CHILDREN AND PIANO
goal of piano lessons is to get your child to play the piano,
with all the benefits that naturally follow: higher math scores,
better handwriting, and better schoolwork in general.
But there's a
hidden secret to an entirely different layer of experience for
kids, and that is the mood factor.
There is a
reason I use humor so much in my lessons for kids, and the
secret is endorphins.
neurohormones that are secreted in humans when they feel good.
One of the easiest ways to raise your endorphin levels is to
laugh, or engage in fun behavior.
Thus the first
thing I do in the lesson is break the ice and let the child know
that I am there to help and support, not judge and denigrate.
this early in my teaching career, for I noticed that a smiling
child is far easier to teach than one with a scowl on his face.
So my first
goal is to get the spirit of fun and humor going. In only a few
minutes you will discover the child asking you to play songs,
wanting to learn more on their own. And if they are not that
interested, humor will at least allow them to attempt to stomach
whatever "hard" knowledge you can give them that day.
is what I say to myself, and the result is unchanging. If I back
off, children are willing to go further. If I push further
without backing off, they will take it for a few minutes, but
then you can see them, second by second, fading like bored
audience members shrinking from a bad play.
"soft" approach really does is treat the child like a
person, not a vassal as they are treated all day at school. Show
you're willing to bend, bend, and then show you want a simple
job done. They will do it.
Perhaps a half
hour of being treated like a real person is more beneficial to a
child than any music lesson. Combine the two and you have a
memorable and educational experience for a child.
In other words,
a piano teacher should produce endorphins in the child first,
and then engage in brief, intense intellectual work.
I'm not all
fun and games, although from my writings I know I'm perceived
as a very theatrical teacher. But I am serious as well, in turn,
and ask for musical work very firmly. But firm is not negative
in any way, it just allows the child no space to argue because
they have just had their fun. They begin to understand the trade
of fun for work, and a clever teacher will then find ways of
making the "fun" insidiously educational as well.
approach is slightly different with a child who is committed and
talented and practices on their own. These kids I treat like
young musical artists: they bring me their repertoire and we
work on it together. Still, my approach, within this
environment, is largely humorous as well.
kids are put at ease by a genial and affable teacher, just like
the younger ones. The difference is the older ones are already
hooked, whereas we are trying to recruit the younger ones as
hobbyists. Hence the different approach.
forget that these older, talented kids were once the very kids
we spoke of, the youngest ones just starting piano. They will
get much further if they are led to believe that there is fun in
music, despite the intense work.
All work and no
play makes Jack a dull pianist.
All play and no
work makes Jack a child.
to combine the two Jacks for any chance of success in
children�s piano lessons.
Aschenbrenner Copyright 2008 Walden Pond Press All Rights Reserved
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