Piano lessons for beginners
Where do I begin? It is no doubt harder to teach a beginner who knows nothing about the subject than to teach an intermediate student.
The six and a half year old girl is enthusiastic. She wants to learn. How easily I could dampen that enthusiasm if I'm not careful!
Her little fingers try to spread over each ivory key. Her little hands try to hold their shape. Her feet dangle, unable to reach the ground.
I want to teach her how to play a song that she can hum to herself. Before she can get to that stage, she needs to learn how to count and keep to a rhythm. She needs to identify middle C on the keyboard. She needs to learn the correct posture, the correct hand positioning, the correct way to press each key.
When I was a teenager in high school, I had a lucrative career as a piano teacher. It was very good pocket money. Everyone in my neighbourhood had a piano and learned to play the piano. So I had a steady stream of students. Back then, I didn't care whether they liked playing piano or not. I just followed the book. After all, I learned to play, under a Japanese teacher who didn't speak Chinese. Learning to play the piano was just like learning to ride a bike. Only after you stop learning and start riding will you enjoy it.
It didn't occur to me that I enjoyed playing the piano until I stopped taking lessons.
My attitude has changed. Why should students follow boring pedagogy books? Why shouldn't they learn to play by ear and recognise the music without having to glue their eyes to the book? Why shouldn't they learn to enjoy playing piano from the beginning?
I will compose and arrange pieces to suit each student There's no need to spend 20 pounds buying a beginner's book. It's called custom-tailoring piano lessons to suit the student. Let's see how my approach works out.
6 November 2002 Wednesday
I called my mom and thanked her for taking me to piano lessons. She had to drive one hour each way, to my last piano teacher Mrs Hermann's house in the northern part of the island. It was hot and humid to wait in the car while I received my one hour piano lesson. For a small island like Okinawa, a one hour drive is very far indeed.
Without those precious music lessons, where would I be now? Music is the language that crosses cultural boundaries. There's no need to speak when I'm communicating through music.
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