piano lessons richmond bc


Too Young for Piano Lessons?

One of the most common questions I get asked, is if any age is too young to begin piano lessons. On the basis that child development can be so vastly different, the answer to that is complicated. Adding to that complication, is the expectation of piano lessons in regards to the child’s developmental stage. ¬†Here are some guidelines of how I assess a child’s readiness for piano lessons.

Eric’s Guidelines

  1. Piano students are able to maintain basic sanitary needs. As lessons are short, students should be in control of their toilet habits so that lessons can be focused on music and piano. In addition, piano students are asked to refrain from sucking on thumbs, and understand basic cough/sneeze protocols.
  2. Piano students are capable of separation from parents for the duration of the lesson. While the parent is welcomed to watch, private piano lessons is based on the one on one connection between teacher and student.
  3. Piano students have an understanding of fragility of things. The studio piano is not a toy, but a tool for students to learn and grow on. That being said, actions such as hitting, spitting, or slamming shut the piano lid are prohibited. While expectations of this will be taught to the student and parent, it is expected that the child has a developing ability to self-regulate their actions.
  4. Piano students have a growing interest in the piano and music. While it is not expected for children to develop a flaming passion overnight, teacher and parents should see a growing flicker of interest from week to week. If a student is actively expressing discomfort and refusing to participate in lesson activities, parents and teacher will meet to discuss further actions.

Guidelines above are meant to be just that- guidelines. All cases are unique due to student interest, relationship between student and teacher, and parental expectations. Throughout the year, I will check in with parents and students to discuss. These discussions are an opportunity for parents to speak on their expectations and their observations. Remember, the mandate of EN Music Studio is to foster creativity and honour the authenticity of students.


Grind of Classical Music

Last week, I began working on Chopin’s Nocturne in D flat Major. It was a piece I have heard over and over again in my life but never had a chance to learn. A classic! Beautifully written with a soaring melodic line and rich dramatic harmonies.

Also, not the easiest piece. Not for me at least. After all my music education, I often feel that I should be able to sightread every piece of music out there. In fact, I feel a little embarrassed admitting this!

Even after 18 years of experience, my progress in learning new classical music seems familiar. I break down the piece into chew-able sections that I can work on. I don’t get all the notes and rhythms right every time. Sometimes I don’t even get it right by the end of my practice session. After getting to know the notes and rhythm more, I start to think about dynamics, phrasing, expression. I know that all of this will take me more time. Although I want to be able to perfect the piece in one day, I know that this is the grind of classical music. Classical music is full of technical challenges, complex twists and turns, and potential for creative expression

However, despite the familiarity of the grind, I noticed that I’ve learned concepts that help push me along throughout the years

  1. I practice better. No longer do I play something from beginning to end repeatedly. I employ random practicing, instead of block practicing and see my improvement accelerate
  2. I keep it consistent. Even when feeling discouraged, I schedule 30 minutes of my day to practice.
  3. I celebrate the small progresses. Even if I can’t play the whole piece smoothly, I celebrate the sections that I notice has improved.
  4. I improvise. Besides the classical music, I book off time in my schedule to improvise and create other types of music. It makes me feel that there is variety and options in my journey.

 


Simple Creativity Tips

Hi everyone,

As you may be aware, living a creative life is one of my priorities in life. I think that being creative encourages a zest for life- which I need! For me, I am most happy when I feel that I am being authentic and open to change.

That being said, I am always looking for ways to be more creative in my every day life. In my daily grind, I often find myself working into a rut. With many tasks and routines to get through, I tend to focus more on efficiency, rather than creativity. How can I do this better with less time?

Of course, the number 1 tip for living a creative life…is to create. Write a blog! Write songs! Draw! Even if it’s only for 10 minutes every day, that dedicated time adds up. At the end of the week, you would have been creative for more than an hour.

Today, I want to talk about injecting creativity into our everyday tasks. This helps boost that 10 minutes a day into an all day lifestyle direction.

  1. Add little differences to your meals– ¬†cooking is my biggest challenge! I personally do not love cooking, but understand it is essential to my living. While making breakfast, I often experiment with little changes. Little things such as a different way I cut my avocado to different arrangements on the plate make a huge difference! Not only does it visually looks different, I feel myself more aware of what I’m doing- breaking out of the mundane routine. I also enjoy that I get to be more aware of what kind of foods I like and don’t like.
  2. Go for a 10 minute walk everyday, but walk in a different direction every day. I enjoy exploring my neighbourhood! It gives me different visual input everyday.
  3. Don’t use your phone while you wait for things– whether at the grocery store, at the elevator, or on your break at work, I try not to use my phone as a distraction tool. Breathe in every minute! The break from digital media helps me discover my own thoughts.

With these small changes, I find that I participate in my life much more actively, which is a key component of feeling creative.