Most parents of music students, at some point have difficulty getting their child to practice their instrument. It can become a point of contention between them and a source of frustration. It can even lead to the termination of lessons. Don’t let this happen to you! What parents must understand is that children are not usually self-motivated to do their work – no matter what kind of work it is. Let’s face it, even adults can experience difficulty getting motivated to do work that they know needs to be done, even if it is something they enjoy. Therefore, they cannot expect their children to be self-motivated and disciplined enough to practice on their own without parental reminders, discipline, and supervision. The younger the child, the more important it is for parents to provide support and discipline in maintaining the practice schedule. It is a rare case where a child, even into the teenage years, will take responsibility to practice consistently on their own. The answer is a simple one. The discipline must come from the parent. Try to be consistent, encouraging and enforcing a regular practice schedule, and teach your child that this is what is expected of him on a daily basis, just like getting his homework done. And as such, it is part of his education. It can be helpful to offer rewards from time to time, for a job well done.
One of the most challenging aspects of reading music is not just figuring out which notes to play, but when to play them – in other words, reading the rhythm. In intermediate to advanced music, there will be many different note and rest values. How to count them correctly?
I have developed a system that, when used correctly, always works. After checking and understanding the time signature, analyze the rhythm by first identifying the strong beats. Look for the largest note and rest values first, even if it means starting
Students often find that much of the music in the piano repertoire gets more technically difficult as it approaches the end, especially in late-intermediate to advanced repertoire. An effective practice technique for mastering the difficult spots is to practice backward.
Start with the most difficult spot and isolate a very small group of notes and play them going forward. Practice this segment very slowly with separate hands and then with hands together. It may be one measure, or one beat. When that much is comfortably absorbed (mentally and physically), add the next measure or beat before it to make a longer segment, practicing
During my career as a pianist, I have had the opportunity to perform on many different pianos of all kinds. Some were beautiful concert pianos and some were potentially fine instruments, while others were badly in need of repair. They were all, however, in need of regular professional care.
When inquiring about the maintenance of these instruments, I have had a similar response from their owners and from many of my own students as well. They tell me it hasn’t been tuned for several years, or not at all since they acquired it. This is a great
My father and his brother and sister performed as the famous Compinsky Trio throughout their lives. My aunt, the pianist, Sara Compinsky was my teacher. When I was nine years old, she asked me to be her page-turner for their concerts, which I did for the rest of their concertizing career. I learned valuable lessons in the process, particularly in the field of sight-reading. Without realizing it at the time, I was developing my sight-reading skills, reading through complex music and fast tempos that I would not have been able to play at that time, but that I could nevertheless keep up with in order to turn the page at just the right time. I learned to look for rhythmic patterns, bass lines, changes in patterns, and the longer melodic lines, and especially counting from
Do you recognize this scenario? You are playing a piece for your teacher, and you stop or make a mistake. Your teacher asks you to start from a certain place, and you struggle to remember where you are and how to start from there. Students often want to take the easy route and go all the way back to the beginning. Out of context, they can’t seem to find their way to start up at any given point, and keep going.
This is a matter of sight-reading. Naturally, it is always easier to start from a familiar place (such as the beginning) rather than
Creating and using effective and correct fingering for piano music, especially complex or advanced classical music is one of the most important steps in learning the music. In more advanced music, there may be various options for fingering certain passages, and knowing which fingerings to choose, and why, is a valuable skill to learn. Many of the printed fingerings are not practical, or even possible for students with small hands, and everyone’s hands are slightly different, so what works well for one person may not work at all for another. Below are some guidelines to follow when choosing fingerings.
In my many years of teaching piano, I have come across a few students who have a rare gift for learning and playing music. I have seen similarities in their personalities and personal qualities that seem to contribute to their musical talent.
Early maturity, both intellectual and emotional is a key factor. I have found that the greater the maturity, the more extraordinary the talent. The process of learning and studying music requires the maturity to comprehend and appreciate complex, grown-up music, on both an intellectual and emotional level. It takes maturity for a child to be organized and disciplined, with a strong work ethic, and to take responsibility for studying, practicing, and learning.