In addition to method books for younger children, and a large selection of repertoire that the student and I choose together, I have divided the year into a number of focus areas. I cover these essential musical topics to provide a well-rounded music education as well as an enlivening variety in the study of piano.
Throughout the Year: Technique,Theory, Sight Playing
Sept-Oct: Rhythmic training
Nov-Dec: Improvisation/Playing by ear/Group Workshops
Mar,April,May: Ear Training/Sight Singing/Dictation/Group Workshops
May-June: Composition Recital and All-Studio Piano Recital; Review favorite pieces/ Musical terms /Games
WORKSHOPS: 2 times a year, I use a week to run group classes instead of holding private lessons. I form groups by age and/or ability and use exciting, stimulating Eurhythmics games to explore musical topics. I choose topics based on student weaknesses which vary from year to year.
Here are a few topics I covered recently: phrase, meter, transformation of 6/8 to 3/4 time, rubato, identifying chord progressions, writing a round.
We also play for each other in a master class format to gain performance experience and talk about practicing, and other issues of playing. While a student will “miss” a private lesson the week of these workshops, the groups create a dynamic that accelerates learning well beyond what can be accomplished in one or two private lessons. Humans are, above all, social beings designed to thrive in social settings and though piano playing can be a wonderfully rejuvenating “alone” activity, we also need plenty of group stimulation to grow to our fullest potentials.
ENSEMBLE WORK: Where possible, I pair back-to-back students for duets, and Eurhythmics training. I invite parents, siblings and friends to join my piano students on their instruments whenever there is the interest, ability, and time.
PERFORMANCES: There is one all-studio recital in the spring. Many additional performance opportunities are arranged, including visits to assisted living facilities and local piano festivals.