“You have to learn all your notes on the staff first… and then you need to know where they are on the piano keyboard before you can play songs.”
That’s what you might expect to hear from the average piano teacher. That’s likely the kind of piano teacher who makes a living giving you first lessons out of those “Primer” method books. It’s amazing how those publishing companies continue raking in the dough by creating more and more of those “Primer” level books, which often result in the student proceeding only as far as the teacher is comfortable taking them. Gosh, how many primer books does one need to finally arrive at Level 1? Did you know that your son or daughter could be taking a couple of years of lessons before even getting to that point, thanks to these “easier than easy” books that were created so that inexperienced teachers could earn a living keeping a student at bay for that long?
There is such a thing as making actual music at those keys within a time frame that just might surprise you. Sure, you need an instructor that can provide you with the right coaching. Along with that, you need to have a little interest in creating music and a tiny bit of belief in yourself. Then again, with the right coach, even those can be nurtured.
Question: What did you learn to do first as a youngster – read and write OR speak?
You know the answer to that. So, when it comes to music, need it be any different? Just like you knew how to exclaim, “I want to eat!” before you could write those words on a piece of paper, you can make music at those keys without understanding all of the theory behind it all. Being able to do so will certainly provide you with the incentive to want to take things further, yes? And just like you eventually learned how to reduce what you were saying during those early years to paper, so it is with your being able to know how to read and write music. It’s quite likely you want a reason to stay motivated during those early stages of learning… and that makes sense, too. This applies whether you are an adult considering getting involved with piano lessons or you have a youngster wanting to do so. In short, the learning process should be fun and rewarding from the get-go.
So, why isn’t it this way when you sign up for those piano lessons at your local music studio most of the time? Well, several factors come into play here but, among them, are the type of training the teacher endured and his or her maturity as an instructor. If you hook up with a teacher who was not brought up learning music in a creative fashion, then it’s not very likely that you’re dealing with an authority who can promote and encourage creativity. It’s pretty basic when you think about it.
When considering a teacher, it will help to realize that stereotyping won’t do you much good. For example, if you wanted to get your hair styled for an extraordinarily special occasion, you probably wouldn’t consider going to the local barber around the corner. Rather, you would likely visit an actual stylist. Well, when you’re considering a piano teacher for yourself or your child, thinking that “a piano teacher is a piano teacher is a piano teacher” isn’t any more true than “a person who cuts hair is a person who cuts hair is a person who cuts hair.” It helps to know what you’re looking for in a teacher, to do a little research, and to ask the right questions.
If you are looking for a piano instructor who can immediately open you up to the creative side of learning music, one who can really nurture that musical ability that is just waiting to make itself evident, that person exists. But finding that individual probably won’t happen by shopping the yellow pages and going with the cheapest price in the list. Let’s face it… if the student gets genuine value out of those lessons and develops an ever-growing appreciation for music, along with enjoying a more enhanced level of self-esteem due to regularly attending those sessions, the value is something that can be hard to put a price on.
Learning to read the notes on a piano staff and how to associate those notes to the piano keyboard is a basic skill that the majority of students will want to master. It’s also one that ought to be learned. Any piano teacher worth his or her weight in salt will help with that. But when it comes to really getting in touch with one’s ability to express himself or herself musically, you’ll want an instructor who’s “been there, done that” and who enjoys helping others to do the same. Also, don’t be fooled by any music studios out there claiming that all that creative stuff has to happen at some later point in time. If you hear anything like that, a red flag ought to go up quickly.
Remember, we were placed on this earth to be creative. You owe it to yourself or your child to allow that innate desire and ability to be encouraged and brought to fruition.
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