How to Teach the First Piano Lesson

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CT ABRSM Plus: Written Assignments and Projects

|Your Name |Kristin Lien | |Instrument/voice |Piano | |Name of Mentor |Helen Krizos | |Date sent to mentor |9/2/2012 | |CT ABRSM Regional Centre |Manchester | |Assignment number/Project |Written Assignment 2 | |Title |The First Lesson |

Please insert your assignment text (1,500 – 2,000 words) here, followed by your self-evaluation

“The quality, content, and ethos of first instrumental lessons must have an enormous impact on how students feel about themselves as instrumentalists.” (Janet Mills) [1] First, lessons can make a great deal of difference to how students feel about their learning and also how they progress in the future. “What does one do at the first lesson with a new pupil? “I think the wisest answer is “I don’t know!” If ever anything in our teaching is impromptu, it is that first lesson. The principle thing is that we are going to get to know the person, and that this person is going to form an impression of us.”[2] On how many occasions, do some teachers often reflect upon what they did in their own first lessons, and then continue to use similar strategies or the same tutor books to teach all of their pupils? Of course, there are a few fundamentals in teaching that would apply to all pupils, but it is important to consider each pupil’s needs and personality so that we can adapt our teaching to their needs. It is very important to get to know your pupil in the first lesson and discover some of his/her interests. This kind of information will be invaluable later on when designing or explaining concepts by using topics or images which the pupil can relate to. Personally, I believe the first lesson is the best single chance I have of convincing a child that I am absolutely in love with the piano and they will have nothing but fun with it. It is also the first chance for them to speak the language of music, and I am determined to ensure they will enjoy it and want to do it more. In the following sections of the essay, I would like to explore different teaching strategies when teaching that first lesson which will enable me to fulfill these objectives. There are certain factors to consider before the specific planning can take place. Age is one of them. There is no rule saying when the best age is to start learning the piano. The majority of students start piano lessons between 7 and 9. When a child begins his/her piano instruction during these years, it coincides with their physical and mental development making them receptive to this level of instruction. Moreover, the refined physical movements required for playing the piano are best built into the nervous system while it is developing. Some teachers will arrange an interview or a consultation lesson for the prospective student and his/her parents prior to the first lesson. It acquaints parents and the student with the personality of the teacher, the teaching approach and the terms and conditions of the tuition. The first meeting is not, however, a one-way process.

“The interview should also provide the teacher some useful information about the basic maturity of the student, musical aptitude including knowledge of basic musical concepts, rhythm readiness, the development of the hand and the ability to learn.” (Jeanie M. Jacobson)[3] All of these...
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