Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Piano Pivot - What can piano lessons do for you?

Each year I have a tradition of setting social, physical, intellectual and spiritual new year's resolutions based on the scripture (Luke 2:52). This year taking part in the piano pivot webinar by Nicola Cantan and Tim Topham got me thinking about goals a little earlier than normal. After filling out "My Dream Student in 5-10 years" worksheet identified 8 key elements I hope my students will develop and then mapped out how I plan to incorporate these into my lessons this upcoming year. I already do a lot of activities in my studio to incorporate the foundational skills of note reading, rhythm and chords and artistic playing but would like to incorporate more of the fun extras that I didn't get much exposure to in my traditional lessons as a child. Here are some of the key elements I hope my students will acquire in their music study.

CHORDS Able to improvise and use chunking to sightread and play in different keys.
NOTEREADING Possess solid intervallic and note naming skills.
RHYTHM Able to play basic rhythms with accuracy.
ARTISTRY Play with expression/natural feeling including appropriate understanding and application of basic music terms/marks indicated in music.
ACCOMPANY Play hymns fluently and accompany with confidence while singing.
IMPROVISE Pick out pop songs/chords by ear.
TEACH Teach others musical skills with clarity.
ENJOY Love music and playing the piano for enjoyment.

What can I do more of to prepare and ensure these goals are met?
Find tools to facilitate more improvisation in my studio.
Teach students to read from lead sheets.  Find more lead sheets with lyrics like "Lava" and "Zootopia" that students can sing along with while playing chords.
Use Bubble Tones, Autoharp and Tune Train apps more often and buy iRealPro.
Watch Tim Topham and Teach Piano Today podcasts and tutorial videos.
Incorporate Boogie Woogie and Blues books.
Have students Play Chord Progressions with pop songs often to see the fun and functional application of music theory.
Plan a Group Lesson Teaching the Circle of 5ths - Primary/Secondary Chords.

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