Hi Everyone,

Once again I am inspired to write this blog after working with some younger teachers recently.

First of all though, I’d like to say how fabulous it is to have the opportunity to work with younger tappers coming through, and pass on teaching techniques that were in turn passed to me by the generation before me.

The cycle of life is indeed a wonderful thing and to recognise that ” passing of the mantle” is quite soul affirming I have found – so I hope the more experienced teachers of you out there are feeling the same way too.

So – having said that.

Today I just wanted to share the importance of voice modulation and facial expression when teaching.

Again – to the older teachers reading this – it may sound obvious and natural even. But I have found that many of the younger generation are a little miffed by the effects of this most important teaching strategy.

For me it is really just an extension of your energy level and commitment to the class. Changing the tone in your voice to denote where the accent of the step is for instance, communicates this really well to the students.

Changing the sound of your voice to mimic the feel of the music you are tapping to is also important. For instance, if you are tapping to a funky track then you want to count in with a strong, funky upbeat sound, where as if you are tapping to a mellow tune you will need to count in with a lyrical soft tone to encourage that approach from your students.

Facial expressions are also important here. Whatever look you have on your face transfers an emotion or feeling directly to your students – so make sure that you look interested and engaged at all times. If you do not look interested in them, the students will lose interest in you too and the class will be an uphill battle.

You can also use your face to indicate a variety of instructions:

* nodding – that yes we will do it again
* approvingly – that was great
* a quiet expression to show that the dynamics of the step are now softer
* an excited expression to signal that the feel has now energised and they need to match it

If you are giving the same signal with both the sound of your voice

[ vocal modulation ] and the look on your face [expression ] – you will be making a huge addition to your teaching bag of tricks so to speak.

The power of your voice and your expression can not be underestimated!

And also remember that different age groups need a different approach too.

I teach my 4 & 5 yr olds in a totally different way to my older teenage students or seniors.

So remember to make classes super FUN and CREATIVE and PLAYFUL for your tinies – they need to feel like it is a game. Let their imagination into play and speak to them in a voice full of wonder and joy at the world [ which is what they are still experiencing] – and they will light up!

Finally – don’t forget that whatever you give in a class situation is generally reflected back to you at about 10% of what you gave out.

50% if you are lucky and have a great group of relatively engaged students!

80% – 100% if you are really firing with your students and they love tap and your classes!

Not always a fair exchange ha ha ha ha – but there you have it. The more effort you make to be engaging – the more you will get back!

So – That’s our job!

Well -That’s your job!

To be the catalyst and inspiration for a great class!

So if you want 100% energy, enthusiasm, joy and attack from your students – then you need to hit the studio 1000% prepared, energetic, joyous and enthusiastic!

Now – get those vocal chords flexing and those facial expressions moving to inspire the next generation of fabulous, creative, rhythmical and joyous tappers!