I'm fortunate to be working with five adult students who love the piano and its repertoire. Their enthusiasm is at high volume--keeping the live wire connection between student and teacher bristling with energy. Regardless of busy work schedules, they still manage to connect with the piano often enough to make lessons worthwhile. I met Michael,… Continue reading Profile of a courageous adult piano student (with a video out-take)
Over decades of teaching, I've come to the conclusion that each student needs a custom designed long-term lesson plan. Method books only go so far. Often they stratify the learning process, keeping students in an interminably drawn out, regressive C Major universe. For the most part, flats and sharps with Letter Name identifications are regarded… Continue reading Individualizing Piano Study: How to avoid Method Book dependency
There's always a piece of music lurking somewhere that can save a young student from quitting piano. For those of us who teach the great masterworks, passing a cultural legacy to the next generation, we know lickety-split when it's time to break out our ammunition: the magic bullet piece. Example: An 11-year old had gotten… Continue reading In a Piano Teacher’s Arsenal: The Magic bullet piece (VIDEO with Aiden Cat joining in)
Last weekend I journeyed to the Fresno State University Music Building to monitor Room 1 for the Celebration Festival sponsored by the Fresno branch of the Music Teachers Association of California. Every February students from our city and surrounding areas are invited to play one or two pieces in a selected cubicle, (basically a music… Continue reading The MTAC Celebration Festival, Anna Magdalena Bach, and Meeting Keith Snell (VIDEO)
There are two sides to every story, so in all fairness I've posited a number of situations that crop up in the piano lesson environment, with an analysis from the Teacher and Student's point of view. In some instances, I've substituted PARENT for STUDENT where I think it applies. RESOLUTIONS of various issues are explored.… Continue reading PULLS AND TUGS: Two sides of the piano student/teacher relationship
Here are riveting quotes from two adult students: The Italics are my emphasis. 1) "I feel like I’m in the adult student ghetto, where much latitude is given and few results are expected. We’re all supposed to be doing it 'for fun.' In a way, of course, that’s right. But in another way, if we… Continue reading Are Adult Piano Students Stigmatized?
The piano room was a mess yesterday with music strewn about. Two '60-'70's era Beatles albums were excavated from a pile of sheet music, hard bound theory texts, and Urtext editions of Beethoven's sonatas. Foraging a big carton of stuff like this was a trip down memory lane. My very old Yamaha guitar, a prized… Continue reading Letting my hair down with a snatch of “Let It Be!” (VIDEO)
Face the music! Most new Conservatory grads with fancy Bachelor of Music, Performance-Piano Degrees bound in leather must improvise when catapulted into the competitive job market. With only a tiny space on the world stage reserved for budding soloists, many aspiring concert pianists will teach privately, wait tables, babysit, or become high school choir accompanists.… Continue reading What can you do with a Performance-Piano Degree?
Bb C D Eb F G A Bb C D Eb F G A Bb *** Last night I had a rap session with a student on the subject of his favorite scale. And it quickly dawned on me that this whole area of discussion, while definitely out of the mainstream and not a life… Continue reading The most reviled scale for piano players!! (Video)
I remember Art Linkletter's show, "Kids Say the Darndest Things," which made me think of a few adult piano students and their hauntingly memorable words. Yesterday, for example, I was forewarned by a 70-year old pupil, that I should expect a call from her during the night about the key of "F# minor." What impending… Continue reading Adult piano students say and do the darndest things.