Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Whole Steps, Not Half

Hello everyone! How are you all? I gave my very first piano lesson this morning, and I've still got the new teacher jitters. Now that my dear older sister is going off to college, I have been handed down her piano students. Never in my life did I imagine that I would be teaching piano. I've had quite an experience with piano. I began around seven years old and really enjoyed it (for the most part, I enjoyed it because all my friends thought it was so cool I knew how to play the piano...). But as I got older, I began to despise the piano with all my heart and soul. I hated it, I really did. I even wrote songs during my practice time about how much I despised the piano. But only a few years later, when I got a new teacher, I realized how wrong I was. I have a different teacher now, and though I'm not completely passionate about the piano, I do find ways to enjoy it. This afternoon I spent a lot of time thinking about   my change of heart. How did I grow to enjoy the piano again? I want solid methods that build good foundations for my piano students. I want to help them find their potential in the music field. Not everyone was born with a full-blown, fiery, passion for piano. To those who were, congratulations, I hope you do exceed with flying colors. But I know I wasn't born with that. I don't know that my students were born with that either. Piano is not easy in the slightest. I think it's the difficulty of the piano that makes it less desirable. All the math, the coordination, the reasoning, and just the mentality that it takes to play the piano well is certainly not what everyone wants to spend an hour doing almost everyday. So what makes piano enjoyable? Those of us who were not born with the fiery passion for piano have other interests and strengths. We enjoy lots more things outside of piano (not that those with a fiery passion for piano don't as well). As I reasoned this out this afternoon, I realized it was something my piano teacher did when I had my little piano awakening. She had me play two pieces every week. One piece was a challenge, it made me work hard. And the other would be a piece I loved, and I had no trouble whatsoever getting the urge to practice. Though it would have been easy to simply practice the pieces I loved, my teacher had me make a practice schedule every week. She wanted to see that I was giving the right amounts of time to each and every piece. Though I did not see it then, I see now how those practice schedules have helped me be more organized in other areas of my life as well. I think what helped me enjoy the piano even more was something my next (and current) teacher did. She literally sat me down and explained the piano. Everything. Once I had a full grasp and understanding of what I was doing, it made the piano so much more enjoyable. It's like playing a game with your friends. Its always more fun when you fully understand how to play, rather than being confused and unsure of yourself for most of the time. So there you have it, that is the message I want to get across to my students. Piano should be thought of as a blessing, not a burden. You will be challenged when you play the piano, but it only makes it easier for yourself in the future. And always find a piece you love a lot (those usually end up being Disney songs for me...haha), so you can get that urge to play. If you play the piano, or any instrument for that matter, I'd love to hear what helps you get the urge to practice and work hard!
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