EVAN MCAULEY, PIANO
Evan McAuley was born in Columbus, Ohio, and has studied piano for 15 years. He graduated with a Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance at Capital University in 2018, and is currently pursuing his Master’s of Music in Piano Performance/ Pedagogy at Ohio University. Evan is an aspiring pedagogue, always interested in discovering new and advantageous teaching methods, as he often studies the works of Kodály, Jacques-Dalcroze, and Suzuki in his spare time, and has taught private piano for the past 23 months. Mr. McAuley has also had the privilege of performing at Carnegie Hall with the Capital University Chapel Choir, and continues to accompany many vocalists and instrumentalists alike. He attributes a majority of his success to his time under Dr. Tianshu Wang, who revolutionized his love for solo piano.
REWARDS AND MOTIVATION IN TEACHING
I am always interested in various ideas and concepts in which students can feel motivated and encouraged in their practises and lessons. However, one specific motivational technique I find no use in is actually a commonplace practice for beginning music pedagogues; the concept of physical rewards. Physical rewards can be defined as something as simple as a beanie baby or piece of candy. It is important to note that, in providing students with a reward such as a sticker or piece of candy, it often becomes apparent that the teacher is undoubtedly using the student simply as a means to an end. The true reason why a physical reward for an accomplishment acts as a learning barrier for private students is because it does not offer students the ability to indulge and understand any of the previously mentioned musicianship skills and techniques. I am friends with a family whose wife teaches piano lessons, and one day I sat down with her to discuss how to be a piano teacher, since I have only taught two students privately thus far. In her studio, she has a chest full of prizes and stickers, which act as incentives to perfect and practice pieces. These prizes all have prices on them, denoting how many points are necessary to redeem them. As I thought about what she told me that day and how she ran her studio, I finally realized her studio method did not sit well with me. She has complained about how some of her students whine and act out, but she always concluded that her lessons with them are worth it “if it pays the bills.” In giving out toys and prize incentives, she is not offering her fullest to inspire and hone musicians in her students. Instead, the toys she buys are the motivators for the kids, and thus the payments for lessons are the ends by which the students are used. This idea of means to an end is even apparent in pay-for-hire musicians, who take jobs simply for the money. It is one thing to pay the rent; but it is another to get by without any effort or personal desire in order to receive the paycheck. In ultimately avoiding a pedagogue’s responsibility to teach the student musicianship skills by using physical rewards as motivators, the students become a means to an end in the pedagogue’s paycheck.
TEACHING MUSIC IN THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY
Last week, I had the privilege of presenting at Capital University’s Symposium on incorporating technology into popular music pedagogical methods like Kodály and Suzuki. Towards the end of last year, I decided to buy a book entitled Teaching Music in the Twentieth Century by Lois Choksy, which claimed to summarize the works of Jaques-Dalcroze, Orff, and Kodály. Since I am still somewhat new to teaching, I felt it necessary to indulge myself with understanding these methods. I also wanted to read up on them because I am in the process of creating my own methodology for beginning musicians. Four months and one senior recital later, I was glad to not only present my findings, but attempt to expand on them with the technology we use in music today. I used my presentation as a way to advertise how each method and their founding principles can be applied and enhanced with applications that were not available at the time of their creation. As I continue to expand on my website, I hope to present and showcase some of my findings and bits of my presentation on here. Stay tuned!
GET IN TOUCH
Contact Evan McAuley for interest in lessons or other inquiries.