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Piano, technology pair for fun learning

Oak Bay music teacher earns national tech teacher award
Oak Bay piano teacher Linda Gould was named Tech Teacher of the Year at the recent national conference of the Canadian Federation of Music Teachers held in Richmond.

Piano and technology are a powerful duet in learning, says one Oak Bay musician and instructor.

Linda Gould was named 2015 Tech Teacher of the Year at the recent national conference of the Canadian Federation of Music Teachers held in Richmond.

“She is the best music teacher ever. She is so wonderful,” said student Galina Coffey-Lewis.

“I just love my music lessons.”

Gould, who teaches from a home studio in Oak Bay, has offered piano lessons her entire life, most of it as a registered teacher.

The national competition is held every two years with the award presented to the Canadian music teacher who demonstrates the most creative use of music technology in the teaching studio.

“It’s a way of us getting together, because teaching piano can be isolated,” Gould said.

“I’ve taught my whole life and used technology. Technology is great if it makes it more fun.”

Gould utilizes digital keyboards, tablets, and computers to demonstrate, teach and record students using a variety of music apps.

“It has to be enhancing you and making you a better musician or don’t do it,” she said. “I started with one little thing … one thing leads to another.”

To apply for the technology award, teachers submitted a three-minute video outlining how he or she uses technology to teach students.

“I’m a techno geek,” Gould said with a laugh.

“There’s so much with technology, you can always learn something.”

For example, she’ll add a little jazz, using the synthesized sounds, instead of a straight metronome to make a tune sounds more exciting and get a student into the tune they’re working on.

“I can’t bring a band in here every week,” she said. “They react to it, they smile, it’s fun.”

Technology is also a handy tool for continuity, both covering illness using applications such as FaceTime, and continuing studies through recording devices.

“It’s not the same as having them in the room,” she admitted, but she finds it about 90 per cent as effective, missing only the happy ‘jam session’ portion of a class.

“You come for a one-hour lesson and you hear the first five minutes,” she said of recording classes. “You learn faster, you learn more. It’s about listening and sharing … not notes on the page.”

Those can be repeated later, when a student has down time or a keen interest in practicing.

Gould also uses a bluetooth pedal in performance. It turns the page on her digital tablet, providing smooth transition with no rustling of sheet music.

Gould is also the author of the popular adult method “Play Piano Chords Today.”

Besides teaching at her studio in Oak Bay, classes are taught at the Victoria Conservatory of Music and Taber Music School. Gould also performs as a solo pianist and with her husband and musical partner, Dave Paulson.

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