My students often ask: what is the advantage of starting with an instrument that is easier to learn and is more fun to play? (I sometimes take my students through two or three piano lessons for piano and violin!) I want to offer my students the possibility to focus on a few interesting subjects, in addition to learning.
As an alternative to starting with a beginner’s instrument, my students are often tempted by an easy introduction to one of the classical music genres such as a cello, piano, violin, or even a drum set. They are excited to get started with something new that they don’t have a background in. But I want my first students to have a solid foundation of an instrument that will remain in their minds for years.
Do you have a specific practice routine?
I generally have one or two pieces practice daily and sometimes I will play the same piece three or four times a week. My students are the best at remembering what to do and when, and it’s the difference between a beginner and a well-rounded player. This allows them to get better at everything they try. To learn something new you need to learn to do it properly.
My schedule includes playing the morning lesson, a quiet class on Sunday morning, a few songs at lunch, and a quiet class at night. My students are always learning something new! The more they do it, the better they get. This schedule is a way to help them develop skills and develop their ability to make music on their own!
Do I need a piano?
Not always! My students come from a wide variety of abilities, strengths, and life experiences. However, there are a few things that most students should possess in order to master one or more of the main styles of classical music.
The first is a wide and varied knowledge of the instruments, which will help them identify notes, melodies, dynamics, melodic structures, and tonality. Second, they should be comfortable playing all the various instruments of the four major musical traditions. That is, not every one can, but at least they should be able to think about playing them. Finally, they should have some experience of music theory. I want my students to be able to read music theory books or study the theory of the major musical traditions without struggling too much.
Some students may struggle to decide whether they should learn some instruments or others in order to achieve musical freedom or to improve their own voice.
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