THE OLD SCHOOL TEACHES PIANO THEY WAY THEY DO
don't mean the professors at Juilliard. They're teaching
committed professionals who can take whatever they dish out.
I mean the
local piano teacher down the block who teaches the neighborhood
kids and is known as a taskmaster, a bit dour and unapproving.
This sort of teacher has several books which he uses, and you
must go from page to page, risking his displeasure if you do not
master with gusto each dry, boring (to a child) exercise piece.
I ran across
such a teacher who posted to a forum we have. He wrote, "I
suspect that those who would make piano fun are simply diluting
the value of music education." (I paraphrase.)
value of music education by making it fun? The implication is
that music education should be un-fun or it lacks value.
I'd hate to be
a kid in one of his lessons. Imagine spending a half-hour with
such a sourpuss, a person who believes that it is better if you
don't enjoy his teaching.
teachers like this completely misunderstand the nature of
childhood. Childhood is the time to explore things and see
if they interest you, not be saddled with rote learning that
teachers like this assume that you want to be Horowitz, or
that their job is to make you into Horowitz. How about
playing some Horowitz recordings and showing the kid what
can be done with the instrument?
teachers like this believe that the only way to learn piano
is the way they learned piano. Here's the problem: your
students are not you.
teachers like this have no concept of where the piano is NOW
in history: the piano is about to become extinct because of
their style of teaching. What the world needs now is more
kids generally interested in the piano, who become
interested in concerts, who start to listen to good music.
The strict piano teachers have destroyed this cycle of
amateur interest with their ridiculous expectations.
teachers like this are only concerned with filling their
lessons and making money. They have no thought of what the
piano will be in four generations. I'll tell you what the
piano will be if we go on like this: a piece of furniture in a
museum, rather than a part of childhood that sits in your
To that piano
teacher who was worried about diluting the value of music
education with fun:
foolish methods have eventually turned off every child to the
piano, you will have no students to pay you. Since you are only
interested in money, you will have destroyed you own Golden
Goose. But you don't think about the future. You want your money
Here's the 99%
rule which will help you see why you should "dumb
down" piano lessons for the vast majority of children:
of the kids who start piano will never be more than amateur
hobbyists. The conventional teachers see this as bad. I see
it as very good for the future of piano and music, and for
the kids who are lucky enough to include piano music in
their lives. We need as many people interested in the piano
on any level, or it will become extinct. It's almost extinct
now, you fools.
.01% left over may become gifted amateurs who are the heart of
the piano world. 99% of those gifted amateurs will never go
of those gifted amateurs might go to a conservatory. 99% of
them will fail at their careers if they seek fame, for there
are no record companies, and no public venues or interest.
It doesn't matter how good you are if there is no interest
and no jobs.
the 1% who don't fail at a piano career, 99% will starve
because the concert mechanism in America has been
systematically destroyed by the very people overseeing it,
largely the record companies who became obsessed with
profits in the 70s and 80s.
With this 99%
rule in mind, perhaps now you see how foolish it is to treat
kids as if they were destined to become the one pianist who
survives this ridiculous system.
A good question
is, '"When is it appropriate to dilute music education with
fun?" The answer is, "Whenever you are attempting to
interest a child in the piano." PERIOD.
In closing, to
the piano teacher who said that fun dilutes the value of music
You should be
working for a government agency, spreading your virulent
nonsense and destroying interest in the piano for billions of
would probably give you a grant. They surely will never give me
one to spread interest in the piano.