Piano for pre-teens and teenagers
Piano Lessons – What to Expect
Today we’re going to talk a little bit about piano lessons and what to expect when you have a child taking piano lessons or when you yourself are taking piano lessons. The lessons themselves are individualized lessons, unless of course you are signing up for a group class in which case it’s a group lesson but primarily most piano lessons will be individual. So in fact you can expect a lot of individual attention for the student– that’s the first thing. The second thing is that the lesson is going to be tailored to where that student is developmentally, and also what the content is that they need to be learning at that time. There are lots of materials for teaching piano, and teachers will select many different lessons series etc., but the key thing is to really make sure that the student understands what the key concepts are before moving onto the next, because everything is layered.
The key concepts when studying piano, are number one, the language of music itself because music is its own language as we know, and it has a written component. So there are written notes on lines and spaces called the staff and we have to teach the student what that language is, what those symbols stand for, how to read them properly, and then how to match that up with the keys on the keyboard which also have musical alphabet letter names.
So piano lessons involve the musical alphabet, music reading skills, and usually writing skills as well because there are written activities that help with music reading. I tell students that reading and writing are two sides of the same coin. Reading and writing music go hand-in-hand. So we do a lot of reading and writing activities, not always during the lessons but as assignments.
During lessons you’re going to be playing the piano, so from one lesson to the next there will be pieces that will be assigned for the student to work on, and when they bring their materials back to the next lesson, they are playing through those pieces and the teacher is working with the student on how it’s going, how it sounds, what needs to be enhanced or corrected or changed.
That gets into the technique of playing– the use of the fingers, the hands, and the arm to play the piano and to play it in a way that makes a beautiful sound, and in a way that’s going to be good for the hand. In other words, not to do anything that will cramp the hand or cause injury in any way. You want to be sure that the student is learning about how to use the hands and what the technique is for proper playing.
Between the language of music, the theory of music, and the how-to, actually the technical aspects of playing, those are the main components of the lesson. Those will be balanced depending on what the student needs and the age of the student, so it’s taught in a way that is going to make the most sense and is going to connect with the student.
Last, I would say that you should be able to have a really good experience at the lesson, and look forward to coming back to future lessons. So if the child is dragging, or if you’re feeling that coming to lessons is not really working, then it’s time to stop and have a conversation with the teacher because the lessons are individualized and they should work for the student.
I hope this gives you some idea of what to look forward to when you’re anticipating lessons for yourself or your children. If you have any questions, please feel free to call me or email me. I’ll be glad to talk with you. See you online next time.