I think my most important role as a piano teacher is to make sure a new student enjoys learning to play. It would be tragic if a child closed the door to the wonderful world of music, because of me! So, maybe you wouldn’t pick me to teach your child if you have plans for them to be a concert pianist. I am not going to glare at a child and insist on hours of practice a night. But it doesn’t mean I am a push-over. I’m actually pretty old-fashioned. I use lesson books, I want them to learn to read music, not play solely by ear, although both skills are important. Most of all, I demand effort, above all else. I’m a slogger, and I respect determination and hard work. If I don’t see any of that, I will let a student go.
Here is little Alice. She works hard, and she also has fun. Her mum likes this duet too.
To learn music is to engage in many kinds of learning. Mechanical learning – practice! The technical nuts and bolts of manipulating fingers, doing different things in each hand. Emotional learning – interpretation, expression, touch and sensitivity, all the skills needed to deal with the semantics of music. Arithmetic – the structure of music is totally mathematical, even though it might not feel like it. From the obvious things like rhythm, to the intervals between notes, the value of notes, transposition, harmony. Absolutely everything about music is mathematical! Learning music requires discipline. You need staying power to see the results after putting in the effort.
These are wonderful things to impart to a child, and all valuable for building a life. You could say that, to study music is to learn how to live.