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”

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”

November Member of the Month

Meet our November Members of the Month Sansha and her two lovely children Hazel and Linus from Melbourne, Australia. Hazel is 8 years old and is currently enrolled in Busy Kids Do Piano. Eight year old Linus is not enrolled in piano but is currently studying the trombone.

What’s your musical background?

I learned piano for a number of years as a child, but wasn’t terribly committed and rarely practiced but despite this, I think it was a very valuable experience. I did always enjoy music and belonged to the school choir and orchestra. Continue reading “November Member of the Month”

Piano Practice Rewards: Why and How to Do Them

If the idea of piano practice rewards causes you to cringe, let me tell you a story.

I once had a piano student who was incredibly bright and had so much potential as a pianist. When she first started lessons with me, she was excited about how easily things were coming to her and practiced ALL THE TIME. As a result, she progressed quickly and was confident in her abilities.

As she progressed, things became more challenging, and she grew frustrated. Rather than working through the frustrations between her lessons with me, she resisted practicing. After a few weeks of having what seemed like an identical piano lesson to the last as we worked through challenges in her music, I called her mom to ask how practicing was going at home. Continue reading “Piano Practice Rewards: Why and How to Do Them”

How to Participate in Your Child’s Music-Making.

So often, parents of students come to me with practicing struggles. They are exhausted from having to nag their child to practice, are running out of incentive ideas or perhaps have let practicing slide for awhile and aren’t really sure how to get back into healthy practice habits. Continue reading “How to Participate in Your Child’s Music-Making.”

How Being A Church Musician Has Made Me A Better Pianist.

I started playing piano for church when I was just a 2nd grader. Our kind and lovely church organist, herself an experienced church musician, asked if I would be willing to play a song for offering. I don’t remember the name of the piece. I know it was something from my hot pink Alfred method book and that I was really scared. I’m sure I made lots of mistakes and that those few minutes weren’t particularly meditative for the congregation. Continue reading “How Being A Church Musician Has Made Me A Better Pianist.”

8 Reasons to Learn Piano Composition.

Anyone can learn piano composition.

Perhaps the idea of composing a song might seem really intimidating or mind-boggling to you. Would it surprise you to know that I’ve had students as young as 4-years-old compose their own original (and delightful!) pieces?

If the idea of composing a piano piece seems impossible, think of the pride that comes whenever you create something unique. Maybe you had this feeling when you painted your kitchen cabinets or wrote an article that was published. Perhaps you were super proud of  the beautiful birthday party you hosted or the delicious dinner you made. Continue reading “8 Reasons to Learn Piano Composition.”

Why Start With Piano Lessons?

So you’re thinking about starting your child with music lessons. If you’ve started to ask around about which instrument to start with, you’ve likely heard the piano recommended pretty strongly. Why start with piano lessons?

I’m a piano teacher so I realize I might be a little biased. However, in my own studies and in talking to the pediatricians, psychiatrists and school teachers in my children’s lives, I have learned that piano is often what they recommend as well. Continue reading “Why Start With Piano Lessons?”

4 Ways to Be A Positive Practice Partner.

Does practicing piano with your child ever feel like a slow and painful form of punishment?

Especially if you are a pianist yourself, it can be difficult to hear your child struggling through a piece without quickly “fixing” everything for her. It might also be tempting to stop every single time you hear a mistake. In a recent post, I detailed what, exactly, your role is in practicing alongside your child. It’s so important to understand how you can set up practice sessions successfully and how to structure that time together! Continue reading “4 Ways to Be A Positive Practice Partner.”