I gave a few more lessons to my new student over this past month. As usual, he was receptive to all my suggestions. We worked through his lesson book and he learned how to play with both hands! I also touched on the topic of middle C more, because I didn't explain it well in the last lesson. We talked about the pentatonic scale. too, because he had a piece which was based off of it. We also had a piece where he pedaled, so we talked about the different pedals, what they do, and which feet to use on which pedals. Overall, teaching him has been a very fun experience and I am excited to continue to see him grow musically! We will begin to work on a piece his dad requested for next week - we're both quite excited about it!
I gave 2 more lessons to my new student. He is very receptive to comments and suggestions that I give him, and he also has such a great time in lessons! He's very fun to work with and makes lessons quite enjoyable :) We worked out of a lesson book the past two lessons and we talked about some basic theory and we also played some duets. He is a beginning student on piano, but he played trombone in the past and his musical background is evident when he plays. The lessons were very fun, and he seems to be having a good time!
Today I worked with the guy student and we touched on some interesting points in both the Bach and the Grieg. In the Bach, he used pedal (which isn't usually permitted because Bach builds technique by connection with fingers, leading players to be less reliant on the sustain pedal). I told him to remove the pedal for next week and I then provided him with the background of the Baroque era and the instrumentation during the time period, explaining that because there were harpsichords, sustaining with a pedal wasn't possible. We also worked on connection with fingers in the Grieg too; there was a tricky descending chromatic line that he was reliant on the sustain pedal for, but I said he should connect it with his fingers. We also worked on the two against three polyrhythm present in the Grieg, and he executed it very well! It was a good lesson overall.
This past week at my students' lessons, I tasked them each with preparing a piece of their choosing. For my male student, he chose a Bach invention in addition to a contrasting Grieg Nocturne. I could tell he practice some, but he didn't practice how I told him to - with a metronome, hands separately. Generally, I think adapting to how the student wants to practice is important, but for technique building in Bach repertoire I think there is a way that tends to work best and is widely used. I think he needs the foundation with this technique building in order to diversify his repertoire into other areas he is more fond of, like jazz and pop. I think he will enjoy building mechanical skills to work towards his goals. It's cool to see! The girl was sick, so I learned how to work around that and what to focus on in her lesson because her playing wasn't at it's usual. It was a learning experience to navigate this - very helpful!
I had two more lessons with my students today. This week I brought them each new repertoire to work on. I had a lesson with the boy first, and I brought him a Bach invention to work through. I told him they may not be the most exciting things to play, but that they are necessary for technique! He agreed, and I told him I'd bring a lead sheet for him next week. The lesson was really fun, and I continued to show him cool music to listen to and warmups to use on the piano! For the girl's lesson, I brought her a Sonatina album, and she chose the Sonata I figured she would (Mozart's Sonata No. 1 in C major - the classic!). She was really excited about the piece and I was excited she was excited! After the lesson, the mom texted me saying the kids really like my teaching style! :) What a fun day!
I gave my first lesson to this 16 year old boy from St. Peter this past Friday. I was worried how this one would go because I heard from his mother he wants to play more of a jazz piano style. I am most familiar with classical; in fact, I have just started taking jazz piano lessons just this semester. I asked him to play a piece, and he played something he printed off the internet (it was a pop song of some sort). He played it SO expressively! I was really impressed with his musicality. After he played a little bit of it, I asked him to improvise a little. He improvised over the chord progressions in the piece he printed off, and I told him I could show him a jazz warmup (I had just learned it the week prior). We practiced the warmup and he really enjoyed it! After that, I asked why he doesn't play classical music. He said he hates it and that it's boring! Well, I introduced him to many classical pieces that were similar to the pop piece he played just a few minutes ago and asked which he would like to play the best. He picked Arabesque No. 1 by Debussy and we started practicing a warmup that would assist him with the polyrhythms in the piece. We concluded the lesson with me showing him my favorite music artist and his wild talent with producing many polyrhythms with his fingers. The student's mom texted me in the middle of the lesson and told me I was doing well, which was really nice! It was an awesome first lesson! :)
I had my first piano lesson with my student this Tuesday. I had met her before during my observation at St. Peter High School. She was fairly reserved, and it took a while for her to be comfortable with me - I noticed her hands were shaking when she was playing! I was quite apprehensive about this lesson because I am the same age as her, we're both 18! I was worried she wouldn't take me seriously or maybe that I wouldn't be able to help her. It took a little bit to break the ice and get into the lesson, but once we did, things went very smoothly. She played a piece for me by Schumann, and after she completed it I told her it was great and offered a few suggestions (bringing out the melody at all times, not changing tempos, articulations, dynamics, etc). She took the suggestions very well and said she would practice them this week. I then inquired about her technical background and what she did with her last teacher - we went over a few scales so I could get an idea of how well her fingerings were developed. I was pleasantly surprised! I assigned all the white key scales and gave her a new cadence to work on in all the inversions. After that, we moved to a more contemporary piece. I recommended that instead of playing each note in a broken triad to go through and play them as solid chords to get the notes figured out. Once we finished all of the piano pieces and keyboard skills, we discussed college for her next year because she is coming to Gustavus! I gave her advice on applying for the music scholarships, auditions for ensembles, and many other things! It was quite enjoyable, and I am looking forward to teaching her younger brother tomorrow.