Guest Post by Roberta Wolff
In my previous post, which you can read here, I considered the importance of reflecting, both in teaching and learning. As such, it was a thoughtful and ‘serious’ article. However, that is not necessarily the best way to approach teaching reflection to our students. Nothing engages the student and gets the message across like a bit of creativity and fun.
This article, therefore, is focused on incorporating reflection as part of the lesson and practice process.
The trouble with reflection is that it often seems long-winded. All the amazing advice along the lines of think 10 times play once is actually very hard to carry out. Whereas, it is very easy to get locked into a cycle of thinking with your fingers – at least then it sounds like something is happening!
In teaching students to incorporate reflection, unconscious learning with the support of tools to interrupt the spell of trial and error practice is immensely productive and enjoyable.
The Musician’s tool bag, The Box and the Language of Reflection are all ways to unconsciously build in reflection time.
Continue reading The Musician’s Tool Bag
Advice for New Performers
As the pianist releases the final notes of the piece, the audience bursts into enthusiastic applause. The player stands and takes a bow…
It’s a code of conduct that we tend to take for granted – but one that should be taught and practised as part of performance preparation.
I try to cultivate a friendly, non-competitive, informal atmosphere at my student concerts, but it’s still important to teach new performers the importance of more formal “stagecraft”, etiquette, and the essential place of taking a bow to receive and acknowledge audience applause.
I often give students a “mock performance” experience in their lesson, including teaching them how to bow. Here is a quick summary that supports that practice.
Continue reading Take a Bow! How, When and Why…
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”?