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The future of piano lessons

Every piano has a story

I am always amazed about how many families own a piano. The reason for having a piano is often because someone is taking piano lessons or, someone has taken piano lessons. The title of this blog article is about music lessons in 2020 and beyond. The focus of this blog article is on technology which has already begun to change the way we learn.

Before we get into the future of learning, we need to understand how conventional piano lessons work. The concept is a simple one. Someone wants to take piano lessons and so it all starts. A parent then needs to organize an instrument which means a trip to one or more music stores unless some aunt or uncle is volunteering to donate their unused piano. Either way, lessons start every fall and without an instrument, the hunt for a piano teacher is pointless.

The next step is finding a music school or piano teacher close by. This is usually done by referrals from neighbours or friends who are already taking piano lessons. Once the instrument is in place and the lessons are booked the excitement begins.

Lesson one and the first music book
The first music lesson is the best one. Everyone is happy and the teacher plays for the student and mom gets to listen while fighting temptation to glimpse into the future when her little girl or boy will be a famous performer or teacher …
Lets move to lesson two and the actual first music lesson with instructions. Page one, lesson one and 30 minutes later a high-five with a reassuring “good job” slur. Everyone is happy and so it continues for a few weeks. Christmas concert followed by a period of little progress often blamed on the fact the kids love to play with the toys Santa brought.
Then things get serious. Year-end concert (a scary experience which has brought tears and fear to many children with no end insight). Those who do well are happy to come back after the summer and start grade two piano. Those who are not doing well don’t look forward to another repeat. This experience repeats two or three years and finally, mom says it’s OK to quit. If a younger sister or brother is starting or taking piano lessons then the instrument will continue to get played and if not then the family own a piano and it always amazes me how many families own a piano (which is how this blog article started).

Piano lessons in 2020 and how technology is changing them

I hope that the above story didn’t scare you and if you have or know someone who has a piano sitting in our living room then you surely understand the point I am trying to make.
Every once in a while, things change and the world moves on. Remember when you where little and after every family vacation film had to be dropped off to get the pictures developed?
We don’t do that anymore because that process has been replaced a few times. First came the digital cameras and then the smartphones which not only take amazing pictures, but also give you a way to share them on your social media pages.
As you can see, technology is replacing old slow processes everywhere and online learning is now part of that trend as well.

What can you learn online? Perhaps it would be easier to mention what can not be learned online because as things stand now, online learning is everywhere. Just like smartphones replaced the way we look at pictures, apps replace the way we learn. Take a look at YouTube. It’s one of the most busiest sites the internet offers and you don’t have to search long before you find valuable content which, just a few years ago, was unthinkable. Want a Harvard business class on the latest start-up strategies? No problem. Want music lessons? No problem.

Little Composers (www.littlecomposers.com) realized this trend a few years ago and begun to develop educational apps which enable young children to learn how to play piano online. Back then it was a theory but now it has become reality and children everywhere are beginning to learn about music with easy-to-use, intuitive apps that run on devices they already have.
If your children are curious about music then you are in for a treat. There is no need to go piano shopping just yet and no need to wait until school starts because the internet starts new students every day and every hour and every minute with no end in sight.

Getting ready for piano lessons fall 2015

A new generation of little children is getting ready for piano lessons this fall and many look forward to learning how to play an instrument. image showing mom getting ready for piano lessons

Preparing for and getting ready for piano lessons

The new term 2015 / 2016 is about 10 weeks away and your child can’t wait to start piano lessons. Excitement is a good thing and this article outlines a few things you, the parent, can do to make the excitement last. Before we tackle the number one reason why children fall behind and stop enjoying their piano lessons, we’ll quickly outline a few things which are good to know and prepare for.

Make a schedule to get your child there on time

Every music teacher knows that being late for a piano lesson is bad because 30 minutes go by fast and squeezing the reminder of a lesson into a 20 minute time frame means that something else has to be cut. Please make a schedule and allow for adequate traveling time to the music studio or school. This way, you give your music teacher a much better chance to provide a relaxed learning experience which benefits your child and reduces the stress of practising.

Organize the tasks your child does now and free up time to practise

Time goes by faster than we think and in just a few weeks, your little one will be back in school and a week later, music lessons start which means that life will be busy for everyone. Unfortunately, learning to play the piano well is a skill that takes years to master which is why those kids who are serious about music practice almost every day. Not only will the music teacher recommend practising as much as possible, you child should also want to practice because much depends on the time spent with the piano.

One of the biggest reasons why new piano students quit

Music notation is more complex than we think. As a matter of fact, reading music and becoming a fluent sight reader takes effort, time and practise. There is a reason why they say that practise makes perfect. At first, the piano teacher will assign a few note names to learn and memorize and most students have no problems remembering the C, D, E, F and G. After that, things change and there are many reasons for that. A long time ago, I was a young music teacher and when I noticed that many students fail to prepare I felt that I needed to investigate what causes the distraction. Now remember, I said that this was a long time ago and before the internet but even back then, there was this thing called TV. Do you remember Knight Rider? Well, most boys in my music class decided that a talking car was much cooler to spend time with than learning note names which, at the age of six or seven, made them experts on speeding and computers that could talk but not on reading music.
Please watch your child once the music lessons begin and make sure that you clear some of the more obvious distractions. What ever is on Facebook now will be there later but the next music lesson will not wait which is why children need to learn and understand the importance of prioritizing.

Most of all, don’t leave it up to them to deal with music notation on their own. If they express little interest in learning note names maybe buy and app or talk to the music teacher and find out what she/he recommends because otherwise, you run the risk of your child quitting early.

Practice makes perfect

It AMAZES me that many children don’t know about the importance of repetition. The reason why it amazes me is because these days, children watch a lot of sport and see athletes perform amazing flips and twists and turns on bikes or skies and many other things. How do they do that and how did they get so good at it?
The answer is simpler than you might guess. They design a routine and then practice practice practise. My first music teacher told me that it takes 25% talent and 75% effort to learn to play the piano well.

Next time you watch a basketball or other game with your children please take a minute and point out to them that there is much more than we see on TV. Professionals spend a lot of time in the GYM, eat a special diet and definitely stay away from alcohol and drugs. Yes, there are a few exceptions to every rule and the media will make a big deal out of those who go agains what I just said but all in all, only the disciplined ones make it to the top.

Please praise and encourage your child. When  you do that, you support your music teacher and your child will enjoy practising and putting in much more effort which in turn does miracles when it comes to learning.

Prepare and take your time getting ready for piano lessons and above all, watch the progress carefully. Every week is different but if you get your part right, then you will be very proud on the day of the year-end concert and many more.

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