Recently, I’ve been working a lot with very young primary school children, which is a new venture for me, as my school teaching in the past has been largely with 11-18 year olds.
Anyway, armed with my extensively prepared lesson plans, visual aids and songs, I bounded into the first lesson…only to discover that it took the first 10 minutes to get everyone into a circle, and that in between the lines of “How much is that doggie in the window”, every child seemed to have a more and more outlandish story about what their puppy got up to, and why was this one in the window in the first place? So, naturally we got through about a quarter of what I had planned!
I quickly learned that a totally different set of skills and a different approach to lesson planning was required to teach those young children.
So I’ve been thinking about this, and how it applies to us as piano teachers…how often, for instance, on our business cards do we use the slogan ” piano lessons from beginner to diploma”! I think big changes are on the way…take a look at this video…
One word to transform your pupils’ playing..
The first time I had ever heard the term “arm weight” in conjunction with piano playing was many years ago when I had lessons with the renowned teacher Joan Last. At her picturesque cottage in the south of England, she demonstrated clearly how if I released a lot of the tension in my forearm, my cantabile playing would be transformed… it was! The magic word is FREEDOM.
Her book on the subject, “Freedom in Piano Technique”, I recommend to all my diploma students..I have a copy in my bookshelf.
Often my teaching students will mention having pupils with harsh tone, or who are unable to “sing out” a melody with their right hand..well, lack of freedom is probably contributing to that.
What’s on in the next few months..
- Foundation Course for the teaching of Early Childhood Music is ready to go. This is taught through out sister company Pianotots Ltd, and will run eventually in Northern Ireland and London.
- Diploma classes will run as usual over the summer
- “Finding a Strategy, Formula and System” half day business course for Piano Teachers will also run between June and September. It’s for small groups of 2-4 teachers, who want an educational day out!
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