What made Mozart great? One say talent; another say hard work. Talent has become an excuse to justify our or our children's talent. A deep research is conducted to investigate the myths of prodigies including Mozart and Paganini. "I can report with confidence that I have never found a convincing case for anyone developing extraordinary abilities without intense extended practice," say Ericsson,
As a teacher, I will give my comments on the most effective ways to help students to improve and help them to set reasonable expectations.
Esperance; 8 years old; Grade 5
Prelude in C by J.S. Bach
A main problem with children nowadays is never practicing other than lesson time and soon their interest in music will go away.
While we may not want to punish them or threaten them for not practicing, we should encourage them to continue playing. It's like getting children to do anything that parents need them to do - doing homework, eating, studying etc.
One of the way of keeping kids engaged in the piano lesson is to play the music they want no matter it's a classical or pop music.
Yu Siang; 13 years old; Grade 7
Pop song 'Dusk till Dawn'
Teaching pop song doesn't mean we giving up classical repertoire. Pop songs not only the 'dessert' for the students and is the key of MOTIVATING, there're many other hidden benefits.
One of the biggest benefits when I teach pop is incorporate music theory. I will get the student to analyze all the chords and how are the chords progression in the song. Besides, I will get the student to notice the variety of left hand accompanying pattern.
Sometimes I try to step away from music sheet or rearrange the song for more flexibility and simplicity.
Cheng Hao; 13 years old; Grade 7
A brilliant piano finger technique is crucial for a pianist especially when playing on a fast piece. The secret to achieve the evenness of the notes is start from the SLOW practice.
By slow practice, student build the strength and flexibility of the fingers by raise up every finger individually. All this is to ensure the notes length are consistent. Speed up the practice accordingly and the finger will be closer and close to the key. In fact, the student just need to lighten up the technique but still have the pristine evenness of notes.
Aloysius; 9 years old; Grade 4
Fur Elise by Beethoven
Rubato is an important technique in Romantic pieces. What is Rubato? Is the give and take of the tempo without losing the pulse. It could be incredibly difficult skill to master in a piece of music especially for young children.
The secret behind my teaching is to use different color to highlight the speeding up and slowing down part in the music score. This method is really effective.