Surely, we all experienced some “fun” questions about our profession from clients/students who are new to our world.
In these series of articles I wanted to share some of them that I came across during my teaching experience.
A couple of years ago, I received a phone call from a parent who was enquiring about piano lessons for his two boys preparing respectively for Grade 6-7 and theory.
“Could you please teach my two boys music theory and Grade 6-7 for half an hour each? They both can listen to each other during the lessons so, they will help each other. They will only need to sit onto Grade 5 theory and Grade 8 exam. You prepare them as if they are doing their test.”
My attempt to tell her that each boy needed one hour for piano and one hour for theory didn`t work out. At the moment, I decided to stick to her plan but the results are very slow as only one of her boy did his Grade 5 and we are slowly working on Grade 7. My advise is that Grade 6-7-8 needs more work and during the lesson is very important to cover most of the topics and it is essential to practise at least one hour every day. Each student is different from another and I think that even if it useful, it is impossible to learn to play piano just by listening to someone else`s lesson. I do suggest that public performances are very important to build up confidence and I highly recommend to sit every single test from Grade 6 to 8. I think that doing an exam helps to increase the motivation and the willingness to do well and study better.
Aural tests in these last Grade is not a supporting test: actually you should spend more time on it and sight reading than the other requirements. If one wants to achieve good results, it is crucial to practise Aural test and Sight reading outside the lesson.
Another common question is the following:
“My child needs to go to a very good school and he needs to get up to piano Grade 6 in two years. Can you teach him a Grade every term?"
The answer is Yes, I can. The question is whether your child is willing to spend an hour on piano and an hour on theory everyday. If you want him to get a good foundation on Music, it is important to go over the three pieces and technical items required by the ABRSM or Trinity and build up technique with other exercises and pieces. It is possible to do the first three grades per term but after when the Aural Test and Sight reading becomes more difficult, the results are not as good.
Is it quality or quantity that matters? Piano is as hard as any other subjects and requires times and dedication. I do feel relieved when I hear parents saying “I thought it was easier…actually is really hard…reading music, hands coordination, being multi-tasking…”
I will continue with more common questions like these and common situations for a piano teacher in the next articles!