How “Decoding Music” Can help a Struggling Student to Confidently Read Music

I would love to be able to figure out why some students can latch onto reading music easily and quickly, while others take more direction, reinforcement, and time.This past year I had a couple students, who had been studying with me for a year, that were still struggling to recognize landmark notes as well as if it was a step up or skip up. Struggling with something basic can lead to a lot of frustration and stagnation in lessons.

Whenever a student struggles with a concept, I first assume that something was lacking in my instruction. And then I look to find ways to re-introduce and reinforce the concept. Continue reading “How “Decoding Music” Can help a Struggling Student to Confidently Read Music”

Secret Pain of a Musician

Midway through playing piano at Mass tonight, my eyes were stinging with tears. The pain in my wrist was back. The sharp, searing pain of tendonitis, followed by the constant burn. It is a familiar pain and discomfort. One that I have fought for the past 15 years, and is the result of injury caused by something that brings me so much joy – playing piano.

My story is unfortunately not unique. In college I read a study where over 75% of the musicians they interviewed had an injury that interfered with their playing. My pain started in the early years of high school and was fairly mild. My hands would bother me off and on, but it wasn’t ever an issue and it never interfered with other activities. Continue reading “Secret Pain of a Musician”

Assignment Pages – Whose needs are they fulfilling?

{Nothing Era.} My student’s assignment sheets have evolved quite a bit over the last decade. When I began teaching, I wrote nothing down for both myself or for my student. This is probably because I was emulating my childhood teacher.

{Notebook Era.} But as I took on the role of the piano teacher, I realized that I needed a record to glance at and know what needed to be covered in the lesson. It was supposed to also help the students know what to practice. Thus, it led me to my “notebook” era. The idea was to write which book, the page number, and title of song the student should practice. But my notes were never consistent – I’d forget to write the page number, or the book and the formatting was never the same. Continue reading “Assignment Pages – Whose needs are they fulfilling?”

A Discussion on the Challenges of Incorporating Kodaly Method into Piano Lessons

Last summer I completed my Kodaly levels, and although it has completely changed how I teach my students, I want to continue to include more of the philosophy, structure, ideas, and sequence into piano lessons.But before I can truly change my piano teaching, I refreshed my memory on what the ideal music education looked to Zoltan Kodaly. To start, I decided to re-read my copy of The Kodaly Method I: Comprehensive Music Education, and finally read Kodaly Today. Continue reading “A Discussion on the Challenges of Incorporating Kodaly Method into Piano Lessons”

Top Five Teaching Tools for Piano Lessons

When I look around at my local music store, Pinterest, and online, I find so many wonderful ideas to incorporate into my teaching. But even though I scour the net for the best ideas, I tend to always come back to some tried-and-true favorites. Every teacher tends to find their favorites. These are mine. They are the top five tools I use every week during lessons. Continue reading “Top Five Teaching Tools for Piano Lessons”