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Becoming A Music Teacher: The Art of Sharing Your Talent

Lesson 5 of 13

Techniques of Teaching: Analogies and Dem

Mike Johnston

Becoming A Music Teacher: The Art of Sharing Your Talent

Mike Johnston

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Lesson Info

5. Techniques of Teaching: Analogies and Dem


  Class Trailer
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2 What is Teaching? Duration:25:35
3 Practicing Teaching Duration:11:39
4 Teaching Q&A Duration:26:33
8 Breakthrough Moments Duration:27:09
9 Branding Yourself Duration:39:22
10 Published Content Duration:22:09
12 Getting Clients Duration:18:57
13 Making a Living Q&A Duration:23:06

Lesson Info

Techniques of Teaching: Analogies and Dem

In the first segment, we kind of really like he said, just broke down what teaching is and more than anything do you have a passion for? Do you like explaining things? And I can tell you this just to relate to the passion thing and one of the things that I kind of realized, you know, as far as whether or not I had a passion to teach was, I remember being a kid in school and the teacher would teach something and I would look to the kid next to me and be like, did you get that? And he'd be like now and and then immediately I got so excited that he didn't get it because I did get it, and I was say, ok, think of it like this. I'm talking like fourth grade, like I was like a kid, like missing teeth and everything, and I was, like, think of it like this, and I would re explain it in my way, and then the kid would get it and I would get chills and get so excited, and and no one was there to tell me, like, hey, that's a talent. That's an art you should be encouraged to do that more I I always ...

