Repetition in Musical Learning

Maybe you’ve heard the expression, “Repetition is the mother of all learning.”

There’s a reason for this. Repetition improves speed, increases confidence and creates neural pathways in the brain that commit that skill into memory. Once we’ve been down a pathway before, it’s easier to find the second and third and fourth time around!

Obviously, repetition is an important tool in musical learning. When my piano students are working on a piece of music, I might ask them to play a section “one more time” to help them become more fluent in a skill.

But sometimes, I can tell a student is getting frustrated or even bored if I ask him to repeat a passage of his piano piece again and again. Continue reading “Repetition in Musical Learning”

Teaching Rhythm to Piano Students

Whether I’m having my first in-person piano lesson with a new student or a student is logging in to view their first piano lesson in my online program, that student will be learning the same concept: rhythm.

Teaching rhythm is SUCH an important part of being a piano teacher. There’s an underlying theoretical — really, mathematical — understanding that needs to happen. But, I also have to help my students “feel” rhythm. Continue reading “Teaching Rhythm to Piano Students”

Preparing for A Piano Recital

Your student is preparing for a piano recital. You’re probably thinking, “Well, she’ll have to practice a lot!”

That’s sort of true. However, getting ready for a piano recital involves a bit more of a strategy than just additional practice. Continue reading “Preparing for A Piano Recital”

Pacing Piano Lessons: Is My Student Ready for the Next Lesson?

One thing that is unique to online piano lessons is that while I teach all the concepts, music and theory in the program, I do rely on parents to help in pacing the program for the student. I have parent guides and checklists to help with this, but I want parents to feel completely comfortable when it comes to answering the question, “Is my child ready for the next piano lesson?” Continue reading “Pacing Piano Lessons: Is My Student Ready for the Next Lesson?”

When a Student Can Play By Ear…

Sometimes students will come to me for piano lessons with a strong ability to play by ear in place already. It could be that the student has spent time listening to favorite songs on iTunes and picking out those melodies on the piano. Alternatively, a student might hear me play a piece of music she is working on in a lesson and, rather than reading the music, rely on her memory of what the piece sounds like in order to learn it.

It can be difficult to figure out how to approach teaching a student like this piano.

Do we completely ignore theory and technique and musical scores in favor of just learning pop hits by ear?

Do we start from the very beginning and scrap all the pop music in favor of meticulous theory and music-reading? Continue reading “When a Student Can Play By Ear…”

Piano Practice Motivator: Music Appreciation

Parents of piano students are always asking me for my best “piano practice motivator” ideas.

My number one go-to?

Music appreciation.

In this livecast, I’m going to give you TONS of actionable ways that you can help your student to develop an understanding of why learning to play the piano is a privilege. Continue reading “Piano Practice Motivator: Music Appreciation”

Let’s Talk About Piano Technique.

Technique is not a very exciting word. I am envisioning your eyes glazing over at the computer screen as you read the words “piano technique”.

Believe me, if I could come up with a sexier word to introduce this topic, I would!

Even though it sounds rather boring, piano technique is super duper important. And there is SO MUCH to it. Continue reading “Let’s Talk About Piano Technique.”

Reinforcing Ledger Lines

My 9-year-old daughter and piano student is working her way through Level 4 of my Busy Kids program and transitioning to independent practice. As we were skimming a new piece of music and she noticed many notes were written on ledger lines, she got a little panicky. She grabbed a pencil, figured out what the ledger line notes were and wrote in the names. Continue reading “Reinforcing Ledger Lines”

Teaching Expressive Piano Playing

I often attend workshops and conferences for piano teachers and have the opportunity to observe adjudication sessions with piano students from many different age groups. Expressive piano playing ALWAYS comes up during these sessions. Continue reading “Teaching Expressive Piano Playing”

Piano Practice Tricks That Will Change Your Life

I sometimes feel as though I can’t come up with another way to motivate my strong-willed child to practice. I’ve tried all the piano practice tricks. I’m out of creativity.

Or maybe you have a wiggly worm who can’t sit still longer than a few minutes and you aren’t sure how to get anything accomplished.

Or maybe you have a perfectionist who becomes immediately frustrated when she makes her first mistake during piano practice. Continue reading “Piano Practice Tricks That Will Change Your Life”