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A big part of playing well is listening. It is important to have authentic listening examples for students to hear regularly. How about playing some examples during class change? It’s also a good idea to play some of these tunes for your students during class. Try building a listening library for your students to check out various artists and styles. Many times you can find discounted CDs at used book stores. Several of the method books provide lists of artists and styles you could choose from. Now that most every student has an i-pod it might also be useful to provide a listening list for students to check out or purchase music on their own.
I always have music playing for my students! I have a guitar playlist on my ipod that is playing during class changes as kids are coming in and as they leave. We will talk just briefly at the beginning of each class about what artist/song is playing and why they should be familiar with it. It’s interesting that the number one thing parents will bring up at parent/teacher conferences is that I have music playing and their kids actually talk about it when they get home.