Monday, February 4, 2013

February is Student Choice Month

February is student choice month 

This means that all of my students are permitted to bring in a song (ANY song*) to piano lessons that they have always wanted to learn that isn't on our usual menu. This song will be practiced in addition to their regular material. 

I remind parents to be sure their child has fun music to play- take them to the music store - they have a decent selection of fun books- lots of Disney stuff, Movie songs, Contemporary Christian, as well as pop music. Fun music should be a part of their daily practice plan. 

My students are instructed to complete their theory workbook assignment first, then follow their regular lesson assignment in their notebook as written, and the rest of their practice time on fun music!

Here is a parent guide for what type of book to buy- 
  • PVG or Piano Vocal
  •  in the upper right corner of the book cover is for intermediate to advanced students 
  • Easy Piano
  •  is for Beginning/Early Intermediate students
  • Big Note
  •  is for Early beginners 
*Do not buy anything with letter names written inside the music notes-(EZ Play) this won't help them advance as musicians.
*Be aware that some Rock music on the piano can sound like elevator music even when the best of musicians play it. 
*Sometimes pop music has such complex rhythms, it has to be just sounded out. Beginning and Intermediate students aren't able to negotiate the 32nd and 64th notes and syncopated rhythms in this type of music. Choose carefully! 
*Music with inappropriate lyrics (language, inappropriate sexual content) won't be entertained in the studio.

Student Choice Month is wonderful incentive for all students- weekly structured lessons can become static. Lesson books and classical literature don't always keep a student engaged in the learning process, and students don't always connect to regular lesson material. They can and do get burned out over time when coming to lessons and getting the same routine over and over and over. Changing things up and adding something special (and scheduled or even sometimes unexpected) gives my students something to look forward to and get excited about.
Last year, five of my students actually requested such pieces as Beethoven's "Pathetique Sonata", Rachmaninoff "G minor Prelude", Elton John's "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me", Tom Jones "Its not Unusual", and Liszt's "Hungarian Rhapsody". So its not all Taylor Swift and Destiny's Child. In the end, my students are very connected to their music; they read better, count better, and really have a great time learning. They learn to balance work and fun music during their practice sessions and become better musicians in the process.

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