A lighthouse only has purpose at night. In the darkness, it becomes a beacon of hope.
A student learning the piano for the first time, might feel overwhelmed and
doesn't know where to begin. I will be there to light the way, to guide you into learning how
to play one of the most beautiful instruments in the world.
My Philosophy of Education
As long as I can remember, I loved going to school and I loved learning. I still remember my first day of Kindergarten. I was so excited to start school I woke up extra early and was fully dressed and ready to go two hours before I had to leave. This kind of excitement to go to school never waned. This same enthusiasm also led to my desire to take piano lessons at the same age. 5 years old was a great year for me. The beginning of my “conscious” desire to learn.
Being in school and taking piano for most of my life, I have learned that many students don’t share this same enthusiasm. As a teacher in the classroom or as a piano teacher out of my home, it is my responsibility to motivate my students. But what is motivation? According to Psychology Today, motivation is literally the desire to do things. It is a crucial element in setting and attaining goals. With the demands placed on families and students today, it is no wonder that motivation can be lacking. When I find that a student is unenthusiastic, I will discuss what the end goal is for working on an assignment or for learning a new piece of music. If it is a piano piece, I will play it for the student in hopes to get them enthused about learning the piece. As a long time piano student myself, I always loved when my teacher demonstrated a piece for me. I just wanted to play it like them.
I believe wholeheartedly that learning the piano provides great benefits for students. A piano student is also “set apart” from their peers who don’t play the piano or any other instrument. Below are some definite benefits of learning how to play the piano.
- Piano lessons help with focused concentration: Students learn that in order to master a piece or even a section of a piece, intense focus and concentration is required. As a teacher, I help students break down difficult areas and then implement a certain technique to help students get through these difficult areas. Of course some areas will be easier than others therefore, I encourage students to take their time to really work on that particular section. Working on these areas are challenging but can be fun at the same time. The bigger lesson here though is students realize that the best results come out of intense and focused practice which will carry over into other areas of their life.
- Discipline: Learning an instrument requires consistent effort and discipline. It is like exercise. If one doesn’t exercise, than there are no physical benefits. Many students dream of being able to play the piano effortlessly but this will only happen with consistent practice and discipline. As a piano student myself, I felt the hardest part was just getting to the piano bench. Once a student is there, daily practice becomes easy.
- Learning how to multi-task: Many jobs today require multi-tasking. Piano students can learn this in their piano lessons. Piano requires one to be able to read many notes with different rhythmic patterns, musical dynamics such as short and long phrases, staccatos, crescendos, decrescendos, etc.…at the same time playing the correct notes on the piano. While intense focused practice is required for “a” section, I help students incorporate this into the whole piece which is then part of a multi-tasking ability.
- Students learn how to distinguish what is “great” music and music of mediocre quality: This also infiltrates into other areas of life. Will these students later become satisfied with only doing what is required to “get by,” or will they work to really get what they want out of life? Will they “settle” or will they become achievers? As a teacher, it is my responsibility to expose students to the great composers and to the four main “classical” musical periods. There is no comparison in the depth of the music of Bach, Beethoven, Chopin, and Rachmaninoff to composers of the 21st Century. Just as there is no comparison of Michelangelo paintings in the Sistine Chapel vs. ink blots on canvas or the architecture of the Notre Dame vs. the architecture of today. As a piano teacher, I do not want my students to settle for less. They have all received God given abilities but might not know how to tap them. I will help my students find their abilities in hopes that it will carry over into other areas of their life.
- The piano becomes a part of you: Living in our world today is not easy. Everyone carries stressors and burdens daily. As a pianist, you realize that the piano will always be there “no matter what.” If one is having a problem with a relationship, an issue at school or work, or even a tragedy or a death in the family, the piano is still there. Many times over my life, I have gone to the piano after a particularly stressful day or situation, and all of a sudden “that problem” is gone. Well, it is at-least gone for the time being. The piano provides hope and it provides light when there is darkness.
- Students learn how to speak publicly with almost no effort: I can guarantee that any student who takes piano and performs in recitals, performances, and competitions will become excellent speakers. In school, many students dread getting up in front of the class and speaking. Or in college, these same students dread taking the required speech class. I guarantee that this will not happen with a piano student. For most of us, speaking comes naturally. We speak everyday all of the time. On the other hand, to be able to perform a piano piece in front of an audience is different because it is not something we do every minute of the day. You have to prepare well to be able to perform well. Speaking publicly is nothing for piano students.
- Self-Esteem builder: It is no surprise that learning how to play the piano builds self-esteem. When one is able to focus and concentrate at a higher level to achieve personal goals, self-esteem is raised. Who doesn’t love mastering something that might be “difficult?”
Through our musical studies, we become more influential in the world around us and we learn to display “our best” all of the time.
Marilyn Hall, (M.S.)