And “piano?” Is this seemingly misfit word pertinent? Indulge me to share a few personal stories of pandemic, politics, and piano—and then consider this trio of dynamics philosophically. Just a short year ago in Ann Arbor, I was dining out with pianist Emanuel Ax and a key Director of Pfizer. Together with the local symphony […]
If you’ve taught many adult piano students, you’ve probably made many friends. We don’t teach to make friends and, indeed, the relationship begins as a business transaction. Yet, time and again, personal relationships develop—often with more significance than our client’s developing musical skill!
What is this world of the young beginner? It is fun, fantasy and exploration. Seriousness? Teacher-driven rules? Tight control? These close down a young learner’s intrinsic interest. Not only is this young beginner’s world substantially different than the adult world and qualitatively different than ages 7–8, the young beginner does not “meet us halfway.” 4–5 year […]
There is much to share with our beginning students. With limited lesson time, how do we maximize our results? Fortunately, the Primer Level presents three elements of pedagogy that have exponential value when taught in combination.
An essential concept of Level 1 is beginning articulation, specifically legato and staccato. These terms are so familiar to us as music teachers that we might overlook the importance of these touches in developing technique and musical expression. Perhaps you have noticed that there are no articulation marks at the Primer Level—no slurs and no […]
Pattern Recognition Why are five-finger positions a necessary part of piano pedagogy? Because our hands have five fingers. So the relevance of five-finger patterns applies at virtually any level of piano playing. Major and minor five-finger patterns are taught in Level 2A of Piano Adventures®—after the basics of reading are acquired in the Primer and […]
Perhaps the favorite application of music theory in piano instruction is the teaching of I, IV and V7 chords in that familiar cluster surrounding the root-position I chord. This aspect of piano pedagogy is a guiding concept for Level 2B of Piano Adventures® and the corresponding ChordTime® Piano series. This simple chord formula is favored […]
We’ve all seen an occasional precocious student move up the levels with impressive speed. We regard this speedy progress through the method as a reliable predictor of future success… and we are thus seduced. The high-numbered level makes the teacher look good and the parent beam with pride. So we tend to push students, hoping […]
This is what the student has been waiting for—a chance to play fast. “Now I can really show off!” Then we tell the student, “The first lesson in playing fast is … slow practice.” We’ve just taken the wind out of their sails. Well … almost. There are secrets to playing fast. And if we […]
At Level 3B, we appealed to the student’s interest in fast playing. At Level 4 the student learns lyric playing—the ability to project and beautifully shape a melody. We positioned lyric playing after fast playing because it requires more mature expression. We like to discuss the excitement of speed and the expressive quality of lyric […]