Guest post by Roberta Wolff
Alternatives to an outdated word
I propose a new word…
The word ‘practise’ is insufficient, it provides
- No insight into what the activity entails
- No guidelines on how to be successful at it
- Little in the way of mass appeal
As a teacher and writer, I am not in the habit of making up words. I find using words my students and readers already comprehend far more efficient. So, my research started with a thesaurus. Here is a summary of the synonyms listed for ‘practise’:
- Knock off
- Take up
Obviously, they won’t do. There were a few others though:
Not bad, but still not the full picture. From this overview a realisation emerged. There isn’t a word already in existence that can update and improve on the word ‘practise’.
If I wanted a new word, I would have to make it myself.
Continue reading It’s Time To Stop Practising & Start…?
Pathways for Teaching
Are you a piano teacher? If so, let me ask you a question: Do you enjoy your work? I mean – really enjoy it, all the time?
I’m fairly sure that most of us, if we are honest, will recognise that while we love our work in general, there are times where fatigue, impatience, distraction and even boredom can set in, even very fleetingly. And while we may feel a little guilty or inadequate in those moments, the reality is that in any job – however wildly fulfilling – we all experience “off days” and times when our heart isn’t quite so far into it as usual.
To counter the negative feelings that this can produce, I invite you to consider this wonderful quote from Buddhist teacher Haemin Sunim:
“Those who work in a playful, relaxed manner
tend to work efficiently and creatively;
Those who work non-stop, driven only by stress,
work without joy.”
Haemin Sunim, The Things You Can See Only When You Slow Down (2012)
In this post I am going to consider what it might mean to “work in a playful manner”, and how this could make all the difference for our students.
Continue reading The Playful Piano Teacher
One of the major stumbling blocks for players is that we too often feel that we are struggling, making little progress, and perhaps just haven’t got what it takes to become a “good player” (however we define what that is).
To enjoy playing an instrument, we need to move beyond this negative self-talk. And I suggest that one of the most easy and powerful ways we can achieve this is to adjust the balance between working and playing during our personal piano time. Which brings us to the question,
Continue reading What Can You Play?
“What can you play?”
I recently asked the members of an online piano teaching forum the following question:
“I want to learn to play piano for fun…”
What do you think when pupils/parents say this to you?
Perhaps it’s no surprise that answers ranged from “Get a trampoline!” at one end of the spectrum to “Great – that’s the best reason!” at the other. And the constructive debate that followed proved to be very interesting and enlightening.
With this in mind, I would like to share a few of my own views and hope this will encourage further thought and ongoing discussion within the teaching and piano community.
Continue reading Playing the Piano “for Fun”?