The course has four main units of study and three additional ones, and the units are as follows:
Unit 1 focuses on teaching effective technique for playing piano/bowed string instruments. Much of the work for this unit is undertaken at the summer school.
Unit 2 is titled teaching strategies for teachers: Working with children and young people. Pro-active teaching requires practical planning and preparation, and also an understanding of teaching the instrument as it has developed historically and within practical contexts. This unit enables teachers to be prepared for the diverse settings they may encounter in their teaching careers, giving them a grounding in teaching theory and exploring a range of methods and strategies that can be embedded into their own professional practice.
Unit 3 is titled learning to play the instrument. For many professional teachers, it has been years since they experienced learning as a beginner, and being removed from the learner’s experience can be a disadvantage. Instrumental teachers are in a unique position, as opposed to a school class teacher, where they create an experience tailored to each learner. They need to develop an awareness and understanding of how learners learn in order to enable both teacher and learner to collaborate effectively and enjoyably. This unit enables teachers to experience and reflect on the learning process, giving them a valuable tool to develop their professional practice.
Unit 4 centres on developing effective curricula for teaching the piano/bowed string instruments. Stringed instrument teachers often become reliant on published schemes, tutors and methods which may play an important role in guiding both teacher and learner along a path of enquiry towards the acquisition of skills, knowledge and understanding. Through exploring the construction of curricula, teachers are empowered to make confident decisions about adapting published schemes of work or creating their own.
Three additional units provide the opportunity to spend some time looking at aspects of work which are of significant importance to all teachers:
- Safeguarding children and young people in music education
- Equality, diversity and inclusion in music education
- Promoting children and young people’s positive behaviour.