Your Stories No.9
I live in Devon and teach piano alongside a career in the NHS. I am currently a student on the Piano Teachers’ Course UK, so have been reflecting a lot on my piano journey this far, and on what comes next! Here’s my story…
… especially to those with dyslexia and other learning difficulties
Guest post by Karen Marshall
I have been teaching students with specific learning difficulties (especially dyslexia) for twenty years now. It’s been a real journey which has been packed with lots of learning, creativity, patience, joy, challenge but most of all reward.
Reward in being able to share in music making with students who can find music learning has challenges.
It is important to remember that no two students are the same – and especially no two dyslexic or students with special needs. The solutions may need adapting for individual students, or strategies specially selected for them. And also remember that some students with learning difficulties don’t have any problems with music learning at all. One size does not fit all!
The topic is vast. In this post I identify four of the main Guiding Principles for working with students with special needs.
These principles work well across all my teaching – good teaching is, I believe, good teaching! And I am sure many teachers reading this post will do much of what I describe anyway.
I am pleased to announce a new Facebook community group for those who read and write blogs about the piano: Piano Blogs!
The aim of the group is to provide a dedicated space for pianists and writers to share and encourage one another, as well as a focal point where bloggers can share our latest posts.
This is important, because many online communities don’t appreciate bloggers who link to their sites, regarding the free sharing of articles as a form of self-promotion. For example, on Reddit not all subreddit areas welcome blog links, while forums such as Piano World can react with hostility towards bloggers who share their posts. Similarly, some Facebook piano groups prefer to limit or restrict the sharing of online writing.
And that’s why those who READ blogs will enjoy the Piano Blogs group as much as those who write them! I believe that the group can offer a unique space online where interaction between readers, writers and pianists can flourish.
Personally, having received so much encouragement, and from so many, I hope Piano Blogs can now support other writers and those interested in taking up blogging, while providing ongoing stimulus to those of us already active creating piano related content online.
Guest Post by Simon Reich
After reading a rather sad article by Washington Post author Arianna Warsaw-Fan Rauch, I began discussing the issues raised in the story with other musicians.
Arianna lamented her loss of joy in music due to endless exercises, scales, playing the same pieces ad nauseum and various other musical drills akin to army training, that robbed her of any love she might have had for a life as a musician.
Once I’d read the expose, I wondered about the author’s mental or emotional approach to music. Was it her attitude or the way she interpreted music that was a reason for her eventual dissatisfaction, and could this also affect your own (or if you teach others) students longevity and enjoyment in the art of music?
In this post I am going to share a simple trick that will help prompt you to compose and improvise your own music.
This also provides an excellent strategy for helping more advanced students develop their creativity, and move beyond written music.
When making up our own music it’s useful to have a “trigger” that helps get things started – or perhaps a set of “rules” or self-imposed limitations within which we will work. Far from limiting our imagination, this can stimulate our creativity as we explore the boundaries we have set ourselves.
The Eight Chord Trick can be used in exactly this way.