I can't count how many people I've met who said something on the order of "I took piano for 5 years, but I stopped playing because my teacher moved away." Such a person is a victim of poor music teaching. It's from the "type this tune out for me" school of teaching. Many college graduates in music cannot improvise. That's ridiculous. I'm convinced that the traditional way of teaching music accounts for one reason we don't have music in the schools today. At some level, consciously or unconsciously, Mom or Dad says "I know music would be good for our child, but those lessons I had when I was a kid. God! It was torture. ...and I never did learn to play."
So here are a few things to check out in order to avoid the traditional pitfalls of learning to play:
You don't want to learn about whole notes and half notes and quarter notes when you should be learning to make sounds, any more than you would want to show a baby letters and words before you allow him/her to make sounds.
The first step in developing your ear is playing what you know (and can sing, for that matter).
It is often impossible for a student to translate something that's on a piece of paper to a sound that comes out of the instrument. You need to hear what you're supposed to sound like, and hear it as many times as possible.
Your'e more likely to learn from someone who really intends for you to learn and do well. And usually, if someone enjoys teaching, they've had success in the past and are having success right now.
Does everyone have to learn "Mary Had a Little Lamb" for the first song, or can you learn "Ashes of Love" instead?
I notice that in a lot of half-hour lessons, the teacher has only enough time to say "How'r'ya'doin'?" and "Howd'ja-do-last-week?" and give them another piece of music or tablature.* You might consider taking an hour a week. Some teachers, like myself, don't even teach half-hour lessons.
At some point, you need to learn what the teacher knows. The more I teach a student, the less dependent on me they become.
*[Tablature is a music notation system easier to learn than standard music notation, and used often in the teaching of stringed instruments]
Pete Grant * PO Box 6554 * Auburn, CA 95603 * USA
eMail me at email@example.com
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