Piano Teacher - Port Wing, Washburn, Bayfield, Wisconsin
Thoughts on Learning Piano
Lessons are held weekly in Washburn and Port Wing. I've developed some strong feelings about piano lessons. It was not handled well in the past. Most people have memories of being overwhelmed by lessons; many people were even less lucky. This is partly the fault of teaching technique and partly to blame on the instrument itself. There are too many different skills asked of a beginner. A second grader is expected to learn within six weeks what the notes are, how the right hand moves, how the left hand moves (at the same time), how the treble staff works and how the bass clef works. Any other instrument requires only a third of these tasks. Even the students who learn well usually have a feeling of being overwhelmed and a vague sense of dread as they tackle new songs.
On the other hand piano is a perfect way to understand and produce music quickly. It's literally black and white. one of my techniques for teaching involves creating good sounds right away. Any first grader can take two fingers on each hand and play every other note (four notes). This creates a fancy chord and they love the sound. Then they can make one note a black note and listen. Then switch another to a black note. They've just made a sophisticated Jazz progression.
Many studies have shown the health and longevity benefits of learning something new. Music is often mentioned because it activates new and different parts of the brain. This is not vague research for me. I have seen music enhance peoples lives in a very real way. This is most visible in adults.
Music can efect vitality in three ways. First, simply getting the fingers moving stimulates blood flow and nerve health. I've noticed that exercises are often enjoyable. The hands feel light and tingling after playing and some adults have told me it has helped recovery from injuries. Secondly students have remarked that the sound they create has a soothing, healing quality. Even simple chords and harmonies really do fill the air and affect the environment. The most profound effect is to get a beat. This affects the entire system and is directly opposite to the pressures of life.
The phrase "You can't teach an old dog new tricks" is wrong when it comes to music.
Adults will always progress more quickly. The health benefits are more visible in adults because it is so different than what they have been doing over the last decades. The lessons people had years ago often come right back.to keep note learning in its place.