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Teaching Middle Eastern Music and Dance
Most of these suggestions were written by Middle Eastern dance teachers, but the principles are applicable to the self-motivated music hobbyists as well.
Ten Commandments of Teaching
From an article by Jadaya in the 1989 Middle Eastern Dancer magazine. Badaya also wrote a detailed companion piece, Choosing a Teacher.
- Do not teach if you fear your students(s) will become competition.
- Explain your format to potential students so they understand the goals you have for them. A simple brochure that explains the goals of each level will show that you have planned a course of study and that you are organized.
- Have a refund and class makeup policy, put it in print and and stick to it.
- Be on time for class and start class on time. If you wait for late arrivers, they will always expect this courtesy and you will lose some control over the class.
- Seek performance opportunities for all students. You are teaching a performing art. To never give students an opportunity to perform for an audience is denying them the very essense of the art.
- Be diplomatic but do not let students who seek to disturb your inner peace destroy you.
- The Contradictor;
- I Can't;
- The Energizer Bunny (who wants to move more than she wants to learn);
- The After-Class Questioner (she needs to bring her after-class questions to the next class);
- The Clock Watchers (who want every second they paid for);
- The Cost Complainer (classes cost too much and she perpetually lets you know);
- Money Forgetter, with weekly excuses for not having any change or any money at all;
- Refund Seekers (fiance doesn't approve, babysitter quit, car broke down). See Rule 3.
- The Lesson-Dragger-Outer (who misses every other class and expects an extension into the next session). See Rule 3.
- Follow up on students who miss a class. Making a reasonable effort to retain students will teach you to understand and solve problems and help you build your clientele.
- Do not overload your students. They are adults with busy schedules. Less than ten percent of your class will practice daily. Less than five percent will spend more than a half-hour when they do practice. Do not take it personally.
- Recruit new students through your present students. Your best advertisement is students who are having fun, learning valuable dance information and seeing the results of exercise.
- Have a sense of pride and humor. You are dealing with the general public; present your program with dignity but do not scare the exercisers out; these persons make up a good 90 percent of your classes.
Maximize Your Teaching Skills
from an article by Keti Sharif.
- Warm up effectively and safely.
- Count clearly throughout the class.
- Develop co-ordination skills in layers.
- Focus on technique, refinement and correct execution.
- Develop sequences and routines.
- Work with the music and rhythm.
- Balance choreography and improvisation.
- Set challenges and monitor development of student skills.
- Mentoring, not mothering; you are a teacher, not a counselor.
- Develop your teaching style to support YOUR vision.
Music and Movement for Children
- Edward Hines Middle Eastern Songs and Dances for Children, Vol I, Turkey Activity Guide contains songs about farms, weather, trains, peach trees, blacksmiths, etc, many of them with rhythm or movement exercises.
- Simon Shaheen has a standard educational packet that he allows educational patrons to tailor and distribute when they sponsor him in a children's program; the most comprehensive one, assembled for for a seminar at UMS Youth Eduction, is currently at:
- And, of course, Mimi Spencer's first music book, New Eastern Music Primer, except, hm, most of these are love songs.
Devising Performance Opportunities
From The Hobbyist Circuit by Salome.
Salome defines the hobbyist as a student who desires a graduation from the classroom [as in ready to dance somewhere other than the classroom, NOT as in ready to drop classes!] to personal expression.
She defines the hobbyist circuit as: recitals, showcases, seminar-shows, annual productions, dance festivals, and similar events. For students in areas that do not have a hobbyist circuit, she offers suggestions on how to start a hafla, recital, public service performance (senior centers, nursing homes and retirement villages) and periodic performance venues.
Maura Enright, Proprietor
Author: Maura Enright
©2012 - 2015 by Maura Enright
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