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Winter Recital 2016 Trivia

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Discipline of Piano

As a piano teacher, I am constantly thinking of ways to push my students’ progress forward, while thinking of ways to keep it fun and creative. This can be sometimes be polarizing; how can I keep it fun, when it requires exercises and drills to develop those strong agile fingers of a pianist? 

My mentors taught me to practice often, with as much heart as possible. Simply put: practice does indeed make perfect. When we practice consistently, we build a relationship with the piano with our fingers. We start to memorize the hand shapes for different chords. We begin to free ourselves of the technical restrictions between the fingers and the piano, and finally create the music inside us with no inhibitions.

However, asking children to do their scales everyday isn’t very effective. They don’t see the long term goal of building strong technique. They want to make music right then and there. They have ideas and want to express them. Trying to force them through technical drills…definitely not perceived as fun.

But without the proper technique, they simply can’t execute their ideas. Low endurance and agility will limit creativity.

Even with prize incentives, positive encouragements, and support from the parents, (most) kids simply do not want to do their scales.

Discipline, however difficult, should be considered for its values. It teaches children the importance of focus and perseverance. Piano lessons reinforce the value of beginning and completing projects, despite hardship. It teaches children to think of long term value, and experience delayed gratification.

Furthermore, piano is kind of like riding a bike. Just like a bike, you won’t forget how to ride once you know the technique of how. Piano is just a longer process; this process can be sped up by consistent, mindful practicing

The choice to practice or not is always up to the musician. We are told to practice. Almost everyone understands that practice makes us better musicians. Discipline is not always beautiful, but it is the force that helps us choose “Yes, I can”, instead of “No, I don’t want to.”

Take Lessons with Eric here

 


Leader

Hi there,

During my time of teaching at EN Music Studio, I have learned that no two students are alike. That being said, I simply can not apply a standard curriculum to each student. For example, some students have more natural dexterity in their fingers, some students have more of an aptitude in aural skills, and some students are able to note read faster than others.  All of these issues, and more, can be solved with standard exercises, improvisation challenges, and sometimes imaginative play. However, I am left with the question: what is my role? Am I a teacher who simply supplies exercises based on my interpretation of the situation? Although this may be the most efficient, how can I inspire and teach the love of music? After all, learning to be creative and artistic, is the greatest lesson I can teach my piano students.

The question I get asked most often, is what my teaching method is.  In short, I use a variety of method books, including Thompson, Step by Step, Faber and Faber, and RCM books. These books, with a teacher’s guidance, help the students learn the “ABC’s” of music. Which finger is number 5?  What note is that?  How long do we hold that note for? What’s a slur?

The method of teaching music that I use, however, is a combination of how I approach learning music myself, and what my mentors have passed on to me.  I use a holistic approach that includes classical music, composition, ear training, and improvisation.

The question still remains: How do I continually encourage and inspire my piano students?

Music education is a never ending journey. With two certificates, and one degree in music, I still feel as though there are ocean-deep areas of music I have yet to explore and learn.  I believe that to be a successful music teacher, I must also continue being a student. I am the leader of my piano students, and I aim to be a role model in how to approach new and more difficult challenges in music. I must show the students what it means to be a musician by being a musician myself.

As a leader, I am active in continuing to hone my own piano skills, sharing lessons that I learn on my journey, as well as lessons I have learned from my mentors. As a personal goal, I am to challenge myself with a performance at every studio recital EN Music Studio presents.  In my spare time, I am learning the basics of jazz piano to further expand my horizons.

I want my students to understand that with perseverance and hard work, along with a passion, we are capable of many incredible things. 

Eric

Take Piano Lessons with Eric Here