Reaching the 21st Century Learner


Roland RMP-5 Rhythm Coach

Joe Nebistinsky is the Chair of the Fine and Performing Arts Department and Percussion Director at the Northern York County School District, Dillsburg, PA. In addition to his public school duties , Joe maintains an active private studio and is a dynamic and sought after instructor, author, and clinician.

I am an educator who has always tried to take advantage of the best methods and techniques in my teaching. This has led me to find ways to teach students more effectively and more efficiently. Many of us tend to teach the way we were taught. My experience shows that “thinking out of the box” when it comes to our teaching tools has many advantages. Using technology in the school setting and in private lessons offers many rewards for our students.

Using new technology takes time, effort and money. Some people are concerned about the so-called “learning curve” involved in adding technology to your teaching. I say that the time spent is worth it in the long run. Just as you invest in good instruments for your students to play on, you need to consider technology as another asset to improve your teaching, and make your students more successful. If you are a novice, start off slowly. Gain confidence. Remember when you first started to learn to play an instrument? It took time, practice, and patience. The same is true here. I want to give my students every advantage. Students love technology, so this is a great way to motivate them.

The most important addition to my teaching studio is the Roland RMP-5 Rhythm Coach. It is more than a practice pad with built-in metronome. It is a creative tool that can be very effective in the learning process and productive practicing. Using the Rhythm Coach can be helpful in several areas. I feel that the most obvious area is motivation. Playing it naturally inspires students. Using it to help you chart progress is also effective. It is easy to chart the progress of students on exercises and tempos. I also utilize it for assessment. Incorporating it with other resources, like accompaniment tracks, makes practicing more fun. These are just a few of the ways that I use it. For more ideas on how to make practice more fun and productive, visit to download Joe’s lesson tips “Innovative Teaching Techniques using the Rhythm Coach.”

Our students are tech savvy and have aptitude for using new technology that helps them learn. Items like the Roland RMP-5 Rhythm Coach are also helpful tools for adding fun to your teaching. Engaging students and maintaining their focus and interest is always a challenge. Using the Roland RMP-5 Rhythm Coach is another way we can meet the needs of the 21st century learner.

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