For years, I have developed some of my own teaching strategies to help young children pay attention during piano lessons. One of my favorite ways to break the monotony of just playing new songs, is playing a short "game". I have the child place their hands on the first hand position (both thumbs on middle C, and every other finger gets it's own note!). Then I tell them, "I will call out a note, and see if you can play it. Can you play B? Can you play F in your right hand?", etc. This is a great tip for children experiencing dyslexia, as well. I also have them say the notes in their new songs as they play them during the first three or four lessons to reinforce the connections from their hands to their brain. If you have very young students, introduce dynamics at the first lesson so that they can have fun playing "forte" and "piano". Even if they are playing a song with only two notes, you will grab their attention... read more
Balancing piano students' scope and sequence is essential to a well-rounded musician. Of course, the first step is hand position, note-reading, and identifying rhythms. With young students, much can be learned by rote (copy-cat exercises with the teacher). By 8 or 9, note-reading is primary for the student to sense advancement. Most piano methods out there will do this: Alfred, Bastien, John Thompson are my favorites. The second step is to develop techniques. Learning scales in 5-finger patterns, octaves, then double octaves, first major and then minor. Hanon and Czerny I have used. Hanon is geared for younger ones. These can also be taught by rote. Either way, memorization to disconnect the student from paper and connect them to what their fingers and hands are doing is key. The third step, done at the same time as technique, is applying that technique to actual repertoire. There are many compositions which are simple: Bach, Mozart, and Beethovan, so... read more
Every piano teacher uses different techniques and styles of teaching in their piano lessons. The way they teach is usually based upon their 'teaching philosophy' or their beliefs on teaching and learning and how they incorporate these beliefs into their lessons. Most experienced instructors will have a written teaching philosophy and students/parents should not hesitate to ask their teacher to share it with them. Two important concepts to consider within a teaching philosophy are 'performance goals' and 'learning goals'. There are pros and cons to both, so let us first read the following descriptions: -Performance Goals: emphasis on doing better than others and publicly proving one’s high ability. Approaching academic challenges with the desire to gain favorable and to avoid unfavorable evaluations of competence. Performance goals include learning a piece for competitions, recitals, or to impress teachers/parents/peers. -Learning Goals: emphasis... read more
Often for music students the practice room can be a place of transcendent accomplishment as well as massive frustration. I have practice until my fingers bled, until I got exactly what I wanted, only to come back the next day and feel as if none of that work had showed up. I have also had breakthrough moments where everything seemed to fall into place, music and the world suddenly made sense as if my eyes had been opened and I was seeing in color for the first time. The truth about the practice room is this: Practice takes practice. The practice room (especially for those looking to go into music education) is like a scientist's lab. You have to be critical of not just what you're doing (did I play that note too loud? How is the clarity of my articulation?) but also WHY you you are doing it. You have to analyze why you are in the practice room, what are your goals and how are you going to reach them? It's exactly what a school teacher does to plan their lessons and that's how I learned... read more
To those of you looking for a tutor that has a range of possibilities, I dedicate this blog to you. Being a recent graduate from the University of California, Santa Barbara, I know what it takes to use study skills to focus and remain organized in order to maintain a clean academic record. Graduating in only three years, I have had the opportunity to manage a schedule of work and school and internships, while studying and applying to law schools. Organization is one of my many skills that translates into my tutoring ability. I am currently a tutor. My focus has been editing, proofreading and college applications. However, I am a former kindergarten instructor. That opportunity fine tuned my patience, my understand that each student is an individual learner, and taught me how to approach difficult situations with younger children. I look forward to opportunities to come from this site, and look forward to your commentary. Many thanks, Davina
I was not taught how to practice piano until college. The time spent alone practicing is just as important as the lesson itself, as it connects one lesson to the next. Practicing without much of a plan, I found myself less prepared than I thought I was when I walked onstage for my recitals. Including practicing strategies in the lesson gives students the confidence they need to work on their own between lessons. From techniques I learned in college and my own research, I have developed a method that is adaptable for many subjects. While there are many effective methods of practicing, this one has been quite successful for my students and me, as it covers multiple problems that typically arise. I will use piano and test preparation as examples. Pre-Test Some form of baseline data reveals the strengths and weaknesses of the student and determines the focus of preparation and practice. Piano: Play through at a steady tempo, taking notes as soon as the section is finished... read more
While I was teaching on faculty in Asia at a University Conservatory my student Stephanie worked with me for one semester and passed her upper divisional piano jury playing among other things a Debussy Etude. This conservatory jury was stricter than most, the faculty enjoyed giving scores in the 60s. While chapel organist and teaching piano I also taught in the theory department at the university and coached.
