I hope you will find leading MSI for Music 30 as rewarding as I have. Having a student tell you that they did so much better on their last ear training quiz because of MSI is a great feeling. Hopefully you are as eager as I was to train some ears.
I held this position for two years, and obviously the second year was easier than the first since by then I had grown comfortable and confident with the ways I ran the sessions. I say “ways” and not “way” because everybody learns differently. I quickly found out that the way I solve melodic dictations is not the same way that many other students do. Not only would I reinforce the tips the professor would give along with my own personal methods of problem solving, but I would also give the students a chance to discuss among each other their own methods that they have found useful. People have shared helpful methods that I hadn’t ever thought of before.
One of the nice things about having a big range of exercises to do in ear training is being able to change the subject if a student is becoming visibly frustrated. Can't handle any more melodic dictation? Ok, let's just do some interval recognition then. One of the hardest things I've had to deal with in an MSI session is a student who becomes completely discouraged and wants to give up. They'll pack up their stuff and say something like, “I can't do this,” and head for the door. I feel like this is one of the most crucial moments in a student's learning process. Of course, it's necessary to understand that sometimes, somebody just needs a break. So, I'm not going to stop them from leaving but I will do my best to encourage them to return next week. I remind them that they get better with every minute of practice, even if it's slow-going.
The first few sessions I led, I was a bit nervous and unsure of what to expect. Don’t spend your sessions hiding behind the piano though. Be interactive and encourage the students to voice any problems they might be having. And don’t forget to take advantage of the resources in the classroom. Ear training is, of course, an aural based subject, but drawing diagrams of chord structures on the white board can benefit those who are better at learning through visual means.
I would say that the most important thing to keep in mind is that everybody learns at a different pace and in different methods. It makes me happy knowing that I’ve made a difference in these students’ education, and you can really see it in them when they talk so excitedly about how they nailed their last quiz. It’s definitely worth it.