Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Abstracts...

"The First Year of Lessons"
-Beverly Strathmann
("The Clavier"- September 2004 Issue)

In this article, the author talks about the great joys of teaching a person how to play the piano who has never had any experience at all. The teacher begins the first lesson with a parent-student interview, and how practicing at home and lessons will work.
Before the student plays a note he/she is shown different pianos and compares them while they study the piano inside and out. Soon the student can't wait to play the piano and the teacher will demonstrate how to play their first complete piece. At the end of their first lesson, which is normally about 45 minutes, the student and teacher will review the practicing assignment. The begginner will recieve a foam ball to help the hand shape while playing. The student will leave with a smile and a look of anticipation as they begin piano lessons.
The author enjoys teaching these children and feels that being a student's first piano teacher is a rewarding responsibility.

"Practice Can Be A Pleasure"
-Jan Mittelsteadt
("The Clavier"- September 2004)

In this article the author discusses many practice methods that can be fun, but at the same time very helpful!
It begins by explaining that certain "jumps" in pieces are sometimes hard for students. The way to fix this is having the student practice the jumps silently. This can become a game; if the student does the jump five times in a row perfectly, then he/she gets to play the notes out loud. Sometimes in a piece the melody will pass between the two hands. When this happens, the student should practice the accompaniment parts slightly touching the keys, while playing the melody loud and with arm weight. One of the many other ways to teach good technique and practicing methods, is through accompanying and ensemble playing. To help students feel rhythm, the teacher will sing while they play the tunes.
All of these practice techniques and more, are only effective if the student practices consistently. A simple reward system may motivate young students to set aside time to practice everyday. The auther believes that teachers who develope a practice plan will help students to develope coordination, muscle control and a feel for rhythm. In the end, they will be helping students to learn music independently, which should be the goal of good teaching.