I’ve started making videos of songs I’m teaching my students as so many of them are visual learners and have the technology to view this at home. This video is not meant to be a step by step instruction but a reinforcement/memory aid for after the lesson when practicing at home.
As many of you know, I’ve been working hard on an interactive iPad iBook for quite some time. Today Play Piano For Kids, Volume 1 (Penguins Don’t Play Piano, But You Can!) is officially live in 32 countries around the world in the Apple iTunes Bookstore. It’s on sale for the next week for only 99 cents after which it will go up to $6.99. Pleases go and take a look and give a review/rating.
Aimed at parents , home-schoolers and teachers of young children aged 3 to 6 years old, the book is really an app which delivers a learning system including audio, video, animations and my unique color system. It spans the first month and a half of lessons that in my private lessons would cost over $200! There is no experience required and no need to read traditional music notation. In fact, the problem with most music books and teachers try to present too much information at once. By breaking down the learning process into micro steps, I’ve helped hundreds of kids learn to play piano, (and guitar) whilst having proper technique, and learning music theory, traditional notation and even composition.
For those of you who have been unable to get on my roster, this is a great way to virtually start lessons with me. There’s even a free sample that gives you the first lesson for free. And this is just the beginning, I’m already working hard on the next volume as well as a support website PlayPianoForKids.com
Feel free to comment!
Apologies for the site being down all of last week. But we’re back! Here’s a quick update and enjoy the week off for Thanksgiving!
As many of you know, in each of my lessons, my aim is to address 3 main areas: repertoire, reading and music theory.
This is building up a collection of pieces that your child can play from memory and perform in public.
It allows us to work on technique and bring music to life whilst giving a great confidence boost and joy in playing. This material I often present using my own color notation which enables your child to learn a piece as quickly as possible and then memorize it. Many of you are using Suzuki material for this repertoire whilst others are working on a combination of Suzuki with jazz, blues, pop and world music.
To learn to read music is truly a great skill. To be musically literate opens a whole door to deeper appreciation. Reading music is not as difficult as it seems, but requires a steady practice diet. I will usually not start this until we’ve been playing a repertoire of about 7 to 10 songs. I use a proprietary method of notation to get them up to speed quickly with simple and then complex pieces.
This is the nuts and bolts of music. We get under the hood and see how music is structured and built through games,
Many of you are struggling with playing cleanly and smoothly. This simple technique can help you to relax your fingers to pay more fluidly. Developed by Glenn Gould’s mentor and longtime teacher Chilean pianist Alberto Guerrero, it aims to retain a relaxed muscle memory. You can learn more about this in the wonderful documentary Genius Within: The Inner Life of Glenn Gould.
Many of my students have been forgetting some of the basics around technique. Here’s a handy chart that you can post by the piano or on the first page of your music notebook. Probably the most important one I’m finding is sitting the proper distance away from the piano. Many kids like to sit almost with their bellies touching the piano. This makes it so much harder for their fingers to be in the right shape to play well. You should be sitting so that your forearms are about level with the floor, elbows bent and shoulders not hunched or lifted.
Curling the fingers can take some time to remember for the youngest students. I usually tolerate the flat-fingers for a while until they get a few pieces memorized.
You can download this piano checklist as PDF to print out.
Hope this helps.
Enjoy, make music and have fun!
If you are currently taking lessons with me, you will know this as the Peanut Butter Sandwich or the Mississippi Hot Dog.
It’s a great first lesson for anyone studying the piano, regardless of age, as it builds finger strength, independence and gets your hands in the proper position. So much of music is based on muscle memory. So you may as well get it right from the start without all the bad habits that can lead to muscle fatigue or carpal tunnel syndrome or tendonitis.