Thursday, August 9, 2012

Piano Lesson Tips for Newbies

My primary "job" has always been in music.  I hold a Masters degree in Piano Performance and sounds all fancy schmancy, doesn't it?!  When I moved to Arizona 10 years ago, it was to get this degree.  I've been teaching steadily since my move here and it's CRAZY that I have students who are now married, graduating from university and driving actual vehicles!!

With the school year starting up again, I thought I'd post a few tips for students and parents who are just beginning their musical journey in piano lessons.

#1.  Readiness:  It seems like a no-brainer to make sure your kids are ready and willing...but you'd be surprised how many parents want their kids to start before they're ready.  There is no "magic" age, but an industry standard would be around 7 years old.  Boys tend to do better when they start a little later, but I've also started some boys at age 3 and 4...because they've been WILLING, they've been READY.

#2.  Teacher:  Find a QUALIFIED teacher.  Not everyone who can play piano can teach piano.  Not everyone who teaches piano can actually play piano very well.  Having someone who is good at both is ideal!  Ask your teacher what level they feel comfortable teaching up to.  The higher the level they are comfortable with, the more education they should have.  Beware of teachers without formal training charging the same amount as teachers with M.Mus, and DMAs...there is a BIG difference!!  Beware of teachers trying to teach beyond their true abilities.

#3.  Piano:  YOU NEED ONE!  No piano?  No progress.  You cannot learn to play an instrument spending 40 mins, once a week at the piano.  You don't need a Steinway, but you do need an acoustic piano.  No matter what the guy at the music store tells you about weighted keys on the digital piano, THEY ARE NOT THE SAME THING.  That said, if the digital piano is all that you have available, it's doable...and by digital piano, I mean a Yamaha or Roland....not the 20 key toy casio you got at radio shack ;-)

#4.  Materials:  Not every piano book method is a good one!  Piano method books get updated regularly...just like all good textbooks, piano methods are updated, revised and designed to keep up with the latest science in teaching.  If your teacher is using an ANCIENT piano method book (john thompson!), it's time to keep looking.  Your teacher should be current on the new approaches, various teaching styles and methods.

#5.  Practice:  It has to happen!  Regularly.  With focus.  With a goal.  It's the ONLY way to get better.

Piano lessons are a GREAT place to start for your new little musician. Here's to a wonderful year of music making!

Have questions? Click on the contact me link and drop me an email!


1 comment:

  1. May I point out one other thing? If you find a teacher you adore but the teacher isn't taking on students right now (for a variety of reasons), ask for a recommendation. Teachers are connected and know of other good teachers in the area. :)