was like hiding about it like like I loved it more than anything but no one ever told me that it was something cool like and I never thought of teaching as an art form I never thought that explaining things to somebody else should be treated the way we treat drum set or piano or basketball or football it's like why can't this be cultivated and why can't I have drum heroes and you know, why can't our drum educational heroes why can't I have teaching here's why can't treat this like something that you know I mean we all have a hobby and we go to practice why can't I practice teaching now the world isn't set up for us to do that just yet, but it doesn't mean that you can't do it on your own and for all of you guys at home it doesn't it's same thing it doesn't mean that you can't practice teaching and you can't treat it like an art form you can you can get excited about it and you can you know, ask people in your family hey, do you mind if I try to explain this thing to you that I just learned about and you know I mean there's so much in the world to learn about that you can go to your parents and say hey, do you know why this happens? Do you know why this happen? So when they say no, the new practice teaching and you try it out and really you're studying to see did they retain a bit and that's what we're going to really talk about in this segment is we're going to break down well, how do I do it's like you keep saying how rad it is? You should be passionate, you should teach and all you got to do is be excited and it's a no, you have to actually know how to do it and there's basic teaching principles that would apply no matter what you teach and even though I happen to teach on the drums and russ said in the beginning, I don't see myself as a drummer and I really never have I really see myself as an educator and as somebody that loves explaining things to people, and then I happen to have this hobby that I love called the drum set so that's what? I spend my time explaining, but as faras, you know, if I put myself in the one category educator or drummer, it would definitely be educated and the way I know that is if I thought about my plane going down in the pacific somewhere and I landed on an island, if there wasn't a drum set, I could live but if there wasn't somebody to explain things to I couldn't live it would kill me I would have I have to have some even if it was just a random chimpanzee and I was like, all right, billy the chimpanzee here's what we're learning today we're going to learn how to go the bathroom without making that giant mess all over my campsite like you just did and that would be I would like teaching that I'd be so excited to teach him that where if I you know, if I couldn't play drums, I figure out life so some people are just really wired to explain things other people and that I just think that should be encouraged. The other thing is if you're not natural at it, then you need to look at my drum set progress because if you think that I'm decent it playing drums, then you understand well, I'm not naturally that explain things to people has always come naturally to me. So that's what allows me to identify with natural drummers and natural musicians because I think, well, that's how it is for me to explain something to someone but if you're not natural explaining things, then you should look at my drumming because I'm not natural at that and I chipped away at it every single day and I tried to get a little bit better every single day until it added up into what has become a drum career where I get to actually go and do drum clinics now which I still think it's funny it's like why would anyone want to hear me play this instrument? I'm horrible at it and if you guys ever feel like you're the worst summer ever, this is the worst summer ever like we all feel like that and as an educator it's going to be your job to motive people passed that point as it happens all the time so let's talk about the first teaching technique which would be analogies now analogy seem like overly common but if you don't have your analogies for basic drumming things, they're not going to just show up on their own so you actually have to think about what you're teaching first and then created an analogy for and that needs to become you know the laszlo analogy for time signatures the tobin analogy for parroted als the jack love analogy for swinging and playing straight you have to have your own analogies for every subject do you teach because not every student learns the same so when I'm teaching a student I'm I'm showing them the sheet music does it click? Nope sweet all right, I'm gonna play it for you let me see if they're here turns on nope alright then this phrase comes out of my mouth think of it like this I always say that think of it like this that means I'm prepping for an analogy analogies about you're about to get hit in the head in the face with a visual so let's talk about some of those visuals or go over to the kit so in a groove we'll start with the analogy for swinging and for playing something straight in a groove when notes air separated they can be evenly separated which should be called play it straight so that's straight time now if I'm going to swing that groove, I have to make the notes closer together towards the end now right now I am being confusing on purpose so it's like the notes closer together at the end I'm totally lost it's like, oh don't worry I'll just play it for you and then you'll be able to do it so is the educator what do you do you say so mark jones smith is that guy mark jones do that and then he can't do that now what do you do? Well now this is your moment to step into it's like, well, I wrote it out for you and I played it for you what's the problem, he still doesn't get it okay, well, your job isn't done, all you've done is demonstrated and we'll talk about demonstration a second, but you need to go that next step, which is analogies give the person give mark jones of visual of what is straight time and swing time so the visual that I use would be straight time is like the blinker on your car blinking on and off in perfect separation, the distance between the blanks. Exactly send dot, dot, dot dot that that's straight time. So any time I'm playing something on my leg where the notes are absolutely evenly spaced like the blinker of your car that's straight time. Now, if I want to swing that time, I need to visualize a football rolling down a hill. Data data data now I've given that student an actual visualization, they can see this brown football going toe data data donta and it's, like all you need to do is do that with your hand dente. Now you're swinging the group straight evenly spaced blinker on your car swing. Oh, now I get it so if I want to swing this group, this be allowed, I want to swing that and I want my students this thing that I need to get them to visualize off football rolling downhill but don't don't don't don't oh, here we go! Those analogies are massively important to allowing your student not on ly just kind of get it. But to really get it and that's a big principle for all of my teaching is I don't want you to have a c minus in every subject I want you have an a plus in one subject and then we can move on then we can start to think about the next thing. All right? So think of another analogy that's even more abstract my teacher pete magazine he gave me this one and I was having trouble understanding concepts of why do I need to learn polyrhythms now for any of you guys were out there and you don't know what a poly rhythm is? Think about turning on your grandma's metrodome on the piano I'm already doing analogy it even mean to doing the analogy s o think about turning on your grandma's medicine on that goes like that on the piano and then go over to our other piano because every grandma has two pianos and turn on a metro him again and turn on a faster tempo and then just let those two run together okay that's a polly rhythm being able to play in two rates of speed at the exact same time that's a problem with them so I might have if I'm playing on my lap I might have this and then now my left hand is playing faster than my right hand my right hand is playing one, two, three one two three with my left hand is going to three four one, two, three, four one, two, three, four one, two three one, two, three, four so my teacher pete made me play quarter notes eighth notes uh do a thing triplets I think the corn it's eight minutes sixteenth notes double strokes of sixteen thousand pair deals a sixteenth notes in each one of those rates of speed and I'll demonstrate that for you right now which most of you at home will be like why on earth would I ever need to do that? And then I'll give you the analogy after that so why would I ever need to do that? That was my question I was the cocky punk kid coming off of tour with my rage against the corn tones nineties band which is where I got this amazing nineties tattoo keep the jealousy on that side of the room please on dso you know, that was like those things where I was like dude, I'm in a band I mean a rocking why would I need to play all of that? Because to me none of that sounded cool that sounded like homework it sound like exercises and I said, look, my band is even play in polyrhythms we don't use this stuff at all and then the