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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.

 


Music in The House

Music In The House

Remember when your child (or you!) were first learning your native language? We know that even though babies can’t understand the grammatical complexities of language, we know that they are listening.

That is how we start music lessons! The first step is listening. While many children start piano lessons at school age, they may or may not have had music exposure in their early life. Most children will have had exposure to nursery rhymes and preschool tunes, but have they had exposure to the instrument that they are going to have lesson for?

In the context of piano lessons, it is important to expose them to the sounds of the piano. The easiest way, is to find music they know (from preschool? that you sing to them?) played on the piano. This way, they can connect the two; music with words and music without words are different…but similar!

As a preschool teacher, I often noticed that the children regurgitate things they have heard on TV or YouTube. On a similar note, I have noticed that children spontaneously burst out into songs that we sing in group time. If children hear more piano music in their daily lives, it is conceivable that they would also process the information and begin to produce it.

Noteworthy, I also notice that preschoolers speak very much like their parents, and the teachers. This makes sense, as we are their main source of language inspiration in these early years! With this in mind, I encourage all parents to also participate in playing the piano. Not only can parents participate in the students’ learning, but also learn with the child. By learning with the child, the parent can identify with the child and their musical journey.

Summary:

  1. Play music in the house!- Not only can music set an enjoyable mood, children are indeed listening to and processing the musical information.
  2. Play piano yourself!- Students are encouraged when they see their parents participating, and this could lead to fulfilling bonding experience.
  3. Encourage their playing- even in the beginning stages. Even when their music is still babbles, encourage it! Just like we encourage toddlers to use their language.

Trial Lesson and Interview

Trial Lesson

Hello!

Thank you for considering EN Music Studio. Before registering for a month of a lesson, students and parents are required to go through one trial lesson and interview. This process is free and may happen outside of the regular proposed lesson time.

What should I bring?

If the student has taken piano lessons before, or has a musical background, please bring old workbooks so I may see the method they were taught under.

Do I (parent) have to watch this session?

Parents are not required to watch the session. In fact, I encourage parents to wait elsewhere, as children may be more withdrawn with the parents around. However, I leave this to the best judgement of the parent.

Note: I have a recently completed clean criminal record check, as well as a valid liscense to practice childcare.

What can I expect?

You can expect to go through 4 stages (appropriate to students’ current skill)

  1.  Learning a form of technique
  2.  Playing collaboratively with me
  3.  Creating/recording a tune
  4.  Interview with a parent to confirm  expectations and values

What happens after?

If all parties feel positively towards the lessons, then we will proceed to registration. There is no pressure to register immediately after the trial lesson. However, time slots are first come, first serve; if there is a specific time slot that is needed, I recommend registering as soon as possible.