Sunday, August 8, 2010

Music Tip #45 Connections

I love to look for teaching opportunities when I’m giving piano lessons.
“Well, duh,” you say, “Aren’t you teaching all during piano lessons?”
Yes, of course, I’m teaching, but I like to look for opportunities to connect piano teaching with real life teaching. For example, the other day a student played his piece very well, except for all the B flats he missed—about 4 of them. I circled some of the Bs and had him play a passage from the piece again. He still missed the B flats. So I had him circle the B flats himself and then talked to him about noticing the circles. I said, “when you see the circles coming, you need to be prepared to play the B as a B flat.”

That kind of rang a bell in my head, and after he played the B flats perfect this time, we talked about life and what things he should be noticing in life so that he would be prepared.

I have another piano student who is a perfectionist. If she starts making mistakes on a piece of music she thinks she knows well, she gets frustrated and starts crying.
Lately when I see her starting to tear up I interrupt her playing by clapping and saying, "Yeah for you. I love it when students make a mistake and then try to fix it. I don't expect you to be perfect--I'm not. But I love to know that when you make a mistake, you can figure out how to fix it."

Then I ask her if her mother or father get mad at her little brother when he is learning to walk but falls down. She says, "of course they don't". I tell her that's the way I feel when she falls down and makes a mistake in playing. I don't mind at all, because I know she's learning and eventually will play the piece well just like her brother will learn to walk.

It’s those teaching connections that I love to find and help students to relate to. And I don’t even charge extra for them!

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