Many students are timid about learning a new piece. Some are perfectionists who don’t want to make a mistake, even if they have never set eyes on the piece before! Amazing. ” This is a NEW piece. “How can you play it without mistakes?! ” I ask them. Sometimes they become downright unfriendly. Then I have to sprinkle that fairy dust and begin the teaching process.
First, we review key signature, time signature, dynamics, and repeats, endings before the student plays for the first time. I like the sight reading experience that is included in this process.
After the sight reading, we analyze the “hits” and “misses.” For the “hits” I compliment the student. Then, we analyze the “misses.” I can’t emphasize enough that this analysis is the most important part of the lesson. Most students will not take the time to do this alone.
Fingering, especially, is the key to being able to play the correct notes. Fingering seems to be the least important aspect of playing in a student’s mind. He thinks if he can play the notes, it’s not important how he got there. Sometimes, I’ve seen the unbelievable: they turn their hands palms up to reach a note.
Finally, I play the new song for the student. Modeling is very important to demonstrate the correct notes, counting, and dynamics of the piece.
I enjoy their reaction to the finished product. “How long have you played the piano?” they ask. “Most of my life,” I answer. ” So, how old are you?”
Somehow, I manage to dodge the last question.