Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Teaching Piano Lessons

C has been doing really well with his schoolwork. I've been giving him about 5 worksheets to do every morning and he quickly whips them out. I've gotta find harder ones I guess...He's really, really getting excited about going to kindergarten. It will be a lot of fun for him. He recently played at his third piano recital. He did really well. He had 2 of his 3 songs memorized. He played "old MacDonald", "Book of Mormon Stories" and "I am like a Star". I got the last two on this great website where you can print several pre-reading primary songs. He is still progressing really well with his piano. I teach him from the Bastien Piano Basics for the young beginner level A:

This is a great series and it's been perfect for us so far. I started teaching him about a year an a half ago and he's about halfway through level A. The first year was really slow progress, maybe a lesson every month (he was only 3 or 4 when I started). But it's picked up a lot in the last few months and now he progresses very steadily. We don't do lessons every single day, but maybe 2 or 3 times a week for about 10 minutes or until he's done. I don't push him. If he doesn't want to do it, we don't do it. But he usually really wants to. He usually asks for lessons and I'm always happy to oblige. I don't "make him" practice any more than his regular lesson, but he'll often practice on his own anyway. So far it's working really well for me to be his teacher. People ask me how that is, teaching your own child and I think for his age it's PERFECT! I'm not sure how long it will work, but I'm happy to do it until it stops working. When it does, I'll probably find another teacher for him.

I love teaching piano. I've taught for about 4 years now and it's been the best thing for me. I usually have around 9 students, sometimes more sometimes less. I've had 8 for quite a while, but I lost 2 for the summer so now I have 6. I teach the Bastien piano basics series. I have students from early, early beginner (like C.G.) all the way up to the fourth level books.

I also taught a preschool music class in the fall that I loved - A LOT! I'd like to start it up again, if I can get more interest - I only had 3 enrolled in the fall. I haven't decided whether I'm going to do it again this fall or not, but I've thought about it. I've also thought about doing a summer music camp this summer, but I'm not sure if I've got time to get it organized or not. If not, I'll do it another summer.

A lot of people wonder when to start their children in piano lessons. I don't think I would teach a 3-year-old formal piano lessons unless it was my own. Even a 4-year-old is really early, but it might work for some 4-year-olds to have a 10-15 minute lesson twice a week. I think 5 is perfect for a 10-20 minute lesson twice a week. The thing I've noticed about waiting until 8 to teach children is that even though they are better readers and will progress a lot faster, often they've lost the desire by then. And for many older kids, piano is a drudgery. Most little children on the other hand love music and want to participate in music. And they still think learning is a game so they look forward to it. I loved my preschool music class and I think it was perfect for 3-5 year-olds because although they're often not ready for formal music lessons, they are ready to learn music and they can learn SOO many things about music without having to sit still for very long. They can move and dance and clap and act out what they feel in the music. They can sing and play theory games and listen to all kinds of music of many genres. I found that with C, this music class really boosted his abilities as a musician. It fed his desire to play music, even though he wasn't quite old enough for formal music lessons. And it actually increased his desire to play an instrument when he was ready. I think that's part of why he's doing so well with piano now is because of that music class.

Anyway, that's just a few random thoughts about my music teaching experience.

1 comment:

Trisha said...

I'm really sad that my kids no longer want to take piano. They hated the lessons. Laura has so much talent too. She hates the songs she has to play. Her teacher let her play other songs, but Laura was still turned off. She wants to just play in the school orchestra (violin). Sigh. It isn't worth the tears and fights though.