Are your students using Tap Journals?

Published on January 7th 2021 by Hillary-Marie

Tap Journals are something that I’ve been using with my students for years, and it’s been a huge topic of conversation in my twice a month iTapOnline Member Chats.

It also turns out that most tap teachers aren’t using this awesome resource in their weekly tap classes!

What is a Tap Journal?

It’s exactly what it sounds like: a journal that students bring to tap class each week that is specifically dedicated to all things tap class.

I started using these tap journals with my students many years ago, and they’re so easy to use, and super beneficial for many reasons.

As you teach the 5 Fundamentals of Tap Dance in your tap classes, you encourage your students to get that journal out.

As you teach music theory, let them draw out the rhythm tree and write out the definition of counterpoint.

When it comes time to teach History and you’re showing them a clip of the Nicholas Brothers in Stormy Weather, have them take out that journal and write Fayard and Harold Nicholas, Stormy Weather, 1943, and any other fun facts you have to share with them.

When they’re practicing improvisation, have them write down what they feel they need to focus on in their personal practice before next week’s class.

Whatever it is, their Tap Journal is their space to write it down.

If you’re teaching beginner level tap dancers, you can have them write out the basic vocabulary: shuffle, flap, maxiford, etc. It’s important to note that I don’t students write out full phrases, just bits of technique vocab here and there.

Tip: If you're teaching littles ones, ages 6-10, you'll want a dry erase marker to write on the mirror.

You can also teach your students to write out their corrections:

  • What they need to practice moving forward
  • A win from class (or a “glow”)
  • A wisdom from class (or a “grow”)

How often should they use it?

Your students should use their tap journals once or twice during class.

It’s not something your students will keep in their pocket during their entire class, pausing repeatedly to write inside of it. We’re not trying to take an academic approach to the art form, but rather provide an additional source of support and reinforcement in their education.

What are the benefits of a Tap Journal?

So many dancers go home ready to practice, get their shoes on, stand on their floor, and say to themselves… “I don’t know what to work on”. This journal solves that problem.

Tap Journals also show dancers how far they’ve come. In just a few months, or a whole season, they can flip through their tap journal and see that what used to be hard is now easy.

A parent can easily open up a tap journal and become a part of their child’s tap dance journey.

Tap Journals are also great for students who are injured because they can still come to class, participate and be fully engaged.

Tap Journals are great for children, teen and adults students of all levels.

I’ve had many adult students over the years who are serial notetakers and for 20 mins after class, they’ll sit down and take notes.

I find that once dancers hit that higher intermediate/advanced level, that the tap journal is still useful, but in a different way. They’re documenting concepts, thoughts, historical facts, tunes to check out, and higher level thinking.

All in all, a tap journal is a cool resource that can serve dancers of all ages and levels for many years to come.

And what better time to welcome something new into your classroom than this week?

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