I suppose it’s about time I said something about sight-reading. I’ve actually thought a lot about it over the last several years – it’s a hot topic for piano teachers, and plenty of ink and air has been spent on it in magazines and at conferences.
The best article in recent memory is Kenneth Saxon’s . . . → Read More: The Holy Grail of Piano Teaching
Here’s the problem: every student is different.
When preparing students for recitals, the challenge is to set them up so that they reach their “peak” at the performance. If they don’t have enough time to prepare properly, then the final week before the recital is likely to be stressful and unenjoyable (as well as the . . . → Read More: Recital Preparation
I just got back from Iowa Music Teachers Association conference in Ames, IA. I got see a lot of neat things, chat with some really cool people, and eat too much. I also had a 2.5 hour drive, which means I had lots of time to think. This post is the result of the drive . . . → Read More: The Art of Teaching
Sorry about the hiatus, but the semester has ended, so let the writing resume!
I remember some years ago being told by my mother that when children ask “why,” it’s not a real question. When they ask “Why do I have to eat my vegetables?”, it’s not because they desire information regarding the health benefits . . . → Read More: WHY?
I do this thing every now and then where I practice with a metronome but put the metronome across the room – 10 feet away or so. It feels very different than having it right on the piano, and I think it’s because of how it changes the way you listen.
When the metronome is . . . → Read More: Quick Metronome Idea
It occurs to me that I’m occasionally guilty of telling students they need to use a metronome without having taught them how to use one. It’s the musical equivalent of handing someone a chainsaw and expecting them to cut down a tree.
Pretend for a moment that you’ve never used a chainsaw. Now imagine that . . . → Read More: Here, Have a Chainsaw!
Back in my idealistic student days, there was something of a movement going on in pedagogy where teachers were defining “piano” as “quiet” instead of “soft.” The idea made good academic sense – forte meant loud, and the opposite of loud is quiet, so we started using “loud” and “quiet” instead of “loud” and “soft.”
. . . → Read More: Toilet Paper Dynamics
Here’s an exercise I use to help speed up Alberti bass figures:
First, sit so that the C above middle C is directly in front of you.
Second, turn your body to the right so that you’re facing the top C on the keyboard.
Third, practice this, using 5131 5131 for your fingering:
Doing . . . → Read More: The Augmented Alberti Exercise
For this final exercise, devote yourself to only one of your senses. Turn away from your student and only listen. Don’t watch them – evaluate and discuss their playing based solely on the sounds you see. Refrain from discussing technical issues, focus the dialogue solely on the sounds that are desired.
Don’t listen. Have . . . → Read More: DIY In-service Part 11, Don’t Watch (or Listen)
Let’s face it, we all wear the same thing week after week. Some teachers prefer to dress up, favoring a more “businesslike” appearance, while some teachers dress down, preferring to keep things casual. Whatever you’re doing, change it. If you like to keep things casual, put on a suit and get out the dress shoes. . . . → Read More: DIY In-service Part 10, Dress Code