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”

Building Strength and Finger Independence

If you’ve ever watched an accomplished pianist play, you may have been amazed at the way her fingers moved quickly across the keys — even when playing a complicated piece of music. It looks so easy, doesn’t it?

If you are working with a younger beginner, however, chances are you’ve realized that there’s a lot of work that goes into building that kind of strength and dexterity in a person’s fingers! Your student may become easily frustrated when trying to play each note one-at-a-time, with a different finger. It might seem impossible for a 5-year-old to keep his fingers round and firm while striking a piano key. Continue reading “Building Strength and Finger Independence”

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”

Careers in Music

I believe piano lessons are important because learning a musical instrument has all sorts of fantastic cognitive and emotional benefits. I also believe piano lessons are important simply for the sake of learning to play a musical instrument — for adding richness, beauty and balance into a child’s life. Continue reading “Careers in Music”

Reducing Performance Anxiety

As a piano teacher, I make sure my students have many opportunities to share their musical gifts through piano recitals, playing for church or school talent shows. Even with my online students, I provide an online recital hall and suggestions for holding recitals at home. But what if your student suffers from performance anxiety? Continue reading “Reducing Performance Anxiety”

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…”

Taking Kids to the Symphony

Taking kids to the symphony is a really awesome opportunity to help them understand how relevant learning an instrument is while also gain appreciation for musicians, musical instruments and different musical styles.

I often share in my livecasts and on my blog posts how important it is to nurture love and appreciation for music in your child. What better way to do this than through a live musical performance by excellent musicians? Continue reading “Taking Kids to the Symphony”

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”

November Member of the Month

View More: http://captivememoriesphotographyyahoocom.pass.us/dalton-family-17

Meet Jessica and her family of six from Utah. She and her husband have two sons and two daughters between the ages of 2-12. This musical family loves the outdoors, if they aren’t outside this family is enjoying a board game or movie night. Continue reading “November Member of the Month”

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”