piano


What to Expect When Your Child Takes Piano Lessons

Piano lessons are often extensive multi-year long journeys. At the age of 26, I have had 15 years of piano lessons. EN Music Studio supports a 3 year curriculum that can be extended based on student interest. That being said, it is often hard for parents to imagine what piano lessons look like when they first register their child.

Being a pianist is a process, not a product.

As a teacher, I can not promise that your child will become a concert pianist at the end of the one year mark. Of course, there are curriculum expectation and guidelines; however, there is no “aha!” moment when a student becomes a pianist. EN Music Studio believes that students are pianists from the day they start playing the piano; while they may not be playing Beethoven by week 2, everything they create on the piano is part of their journey.

At the age of 26, with 3 certifications in piano, I can not point to you the moment in the time I felt like I was a pianist. As far I am concerned, I am both a pianist and a piano student every day. The piano is a expansive topic; there are no ending point.

Good Weeks and Bad Weeks

Even as someone with a self-declared passion for the piano, I have had good weeks and bad weeks with the piano. I am talking about both my past with piano lessons, and my current weeks!

Imagine a relationship with the piano as any human relationships. There are moments are deep passion, happiness, light-heartedness, sadness, rage, and frustration. It is in fact these emotions that give the piano so much life.

Piano lessons are a deeply personal project. There are weeks where a student will pour their heart out into a creation. Some weeks they find beauty in pieces they didn’t know existed. There are weeks they feel defeated and not good enough. This is all part of the great journey of the piano lessons.

The Role of the Parent and Teacher

The role of the parent and teacher is to support the child throughout this up and down journey. There are points that your child will feel like quitting! This moment will be up to your and the teacher’s interpretation. Is this because of a temporary block? Or is the student’s shifting their musical interests? Could the teacher support the child’s learning style better?

It is the teacher’s role to guide the student like in any other project-based work. The teacher will moniter their child’s progress, providing opportunities for the student to renew interest, to learn new concepts, and to provide resources to their creations.

 

Take Lessons with Eric Here

 


Free Exploration

Natural Free Exploration

Children love the potential of the piano. Within minutes of having an empty piano in a space, I see children gravitate to the bench. I see them hit the same key repeatedly, observing that the pitch doesn’t change. In addition, I watch them vary their strength (usually to the upper dynamic level!), to test out the power of the piano. Even further, I observe them go up (right) and down (left) with joy, experiencing the huge range of notes.

The piano is unique, in the fact that it’s easy to make pitches. In fact, you could literally slam your fist down, and create a cluster of pitches. Compare this to using pencil crayons! Pencil crayons are easy to use; press the tip against the paper…and ta da! Colour.

Some instruments are not this easy. Have you ever tried to play the flute or trumpet before? Think back to your first time trying to blow a solid note. How did it go? For me, it was a huge mess! I mostly sputtered all over, with no discernible pitch. Those instruments add tremendous value to how our body relates to the instrument to make music. However, for a beginner, it is much harder to explore before that basic technique is achieved.

EN Music Studio truly believes free exploration is important to the student. Just like when a child learns to draw, we can not force them immediately to draw an apple or tree. They are more likely to scribble! To explore the different effects one can achieve depending on the weight of the pencil, the pencil type, and the different drawing strokes.

Piano is no different. Before we create fine art, the student needs time to explore the canvas of the piano freely. If stifled into a strict exercise only routine, piano students will view piano as an academic subject, and not as an artistic one. There is nothing wrong with the academic side of piano! The question is: what are you intending for the piano lessons to bring to the children?

 

 


Tracking progress 

Tracking progress is something that is often neglected, yet so vital to the learning process.

It is important for the teacher to track progress, so he/she may have a more holistic understanding of the students’ musical knowledge. By having the whole picture, it is advantageous in isolating weak areas and celebrating strong areas. Every student is different!

Reflection

It is natural to forget the path we walked on- for example, at one point, walking was our most difficult challenge as humans, yet very few of us recall that journey. Music can feel the same way; I can hardly remember the challenges of reading notes 17 years later. Tracking our progress gives us concrete examples that we are constantly growing, even when we feel as though we are in a rut.

Most importantly, tracking our progress visually/audibly lets us reflect back on our journey. Remember when this rhythm concept seemed difficult? Here I am using it now 3 months later! This is the real power source behind motivation- look…I can do this! It takes time and work but it is possible

Distinctive styles also emerge as we reflect on our music- everyone leans towards particular keys, rhythms and melodic patterns. In documenting our work, we become more in tune with what is authentic about our work. We may also find inspirations in knowing that there are things we have not tried.

Track your progress, because you will enjoy looking back like we do with old pictures.