Key Views

MrEvan's Piano Views

The Importance of Feeling Successful When Learning Piano

Every teacher, no matter what subject, who is interested in the success of their students studies what works when it comes down to motivating their students. Most of us think that practicing makes successful music students...and this is undeniably true. Ahhh, but how to get them to practice...that is the question. I have found that the feeling of success is key to further progress at the piano. Set up the right conditions where a student feels successful and....you will get more success! Its sort of funny how it works. It's a little counterintuitive, but it works. A student who feels successful is motivated to learn more...their mind is open, anxious, willing to except more knowledge. This in turn will foster more success in the future. For instance, one of my students said after winning a medallion at a MTAC Festival: "I didn't know I could ever win a prize like that!" He anxiously awaited the next musical challenge I put before him. His Mom wisely framed the medallion, Certificate and placed it above the piano where we both could look at it. Success opens our doorway to further knowledge, and more knowledge leads to more accomplishment and success. Success expands the mind and makes it willing to take on new and harder challenges. I use several levels of rewards to increase the chances that my students will be proud of their accomplishments and keep the success snowball rolling...


MrEvan

True "Adventures" in Piano Teaching

 

True Story 1-- Enthusiastically, I walked into the spacious home for the first time. There a 10 year old young lady sat at the piano. As I asked whether she would play something her eyes teared, her mouth turned down and the silence was deafening. Hmmm. As I Looked through the notes and previous teachings a story of confusion presented itself. Her father, beside us, a real working musician wondered together with me how his daughter could "buck the family tradition" and appear to be turned off to music? Together all of us sat awkwardly waiting for awhile and we were rewarded: she played something! (Hooray!) With doubts about going forward, her father asked about my teaching. I explained that the way that piano is presented at the beginning is really crucial to someone's progress. That if the piano is presented in one way, the result will be confusion and will end the way it had with his daughter. However if it were presented in another way, piano would become easy and the results would be entirely different. Now this is a true story -- at the end of lesson #1, this student's attitude did a 180 degree turn. By the end of lesson 2, she was happily on the road to new adventures and excited about the prospect of playing music with her Dad. She is now accessing her knowledge her previous piano lesson experience and moving forward in spirit and to greater musical adventures.

What changed? What was the magic about this dramatic turnaround? Simply,piano teaching demands accurate calibration of frustration levels and how to present the material to get around the humps.
 

True Story Continued! -- Another brand new student waited just down the road the same day.Yes...both these students had the same teaching experience. The parent called me after listening to her daughter and decided they needed a change. This student's attitude was easily retrievable. Having had 4 great lessons the parent says she doesn't have to ask her student anymore to practice...that she willingly sits down and does this.

Lessons Learned below--

Attitude of your student counts for so much in piano teaching. Although it is said "change is a good thing" --we want to avoid that in the first year piano student/teacher relationship. Since attitude is everything - if we lose their positive attitude to confusion in the 1st year of lessons, that's usually permanent. So let's see...do you remember a teacher that made a difference for you? (Got one?) With music it is especially true that the teacher makes a difference. Why? Tuned in music teaching is about possibilities. For example, selections that appeal to different musical taste, chances to improvise and compose, and opportunities to perform. Saving money is very much part of this equation. A piano teacher's committment is to your child growing in love with their music. A happy camper for a piano student means that you didn't have to press the redo button.