Showing posts from May, 2012

Pick a Card or Simple Motivation

I like my students to be self motivated but sometimes we all need a little push in order to pull out our best work.  Try a deck of cards.  An old deck of cards, preferably (or a cheap deck).  Here's how it works:

Split the deck of cards in half based on color - half red, half black.  Now have your students perform the dance or combination they're currently working on.  While they're dancing you walk around watching their feet, face, arms, etc.  If you notice good footwork from a student, hand the student a black card (yes, while they're tapping - they are talented and will be able to dance just fine with it in their hand, though the card will get a bit mangled).  If you notice anything else done really well such as sharpness of movement, great expression, or nice body lines, give them a red card.

That's it!  You'll be amazed how hard the kids will work for a simple playing card.  Also there is no punishment or taking cards away.  Most rehearsals we tell them w…

Teaching's Not the Same as Tapping or Where Did My Sounds Go?

I'm sitting here writing this in my nerdy Atari pajamas and my "I'm not a morning person." (it's true) t-shirt after a 45 minute tap workout.  Faced with a gradual decline in my tap skills I figured it was time to take action.  But how did I get here in the first place?
First and foremost I teach less "live" classes than ever before and most of that time lately is cleaning routines.  When I tell people I'm a tap teacher they often comment how I must be in great shape.  Unfortunately that's not the case.  The longer I teach, the less I tap.  That's because I'm spending more and more time listening and correcting my students' feet instead of working on mine.  I'm not saying I don't tap at all, but my total actual tapping time for 18 "live" classes this week (some are a half hour, some an hour) was probably 1 hour.  That's it.  My focus is cleaning my students' formations, arms, and feet, not my own.  Teaching…