Updated: Oct 31, 2020
WKMT - SABRINA CURPANEN - POST NOVEMBER 2016
Another month has gone and we are getting ready for the festive season with cheerful Music to keep our heart warm.
On Wenesday the 29th November, I attended an interesting Masterclass given by Juan Rezzuto about the importance of dynamics as a tool to achieve a secure performance and how crucial is to carefully plan them during our daily practise routine. The second part of the Masterclass given by Veronica Haro was dedicated to the method "Dog and Birds" and its excellent results on our youngest piano students (even 2 years old!).
I must admit that I didn't know about this method and it grabbed my attention. Veronica showed us the various books and tools (toys) to get our little children involved into the music and Piano world. What has caught my attention is the fact that there are two books for each level; one where notes are called as animals (dogs, birds, fish...) and the other one with notes called with their names (A-B-C...) but written bigger on the stave. I thought that is a really clever idea as teachers can combine both of them.
The other positive aspect of this method is what I call "time managing" during lessons time. During each lessons (45 min) is very important to cover the various aspects of Music learning: notation, rhythm, playing, Aural test, composition and even improvisation. Children are more likely to not get bored during all these various activities.
The books come with tiles and wooden animals: children like actions and they like making or doing things. Tiles are perfect to put on the piano to discover the notes on the keyboard and also on the board where they can put the correspondent tiles on the lines and spaces.
At the same time, while I was listening to all these information I was thinking about how much (maybe too much) children need to be entertained to learn nowadays. Teachers are like magicians: they constantly need to invent a game or a trick to divert a child's attention while learning something more or less difficult.
Why teachers cannot go straight to the point anymore? Why children now need animals to learn notes and create stories about the goose skipping the river from the right side (right hand) to the left side (left hand)? I remember that when I was a child it was really hard to learn theory, solfege, study a new piece but I still remember the happiness alongside the sense of achievement after the pain of learning those "difficult" topics and, most of all there were not tricks. Why now teachers need to make everything "fun" for young students? I can't find answers to all these questions but I think nowadays, we are trying to edulcorate and sometimes way too much, what it is "painful" to learn and sometimes we don't even get good results and with the risk to grow up children with no stamina and resilience to cope with their present and future life at school, home and social relations. I might sound too strict or conservative but I keep saying to my students "No pain, no gain!". The world outside is really competitive and I think it is really important for us teachers to start from an early age to instill some drops of toughness in our students.
At the end of the day, what I am trying to apply in my teaching is a balance between being firm and fun and for the "fun" side the "Dogs and Birds" method could be really valid.
WKMT delivered a very informative Masterclass and I will definitely discover more about this method. Thank you very much Vero for presenting it in such a professional and enthusiastic way. You made me think and reflect about being a piano teacher!
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