Piano resolutions - The new year and beyond

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Postby Dr. John Zeigler - PEP Ed » Fri Dec 08, 2006 8:39 am

This is the time of year when people begin thinking of New Year's resolutions. What are your piano-related resolutions? Would you like to spend more time at the piano (my personal one)? Would you like to try something new in your teaching? Are there some resolutions you wish your students would adopt? Would you like to learn some new music or improve your technique? Or do you wish you could make more time to listen to the literature? Everybody's thoughts are welcome here, so let's hear them! :D
All religions, arts and sciences are branches of the same tree. All these aspirations are directed toward ennobling man's life, lifting it from the sphere of mere physical existence and leading the individual towards freedom. - Albert Einstein
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Postby minorkey » Fri Dec 08, 2006 10:45 am

1. Do not skip one single day of practice! (or, at least play for fun)
2. Try learning to play Blues piano.
3. Play more for others (and banish the jitters).
(There may be others that follow...)
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Postby LK123 » Sun Dec 17, 2006 2:11 pm

I would LOVE to spend more time both practicing and working on my teaching. I also want to play more for others to reduce my anxiety about performing and to prepare for my exam this year.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year everyone!
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Postby Stretto » Sun Dec 17, 2006 4:37 pm

increase the number of students in my studio

get involved in a local piano teacher's club and the local music teacher's club

re-organize my studio

include more organized approach to theory, ear-training, and listening in lessons

bump up my skill level a little
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Postby 108-1121887355 » Fri Dec 22, 2006 6:55 pm

Keep learning.

Keep trying to be a better teacher.

Keep assuring the joy of music is brought to each student.

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Postby Mins Music » Sat Dec 23, 2006 12:09 am

Late January is actually the start of the new teaching year here and I've made HUGE changes to my studio for next year.

I teach singing, guitar, and keyboard as well as piano. Well!! Not anymore. I'm now officially a piano only teacher. It was a very sad couple of weeks saying goodbye to students I've had for many years. :(

Would you like to try something new in your teaching?

Being able to focus on only one instrument has opened up so many different avenues to explore in my studio. My motto used to be: Just for fun, or serious study. NOW it's: Striving towards excellence. The changes I'm making refelcts this attitude. (I'd like to toss around a few ideas in the teaching tips forum).

Would you like to learn some new music or improve your technique?

Because I spend so much time preparing for lessons, I'm only playing literature at my student's level and not my own (more often than not). I've resolved to stop doing this. I've started already and am having a blast - my resolution is to keep this up when I start teaching again. Play the piano for me!!!
"I forget what I was taught, I only remember what I've learnt." - Patrick White, Australian novelist.
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Postby Dr. Bill Leland » Sat Dec 23, 2006 6:53 pm

Sounds great, Mins--congratulations on your resolve. But I warn you, it's an addictive drug!

Technique is 90 per cent from the neck up.
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Postby Glissando88keys » Fri Dec 29, 2006 10:06 pm

Each year I list several New Year resolutions only to find that by the end of that year I have completely forgotten them, let alone accomplished any one of them.

Whenever I fall short on keeping resolutions, I deny myself threefold: For one thing, the resolution is not kept, secondly,
I may fail to follow through consistently, and finally, my integrity is damaged as a result of unkept resolutions.

So, as a departure from my usual New Year routine, I resolve to only make resolutions and promises that I am able and willing to keep. This strategy will shorten my resolution list considerably, making it easier to focus and follow through on the ones that mean the most to me.

My resolution for this year, is to take whatever steps necessary to be a caring, fun and effective piano teacher.

Thank you, PEP, for the help, support and education necessary to make possible this valuable goal.

Happy New Year to all!!!

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Postby 108-1121887355 » Tue Jan 02, 2007 11:12 am

I have a new resolve - it is actually an old one - but I am taking pro-active approach now.

This week a letter is going out to the parents of my students, offering them a challenge for January 2007. Along with it is an article on "Practicing" which I have written and rewritten over the years.

I have asked them to value their childrens' music by setting up a daily practice schedule, listening to their music, reading the lesson book, and playing duets. It is so frustrating to have students come to lessons with little accomplished - busy with sports and other activities - parents who do not know what their children are playing, etc. I have all musically knowlegeable parents this year. It surprises me that they do not take more of an interest.

