This afternoon, I had the wonderful privilege of meeting two new, young aspiring musicians. Four and five are young ages, but with a focused attention span, eagerness to learn, and a supportive family, anyone can learn to read music and understand the geography of the piano. We played the usual Hi Ho Cherry-O game, adapted for note values… as well as the finger number foam tracing page. They met Mozart Mouse and Beethoven Bear, and transitioned from feeling very shy, afraid to touch the piano (which happened to be the first time ever – so fun,,,), to warming up and answering questions as we progressed through the interview. I am excited to continue teaching these delightful siblings. :)
My next student asked if she could bring her neighbor, who happens to also be a wonderful student, to her lesson… since they were already hanging out. I ok’d it, and asked them both to bring their theory books. We worked on music theory, constructing pentascales, and a little music history/composers time. It was a fun change of pace, perfect for summer. My student, scheduled for that time, informed me that she and her mom had come up with a game for practices at home, using game pieces adapted for piano. So proud of her! Students who take creativity and learning upon themselves, will make tremendous progress. She also understands and knows all 12 pentascales! :)
Next student, we got to reminisce a little. I found some duplicate studio photos from recitals years ago. One of which, was of her… it is always fun to observe and discuss the amazing progress made. I told her today, that rarely does there come a student so motivated and so focused, as to tackle as much music as she conquers each week. Even with an hour lesson, we usually run out of time trying to cover it all… and with any in-depth study, the lesson flies by! At the end, as a reward for her diligent work, she played Dust Buster piano games (placing 17th & 6th in the WORLD for the day on her respective songs of choice). Then, also for fun, we tackled the first part of her Christmas piano duet, Jingle Bells. It is certainly a fun piece! Piano is enjoyable for those who work hard. Great job!!
Next, only a couple years ago, she transferred studios from a dear friend of mind. Her music foundation was solid and well-taught. It has been a true delight guiding her toward her music goals ever since. This summer, she asked me to teach her what I know of guitar, in addition to the piano and theory we already do together. Because she understands, reads, and loves music already, I agreed… and it has been the best thing for my own guitar goals. Nothing like a little motivation! I have been teaching piano for just over 10 years now, voice for just over 4 years, and music theory since the very beginning. Guitar… 2013 and beyond, I hope. :) Two weeks ago, I asked her to get her guitar restrung. It apparently was in much need of repair, and her family took the recommendation of our local music store to purchase a new guitar. She loves it! I’ve enjoyed working through two books with her, as well as playing a very fun iPad app designed for live guitar games and instruction (with a real, held guitar). I am looking forward to these music lessons each week!
My last student of the day didn’t practice. But it was a wonderful lesson nevertheless. Everyone has an occasional rough week, busy with sports, life, visitors, traveling… and we make the most of it. Just two weeks ago, she tackled the entire primer level of Faber’s Piano Adventures, and by the third week at the piano (she is normally a voice student), she had started Level 1, the official 2nd level in the series. When students come unprepared to a lesson, we don’t take it easy or usually play games… we use the opportunity to tackle as much theory as possible, or work on honing a needed skill. She did such a wonderful job at everything I requested of her, that we did manage to play some music games… but the best thing about that?… while playing games after a non-practicing week, students often don’t realize they are actually tackling harder material than if they had diligently tackled their work daily in the first place. No reason to make it dull! Just keep learning… just keep learning, learning, learning. :) I am very proud of you, for several reasons. Even though you didn’t practice, you still came to your lesson. You brought all your books and materials. You listened and followed instructions. You also mentioned interest in singing at this coming Christmas recital. You have a natural ability for piano that helps make it easy to tackle… I wish you understood that you really are good at this. You, dear piano gal, can do it.
This has been a great day. I am worn out at the end of the day, but am energized knowing you all did your best, and that you continue to work hard both at home and in your lessons, because you love to play. No one is making you do this. For some wonderful reason, you love it… whether or not you have an audience. You work hard, and you look forward to performing and sharing your music with others. Even if I don’t write this way about any other day I teach, I would like all my amazing students to know how proud I am of you. I am immensely pleased to share life and music with you, as we both pursue a dream… to learn, to love, to share, and to enjoy music and the instruments with which it is expressed. Keep up the great work and see you all again soon. :)