This photo is of my student Sara. When she came to study with me at Indiana University she was a linguistics major. After studying with me a short time and working on classical repertoire I got her accepted into a multi-competition winner's piano performance studio at IU.
This photo from the Louisiana INTERNATIONAL Piano Competition 2005 is of my student Yuri. A few years AFTER this competition and after she had won a prize in International Chopin competition, she studied with me and took 2nd prize in the difficult IU Concerto Competition (I played Chopin Concerto #1 on the 2nd piano). After studying with me she was also invited to an international festival and was accepted into a European conservatory.
Greetings Music Lovers and welcome to my first blog posting on WyzAnt! This is a great place for us to share tips, tricks and anything else of a general nature that you have found helpful with your music and would like to share with others. It's also a great place to ask general questions seeking advice and feedback from the community. I look forward to your questions, comments and suggestions! Daniel
As I mentioned in my profile, I prefer to teach from a different perspective than most teachers. If you want to just learn some songs on your instrument - of course I can teach them to you! I can easily turn them into something you can relate to and get under your fingers quickly =) My real specialty, however, is how I teach music theory - both to its students and to students of guitar / bass / piano. Usually, when you learn music theory you start with some preconceptions. There are notes, for instance - twelve of them. You can use these notes to form all kinds of structures - seven note scales, three or four part chords, two note intervals, etc. These various structures are given names, like "Major," "Minor," "Perfect," "Augmented," "Diminished," etc. You know that a Major chord sounds happy and uplifting. You know that a Minor chord sounds sad and depressing. But in all of your lessons, with all... read more
Hi! This is my first blog. Just wanted to let everyone know I offer one free lesson to my students.
Personal Essay I would like to work as a tutor, because I enjoy teaching music and helping new students deal with the learning and practicing struggles. I graduated from Rockland Community College with the Associate's Degree in Communication and Media Arts program. My GPA was 3.949 points. I completed two communication internships: as a Marketing and Public Relations Intern for Lamb to a Lion Productions and as an intern for Audio Production Communication Practicum at Rockland Community College. Due to my academic achievement, I am a member of Phi Sigma Omicron, Phi Theta Kappa honors societies, and the Dean's Honor List. I am interested in tutoring music, because I possess music skills. Traditionally, music schools accept only students with music hearing and the ability of sound recognition. In my case, I have been involved into musical activities since my childhood. Therefore, I easily passed the hearing test and enrolled to the music school. I graduated from the music... read more
A voice lesson is not a performance. It is a lab where you conduct fun experiments. The performer presents ‘the known’ (i.e. the memorized music within yourself, using the habits you’ve practiced) in the context of the ‘unknown’ (the setting, the audience, the building, etc.). You don’t experiment with your technique in a performance, you don’t really try new stuff, but instead you present what you’ve already learned. We present what we know in a new space, in front of new people. In a voice lesson the student is in the context of familiarity (the ‘known’) and moves into the ‘unknown’ (new ways of approaching your high range, new ways of beginning a tone, etc.) within himself. So we move from the known (your habits) to the unknown (new habits you may not have thought of) in a familiar, safe space, with someone you know and trust.This is where you experiment, in the lesson and then especially in your practice. We try something we don’t know how to do already, within a familiar... read more
The shortest distance between two points is a straight line. : )
Always practice WITH your child when they first start to learn an instrument. Contrary to many people's beliefs, practicing does not come naturally, just like wanting broccoli over chocolate or cleaning their room over playing do not come naturally. Children need to be taught the virtues of commitment, focus and effort. If you send your child away to practice in a room all alone, it's almost like punishing them. They will feel rejected and sent away and will not easily develop a love for the piano (or other instrument). But if you practice WITH them, then the instrument acquires an emotional importance, it's time spent WITH mommy or daddy. After you have spent many hours practicing with your child, you can SLOWLY wean yourself away, first by alternating half a practice time with them, half without, then alternating whole practices by themselves and with you again, and so forth. Remember, the fact that your child does not naturally gravitate to the piano does not mean they... read more