I will keep trying to let people know the lifelong values of music.
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Postby 108-1121887355 » Wed Jan 03, 2007 9:33 am

Thought this might be helpful to others, so I am posting the letter to parents. I will follow up with input from them and my students.

A New Year’s Challenge to Parents!

For the month of January, try this, please.

You are all loving, involved parents who enjoy music and who have chosen the gift of piano lessons for your children.

With the rush of the holiday season over, do try to find time to plan a daily practice schedule with your children. Read their lesson book; know what they are playing; listen to the pieces at practice time. If you have a favorite, by all means let your children know…it is both flattering and motivational.

Being fortunate to have some musical experience yourselves, you could play duets with your children, which would surely provide rich memories for all involved. If you need help with some passages, your children and I can help you. Duets are not only fun, but also an excellent learning experience for rhythm, playing without hesitation, and raising listening skills.

Try this for just one month – for your child, for you, and for me. At the end of the month, see if you notice any changes in your child’s playing and attitude. Let me know.

If you have any questions, problems, comments, I am very open to all.

Thank you.
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Postby Glissando88keys » Wed Jan 03, 2007 7:03 pm

loveapiano wrote:A New Year’s Challenge to Parents!

I love your New Years Challenge to Parents! Sometimes all it takes is to just point out the obvious, and the results are amazingly empowering!

Even non - musical parents can benefit from such advice, because simply showing an interest in their child's pursuits is wonderful encouragment to children, even if the parents don't know enough to participate in a musical way.

If they are willing to give it a try, by the end of the month, the results should be self - evident.
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Postby Stretto » Fri Jan 05, 2007 8:38 am

Thanks for sharing your letter to parents, loveapiano. It's a great idea to give the parents ideas how they can be involved. I think many parents don't know exactly what their role should be in helping their child with lessons. Your letter gives a lot of good tips to parents.

I like your beginning statement to parents: "You are all loving, involved parents who enjoy music and have chosen the gift of piano lessons for your children."

As a parent, that statement would make me feel really good and encourage me to stay involved in my child's music.

Keep up the good work, loveapiano and let us know in a month of the progress. :cool:
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Postby 108-1121887355 » Thu Feb 01, 2007 9:36 am

So far, after just a few weeks, there are mixed results from my 'Challenge to parents' letter. I am keeping it going until February vacation.

The students do seem to be practicing more. Some have shown definite improvement. Others are playing 5-6 days a week, but not accomplishing the 'goals' in the lesson book. I have gone over a "How to Practice" with some of them.

One 9 yo boy, who was fantastic his first year, last year, has a different attitute this year. As I went over some ideas for practicing, he had a negative response for almost all of them. 'Try to practice at the same time every day' ("That is impossible with the afterschool activities") 'Have a quiet room' ("There is none"). And on it went. This is a boy who is talented musically, and has two sports activities a week , plus a theater group. I continually find pieces he chooses - "Boulevard of Broken Dreams" and I work hard to make it doable and he works hard to learn it. He wants several "Star Wars" pieces and all this is good, but meanwhile he is not learning the basics. Now, I usually don't worry about this much, as the student is learning and enjoying and will catch up in time, but it is the attitude. I am not sure if it is a 'phase' but I do not want him to dislike the piano or stop lessons. I have spoken with the Mother on the phone and she doesn't seem to know any reason why the change. I can usually turn negative into positive, but having trouble this time.

A feed back from a parent this week - "This is hard - to find time to monitor the piano and follow practice, when I have to make sure homework is done and teeth are brushed, and plan scouts,and so on"!! This is a parent who does NOT work outside the home! What has changed so much since I raised mine? I had three children, I worked part time, teaching, and they had sports and dance lessons, and I was a scout leader, and so on, yet I don't recall being so stressed. They practiced, sometimes with proding, and they did homework and brushed heir teeth! They also helped around the house as I became a single parent when my youngest was 7 yo.

Anyone with thoughts on this and how to work around it? I am going to send my parents a follow up letter in February and ask for feedback. I will let you know the results.
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