Did you ever get into trouble as a kid? What did that feel like? Punitive, unfair, unjust? Did someone in authority actually even get it wrong and just because you were a child you still got the blame? Not fair, is it? Has it left its mark on your psyche? Do you often wonder why you were treated so unfairly?
I had yet another lady tell me this week how she was wacked over the knuckles at her childhood piano lessons. Every time I hear this story I feel the pain as if it was my own. What an intrusive, degrading and abusive thing to do to a child. The scars this type of behaviour has left on so many people I speak with from week to week are seemingly insurmountable. They tell me how the experience sucked the joy right out of any love for the music they may have once had. That they grew to hate their lessons even though they really did have a burning desire to play.
In my experience piano technique, which is what the wrap over the knuckles was supposedly correcting, really does develop quite naturally the more students actually play the piano. The problem is that in order for them to play, traditionally, they need to spend a very long time learning how to read music. Let’s face it, most people want to play the piano not ‘learn’ the piano! Anyway, this means that it takes much longer to get to the point of playing reasonably complex pieces, which is exactly what is going to help them maintain interest as well as play with relative ease, free from any tension. It really is like learning how to walk. We never growl at a baby for falling down when they are attempting to walk. In fact, we expect it! Eventually, they walk very normally (and very well!), with minimal intervention.
Over many years of following this philosophy, I have found that the reading of music also becomes a very natural and intuitive extension of the physical relationship students develop with the keyboard. It’s exciting to connect the music notation to what has already been experienced. For those who have previously read music the page looks like a completely different landscape from how they have perceived it in the past and no longer feels like a musical puzzle that they just can’t solve.
It is just so EXCITING!
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