It is good to be back seeing all my students. I have been a teacher since I was 21 and you all know I am much older now. I think in all I have been teaching for going on 50 years! What this means is if I am not teaching something feels wrong in my world. So glad to have you all back!
FYI: I have 27 piano students, and 8 of these are adults; 8 voice students, 5 ukulele students, 3 guitar students and 1 recorder student.
I want to say something about ukulele students. Most of my ukulele students are very young. it is a great instrument to start little fingers on and to get used to a fretboard and strings. Several ukulele students are itching to move to guitar and that is fine if your hands are big enough and you can hold the guitar satisfactorily. If you can’t then it gets very frustrating. Ukulele is such a versatile instrument; you can play chords to accompany a song or melodies or even a combination. I teach students to read treble clef which then can carry over to guitar or violin or piano or flute and more. Most students have a soprano ukulele but if you wanted to move up a little you could try a tenor ukulele like I play. Love my tenor!
If you want to see if you can handle guitar, take a field trip to either High Strung, Music and Arts, or the Guitar Center and try a 3/4 size nylon string guitar. I saw one at High Strung which sounded well. The problem with 3/4 size guitars is usually the small sound especially on the bass strings. I think from memory the High Strung one was about $200. Sounds a lot but I was there asking about cellos – $5,000!!
Subi is learning recorder and again this is a precursor to flute. Unfortunately I do not teach flute so I will have to say goodbye to her in 2016 as she is growing rapidly. The recorder is an excellent instrument to start on when your hands and arms are too small for one of the woodwind family.
It is the perennial question. How much should I practice? That depends on your age, attention span, level of skill development, environment and instrument. The answer is everyone has to work out their own practicing routine and that goes for me as well. There are a few non-variables:
1. If you want to make progress it has to be regular, at least 5 days a week if not 6. The length of practice is not as critical as the regularity.
2. It should start with warm up of about 1-5 minutes depending on your level. Most beginner piano students are working on dozen a day. The idea is you learn a group of 12 exercises and then you practice that group one after the other without stopping except to turn the page Once you know each of the 12 exercises, this should take about 3 minutes. Advanced students of piano should begin with Hanon.
3. You should start your practice with the newest piece you are learning and work on it first, then go back and play other pieces you know well.
4. 15 minutes focussed practice is much better than 45 minutes of fooling around on the piano. Fooling around is terrific but you can’t really have fun on the piano until you have mastered a few skills. Do you focussed practice first and then do whatever you like on the piano.
Fun Music Stuff
Fun place to look up meanings of musical terms and you get to hear an example as well
Try the glass harmonica and do you know who invented it?
Piano students, don’t forget about piano maestro! Great for sight reading and learning to keep that metronome steady beat. You do need access to an iPad.
Thanks always for learning with Flourishing Muse!