What To Expect from Piano Lessons
Lesson 2: What to Expect from Piano Lessons
The idea of a piano prodigy is very appealing, but is it realistic? Many parents have difficulty with the idea of what to expect from piano lessons. Many parents have a rude awakening some time after beginning conventional piano lessons. It seems that all of a sudden, the child is no longer interested in the piano. A child unhappy with piano lessons is a sign that something has gone seriously awry.
My own experience is that a clever, experienced teacher can find a way to interest any child if they are patient enough. That’s the truth. There is no magic formula. It’s just good old patience, common sense and child psychology.
Why A Child Loses Interest
Let’s take a look at the usual reasons a child becomes disenchanted with piano lessons. I find that conventional piano teachers are, on the whole, too strict. To most children nowadays, the piano is an elective after school activity.
Repetition seems fun at first, but grows stale quickly to most kids if not refreshed by the teacher. Both teachers and children tend to be impatient, the teachers for achievement, and the children for free play and a respite from study. Strangely enough, most conventional kid’s piano teachers adopt a one-size-fits-all attitude, never really attempting to examine what gentle touch might unlock the child’s musical imagination.
Conventional Lessons Move Page To Page
These teachers teach their method, and you either succeed or quit, regardless of who or what age you are. They move aside for no one, moving from one page to the next. They teach more or less how they were taught as children, because they know of no other way.
The general idea of this branch of academe is that all pianists, even four year old would-be hobbyists, are taught as if they were headed for Carnegie Hall. They are taught the same exercises and teaching pieces, without general reference to the real world of music the child is experiencing on the radio, computer and television.
It’s agreed that you want a musical education for your child, or you wouldn’t be reading this, but what do you really want for your child?
Define Your Child’s Goal
Do you want to expose them to the competitive nature of the piano teaching business, with its conflicting methods and recitals and measurements? Or do you want your child to grow up appreciating music and playing it happily as best they can? The problems of learning the piano are the same, regardless of the method and the point in history. A human hand has five fingers and we’re going to use them like a basketball team, as an integrated group. An easy concept for an adult to grasp, but how about five year olds?
In view of the difficulties involved in physically pressing the correct piano keys, might it not be appropriate to consider the manner of the teacher in this equation? Common sense tells you to tailor your presentation to this young, general audience. This audience wants fun and cannot stand repetition until they have a taste of why repetition is necessary.
You have to allow them what I call a honeymoon period, in which the piano is in essence brought to them rather than making them struggle up a mountain for no apparent reward.
Show The Reward
The reward must always be present, even if it is only the teacher’s warm, appreciative manner. In the beginning of piano studies, praise and warmth are worth more than any method, and will get you farther. Remember every second of the lesson belongs to the child. It’s not your opportunity to expound and prove your method and theories. It’s about them, not you.
A piano lesson is a child’s chance to start speaking the language of music.
COURSE ONE: TEACHING TOOLS
COURSE TWO: TEACHING BACKGROUND
COURSE THREE: PIANO GAMES