Archive for October, 2006

10-29-2006

Piano Explorers Play for Me

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My youngest students participated in the October Piano Performance Class on Friday, October 27.  Before they played their pieces, the students worked on a project in their Piano Explorer magazines, with a little help from their moms.  The magazines have much to offer, please read them with your students.  It’s a good quiet activity before bedtime.

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More kids working on the magazines.

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Jordan takes her turn at performing.  Great Job, Jordan!

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The young class all did very well at their first performance.  Thank you, parents, for helping them prepare for their first public appearance.  It was a fun time for me, for sure.   

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10-17-2006

Performance Class October 27

Just a reminder about Performance Class. There will be a time change–class will begin at 5:30pm instead of 4pm to give everyone a chance to get here.  Every student is invited to come and play.  It is a great opportunity to share each other’s talent and gain a little motivation along the way.  Sorry, this class is for the students only–I don’t have room for families.  There will be a recital held in December that everyone will be invited to, though.  If you have any questions, give me a call or email me at joanne@dolcemolto.com  I look forward to seeing everyone there!  (There is no charge for this class.)

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10-16-2006

My Soap Box

Recently I had an interview with a young man who was searching for a new teacher.  As you all know, before beginning lessons I have a meeting with the parents and students, a chance for both parties to get to know each other’s style and desires.  Reflecting on this experience left me frustrated and upset at my own profession, and at the expectations that some parents place on their children.  Here’s why:

My number one goal and purpose in teaching is to help students enjoy playing music.  Many of my students are transfer students who have come to me having taken lessons from at least one other teacher.  I am amazed at the high number of students who come to me with the expectation of playing music that is technically well above their current capability–fed by a teacher, or teachers, who assign pieces much too difficult for the student.  Playing well involves a musicality that is only obtained by steps, so that the elements of musicianship become habitual.  If students are given “hard” pieces that are above their capabilities, these elements are sacrificed.  Students cannot play beautifully if they are not allowed the joy of playing beautifully often, and when only repertoire that is too difficult is assigned, they cannot know the joy of the art–they are too busy struggling with notes. 

It is important that we as teachers and parents place importance on the artistic development and not so much of the difficulty of the repertoire.  Interestingly, the student mentioned above played a difficult Chopin piece for me, something that should not have been given to him for some time.  He and his parent were given the impression somewhere that he didn’t need any further method training.  Oh, so sad!  This young man’s story is sadly repeated evey day by pushy teachers looking to impress their colleagues and pushy parents who have the mistaken idea that if you can struggle through a Chopin Waltz, it’s a good thing.  Playing should be enjoyable every day–not just at the end of a long struggle.   

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