The polishing stage of learning can be dessert for a piano teacher and student

I relish time spent with a student who’s baby-stepped a musical journey with patience and self-acceptance. The polishing stage is icing on the cake, a dessert following the main course.

In this case, an adult pupil kept to a regimen of scales and arpeggios in A minor, as her tip-toe adventure into a Chopin Waltz landscape. (No. 19 in A minor) And she conscientiously parceled out voices: first the fundamental bass; then after beat chords; melody, and various combinations of the aforementioned in back tempo. This was not an espresso learning recipe, but a slow, meticulous ingestion over a lengthy period.

I haven’t counted the weeks she dedicated to this undertaking, but it was way more than a few, and the timeless effort, when you think about the joy of a new experience to savor, (if viewed this way) leads to more fulfillment in unfolded stages of learning.

Here is her end stage example, though brief:

It revealed an abandon in playing more than a series of notes, but instead, phrase-loving sequences.

It’s a given that this composition will grow and ripen, but it was clear that the pupil could feel gratified in the present, by the work she had invested.

Another snatch–where she practiced smoothing out an E Major arpeggiated section:



Students, of all ages, who approach their music in loving, kind, gentle steps always look back on this process with appreciation for what it has brought in playing pleasure. It’s worth the patience accorded as so many have said.

About arioso7: Shirley Kirsten

International piano teacher by Skype, recording artist, composer, piano finder, freelance writer, film maker, story teller: Grad of the NYC HS of Performing Arts, Oberlin Conservatory, NYU (Master of Arts) Studies with Lillian Freundlich and Ena Bronstein; Master classes with Murray Perahia and Oxana Yablonskaya. Studios in BERKELEY and EL CERRITO, California; Member, Music Teachers Assoc. of California, MTAC; Distance learning and Skyped instruction with supplementary videos: SKYPE ID, shirleypiano1 Contact me at: OR or at FACEBOOK: Shirley Smith Kirsten, /shirley.kirsten TWITTER: Private fund-raising for non-profits as pianist--Public Speaking re: piano teaching and creative approaches
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