summer piano lessons


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.

 


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.


Trust Between Music Students and Teachers

Relationship between student and teacher

The relationship between piano student and piano teacher is built on trust. While method books guide students through new concepts and increasingly harder music, students mainly rely on their teachers to build their sense of musicality. This sense of musicality includes sense of timing, rhythm and pitch.  More simply put, method books don’t have “answer keys”. Therefore students must trust their teachers in order to develop their musicality.

Furthermore, piano teachers are responsible for figuring what the next step is. In a perfect world, one method book would suffice in teaching a student. However, like clothes, piano lessons are not a one size fit all. Some students are more technically gifted, with underdeveloped ears. Some students pick up note reading quickly, but can not improvise naturally. The scenarios and situations are endless. It is the teacher’s job to find the route that can help the student progress. After all, music is about progress, not perfection. 

Mistrust

When I was taking piano lessons as a child, I recall feeling frustrated at my teacher’s corrections. I remember rejecting her teachings as irrelevant or not important. I remember asking why certain things had to be one way. I remember feeling frustrated at the repetition of difficult passages. Ultimately, I was questioning my trust in my piano teacher’s method. This mistrust was damaging in my progress as a pianist.

Throughout my journey as a pianist, I began to appreciate my teacher’s efforts more and more. What seemed irrelevant back then now seems obviously important. Some of the lessons were about music; for example, how rhythm is integral to a solid performance. Some of the lessons were about life; it is important to not give up after the first few tries. The mistrust I felt hindered my progress, when my teacher had my interests in mind.

Now as a teacher, I ask for trust from my students. I promise, with all my heart, that I will never ask my students to do something that I believe is unnecessary. I will not ask my students to play music that I find irrelevant to their progress. I will not push my students to practice in a while that is inefficient. My goal is to build creative spirits, with a solid knowledge in musical grammar. Trust me, so we can work together.

 

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