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#64635 - 01/28/14 04:49 PM Teaching Plan
AusJen Offline
New Member

Registered: 01/28/14
Posts: 5
Loc: Australia
Hi!

I'm new to this forum so apologise if I'm repeating a previous topic.

I am from Australia and about to begin teaching piano to my 5 year old daughter. I have never myself had lessons as I learnt the violin as a child and taught myself the piano with the help of computer software (on an old IBM!!). I am thus quite apprehensive. I studied the first lesson plan last night though and felt much more confident to give it a go. Thanks so much for such a great resource!

My question is related to subsequent lessons. How will I know what to repeat from previous lessons and for how long? Is this something that will be clear as we go along? Again, thanks so much for all the videos and resources. They are fantastic!

Any advice is welcome.

As an aside, I have two younger children. What do people do about this if they are in the same boat?

Thanks!

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#64641 - 01/30/14 12:59 PM Re: Teaching Plan [Re: AusJen]
EllaCat Offline
Resident Member

Registered: 04/03/08
Posts: 365
Loc: Atlantic Canada
Hi there and welcome! smile

Your question re: review/repetition, and when to move on, to me is both a complicated and a simple answer.

Easy answer: move on when they get it right.

But at what point is it "right enough?" That's the more complicated part. Think about what concepts are being taught in each piece, and look ahead to see what's coming next. How is your daughter doing with those concepts? Are they solid enough that when you add the next layer of complexity, she'll do ok?

Sometimes I have students "pass" all their pieces in one week. Sometimes they don't get anything new at all. Sometimes I have to add extra material on a certain concept before I'm sure that they "get it." It's a fine balance between sticking with something until it's right, and not driving the student nuts by saddling them with the same piece FOREVER if it's just not working. Remember that the pieces in the book aren't your only resource - you can play games, sing, improvise new pieces, etc.

Hope that helps!

Not sure what you're asking about your two younger children... can you elaborate?

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#64642 - 01/30/14 07:22 PM Re: Teaching Plan [Re: EllaCat]
AusJen Offline
New Member

Registered: 01/28/14
Posts: 5
Loc: Australia
Thanks so much for your reply! I really appreciate it. That is all really helpful and is what I was roughly thinking. I think I'm just going to have to jump in and give it a go!

My question in regards to my two younger children is: what do I do with them? Just lock them in another room with an activity or something? wink I would like to concentrate and dedicate this time to my daughter and obviously do the same for them when the time comes... Just keen on any insights or ideas that people have used.

Thanks again!

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#64643 - 01/30/14 11:11 PM Re: Teaching Plan [Re: AusJen]
ransomed Offline
Resident Member

Registered: 01/05/11
Posts: 223
Loc: New York, USA
Yes welcome to the forum AusJen smile

I see your dilemma about the younger kids. Maybe you could hire a babysitter or get a relative to watch them during your practice sessions with your daughter.

I think an even better idea might be to get a piano teacher for your daughter. A beginner really needs a good start from an expert with experience. The first year is when their foundation of technique and basics of musicianship are formed. You both may regret not taking her to a piano teacher for lessons later on.

I don't mean to be negative, I am sure you have the best of intentions, but I want to be realistic with you. I've been teaching for over 10 years and have yet to see a parent satisfied with the outcome of self-teaching their children.

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#64646 - 01/31/14 11:00 AM Re: Teaching Plan [Re: ransomed]
pianojazzgirl Offline
Mainstay Member

Registered: 07/26/03
Posts: 847
Loc: Montreal
I hesitated to post when I first read your original question because I didn't want to come across as being negative either, but I really do agree with ransomed that the best idea is to find your daughter an experienced piano teacher. There's a common misconception that the "basics" are easy to teach, but there is a lot more to piano technique than is obvious at first glance. Really this is the crucial foundation on which all future piano study will be built.

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#64647 - 01/31/14 11:09 AM Re: Teaching Plan [Re: ransomed]
unreal Offline
Mainstay Member

Registered: 06/23/03
Posts: 945
Loc: CA
Just chiming in to ditto what ransomed said about reasons to find a teacher to give your daughter the best possible start. You can play (not "practice" at this age) with your daughter every day between lessons.

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#64656 - 01/31/14 06:23 PM Re: Teaching Plan [Re: unreal]
AusJen Offline
New Member

Registered: 01/28/14
Posts: 5
Loc: Australia
Thanks for the input guys. I do understand what you are saying. I myself went up to an Amus level on the violin and recognise the need for a good teacher in developing basic technique and skill. The reality is, is that we just cannot afford it. I'd prefer to teach the best that I can, than not teach at all. Does that make sense?

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#64657 - 01/31/14 07:09 PM Re: Teaching Plan [Re: AusJen]
unreal Offline
Mainstay Member

Registered: 06/23/03
Posts: 945
Loc: CA
Yes it does make sense. The teachers on this board are happy to help you, and MFPA is a great choice of materials (the best, in my opinion) for any teacher of young ones, experienced or newbie. Be sure to watch all of Nancy's videos! And somewhere is Randall's explanation of what motivates children at each stage of their development. Age 5=fun, later=independence, etc. Someone, help? Links? Can't find it at the moment.

If you can catch one of their workshops, that would be fantastic too.

Related to your first question, how long to stay on a piece, keep going back to previous pieces. You could call them "just for fun" pieces, or AAA pieces (child's favorites, memorized, so they're playable Anywhere, Anytime, for Anybody). Some pieces are OK to check off when they're pretty good, others you will want your child to get nearly perfect, with consistent mostly correct notes, good hand position, nice dynamics (well, I guess you pretty much want that for all of them smile ). Sometimes you will move along through the pieces, other times you will stay on a set of pieces for awhile. Just enjoy that--it isn't "getting stuck," it's letting things sink in.

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#64658 - 01/31/14 09:54 PM Re: Teaching Plan [Re: unreal]
pianojazzgirl Offline
Mainstay Member

Registered: 07/26/03
Posts: 847
Loc: Montreal
I love, with my MFPA students, to return time and time again to many of the technique activities in the book. We will often start off by chanting Stone on the Mountain, and then I can refer back to the "stone" shape (naturally relaxed, rounded hand shape) throughout the lesson, for example asking if they're still "holding their stone", etc. Cat Backs are another great one, as we work on keeping relaxed heavy arm and loose wrist. When the student needs to move from octave to octave in certain pieces we can look back and remember the "cat back" shape, which we want to keep as the arm raises.

Many other pieces and activities can be revisited and reworked as we progress through the book. For example, with some younger kids (I have several 4 year olds this year) we might look at Honey Pot, but only the first one or two "finger groupings". Over the course of many lessons we might add more finger groupings, and go from doing the exercise hands separately to hands together. Another example is where we might learn a black key piece on the 3 black keys, and later come back when we've learned white key names and "discover" how we can play it on CDE. There are lots of fun and valuable ways of extending the pieces - enjoy getting creative with it!

The wonderful thing about young children is that they aren't stuck with preconceptions about needing to move quickly through the books. They are more in the moment, and take a lot of enjoyment out of revisiting old favourite activities and pieces.

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#64663 - 02/01/14 04:12 AM Re: Teaching Plan [Re: pianojazzgirl]
AusJen Offline
New Member

Registered: 01/28/14
Posts: 5
Loc: Australia
So helpful unreal and pianojazzgirl - thanks so much for taking the time to answer!

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