analogy in the visualization he gave me which was so brilliant was this he said if you on ly know your basic subdivisions you know quarter that's a thousand sixteenth notes maybe even triple maybe sixteen triplets all up to thirty seconds he said that's like driving a car on a dark road late at night with one headlight there's no lights anywhere around you there's no buildings there's no nothing you have one headlight one is out and you're driving and you drive how do you drive you drive so tense you're scared of your mom and you're going to hit a moose you have moves here is a beast there more than one of them was so so scared out of your mind you're going to hit you know a water buffalo you have those here you guys have here alright so scared they could get a beaver beamers all right freaked out they're going to hit mark jones because he's just out in the desert freaking out on himself so you're driving so timid because you can't see anything around you that's what it's like to on lino your basic subdivisions they said knowing all of your polyrhythms and knowing all of the subdivisions that go into your polyrhythms that's turning on the lights for the world the sunset comes up you can see everything around you and now how do you drive your drum set like this full relaxed because you can see everything around you so even if I'm only playing this if I only know that this is all that exists, I'm gonna play it really stiff and I'm just hoping I'm looking around my speeding up slowing down in my too loud and too quiet don't know what to do but if I know about all the polyrhythms, I know all the subdivisions I know all you know the metric modulations that can happen over the top of this play this still relax this is nothing for me, you know? I know that inside this is don't don't don't don't don't don't don't don't don't don't don't don't don't don't don't don't don't don't don't don't don't don't I know everything around it and it makes me play relaxed so analogies are massively important and I don't think I would have cared as much about polyrhythms without pete magazine e telling me that exact story and that's I mean, I just told it to you ten years later and I remember like it was yesterday, you know, in his house just learning and just soaking up all this information from a guy that could give a great analogy and that's really important to think of, you know, and and I I honestly even asked him like, hey, I used that in my clinics like I can't think of a better analogy for why I should learn something is boring is that then what you just gave me and he's like yeah, sure, you know and so I think it's great to collect analogies when it comes to teaching an instrument that can be so black and white and so just it is or it isn't it's like ha man, you gotta visualize something bigger than that. So one thing I would like you guys to do right now, it's just for the next couple of minutes think of any kind of breakthrough moment that you had as a student or as a teacher, where like man that's, where it really started to click and think of what it was and, you know, maybe share that story with me a little bit let's talk about our next technique demonstration alright now demonstration is super important and it relates to another one of our topics will get to in a little bit, but if you can't play it, you will never get the student excited to play it and that is massively important. So let's take rush, for example let's take russ! Why not thie beautiful man so russ is here yesterday. I've never met him before we meet for the first time and I'm told he's going to host this show well, really my level of, you know, kind of buying into russia's a host doesn't start until today at nine am that camera turned on, russ came on camera and he demonstrated that he is a bad dude on camera he can handle himself he's got a great personality that was the demonstration that totally changed my perception of like man if he wanted to talk to me about hosting and talking to a camera I'd totally let's listen, I wouldn't have listened yesterday because he hadn't proved himself he hasn't demonstrated anything it so you have to be able to demonstrate something first let's go over the kid and talk about that so nicole give me something to demonstrate something that you would like to learn and I'll just pray that I can actually play whatever it is anything that you're interested in your own drumming as shuffle beats shuffle these yeah perfect again it's that feel thing that making those feel really nice your regular cell for halftime shuffle halftime halftime shuffle ok so let's say in a cold come to me and she's like I really want to work on shuffle beats and by the way I am paying you twenty five dollars a half an hour okay sweet here we go nicole so obviously nicole that's how it's done like she is not even gonna practice anything I say from this moment forward because I didn't demonstrate it properly I looked stiff, I looked shockingly caucasian and there was nothing fun about what I just played okay? So it's really important that you're able to demonstrate whatever you're going to do so she says I want to work on halftime shuffles I really like ok, cool I love him to this is probably one of my favorite ones you know what I really like? Nicole, I really love getting extra texture by using my left foot as one of the notes for the shuffle. So now what I've done is I've demonstrated that I am capable of doing what she wants to learn back to the first segment the distance between myself and new coal has to be enough for me to give her something I have to get her excited I have to make her see like that's what I want to do, I want to do that what whenever you just did okay now is an educator do am I ready for that? Do I have curriculum for that? Do I have that written down? Can I write that down? Because if you think like we'll just show it to you that's not going to do it, did it take you twenty minutes to learn it? Probably not. It probably took you more like a week or two weeks to learn or two years I'm still working on so ten years so I have to give that to her in something physical to take home now for those of you like but I can't write music okay, well by one of these get a camera but don't know how to use a camera really your own creative live dot com click on one of the buns above my forehead and learn how to use it that's ok I didn't know how to use this either and the reason why I'm saying well then just get one of these well this is what I do a lot of times I teach convalescence I don't know how to write congress sheet music I assume it's very similar to you know drums actually music but I don't write it out for my student what I do as I say all right now that we're done with your lesson I'm going to record your lesson for you in short form and I'll just drop box it to you we have technology use it it's ok that I didn't write out his lesson but I got to give the students something to take home to practice so that they know this is what it should sound like now if I just give it to nicole as notation and she doesn't have a good representation of what it should be and I didn't play it for I didn't demonstrate it for then this is what the notation of that group with the left foot would sound like that doesn't sound a whole like what I want nicole to do I don't want that that's that's clearly that that's the notation but it has to feel good. Well, how does she shows no reference for what the feelings unless I send her home with a video and just say, and I came and say, hey, nicole, real quick, just pull up your iphone and go ahead and film this real quick, and then that way you'll have a representation because it shouldn't selling this sound like this. So demonstration demonstrations is extremely important and it's extremely important that you're able to demonstrate it well, because if you can't play it well, you're not gonna get the student to buy into it. And if you can't get the student to buy into it, this will come into our fourth segment. You're not going to keep them for very long, which means you will not keep having that revenue stream coming in and the revenue stream our goal at the end of this whole thing, and for hopefully for the rest of your life when it comes to money, is, how can you make the money you need to make? We all have a different level of that, and none of us get to be right or wrong. You just decide what you wish your financial goals were and you go for it, but how do you get to reach those goals and feel really good about it and sleep really well at night? And for me, that's always been about over delivering, and it would be tough, like, I mean, what if the cold picnic top, of course, he's, like, I really want to swing like a jazz groove, like art blakey, well, on camera right now, I'd have to do exactly what I said I would have done in the last thing I would have to say, you know what? I'm not your guy for that, to be honest. And so thank you for picking something I could actually play just for everyone that's watching at home. I am. We're not talking about this, like behind the scenes where I'm like, ok, cool, what did you ask about his halftime shuffles? We're not doing that, I promise, so you know, but if she would ask for something, I can't demonstrate. I got to be honest and say, it's, just not my jim, I can't do it.

