What should quality piano lessons include? - What areas and experiences?

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Postby RAC » Mon Apr 25, 2005 1:53 pm

Hello, this is a very informative site!

Can I put in a vote for a good solid program which appeals to people who would like to learn to play piano, but only in the sense of "fake book" piano (as in no real interest in learning bass clef)? Also, not much theory unless there are real examples as to why "this" works much better than "that". Don't get me wrong, I appreciate listening to classical music, but am not interested in playing it myself, if you get my drift.

For instance, piano is my third instrument, after guitar (rhythm style) and flute (band in school), years ago. I have a piano course (books and DVDs) which uses chords and rhythm patterns. I am happy with it (I knew what I was buying since I was able to speak with the author directly at a small seminar held in a music store). There is email support if you need it. The author has a degree in music education.

I work around the odd quirk (for example, this program does not teach notereading and adding the melody until the end--it assumes that you are playing songs you know most of the time). I already read treble clef (so learning new songs won't be a problem), but I can see where a complete beginner might have some issues later when it came time to learn to read the notes, because not much time is spent on it.

I should think that a "good" program along those lines, that would be more all-in-one for beginners, even if using chords and rhythms would teach notereading, etc. (as in, what your average band student would be expected to know as far as key and time signatures, etc.) up front, so that instead of learning the chords only by finger position, you could learn the notes of the chord as well, even if you prefer to read your chords by letter name as opposed to written out in musical notation.

I know that most teachers probably don't divide piano along those lines and think of them as different courses of study but many people do. Guitar is divided along those lines, for example, and no one ever says "you don't really know how to play"--they just accept that you've chosen to specialize in one style or another and leave it at that.

I'm sure there are some good piano fake book home courses out there, but they are difficult to find when you don't know what to look for, and I haven't yet found a place for objective reviews.

I should think also that some teachers would want to look into developing such a home course as another way to make money, or to leave a business behind for heirs--not every piano teacher's child grows up wanting to play or teach, but if the program were good, they could keep it in print and sell it.

I think such a course would be better on DVD rather than computer programs, but I'll put those comments on the topic page about "private lessons perhaps being obsolete".

Again, great site. Hope my "off the wall" observations are okay.
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Postby Dorcas Tosi » Sun May 29, 2005 3:09 pm

I've loved reading about other piano teachers that, just like me, are trying to do their best in teaching kids to love this amazing instrument. I live in Brazil, on a farm, in the middlle of nowhere and have few piano students, including my 9 year old boy and my 6 year old girl. And I give each student 1hr individual class and 1hr theory group class each week. Aren't they in heaven? It's the first time I work like this, and the results are fascinating!!!
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Dorcas Tosi

Postby risamalie » Thu Jun 02, 2005 8:03 pm

As a child I was enrolled in both group and private lessons(Yamaha). The group consisted of ear training, improv, solfege, composition and basic theory, while the private lessons were technique and repertoire. The skills I learned were so engrained in me because we worked on those skills on a weekly basis....and this early work made university SO MUCH EASIER....and also helped me become a better musician overall. I know there are many parents who still do the group/private thing. I think the group classes are good for the music, social, intellectual etc. skills and are worth every penny even if the kids don't pursue music in university.
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