student could practice on their own. Talk to the student and get to know them before you teach anything technical during the lessons.

3. Break it down! (Creating Levels)

Once your goals have been set, it’s important to think about how you will navigate your lessons in order to help your students achieve those goals. Creating a variety of levels for your students can help everyone involved in the lesson understand the starting and ending point. The way a lot of education systems work is through levels that help define beginner from intermediate to advanced. This can be very beneficial in motivating students and parents alike, so they can see how much they are learning. Seeing and feeling the progress is key in keeping the students excited.

4. Try it out!

This is our favorite part; finally, putting the curriculum together and incorporating it into your private lessons. Curriculums should be malleable and easy to adapt to any student because no child is the same as another child. It’s important to keep in mind that while we, as professional musicians and educators, are very aware of the material, our students aren’t. Always remember that even if something feels simple for you, it may not be that case for your student. Be patient and think outside the box, for your student to grasp the concept. Lastly, never teach your students something that you are not entirely comfortable with or have little knowledge on. Just because we are music educators does not mean that we know it all, it’s important to practice what you are teaching and bring in new ideas for every lesson plan (click here to learn more about EchoKids tips on lesson planning).

We hope this helps you and your students in the seemingly endless path of music. At EchoKids, our goal isn’t to raise the next Mozart. Our goal is to help student’s growth through music on their 3C’s: Communication, Confidence, and Creativity. What’s yours?

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