Class Description

For someone who lives and breathes music, teaching it can be an awesome way to earn money doing what you love. In Becoming A Music Teacher: The Art of Sharing Your Talent, award-winning educator and founder of, Mike Johnston, will show you how to get started.

Teaching music is a great way to monetize your musical knowledge, but it takes a lot more than raw information to effectively guide others. In this class, Mike will teach you the art of delivering information in a concise, actionable way that makes complex ideas easily digestible. You’ll learn techniques for engaging students and presenting information in a way that holds their attention while helping them actually retain what you teach them. You’ll also dig into the business end of teaching. Monetizing teaching is more complex than hanging up a sign in your local guitar center – Mike will cover how to find and keep paying students.

If you want to share your passion for music with others and make money while doing it, you won’t want to miss this opportunity to learn how to do it the right way from world's #1 online drum teacher.


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Mike is such a great educator. He is well versed in all aspects of teaching and also branding and making a living with it. He is a passionate and truly dedicated teacher. I also really liked that he made it clear that teaching is not a plan b for him but his true calling and it can be such a rewarding experience. I got a lot out of this session and I truly recommend it to anyone who is interesting in taking this path.

a Creativelive Student

Mike, thank you for your wonderful teaching. I have been a performer and vocal educator for over 20 years and I've learn so much today to add to my own personal instruction. These teachings are so transferrable and your passion is simply awesome. I see you and I see a reflection of myself. I'm going to study you some more by purchasing this session. It's been awesome to watch. Thanks for the inspiration!


This is the most brilliant class. There are so many great points in here, it is an information overload; but explained it such a simple way. I watch one of these videos almost every week, just to top up on what I should be giving my students - it serves as a good reminder and an even better teaching aid. Mike; time and time again, he releases great media that everyone must see. I can't speak highly enough of this.