Monday, August 19, 2013

Music is Everywhere

Make Music Part of Everyday Life is the motto by which I live, conduct my business and inspire my students.  I believe that we do not need to set aside special time for music or art. Being creative should be as natural as breathing and we can find so much beauty in the ordinary - if we only look and listen. I play the piano everyday, I sing everyday, I create beauty and order in my household tasks everyday and by doing so, I live a rich life.

When I found out about Earth Harp - I was so inspired.  An instrument made by using the natural environment or man-made buildings - brilliant!  William Close is making music part of everyday life. 



Friday, August 16, 2013

Adding Creativity and Improvisation to Traditional Piano Lessons

I found this chart funny and interesting for one reason:  the greatest fear.  For me that is not a place to fear, but an opportunity for improvisation!

OK, I'm not completely serious, however, since I learned to improvise early in my musical development, I have been known to slightly rewrite a recapitulation or two, but only when playing from memory.

This brings me to an interesting article I read today.  As I'm preparing for another year of teaching piano, I'm looking for ways to revitalize my studio and provide maximum benefits for my students.  It's time to shake things up!

In my research, I ran across this article by Edward Weiss. 

Do piano teachers have it backwards? They do if they start with the note-reading approach. Most would agree that music is a language. Language is learned first by speaking it. Yet this simple logic eludes many well meaning music teachers as they head first into the study of note-reading.

But just imagine if children learned how to speak the language of music before learning how to read and write it? Imagine the connection, the innate sense of 'wiring' for lack of a better word that can occur if we introduce kids to simple diatonic harmony and improvisation first.

Speaking the native language is a natural and thrilling experience for children. They can't wait to use words and communicate. So why is it that note reading is literally forced down the throats of our young people instead of giving them the opportunity to express firsthand through improvisation?

True enrichment comes from direct experience with the music. And this is best accomplished when children can actually create on their own without the aid of sheet music. Why this isn't being done more is a complete mystery to me.

Watch a child at the piano as they experiment with music firsthand and you will see a joy seldom seen via traditional piano lessons. They beam as music, their music is created before them. Just a few brief improvisation rules are introduced and the child can happily create.

In fact, not only is this route easier than note reading, it's also faster. As children become more comfortable playing and becoming adept at the piano, learning and progress also becomes an easy thing to do.

Edward Weiss is a pianist/composer and webmaster of Quiescence Music's online piano lessons. He has been helping students learn how to play piano in the New Age style for over 14 years and works with students in private, in groups, and now over the internet. Visit now and get a FREE piano lesson.