Philosophy: the critical study of the basic principles and concepts of a particular branch of knowledge, especially with a view to improving or reconstituting them: the philosophy of science.(Thank you, dictionary.com)
The philosophy I’m going to talk about today is half formed in my mind and it might not get much farther than that throughout the post, but it’s Monday and I’m lazy. As a piano teacher and a musician I’ve been thinking about my philosophy in teaching a lot lately(and by a lot I mean in the shower.) It’s tricky knowing what is important to teach and what can go by the wayside. What will be carried on in their musical studies and what will eventually be worthless.
I teach from Faber and Faber’s Piano Adventures. The reasons for this are threefold.
1. I learned from them(;)) so I’m familiar with all the songs and I don’t humiliate myself too much when I play the teacher duets with the kids. haha
2. The songs are downright fun(as a result of…)
3. They emphasize the universal rules and techniques of music that aren’t tied to one specific instrument.
It’s a fact that every piano teacher has had to or will have to face: Most piano students move on to other instruments once they get older.
As a result I spend less time focusing on piano mechanics and technique and focus more on musical expression and law. I want my students to be able to sightread notes and dynamics and be able to apply it on the first attempt. I want my students to know the mathematics of note values, rest values, time signatures, etc.
When learning the wrist float off, the mechanical action of the wrist is not important. What is important is the feel of the song. The grace of the music affecting the motion of your body. Having a definitive way of communicating that the phrase is done. Hopefully your hand looks like a jellyfish in the process…. but really it’s just the breath between sentences.
Anyways. My end goal is that if/when my students leave my studio in pursuit of other, more illustrious instruments, they will have a base that will make the transition easy.
The true beauty of learning an instrument is the discipline you learn. You practice every day. You work a piece up for the scrutiny of all when you have recitals. You get in the habit of processing a lot of information in the space of a second. You learn to take criticism and pick yourself up and make yourself better because of it(Something you don’t learn in a large classroom.) Not to mention hand-eye coordination. These skills aren’t specific to music. You can take these skills into your life and apply them in every kind of situation. Send your kids to learn an instrument! (Start rant)And if the teacher you pick doesn’t spend any time on theory, you’re wasting your time and money!(End rant)
I shall end my post with some Jane Austen.
So! I shall end an old maid and teach your ten children to play their instruments and embroider cushions very ill!(Rebekah)