Complete Piano Learning Cycle
It is not unusual to see, in the realm of London piano practises, how piano teachers misjudge the way they should approach tutoring piano beginners. There are three possible different results a teacher can obtain from teaching a piano beginner:
The student can become a concert pianist
The student can become a piano teacher
The student can become a music connoisseur (most frequent case)
The good news: The three possible results are reached applying the same methodology.
The process of relating to music is a fabulous one. It starts with us attempting to learn how to play an instrument; but that is just the beginning... We also need to learn how a professional would sound when playing that instrument. For that reason, attending concerts become paramount for our integral music development. Nevertheless, attending concerts on our own or just with people who don’t understand music will not necessarily help us developing our music perspective. Music is a social art and a language. As such, it needs to be practised. We not only practise the language when we perform, but we also practise this language indirectly when we express our opinions about a concert. In order to express our ideas about a concert we need to make use of all our knowledge about the piece in question, the challenges involved in performing live and the instrument used during the performance. Conversing about these topics with a fellow student, immediately after a concert, can prove to be very positive for the healthy development of our musical perspective. If we attend concerts together with our fellow music students, we increase the probabilities of having an interesting musical conversation. The latter can motivate us to use our musical knowledge to produce valuable ideas about the concert we have just listened. In this way we will be practising our critical skills and, hopefully, perfecting our self-criticism.
Working on our music skills during the lessons and attending concerts are two dimensions of a three-part learning cycle. The last dimension of our musical learning is represented by the “perfectioning of our ability to perform”. What kind of language learning we would be attempting to do if we never exercised “speaking”? When we perform in front of an audience that is exactly what we do: we speak in musical terms.
The level of focusing we need to apply to our performance is unique of the stage situation. It is the most exciting challenge a musician can face and by far the most edifying. It is like jumping out of the plane for skydivers.
At WKMT we make sure all our students get these three main musical aspects properly stimulated.
A Solid Piano Technique
Piano technique is something everyone talk about but nobody properly explain. The reason? It is actually quite an ambiguous subject. At WKMT and through Juan Rezzuto we brought the famous tradition linked to the Vicente Scaramuzza piano technique to London. Maestro Scaramuzza did something that wasn’t done before: he standardized up to the tiniest of details the way someone should move in relation to performing a musical piece. The gymnastics of piano performing are numerous and of an unpredictable kind; but they can still be explained clearly. The beauty of Scaramuzza’s approach is its simplicity. It clarifies the process of playing in such a way in which our efforts are concentrated around perfecting five different pianistic movements.
Reading polyphonic music can prove to be both boring and confusing. The main mistake piano teachers commit is to try and teach piano beginners to read piano scores as if they were vocalists or string players.
Pianists have to learn how to deal with multiple streams of information. This is something that doesn’t happen to the same extent to other musicians. Monodic instruments do not require us to deal with multiple voices. The latter means piano teachers should focus in helping students to deal with the biggest of challenges: training our brain to pay attention to two things at the same time! Good news: It is possible!