“He gets so much more from this time than just piano.”
Oh, such wonderful music to my ears!
Yesterday I was having a conversation with the mother of one of my students, discussing our musical goals for her child. It was such a blessing to hear her say the words above, because that is exactly what I aim for when I teach. I love spending time with my students, watching them blossom, learn new skills and gain confidence. In fact, last week I was so excited when a teenage student finally (and beautifully) grasped a technique with which she had been struggling, my gleeful reaction gave her a wonderful chuckle! And a lot of pride :). I don’t want the only thing your child walks away with to be the basic piano know-how – these are the notes and this is where they are on the keyboard etc.
My hope is that the environment I provide in my Wallsend studio is encouraging, yet relaxed. I want my students to enjoy coming to their lessons and to know that I will guide and support them to meet the goals we have developed together. I am strict with technique, because I want my students to be the best they can be. Good technique translates to ease of playing, which ultimately will make it easier for them to simply enjoy what they are creating at the piano. But it’s about so much more than that.
Following are just some of the benefits I hope my students will take away from their time with me:
- Increased confidence – learning to play the piano is hard work and requires dedication from the student. With each song they master, your child’s self-esteem will increase. Learning that mastering a new skill is a patience-requiring process helps kids then approach other tasks in their life with a similar level of confidence instead of frustration.
- Theory/musicianship – when learning to play an instrument, good theoretical knowledge is a vital skill that goes hand-in-hand with the practical playing. It’s not just about learning the concepts, but how those concepts fit in to what they are playing. Not just how to do something, but why you are doing it. Understanding how music is constructed not only helps with understanding music that is already written, but also aids greatly with improvisation and composition.
- One-on-one attention – let’s face it… who doesn’t need this every now and then? Life today seems to be so busy, even for children. Their lesson is an opportunity for everything to be about just them. I enjoy learning about their lives and other interests so I can better understand them and how their minds operate but to them, this time is simply about them being special.
- Critical and creative thinking – reading a piece of music requires a large dose of focus. The student needs to interpret both a rhythm and a note and translate that into what their hands will do on the keyboard, also considering technique. Then they need to immediately move on to the next one! A whole page of that can be rather daunting, but pianists develop these complex thought processes they will then take into many other areas of their life.
- Music appreciation – through playing the piano, students are exposed to a range of music they might not otherwise encounter, from classical through to jazz and pop. I think it is important to be not just playing music, but immersing yourself in it and learning to appreciate the way different styles make you feel. Most people will identify a style of music they like for relaxation or for concentration, for example. I find Baroque is great for studying, but when it’s time for the housework, I need a good beat!
So it may not be that every week your child (or yourself, because this also applies to my adult students) comes home with a new piece of music to practise through the week, but they will have spent their lesson time immersed in music, feeling special, developing skills and absorbing more than they realise.
If you are considering music lessons for your child, please contact me to discuss the options. Piano lessons are conducted at my studio in Wallsend, NSW or mobile lessons are available in the eastern suburbs of Lake Macquarie.