Play Piano Today With Dr. J

Posts Tagged ‘music lessons

“We always overestimate the change that will occur in the next two years and underestimate the change that will occur in the next ten. Don’t let yourself be lulled into inaction.”- Bill Gates

Moving on is not about never looking back. It’s about taking a glance at yesterday and noticing how much you’ve grown since then.

“Since you are like no other being ever created since the beginning of time you are incomparable.” – Brenda Ueland

Let’s make this summer a time to reflect in order to move on with purpose and a strong sense of where we want to be. What are the musical high points of the past few years? What really worked for you?

Dr. Jeannine Jordan, creator of organ and media events and concert organist

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.

Every productive piano practice session is composed of several things.  First, each practice session should have a specific goal in mind.  Is that goal to be able to play a specific cadence of a repertoire piece successfully or to work out an intricate rhythm, or to practice technique only with exercises and scales or to work on memory?  The possibilities are endless, but every piano practice session should have a goal.

Once the goal is set, make sure you know how the finished passage or exercise, or cadence will sound.

Second devise a piano practice plan.  Determine how much time you will spend on specific activities or when you will let yourself move to the next challenge.

What methods will you use?  How will you get to your goal – by using a metronome, by practicing rhythms away from the keyboard, by playing short sections, or by working on fingering?

Determine how you will know when you are finished for the piano practice session.  Has the timer run out or are you finished when you are tired or when you have accomplished your goal.

Answer those questions and your piano practice sessions will be a sucess and it will be a joy to make music on the piano.

From time to time, I use a recording device in my piano teaching.  It has been met with mixed results for my students.  Some students enjoy hearing themselves play and are amazed at their progress.  Other piano students are appalled at their lack of progress and their shoddy playing.

The students who find the recorded piano lessons helpful are usually those who follow good practice routines and who diligently and carefully prepare repertoire within their abilities.  These students accept the level of their playing prior to hearing their recordings.  They have a soundscape in their mind that is close to their actual abilities and skills.

These students are usually pleasantly surprised by the quality of their piano playing and are eager to accept feedback.  They more quickly make changes and want to record themselves again and again to hear the improvements they have made.  These students mirror their teacher’s experience with a recorder as a device to learn from and design ways to improve their piano playing.

The students who find the recording of their piano lessons stupefying at best and simply awful at most are those who have attempted to learn pieces beyond their current abilities.  These students “hear” themselves playing on a much higher level than in reality they are.  The recording points out flaws on the most basic level – note inaccuracies, incorrect rhythms, and great flexibility in tempo to compensate for lack of the technical skills needed to play the repertoire they have chosen.

These students sadly realize they have not been applying good piano practice techniques to repertoire more suited to their abilities.  Hence, their goals and their ways of achieving those goals have to be redesigned.  This is difficult for many beginning adult pianists. However, once the student has overcome the shock of actually hearing the sounds they are creating in real time, they are usually eager more open to pursuing their goals in a more appropriate manner.

To record or not record a beginning pianist’s lesson?  It is exaltation for some and peril turning to discovery and skill building for others.  Recording is a wonderful tool for a beginning student of the piano.

What does a person need to become a pianist?  A piano and a desire to play?  Or is there more to it than that?

Definitely a keyboard instrument is a necessity.  Having an instrument on which to develop your skills and share your music is a must if a person is to become a pianist.

Having a method to study and a teacher to guide you are also important.

However, most everything else that allows a person to become a pianist is intrinsic.  These are values that come from inside a person.  We will say that the first intrinsic value, the innate desire is there to become a pianist, but what else is necessary?

Ability
Attention to detail
Drive
Effort
Goal Orientation
Passion
Patience
Perseverance
Time
Understanding

To understand what it takes to become a pianist a person must take the journey in his or her own way, using his or her own abilities, fulfilling his or her own dreams, passions and desires with effort, patience and perseverance in his or her own time.

Visit Play Piano Today With Dr. J if you are ready to start the piano playing adventure.



    • 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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