Teaching and Learning Together
Provide students with the tools and skills necessary for an evolving and changing musical world; Instill practices that create independent musicians; Foster a love of life-long musicianship and sharing; Build a community of musicians who support their colleagues and respect their audiences.
Students of Darian Todd have performed in Regional Honors Orchestras, All State Orchestras, won seats in local symphony orchestras, served as principals of viola and violin sections in such orchestras, received scholarships for musical artistry at universities, and continued to pursue efforts of musical outreach in the community with joy, gratitude, and connection.
To achieve these ends together, it is important to know how each of us can connect to the learning experience. While the outlines below are not exhaustive, they are a good jumping off point for our work together.
Student's Role as a Learner
Create a practice space that is distraction-free and encourages you to stay focused. This space should be well-lit, have quiet surroundings, no distractions (phones, tablets, laptops, siblings, pets, etc...)
Set and keep a consistent practice time. Having a routine makes it much easier to practice, even on those days when we might not feel like practicing. Talk about this with your parents to find a time that works for your family!
Practice regularly (everyday), even if it's just for 5 minutes. Regular, frequent practice is always better than a few, longer "cram" sessions.
Look for progress in little things and reinforce them with enthusiastic repetition. Congratulate yourself for specific things done well!
Record yourself. ALL. THE. TIME. This will give you a real version of how you played, not the filtered version we think we hear while playing.
Learning the notes & rhythms is just one element of your pieces, always remember to develop musical expression and beautiful tone during this process.
Review old pieces everyday, we are learning skill by skill, not piece by piece. Always think quality, not quantity.
Give home concerts often! Have you parents listen to your practice. Show them some of the tasks and skills you are learning through your current pieces.
Give yourself 5,000 chances to succeed
Repetition is the key to mastery
Practice until you cannot get it wrong
Practice Makes Progress!
Parent's Role as a Practice Partner
Commit Long-term: Learning to play an instrument can be compared to learning a foreign language. It takes time and dedicated practice to see any progress. As a parent, you can help your child by insisting that they stay committed with a long-term goal in sight.
Encourage Regular Practice: If at all possible, encourage your child's practice time to be at the same time and place every day. Daily practice should be like brushing your teeth, seamlessly fitting into the daily routine.
Provide a Designated Practice Space: It is helpful if you encourage your child to have a space designated for practice, away from distraction, electronic devices and other family members. Keeping your child's instrument in a space where it isn't easily forgotten is also helpful.
Be an Active Participant: Your child will be more likely to practice efficiently and regularly if you take an active interest in what they are doing. Pull up a chair and listen to them, away from electronic devices. Ask them questions such as what they are working on, what parts are the most challenging for them, their favorite song or scale, etc.
Have Patience & A Positive Attitude: One of the most helpful (and most challenging) things to do is to have patience and a positive attitude as your child practices their instrument. You will hear many terrible and unrecognizable tunes as your child begins practicing their instrument regularly in the early stages. This will pass quickly with consistent practice!
Get Involved & Stay Informed: The best way to stay involved is to read email correspondence from your child’s teacher and ask questions. If they have a booster club and volunteer opportunities, lend a helping hand whenever possible. Running a school music program takes a village!
Listen to Quality Music: The best way for your child to learn what a well-defined, characteristic tone on their instrument sounds like is to listen to quality music and performing artists. Using recordings with well mastered audio, properly synced video to audio, and appropriately credited musical artists helps you and your child create aural goals for practice and progress as you work together. Need some recommendations? Use this playlist as a starting point.
Attend Live Performances