Posts tagged lesson

Practice Practicing the Piano

Without fail i’ve had this conversation at least ONCE with each of my students.  It pertains to HOW to practice.  It’s not enough to just start arbitrarily playing through a song, the student needs to be shown HOW to actually go about learning the nuts and bolts of practicing.  To do this, i usually find the closest book available and i say to the student, “Ok i’d like you to repeat word for word what i am about to tell you.  Ready?” (They ALWAYS nod their heads in agreement)… “Here goes”

In the fleeting seconds of final memory, the image that will become Burma is the sun and a woman’s parasol.  He has wondered which visions would remain – the Salween’s coursing coffee flow after a storm, the predawn palisades of fishing nets, the glow of ground trumeric, the weep of jungle vines.  For months the images trembled in the back of his eyes, at times flaming and fading away like candles, at times fighting to be seen, thrust forward like the goods of jostling bazaar merchants.” (1st paragraph from The Piano Tuner – EXCELLENT book BTW)

I then turn to the student and say “OK let’s hear it”.  100% of the time they give me a blank stare.  Some start to laugh, some start to look worried… and then i explain that human beings learn in bite sized pieces.  If i were to say the same quote “In the fleeting seconds” – have them repeat that and then move to “of final memory“, the student would remember the words right? Now join the two together.  Do you see where i’m going with this? Learn an entire song? Forget it.  Learn 2 bars at a time? Now we’re talking.  We need to teach students to be brilliant at the small stuff – the short sections.  I tell them “I’d rather have 4 bars done for next week – 4 bars you are completely genius at rather than slosh through the entire song”.  Time and again i remind them of this analogy and the ones who get it will grasp the art of practicing and excel.

PS – if you haven’t read the Piano Tuner, it’s a FABULOUS novel! Get it!

After 9 – Piano Book

 

I’ve been teaching for about 25 years.  Funny… my very first 2 piano students who were ages 4 and 7 just contacted me via facebook.  I was just a teenager then working on my performance diploma.  Over the years i’ve had opportunity to teach many adult students.  One thing i know for sure about adults is that they have different demands on them than kids.  Having raised my own 3 children i know that it’s not as easy to get at the piano as as adult as it was growing up.  Presently i taxi teenagers around to various lessons – piano, bass, drum, guitar, voice and dance!  Add to that mix making meals and household cleanup, and you quickly realise that most adults don’t even BEGIN making sound at the piano until AFTER 9PM.  And thus, this book was entitled.  After 9 is a collection of more easy going, easy listening songs.  They’re not aimed at making life complicated but rather simplified and calm.  This is a quiet sit-down at the piano.  Enjoy.

Repertoire:

  1. Daybreak
  2. Dream
  3. Reflection
  4. Rose
  5. Summer Days
  6. Valentine Waltz
  7. Lost Heart
  8. The Old Carousel
  9. We All Need
  10. Sometimes I Do
  11. Days End

Countries of the World – Piano Book

 

Truth be told, i’m a jack of all trades master of none.  Over the years i’ve had the opportunity to play in so many different styles and genres – everything from country to hip hop to rock to jazz.  If i were to say that i have a speciality, it’s analysis.  One of my few awards in my life was for analysing scores of music and finding patterns  (Believe it or not, there are awards for such things…lol)  and although my formal training is in classical music, the methods of analysis are the same regardless of style.  So in my younger years, i used to do radio and television advertising – y’know the jingles – the tunes of the ads.  In this one agency they would say “we need it to sound like…” and they’d give you some name of some piece of music.  Well off i’d go – assignment in my hand and analyse the piece of music – all the while picking up on the components that make a certain ‘sound’.  Over the years, i have become well versed in many styles.  So without further adieu, this book is a compilation of fun songs written in various styles from around the world.  They’re stereotypical.  So the french song sounds like a musette in Paris.  The cuban song – with traditional cuban rhythm.  The american country tune – like a southern ballad.  This book is designed as a ‘sampler’ of ways of trying out different styles without having to know anything of the culture.  It’s all there in print.  Enjoy!

Repertoire:

  1. South African Sun
  2. Antigua!
  3. Cuba
  4. Irish Luck
  5. Mexican Moon
  6. Turkish Coffee
  7. Spanish Guitar
  8. American Serenade
  9. French Musette
  10. Jamaica, Man!
  11. Tango Argentine
  12. Ukraine
  13. Scottish Pub
Go to Top