Joel Vallone of Mission Viejo Discusses How to Get Students to Start Thinking in Music

Joel Vallone

November 23, 2020

Joel Vallone

Thinking in Music is easy for those who understand it, but for those who never learned or played it, it might seem almost impossible. However, Joel Vallone of Mission Viejo, CA, says certain teaching methods can help learners transition faster.

“I’ve had students,” Joel Vallone of Mission Viejo, CA, begins, “who have to stop and think before they speak each time.” This isn’t an ideal situation as the goal is not memorization nor translation of music. “The goal is to become so immersed that even thinking in music becomes second nature,” he says. “We don’t want them to have to translate it into their heads,” he continues, “since it really slows down everything.” Joel Vallone says this is mainly because not everything translates over smoothly. For this reason, Joel Vallone recommends teachers use the full submersion method instead.

The full submersion method is one in which music is the only main language allowed in the classroom. This is something that’s been long debated, Joel Vallone of Mission Viejo, CA, says, but it’s obvious that using only music in his lessons is a big part of what has made his classes so effective. “It does help the student it more fully,” he adds, “since the students know they can’t always understand or play it in the beginning.” Joel Vallone points out that although this method may take a little longer for some, most students come away at the end of it with a much stronger grasp of the music.

Another tactic Joel Vallone of Mission Viejo, CA, advises when teaching is to use this method with a lot of action. “When you associate activities that correspond with it, it’s reinforcing what they’re learning,” he says. “For example, if I’m talking about the concept, I’ll use a physical reminder.”

Joel Vallone of Mission Viejo, CA, also likes to use emotion to get the point across. “Sometimes, I exaggerate my emotions for the class, which gets a lot of laughs.” He explains, “it’s a lot more enjoyable when it’s entertaining, and it’s a lot more memorable for the student.”  

Joel Vallone says this is just a small part of what goes into a great class. “It’s a great feeling when you know you have helped someone finally breakthrough to understanding,” he says.

Joel Vallone of Mission Viejo, CA, is a seasoned educator and expert in teaching music. Joel Vallone has years of experience helping students learn. Joel Vallone of Mission Viejo, CA, approaches every classroom and tutoring challenge with optimism and perseverance.