I see my students for half an hour every week during a school term, and they learn piano under a range of very different circumstances.
Some have plenty of support and encouragement from parents, others are given the chance to learn but it’s really up to them whether they do any practice. Some play on acoustic pianos or digital pianos, some have small keyboards, some use an iPad to “practise”, some don’t have anything when they start coming to me.
I am amazed that a Year 1 or 2 student, in the midst of the comings and goings of modern life, can have the presence of mind to go to the piano by him or herself, and come back to me a week later to show me what they have worked on.
Every week I am on to kids to press the keys with softer fingers, relax those hands, curl fingers a little more. No stabbing or jabbing! You’re playing music, not gaming! But I do it remembering that, for many of them, the only time they play on fully-weighted keys is in my lesson.
I am so proud of them, that they manage to see me week after week, and build up a collection of songs they can play.
Allana (Y4), came to me last year as quiet as a mouse, and almost suspicious of the piano. But she has stayed the distance and now actually has favourite songs. Here we are playing a duet called “The Boat Dock.”
Charli (Y2) has only recently started playing on a piano at home. I think Santa read her piano report and decided she needed to be able to take this further. So I have stepped up her assignments, no excuses now Charli 🙂 . Here we are playing a duet called “Snack Time”, which sounds like a Christmas song. (Dedicated to the man himself. Good on ya, Santa!) Charli improvises the intro…
Zara (Y5) is doing her first full term with me. She comes to lesson full of enthusiasm, and practises dilligently. She also likes to work out songs by ear, and when I heard her working out “Oh Susanna”, I dug out a beginner’s version in duet form for us to play together.
Late last year, Edward (Y6) wanted to start working on a Preliminary exam (Piano For Leisure) and he’s now completed the three pieces he needs. Over the next months we will now gradually bring them all up to speed before booking an exam date. Here he is playing March of the Goblins.
There’s a saying: “If you want something done, give it to a busy person,” on the assumption that a busy person manages his or her time well. Faith (Y6) is a busy person, she is active in the arts, in sport, and leadership roles. And yes, Faith is conscientious about learning piano, Here we are playing a duet, “My Pony”.
Denilson (Y3) likes scales. He starts low and goes all the way to the end of the keyboard, despite me saying, “Come back down now!” He also likes doing piano exercises that have marvellous names like: Cartwheels and Standing on One’s Head. Once in a while he deigns to play with me. Here we are playing “At The Park”.
Micah (Y2) is a chess whizz, and started learning with me last term. His hands were so little I had to overlook it when all his fingers flew up every time he tried to press down a note. This term, he’s gaining a little strength, and starting to play his first chords. Here he is playing “Indian Drums”.
Jess is a student I teach in the evenings. I noticed she often sways to the music when she plays. So I copied her. Little sister Sasha took a video as we played “Walk To School” together. Her mum likes the laughing at the end.
Yep. Music is to be enjoyed. 🙂