Thursday, 10 May 2018

The 5 T's: Developing Students who communicate effectively.

The 5 T's

I have a vocal Student who says they only want to learn current songs.  When the song they are learning drops in the charts, they come into lessons with a new song.  Motivation in learning is important, however learning to complete a performance is more beneficial.  The study of English is mandatory in school.  This is not because Schools are training a generation of Authors and Poets, but because Educators develop Students to communicate effectively.  Giving Presentations is one way of doing this.

The 5 T's

The problem is that Students often move on to another project without truly completing the current one.  The solution which I sought was to provide a tool which allowing Students to check their progress and keep working until the project is complete.  The tool is this:
  1. Text
  2. Tuning 
  3. Timing
  4. Tone
  5. Theatrics
We address each aspect in turn; asking, "Would I present, if this aspect was not learned?"

N.B. Although this was developed for Vocal Students, it has benefits for Guitar, Piano, Bass and Drum lessons also.


Students look shocked at the thought of presenting, it the Text is not learned.  They put every effort into learning the words for a lesson or performance.


With the Text learned, Students focus on the Tuning.  A great deal of practise is put into learning the Melody, so they don't give an incomplete performance, but this is often as far as it goes.


This is often when the half baked nature of preparation creeps in: strangely, when I ask a Student if they would take a Cake out of the oven, before it was ready and proudly present a half baked Cake, they look shocked.  Learning to stay with learning until it is complete is a strength which many Students need to learn and they do not realise that learning needs to stay in for longer.

Many Students rush through the silences to get to the next piece of Text.  Providing your audience with time to understand what is being said is an important skill in communication.


Tone is an interesting aspect of Singing lessons.  The first thing to say is that many new Students come to lessons, believing that they are the worst Singers I have ever heard.  They have control over the Text and Tuning, the Timing is good. That is three out of five aspects covered well and I encourage Students in that.  Tonal production is a large part of Singing lessons and we have a lot of fun exploring Tone.

Would a Student present a piece if the Text, Tuning, Timing had been practised, but not Tone?  Since presenting this question to my Students, I have seen real progress.


Family members see Students in lessons and I often receive the comment, "You should see them at home.  They dance around and are quite the Performer".  Since rolling out the 5T's as a Teaching Tool, I have seen my Students receive the permission they need, to shine.  It's not that the permission was withheld, but explicitly giving it has seen my Student exploring a full range of Theatrics in lessons.  

If the 5T's have not been practised and demonstrated, what is being presented is half baked - as it were.  Demonstrating to my Students that Theatrics completes the presentation does two things:
  1.  Give them something to work towards.
  2. Give them permission to shine - in performance - like the Stars they are, at home.


The Study of English is important, not to turn out a generation of Poets, but to teach Communication skills.  In any line of work, and indeed as functioning Adults, we need to develop Communication.  By reading the Blog Post, "What Music really is", you will see that Music is the Art of convicting the unconvinced.  The study of Language, Poetic Device and Presentation are part of what the Greek saw as a larger subject: Music.  The 5T's safe guards against presenting communication, half baked.

To learn how to develop the 5T's, book lessons via this site.

Robin's Experience and Style

Robin Thornton - Teacher At a young age, I decided that I wanted to be a Musician. I did not believe that I could support...