It is rewarding to watch our students’ musical skills develop. We observe routine improvements in note reading, technical dexterity and increasingly difficult repertoire, but also witness profound development that is subtle and not readily measured. Consider the evolving aspects of artistry: creativity, expression and sensitivity. Or, what about discipline, focus, tenacity, deep analysis, and flexible learning strategies?
That is quite an impressive list. And, importantly, these abilities can develop with excellent piano teaching. We elevate our teaching objectives by cultivating an artistic mindset. Insightful analysis, creative daring, and expressive sensitivity are potent qualities that are valued throughout a student’s life. These attributes of artistry are captured in the acronym A‑C-E—Analysis, Creativity and Expression—and take center stage in Piano Adventures.
The Discovery question with each piece invites analysis, each unit includes a creative activity, and the Technique Secrets along with Artistry Magic pages develop expression.
Analysis and creativity imply the left and right hemispheres of the brain, respectively. Modern neuroscience additionally finds that the “analytical” left brain manages expertise and the “creative” right brain processes the new and novel. Artistry requires integration of both hemispheres. Indeed, for a trained musician, music activates the whole brain.
What about the third attribute of artistry? How does expression fit our model? Perhaps we simply acknowledge that expression comes from the heart. The metaphor could not be more fitting. Whole brain education is compelling, but perhaps incomplete. As piano teachers we can have transcendent influence. We develop musical minds… and hearts.