Children's Hidden Piano Talents
Children have piano talents hidden by the act of growing up. How kids learn the piano is a mystery to many, and that includes a lot of piano teachers. For parents, enrolling their children in piano lessons is largely a leap of faith. This is true even for those with some musical background. The parent hopes the teacher will not alienate the child from the instrument. They pay them well for ostensibly doing so. But statistics are grim. 9 out of 10 children who try the piano using the conventional methods will fail. Conventional piano teachers go from page to page. They bore their students with "fake" music and exercises they neither know nor like.
Teachers Blame The Kids
It must be someone's fault, and the piano teachers have said for centuries that they bear absolutely no responsibility for this. But that's rather strange. If, for example, golf teachers had the same track record, there would be almost no golfers. I'm one of those rare piano teachers that get any child to play, and enjoy it. I assert that this broad majority of piano teachers are wrong, and are in fact responsible for the failure of most students.
How The Conventional Piano Teacher Thinks
You have to understand how the average piano teacher thinks. Here are a few examples:
"I learned the old way, and so will you."
"If you fail at my method, you had no talent."
"I don't know how to teach any other way than the way I was taught."
"If my method doesn't produce results, it's your fault."
"I'm here to pass on the tradition of musical knowledge. Take it or leave it."
Over and Over, Page To Page
They go from page to page in the old texts, boring and frustrating generation after generation of kids. Here's a personal example from my own past. I didn't start out at the piano. First I played the clarinet. I had never played an instrument. I got private lessons from a man we'll call Mr. Jones.
Technique Is All That Matters To The Pedant
I could play the notes, out of tune and squeaky like any 8 year old. But Mr. Jones wanted perfection, and wanted to hear the clarinet as he played it, which was very well. He insisted I play "long tones," wherein a clarinetist takes big breath and plays a note for a very long time. Long tones teach many valuable aspects of the clarinet. When Mr. Jones did it, it was beautiful. When I did it, it sounded like a lamb being slaughtered. Finally, after several months, he sent me home with a note that read: "I cannot teach John. He has absolutely no musical talent." I have treasured that letter ever since as a measure of how shortsighted music teachers can be.
Teacher's Destructive Judgments
I may not be Beethoven, but I've had a distinguished career conducting, composing and playing the piano. Not only have I given myself much pleasure with music, I have given it to others. Had I taken Mr. Jones's assessment of my talents, I would have become something else.
Find The Child's Comfort Zone
The lesson? It's better to show a child why they should learn something than to force them to absorb it on a level other than their own. When I played with Mr. Jones, it was worse than a trip to the dentist.