Post by firstname.lastname@example.org Post by Kath Post by email@example.com
Hmm. I will disagree on that philosophy; in fact, the 10-minute-a-day
idea is why I no longer teach piano. It is simply not enough; the
kids don't progress. They practice 10 minutes a day, they stay
exactly at the same level for a year, then they get bored and quit.
Or, their parents keep forcing them to practice, and they keep doing
that and keep being miserable - because they can sense the lack of
progress. Sure, it establishes a daily habit - but that habit is
frequently as joyous and entertaining as brushing your teeth, too.
So what are some suggestions for getting kids to practise for one or two
hours a day without them resenting you for it?
First of all, start with a kid who wants to be able to play the piano;
do not force the kid to play if he doesn't want to. My parents had
repeatedly asked me whether or not I wanted to quit; I always said no.
Second of all, make practice into a game. My mother used every ounce
of imagination she possessed to make practicing fun for me when I was
5; I practiced 1 hour a day then. We had pretend concerts, we had
"scale races" - anything to make sure that I was actually at the piano
doing the work. It worked.
Third of all, introduce them to some people who can actually play the
piano, other than their teacher. If piano playing is just some weird
torture ritual they're going through, with no relevance to the adult
world they see around them, they won't want to do it as much as if they
knew a 'cool' adult who plays the piano really well.
As for resentment - when a kid sees actual progress, they'll want to
keep going. After a while, piano playing became "natural' to me - it
was something that came easily and that I could have fun doing. I
would sit and improvise or sight-read for fun (still do, in fact). At
that point, resentment was out of the question.
That was an excellent post.
It is the parents job to introduce new learning. You start by only
the exceptionally motivated students. And you do recognize that
there are games to help motivate them. Excellent ideas.
But many children really have no real music exposure. This is a new
Actually, I push the 15 minute a day concept, only as a way to start.
will make progress. Once they are at the instrument, they may well
time. Of course, the students that really accomplished something had
to do far more.
Most music students don't do any practice. It seems far too big a
You have me thinking about what I did when the students really took
Since I'm not really a piano player, one of my greatest joys is to tell
a student or
parent it is time to move on! But I want to pass on a student that has
ability to read chord changes, compose melodic bass parts, and can sing
Some parents have kept their children longer with me than I would have
Seriously, I've had some students that developed better classical
than I have on piano. But since I understood the music, I often had to
right or left hand on guitar or bass.
I had them analyze what the chords changes were in the pieces they were
As a bass player, the piano students loved learning how to construct
To me, that is really learning counterpoint. Then there is no real
soloing with the right hand.
Throughout their development I did what I wished had been done with me.
skill many children have not developed is simply to match pitches. We
I play a note on a piano and have them learn to match it. It's not a
natural skill, some
earlier expience helped them learn this. Then sing intervals and
But, as you said, you need to find ways to make it fun. That always
applies. yes improvement is one motivating factor, but there are many
other's, especially withlittle children. With me, it's knowing I'm
going to have to play that difficult section
in a practice, and everyone will hear me. And, some parts are just
Back to you. You were someone that started with serious practice.
What would be most interesting is, try to go back and analyze what
before you started that motivated you. Sure, everyone would like to
play, but then
they find it's work.
Try and think about what motivated you.
The real success of Dr.Suzucki was not on his technology, selection of
music or whatever.
It was that he took the most important part of learning, modelling.
Since I'm often teaching chldren the most basic things as possible, I
try and beg the parent to learn the first few lessons.
A word on scales. The most recorded musician in history is Carol Kaye.
Starting as a great jazz and studio guitar player, a bass player didn't
show up for a session, so she played bass. She became THE studio bass
player for decades. It is amazing when you
realize that almost all the Motown bass parts, pop sessions, TV shows
and advertisements were almost all done by Carol Kaye.
She has some strong opinions. She recommends against intensive study
on scales, or students will sound like scales. Instead, there are a lot
of playing chord appegios and such,
since that will develop more musicality. Her concepts don't just apply
to bass or guitar, but all instruments. Rarely are people playing a
part around a scale, they are almost working within the concept of
Another motivating thing I've done, especially with bass or guitar
players, is match them up with someone else that reads the other cleft.
Then play piano music. I get
guitar players to learn the right hand, bass players the left. Most of
thes kids would never
experience classical music, and this way, they will. Younger
children can get a friend and play with. For example, a violin player
could find a cello player. The cello player could find flute player.
Then, I usually use Easy Classics to Moderns and have them learn a
bunch of songs. Unlike an orchestra where they may not even feel they
count, they are it.
This works especially well with high school or older. For example, i'l
tell electric bass players to find a girl that plays violin, and learn
a collection of pieces. Thus, it becomes
a really fine activity for young people, and a chance to form
relationships outside of
the stupidity around them. How many electric bass players have played
Bartok or Stravinsky? This way they do.
I'll help them develop a set of tunes they do, and as opposed to those
I help them find and set up opportunites to play at old aged homes and
Thus, they have a goal, and get to do something really worthwhile for
I will say, that when electric bass players come for lessons, I do get
a reasonable number
to consider starting on upright.
Sometimes this backfires. A guy who didn't read and had played in Rock
Bands all his life, wanted to improve. I would always play the
electric parts on string bass during lessons. Many get intrigued to
start playing. One of these was a rock player and Cape Kennedy
engineer. I did all my usuals, including playing from Easy Classics
to Modrns where I would play guitar. Soon, I dragged him to the
community orchestra. Timid and afraid,
he went on to become a leader in the orchestra. One thing I notices
was he thought
much faster than me. When the conductor would say go back to 7
"D", he'd be there much faster than me. He took an early retirement
from the Cape in his early 50s, feeling like a teenager, had vastly
increased his practice.
Now the bad part. He took over a lot of the gigs I had been getting
for years. I suppose it should be attribute, since he never had any
intention of playing upright, but I admit
to having mixed feelings. But, I did bring a bass player into the
world. And, he completely gave up his rock gigs that were once so
important to him.
I always kept a small violin in the music room, and let children learn
some basics. Some went on to becoming string players.