Keeping kids interested

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Postby 108-1121887355 » Wed Mar 08, 2006 10:21 am

I suggest taping but didn't think of a video. I sometimes tape a piece at the lesson for the student to take home listen to, as they don't seem to be listening to what they are playing! May be they are working too hard on the notes, but I constantly remind them that listening is important. (How could it not be?) But when I explain and even demonstate rhythm or fingering, etc., it may not be reaching the student. Especially with rhythm - when they listen to a taping - over and over - slow and faster, it seems to click. I have only used it sparingly this year. It seems to be my two 11 year olds. who think it is alright to play a piece the way they like it...not the way the composer wrote it.

Love the mini recital at home and video taping, because, as mentioned, it involves the parents!
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Postby Glissando88keys » Mon Jul 17, 2006 3:21 pm

loveapiano wrote:A time to sit down and listen to the student play...not talk, listen.

An old friend of mine said she did not like to play for her Mother's friends as they would ask her to play and then talk while she played! She does not like to play for anyone to this day - just her own enjoyment.


Sometimes relatives gathered at my mom's house. Whenever they asked me to play, I would gladly play for the joy of hearing them tell me how wonderful it sounded, and they wished they could play the piano, too.

Some of my relatives just sat there and talked throughout the performance. I would drag myself to the piano, and felt bad playing for these relatives, because they treated me as if I wasn't even there, only in the background. I thought, if they really wanted to hear me, they would listen, not gab.

At a student recital once, my grandmother sat in the front row with my mom. When I manged a peek to see if she was enjoying it, I saw her waving her arms in front of her, in time to the music. I couldn't see much more from the stage, but after the recital my mom told me that she was quietly singing to herself and had tears (of joy) falling down her cheeks!
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Postby pianogal » Fri Aug 03, 2007 5:39 pm

haha, I'll just stick to my experience.

I've been playing on my own for over 6 years. Before, I took about 1 year of lesson.

Anyway. My way of not quitting was having competitors.
I remember there was a talent show (with prizes for winners of each category), I was competing against some of my friends who also play the piano. At the end, I won. That gave me the encouragement of continue playing even without a teacher. Later on, some stronger competitors appear, I was still having the winning thoughts and the catch-up-to-them thoughts. So now, it's funny, whenever I see someone being better than me, I want to learn their ways of playing and catch up to them.

It doesn't work for everyone thought, my little cusin's having trouble on keeping his interest on the piano. He kind of tried my way, didn't work. Now all we can do is forcing him practice.
Sometimes, giving some pressure works too!
So try both ways! GOOK LUCK!
Don't ever give up piano, because you will like it someday
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Postby M&m » Sat Sep 01, 2007 9:38 pm

Our family has used bedtime as a way to motivate. My son's bedtime is 8 o'clock but is allowed to stay up to 9 if he practices his songs 3 times each.

I try to encourage my 7 year old child by downloading games, playing cd's in the car of the song he is working on, making him laugh, listening to him play. I make deals that if he gets his music done we can do so and so, which usually involves more attention (the kid can't get enough even though I am a SAHM). He also loves to compete with me. I pretend like I am going to learn piano and really mess up and he has to help me. I never criticize any playing that he does or correct him...I can't because I don't know the first thing about music...I just make it fun for him. The kid is like a sponge. He has been taking since he was 4 years old. This is the first year he has had private lessons instead of a group. He also had music therapy when he was 2 1/2.

My son's teacher is great with him too making him laugh. His teacher is very attentive to keeping up with his pace whether he needs to slow down or speed up. He has learned when to push and not to. The teacher gives him songs that he likes to work on as what the teacher wants him to work on.

Tonight we downloaded a bunch of midi's to our Clavinova and while we listened to them we blew up balloons and let them fly by letting the air out. Pretty goofy but we had fun. I told him we aught to make up a song about the "Flight of the Balloon" kind of like the "Flight of the Bumblebee".

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Postby Dr. John Zeigler - PEP Ed » Tue Sep 04, 2007 9:14 am

Lots of good ideas here, M&m. Your son is lucky to have an involved parent like you. Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us. :)
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 Tranquillo » Tue Jun 17, 2008 12:27 am

As a kid, I had an awful awful teacher. I started when I was 8 and my mum dumped me with a mean strict hard teacher. Every week she did the drop off and I had to endure the most painful half an hour every week. Part of it was my fault I was committed to piano I just couldn't bother practising.

Anyways, if my mum had encouarged practice rather than nag me I think that would have worked. Also, if she was more involved with my lessons. On to the subject I thought there where also somethings that my teacher could have done at the time to keep me interested. I made slow progress as a child mainly because I never practiced. Because of that I felt like I was getting no where. I think its part beacause of the fact that I was never really taught how to practice. Sometimes practice is based on time ... that to me, is incorrect. I think if practice had specific goals (e.g. mastering 2 bars at the end of the session) then it would be satisfying. Being governed by a clock and watching it tick does not work ... students would often deviate to the clock and watch the clock rather than practice. This is something that has to be taught and I think that sometimes it isn't.

Rewards provide great incentives for student, young children in particular work well with stickers and gifts. However, sometimes they can act as bribery. I think a teacher doesn't have to give stickers all the time to a student ... praise and sincere praise goes a long way. Having the works "excellent!" in a notebook goes a long way too.

I think another thing that sometimes lacks is children getting into other areas of piano. Assigning research tasks and perhaps lending books for the student or parent to read about a particular composer adds to the excitement in piano. I remember as a child lying down on the carpet in school and listening to the play Mozart then reading a page of his life. As children we indulged in learning about Mozart! As a highschool student sometimes a teacher would assign us particular websites to visit, the same could be done with a child.

Lending CD's to listen to during the week on different composers assists the learning process and also is enjoyable.

Often piano is taught as lines and dots on a page. It really isn't there is much more to music. Having a child talk about how certain chords and melodies sound "happy" or "sad" assists the child in an understanding of how music and emotions link.

Another area is composition, Orff had the idea of ensemble work. Having certain children do ostinato patterns with their instruments and then having a few improvise a melody. This could be done with piano, small musical games to encourage ensemble work. This gives the sense of accomplishment in a child and makes music theory enjoyable if the melody is transcribed.

Ensemble work is one area where there is a lack of. If a teacher would have small instruments such as: tamborines, shakers, clappers, etc. Or if the teacher play another instrument playing with another person is an enjoyable experience.

They are just a few ideas ... :)
Music is organised sound
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