Feedback in Lessons – A Personal Account

I believe there are 4 very important elements integral to piano lessons. The first is playing music together. The second is learning how to practice. The third is learning new concepts. The fourth is feedback.

Feedback- Good or Bad?

As a piano teacher, I often swing back and forth between feeling like I am too “easy” or too “tough” with my expectations. Because my students are at the age of 5-10, I do not expect perfection in execution.  However, I do often find myself correcting my students’ mistakes over and over again. After all, it is what my job is right?

The major issue with this is that students get frustrated that they can not perform the correction. In response, I find it instinctual to continue working on the problem, until we hear one solid good take. However, I remind myself this is not always possible!

It is true that progress in piano comes with repetitions. However, it is important to remember that endless repetition is not the answer. Not only does repetitive block practicing discourage students, it prevents students from understanding the piece as a whole song.

In addition, this kind of teaching limits the amount of music the student can learn in a year.  Instead, I aim to expose the students in reading as much music as possible, so they have a better understanding of how music works.

Furthermore, I find that since all students are amateurs working to improve, the lesson can appear to be a lot of criticism. Like all people, young students like to be encouraged and feel that they are making progress.

In 2017, I vow to encourage my students more and make an effort to praise their progress. Instead of shaming their mistakes, I will look to help them understand their weaknesses and provide options.


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Halloween Month at EN Music Studio

sketches-page-48Happy Halloween!

At the end of our Halloween-themed month, I asked the students to look at 3 different Halloween scenarios and create a musical soundtrack to it. The goal is to invoke different moods and feelings using what we learned in piano. Of course, a major component of this exercise is using minor keys. What about other aspects of music to create a feeling? Let’s go over them now!

The Ghost

For me, the ghost in the graveyard should suggests moods such like eeriness, and loneliness. Sounds that can be used to invoke this type of mood include softer sounds, playing higher notes, and having more space between each note. Because this picture does not have a lot of action, the melody should remain calm and collected to reflect the nature of the setting.


sketches-page-49The Vampire

I was specific in letting the kids know that I was not looking for the vampire that’s asleep in his casket during the day. I was looking to create music to the vampire about to attack! For this action-packed picture, I suggest louder sounds, stronger articulations, and a faster tempo. By playing faster, and playing more aggressively, we can create a tense suspenseful sound. For this picture, I was looking to invoke emotions such as fear and terror.


The Witch

In this picture of the witch creating a potion in her cauldron, I wanted to the students to invoke feelings of mystery, drama, and wonder. We achieve this by using a fast tempo, a quiet dynamic, and rapid connected notes. By playing the minor scale in this fashion, we can create a wall of sound that rings in the air, like how the potion’s smokes fills the air.

Next up, Holiday music!

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5 Ways EN Music Studio is Reducing Paper

5 Ways EN Music Studio is Reducing Paper


For 2016, I am aiming to reduce paper usage for EN Music Studio; even as a small business, I find myself swimming in paper invoices, receipts, and copies of policies and signatures. While the look of producing paperwork for clients is classic, the time it takes to create and print these documents, and create a system to keep track of everything is both time-consuming and inefficient. Even at my most organized, I found myself digging through boxes for a specific page of a document. Although I do love using pencil and paper while having piano lessons, it’s time to get with the technology wave!
In 2016, I plan to:

    1. Digitize all my documents and business receipts
      • No more bent corners and crumpled papers!


    2. Organize my documents into clearly labelled digital folders for easy access.


  1. Transfer to a digital invoicing and receipt system.
      • Parents will enjoy an easier system of keeping track of invoices!


  2. Begin reading music from my iPad (I downloaded this great score reading app forScore!)
      • No more page flips!


  3. Make use of apps for teaching (for rhythm studies, ear training/aural skills, composition)


This way, I save time from searching for paperwork, organizing it, and fighting with the printer. While I will still likely to teach students to read music off a page, I also want to teach them to read from a tablet screen. I do not believe the entire industry switch to paper-free is very far away! Piano is a timeless art, but I want my method of teaching piano lessons to always remain current and relevant to the students