What is it
about the piano that people are always looking to get lessons to learn
how to play? Perhaps it is that it's the highest profile most popular
instrument in America, perhaps the world? Whatever the reason, it is
through piano lessons that most people see a gateway towards mastering
or a least gaining the fundamentals of playing. And for those of us who
aspire towards expressing ourselves through music, there is no better
time than the present to find a method of acquiring the ability to at
least play a tune. Here is a brief simplified, overview of the
differing piano lesson methods available to date.
The Conventional Classical Approach
- At an early age 6 or 7 years, the child is introduced to rudimentary
music theory and music reading skills. Key signatures, sharps and
flats, time signatures, enharmonics, fingerings for scales, etc.
Simplified short music pieces that reinforce all the basics are
required for the child to learn and assimilate so that he, she can
build up to more challenging and complex musical patterns and
compositions. Depending on the child, he or she can start playing real
and more challenging music based on their abilities and talent.
The Suzuki Method
- The Suzuki method, (also called Talent Education, mother-tongue
method, or Suzuki movement) is an educational philosophy which strives
to create "high ability" and beautiful character in its students
through a nurturing environment. Its primary vehicle for achieving this
is music education on a specific instrument often violin or piano. It
was conceived in the mid-20th century by Shin'ichi Suzuki, a violinist
who desired to bring some beauty to the lives of children in his
country after the devastation of World War II.
that all children pick up their native language very quickly, and even
dialects which adults consider "difficult" to learn are spoken with
ease by people of 5 or 6 years. He reasoned that if children have the
skill to acquire their mother tongue, then they have the necessary
ability to become proficient on a musical instrument. He pioneered the
idea that any pre-school age child could begin to play the violin if
learning steps were small enough and if the instrument was scaled down
to fit their body. He modeled his method, after his theories of natural
language acquisition. Suzuki believed that every child, if properly
taught, was capable of a high level of musical achievement. He also
made it clear that the goal of such musical education was to raise
generations of children with "noble hearts" (as opposed to creating
famous musical prodigies).
- This recent method developed by Australian, Neil Moore, the Simply
Music program temporarily delays the music reading process, and begins
by distilling music into a fascinating array of special concepts that
unfold directly onto the keyboard. Beginning students, with no need to
have their attention on music reading, are free to relate directly to
the piano. Within months, they experience a real freedom with their
playing and develop a deep connection to their instrument as they build
an extraordinary repertoire that includes contemporary, classical,
blues, jazz and accompaniment pieces. Simply Music students accumulate
a vast repertoire of great- sounding music, and with this as their
foundation, develop an appropriate technique, learn how to read more
easily, and as a by-product, naturally begin developing their ability
to 'play by ear'.
Online Piano Lessons
- Their are dozens of online piano lesson venues all easily accessed by
a Google or Yahoo search. Are they any good? It probably depends on the
method but one rule of thumb is the fewer gimmicks, the better.
Learning how to play the piano is more than being able to play a few
chords, or notes. Some people want to play jazz, gospel, classical or
ragtime. Children sometimes benefit from piano chord diagrams or other
note or scale attachments or inserts to give the beginning play a
visual cue for finding their way around the piano keys.