Increase Attention Span in Music Students
Posted 4 years ago by B&B Music Lessons
Expectations of Students
Children who are 5 and 6 years old are usually only able to focus on interesting tasks for 10 to 15 minutes at a time. In fact, many experts advise using students’ ages to estimate a staring point for how long they can focus on a single task. So, teachers should assume a 5-year-old could pay attention to a task for at least 5 minutes.
Students in the 6 – 7 year old range can often stay focused on engaging or unique activities for up to half an hour. So the key for capturing the attention of kids in kindergarten and first grade is getting students excited, engrossed, and inspired.
Special needs students, especially learners with developmental disabilities like Autistic Spectrum Disorders, have shorter attention spans than other students. Many autistic children are highly visual learners, so they learn best by seeing information, as opposed to other teaching methods.
Keeping Students’ Attention
Frequently, students become distracted when instructors transition to different exercises or activities. Specifically, when teachers turn their backs to the piano to gather materials or glance at lesson plans, kids take the pause to become distracted from the lesson and engage themselves with other things. This is referred to as “self-assignment.”
Luckily, there are several ways to engross students enough to keep their attention. Music teachers can create fun challenges that keep kids interested and motivated. Many students are excited to play games or answer questions about material they’ve just learned. And imitation games, where students need to pay close attention to mimic increasingly difficult rhythms or note sequences, usually engross students of all ages.
Students Love a Challenge!
Students also love a challenge. Many students pay the most attention when they’re facing more difficult tasks, like struggling to play a tune properly or when they’re just learning to sight-read music. In this stage, teachers shouldn’t stop students to correct them. Students will make mistakes, but they should be given the opportunity to correct themselves, instead of being interrupted immediately. Stopping students to offer guidance is often found more disturbing than anything, taking students out of their music making process.
One of the most effective teaching methods is simply sitting next to students during the entirety of the lesson. Instructors who remain seated, especially during times of transition, succeed at keeping students more attentive.
The closeness of the teacher to the student and the instrument tends to further help the student’s ability to focus. As educators, it’s important to understand that students don’t act up because they aim to be disruptive. And if instructors behave less like authoritarians and work more on helping students explore music, students can get engaged in their ability to make music. Then they’ll want to grow and advance as musicians with their teachers’ direction, instead of feeling bombarded with their demands.