Play Piano Today With Dr. J

Posts Tagged ‘lessons for beginners

I hope my piano students learn

How to choose a piece of piano music
How to work through a piece of music
How to find “the music” in a particular piano piece
Choosing an appropriate piece of music can be difficult for an adult pianist. Adults have definite ideas about the music they want to learn.  They are musically literate, they listen, they search the Internet, they buy music, they share music, and they find pieces they want to play now!  It is my job to help them discover the beauty in pieces that are within their technical capabilities.

Once the piano piece or pieces are chosen, it is then my task to help them expediently work through the chosen music.  To look for patterns, to work out fingerings, to assist with note reading skills and to make the learning of the piece a constant pleasure.

Once the notes are in place and the piano piece is beginning to take shape, I help my piano students discover the music in the music.  To play the piece more from an emotional perspective then simply an intellectual viewpoint.  We look at dynamics and nuances of phrases and rhythms.  We look for ways to be creative with the black dots on the page and ways to free themselves from the strictures of simply obeying the written symbols when learning to play the piano.

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So, what do I learn every week from my piano students?

Perseverance – steady and continued action or belief, usually over a long period and especially despite difficulties or setbacks.  Learning to play the piano as an adult can be a daunting task, yet week after week, I have students who continue to diligently practice to attain technical proficiency in their piano studies.

Patience – the ability to endure waiting or delay without becoming annoyed or upset.  Learning to play the piano as an adult is a slow process and often the technical ability to reproduce the sounds heard in recordings or in the student’s mind is slow in coming.  The patience required to achieve a modicum of success in playing the piano is immense.

Fortitude – strength and endurance in a difficult situation.  Learning to play the piano as an adult is not accomplished by playing at the piano for a few minutes a week.  It requires mastering difficult eye-hand coordination skills which takes an inordinate amount of time at the piano.

Determination – firmness of purpose, will, or intention.  My adult piano students set goals for each series of lessons.  To fulfill those goals and dreams requires a firm resolve to continue practicing and studying even when the desired results are slow to attain.

I have the privilege of teaching a wonderful group of adult piano and organ students on a weekly basis.  Some of my students are beginners, some are intermediate and some are advanced.  The reasons they are taking piano lessons vary.  Some of the adult piano students are taking lessons to enhance and broaden their skills, some are learning pedagogical techniques, some are studying theory and others are learning to play the piano simply for pure pleasure and enjoyment.

Each of these students brings to their piano lessons a variety of joys, challenges, needs and desires.  I have to but listen to them and to their playing to gain a wealth of information.  So, what do I learn every week from my piano students?  Patience, perseverance, fortitude, determination, discovery, happiness, pride, knowledge and wisdom.  How wonderful it is to be a teacher of piano.

The Pentatonic or Five-Note Method is a method which works especially well for the adult beginning pianist.  Most adults simply want to make music and want to learn to play a song quickly.  The pentatonic method makes this possible.

By focusing on the five black keys on the piano the beginner can start to quickly develop technique and eye hand coordination.  Once the beginning adult pianist discovers the joy of playing several songs and has developed some finger dexterity, they are more encouraged to then start the serious study of learning music notation.

Learning note reading skills and applying theory becomes much easier when a person can already play songs on the piano.  With physical skills in place, complex concepts can then be given the attention needed for success of playing the piano.

I discovered in all my years of teaching that what people really want to do from the first time they sit down at a piano is play a song. Right now, today.

Most people in our busy world don’t have the time for traditional weekly lessons, traditional lessons in which scales and exercises come first and the actual playing of a song might take weeks or months.  They want the thrill of success in hearing themselves play songs immediately.  They want to amaze their friends with their playing prowess.  They are looking for a way to quickly master songs and then deal with the how and why of playing later.

So, with those piano players in mind, the rote pentantoic method was created.  This method is a really enjoyable and successful way to do just what many people want to do and that is to play a song on the piano today.  The pentatonic method would allow that, but the challenge remained of how to get the information to would be piano players quickly and efficiently.

Once I became aware of just how many people want to play the piano without the encumbrances of a teacher and weekly scheduled lesson times, I looked for a solution for those students.   I developed the concept of downloadable piano tutorials.

With these tutorials, the student decides when to try the ideas, and better yet, these tutorials can be viewed right in the comfort of the student’s home using their own keyboard or piano.   Never again does a person have to make sure to block out every Thursday to get to the studio of a piano teacher halfway across town and back.

These pentatonic method tutorials start exactly where would be pianists want to start with playing songs.  They do not start with the, this is a G on the treble clef, stuff.  The idea is to play the piano today.  Not tomorrow or next week.  Today.

Downloadable tutorials give the would be pianist all the information and skills needed to wow their friends and amaze themselves.  The tutorials let the beginner hear how awesome your song will sound and show the student just how to get these mind blowing skills.

The tutorials can be reviewed time and again until the player is You Tube ready. Besides that, learning to play songs on the piano with the rote pentatonic method really is fabulously fun.  So start playing the piano using the pentatonic method and play songs on the piano.



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  • freeonlinemusiclessons: Hey nice blog. I just picked up you RSS FEEDS. Check out my new website, you’ll like it! http://freeonlinemusiclessons.com
  • bhundley1: I'm interested in your elaborating on the "fingering" aspect of practice. Are you a fan of Czerny, for instance, in terms of building up dexterity wi
  • promotionmusic: Thanks for your response. Congratulations to you on the work you are doing in the piano world.

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