Musical Monday ~ by Laura Davis / March 20, 2017
Qualities of a Great Piano Lesson
What are the qualities of a great piano lesson? There are many opinions on this. So to begin, let’s think of it this way—what would you need, and like to have available in your kitchen, in order to prepare a delicious meal for your family or friends?
Proper Tools, Fine Ingredients
Do you need cooking appliances in good working order? How about some clean, handy kitchen gadgets and tools? And your ingredients—don’t you want them to be fresh, organic and wholesome? Fragrant and flavorful?
Once you have assembled all the best ingredients, your cooking experience, your careful technique, your creativity and your talent come into play.
A great piano lesson is crafted in much the same way. Start with a fine piano, well-tuned, with lovely tone and a comfortable touch. Our “Friend of Music” piano studio features a Steinway grand.
Some of our favorite tools include:
- For younger beginners, a pedal extender for balance and comfort
- Metronome to develop steadier rhythms
- iPad for teaching moments with exciting, instructive piano apps
- Piano Maestro app: subscription for every student in our studio
- Yamaha Clavinova, with headset: for duets, practice apps, and lab activities
- Laptop for Youtube videos of performance samples
- Software for teaching composition and arranging (Finale)
- Repertoire list for choosing music at each student’s skill level
- Piano Explorer student magazine (monthly composer bios, music history, etc.)
- Treat Box! Kids are motivated to earn a treat
Fresh and Locally Sourced
Using one of the newest, innovative teaching method series (Piano Pronto—based in California), our beginner lessons progress incrementally with students playing fun, familiar tunes. Facility in reading treble clef notes leads on to the bass clef, progressing to the damper pedal, chords and more. Soon the students begin to digest easy classics and learn the delights of each era of music history. Creative improv adds another flavor to the musical experience.
When preparing any recipe, there is an ideal cooking time. We set a timer and let the oven or stovetop do its magic. Thus, with a piece of music there is a necessary period of preparation. The length of this depends on the complexity of the music, as well as the talent and skills of the student. Inevitably our pieces need time to “cook” and we call this “practice”.
At mealtime, before we eat, we wash up. Entering the kitchen and dining room, we savor the fragrant aromas and take our seat. Similarly, when entering the “Friend of Music” studio every student is greeted with a smile, a cheerful welcome and a glad heart. Student and teacher anticipate a time of sharing music and developing skills.
A Spiritual Expression
Briefly escaping from the cares of our daily routine, we enter the world of music. What has been practiced is refined into a work of art and musicality. Advancing students have likely fallen in love with music. Mere notes on a page become an expression of the inner soul and spirit. Beautiful tone develops and thoughtful dynamics release the essence of each song. Together we savor the flavors and colors of great music, the food of our soul.