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#1262862 - 09/05/09 10:23 AM Weekly Lesson
Mr.A Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/07/09
Posts: 29

Im trying to look ahead to later lessons, after a beginner has pretty much understood the very basics of theory and piano (enough to start with a method book and play small bits for instance).
What is your "beginner's" lesson composed of usually?


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#1262880 - 09/05/09 11:06 AM Re: Weekly Lesson [Re: Mr.A]
Minniemay Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/09
Posts: 1702
Loc: CA
Have you read any pedagogy books yet? So many of the questions you seem to have would be cleared up more quickly and thoroughly if you did.

Try these:

A Piano Teacher's Legacy by Richard Chronister
Questions and Answers by Frances Clark
Practical Piano Pedagogy by Martha Baker Jordan
B.A., Piano, Piano Pegagogy, Music Ed.
M.M., Piano

#1262955 - 09/05/09 01:31 PM Re: Weekly Lesson [Re: Minniemay]
Mrs.A Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/15/09
Posts: 155

I can tell you are very conscientious about teaching well. We were all beginner teachers at one time.

What method book are you using? I switched several years ago to Faber Piano Adventures and am continually impressed. IT is well organized and the music is appealing. It you follow all the books; Technique, theory, lesson, and performance, your students should do well and not miss much.

I explain to student the reason for the four books is it is like learning basketball. The lesson book is the “how to play” book. The technique is like shooting hoops till you get really good. (easy, often overlooked but important in piano) The performance is the “game” and the theory is the rule book. ALL are important elements in learning basketball and all are different but important to playing piano.

In addition, I have an interesting assortment of percussion instruments. The rule is, if they have a drum, they have to count out loud. We work out the rhythm of the pieces on the percussion instrument. It works well and breaks up the piano lesson a bit.

In the primer books I tend to teach only playing on the “blackk keys” until finger numbers are established. I then skip ahead. I explain the half note, quarter etc. but don’t expect the student to apply it yet. Those young brains are working hard just getting the fingers to move independent of each other at that level. I spend more time on the white keys until they are well understood. I don't skip much here. (I have a cute story I tell that helps student quickly learn the white keys PM me if you want that teaching technique) I do not worry about dynamics yet. I find Fabers introduction to the notes on the staff is about right for the students. I like the way faber introduces the notes. Still, not much emphasis on counting or dynamics but I do expect the student to be able to tell me how many counts a half note, whole note get even if it isn‘t consistently applied. I tend to linger in the Faber Primer books until I am sure note reading, skips and steps are solid. I don’t mind if they can not name the treble clef or bass clef yet. I use the vocabulary often in piano, quiz them occasionally and they pick it up.

Level one songs are much more interesting and I start insisting on dynamics in this book. I also introduce the metronome and emphasize counting and steady tempo. I am a stickler at this level about proper technique, staccatos, crescendos and so on. Those details are important in auditions.

At level one, intervals are introduced. Without neglecting note recognition, I heavily emphasize intervals. It makes for better sight reading is the foundation for theory and playing by ear If there is one thing I notice in transfers is they have very little understanding of intervals.

Depending on the student, I usually assign a lesson page and technique page one week. The next week it is the same technique and a performance page. Students who are very dedicated and practice often are assigned a performance, lesson and technique page.
When the c chord is introduced. I then introduce the f chord and g chord, a minor and e minor and encourage students to begin composing and playing by ear. By the time the faber books intorduce the chords in relationship to each other, the students have a good foundation.

In the upper Faber levels, I supplement a lot. I begin introducing the important literature. Discussing the important literature is another thread.

My students participate in two audition/competitions a year. Along with the method, the students are often working on audition pieces.

I do not claim my way is the best way. I hope it helps. Also, I didn’t address the obvious. You need to consider the strengths of each student. Some memorize to quickly, some have no internal pulse whatsoever and you have to watch for strengths and weakness and adjust lessons to address each individual student.

Good luck. It gets easier.
Piano Teacher.
Church Music Director.
Kindermusik Instructor.
Mom to four boys.

#1263521 - 09/06/09 02:35 PM Re: Weekly Lesson [Re: Mrs.A]
Mr.A Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/07/09
Posts: 29
Thank you very much for taking the time and answering my question so thoroughly.
It's very helpful, I'll check those books out, and I hope I'll do a good job.


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