I’ve written a lot of school reports this year. This is a relatively new experience for me. I began teaching piano by going to students’ homes, chatting with parents afterwards about the progress of their child or children.
Of course, at a school none of this goes on, therefore the school report is the opportunity to share what I want say about a child’s development in piano lesson.
I feel particularly beholden to parents because they don’t pay the school for piano lessons, they pay me directly; I am solely responsible for the piano lesson.
So, what do I want them to know?
I want them to know what their child is like when he or she comes to the lesson.
- Keen to show what they practised
- Happy to learn something new
- Able to concentrate for the duration of a lesson (age considered)
- Able to understand a new concept being introduced
- Have they managed to achieve a relaxed curled hand and soft fingers which don’t fly up when one is pressed down on a note
- Have they struggled and persevered until they can play the notes, or do they like the idea of playing but can’t get down to the grunt work
- Do they practise??
Here on the Gold Coast, we music teachers have to compete with the beach.
Yes indeed. It’s a very outdoor culture here in Queensland, the sunshine state. With perfect weather 10 months of the year, endless beaches, and mountains, it’s no wonder that every club activity under the sun (literally) is on offer.
But no matter, I teach from my heart knowing that piano is fitted into schedules along with tap, ballet, jazz, gymnastics, trampoline, cheer, hockey, skipping, surfing, soccer, cricket, cross-country, and many more sports I don’t know exist. Then there’s debating, chess, bands, musical theatre, foreign languages…
We share what beauty we know and I cannot believe that a life is ever lessened from being exposed to music education.
When introducing piano to children for whom playing music is a new adventure, delivery counts.
Does that mean that I go really easy, write in all the note names and don’t bother with details like lifting wrists slightly at the end of a slur? No way. I think the kids would somehow know that they aren’t being taken seriously. Plus they love the finer detail – it means they’re learning something secret, something special, which of course they are.
And scales? That’s a special secret too. Kids think that they’re doing heavy duty learning when we start that. Passing thumbs under and crossing fingers over! Wow! Far out!
Anyway, I digress with the fun of it.
If you are a parent or guardian of a child taking music lessons, I would love to hear what you want to know from a school report. It would help make my reporting better, and I would be very grateful for that.