Monday, May 23, 2011

Anatomy Week: piano lesson

Me:  So we have to clean the living room, have a piano lesson and fold the laundry.  What order should we do them in?

WonderGirl: Piano first and no cleaning.

Me: Yeah, that's not an option.

We sit down at the piano, I put her 5 pieces of candy/fruit snacks/pretzels off to the side.

"Konnichiwa," we say together.  This is something one of my violin teachers would do with me when I was young, and it signaled the beginning of our lesson.  It is used to give us both a formal transition into our time together, past the informal chit chat we'd had as I entered the studio. It means "good afternoon" in Japanese, but you can pick any phrase you'd like.

1. Review.  We start off with something easy, something she enjoys playing.  I gently remind her about posture, but save my main critiques for later.  I like to start off with commenting on as many positives I see her doing - she usually feels so good after that, she unconsciously uses her best form.

2.  The last song we learned.  For review we pick and choose, but we always play the last thing she'd learned.  It's always the weakest (because it's the newest) and we play it through a few times.  If she messes up too much and gets frustrated, I break it down into smaller sections and praise her when she can play those right. I don't want her too frustrated before we do the new stuff.

3.  New song.  We approach this many ways - I'll play it for her first and she'll sing it or clap the rhythm with me, or we'll listen to it on the CD, or if she's excited, she jumps in head first and starts trying to play it.  I don't like playing the entire song for a while, because there's always so many mistakes.  So to keep her from getting bored or annoyed, I like to start in different places, going from the end and working back, or some random place in the middle.

4.  Recital.  When I think she's had enough and we've made enough progress for one lesson, I pick something for her in that song to play for me.  If she's ready to play it all, she does, or I'll just ask for one part played nicely.  I don't sit next to her and critique her - I move to the nearby staircase and sit like an audience member.  When she's done I applaud, and she gets what's left of the treats.

5.  Hug.  I tell her how proud I am of what she's accomplished and how much I love her.  I mostly do this because I can't help it.  Seeing my little girl work hard at something makes my heart so full!

Now, off to fold laundry.  Stay tuned for tomorrow - piano practicing!


Desiree said...

Thanks for the idea. I have a hard time switching from the mom role to the teacher mode. I'll have to try it for sure.

Jane said...

How long does each part take and when do you get to the laundry and living room?

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