Welcome to the Piano World Piano Forums
Over 2.5 million posts about pianos, digital pianos, and all types of keyboard instruments
Join the World's Largest Community of Piano Lovers (it's free)
It's Fun to Play the Piano ... Please Pass It On!

Piano Forums & Piano World
Find a Professional
Our Classified Ads
Find Piano Professionals-

*Piano Dealers - Piano Stores
*Piano Tuners
*Piano Teachers
*Piano Movers
*Piano Restorations
*Piano Manufacturers

Advertise on Piano World

What's Hot!!
Welcome PianoTV members!
Posting Pictures on the Forums
ADVERTISE on Piano World
Piano Life Saver - Dampp Chaser
Dampp Chaser Piano Life Saver
Piano Buyer Guide
Piano Buyer Fall 2017
Pierce Piano Atlas

Who's Online Now
132 registered members (anotherscott, 9by88, Aspiring, Almaviva, andrea monza, 41 invisible), 1,146 guests, and 2 spiders.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Estonia Pianos
Estonia Pianos
Quick Links to Useful Piano & Music Resources
Quick Links:
*Advertise On Piano World
*Free Piano Newsletter
*Online Piano Recitals
*Piano Recitals Index
*Piano & Music Accessories
*Live Piano Venues
*Music School Listings
* Buying a Piano
*Buying A Acoustic Piano
*Buying a Digital Piano
*Pianos for Sale
*Sell Your Piano
*How Old is My Piano?
*Directory/Site Map
*Virtual Piano
*Music Word Search
*Piano Videos
*Virtual Piano Chords & Scales
Previous Thread
Next Thread
Print Thread
#1272127 - 09/21/09 01:17 PM Marks of expression  
Joined: Sep 2009
Posts: 38
mstrongpianist Offline
Full Member
mstrongpianist  Offline
Full Member

Joined: Sep 2009
Posts: 38
I am presenting a workshop, in October, about teaching elementary students to observe marks of expression in their music. Besides telling a student to "play loud" or "play legato", how do you teach your students to play expressively?


Piano & Music Accessories
piano accessories music gifts tuning and moving equipment
#1272169 - 09/21/09 02:33 PM Re: Marks of expression [Re: mstrongpianist]  
Joined: Sep 2006
Posts: 3,923
rocket88 Offline
3000 Post Club Member
rocket88  Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Joined: Sep 2006
Posts: 3,923
Teach them to listen carefully to what they are playing, and/or record their playing so they can hear it when played back.

Last edited by rocket88; 09/21/09 02:34 PM.

Piano teacher and Blues and Boogie-Woogie pianist.
#1272331 - 09/21/09 08:06 PM Re: Marks of expression [Re: rocket88]  
Joined: Apr 2007
Posts: 16,228
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Morodiene  Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Joined: Apr 2007
Posts: 16,228
Boynton Beach, FL
I agree with rocket88...hearing first, and doing as well, before naming that which they are doing is always best. Giving them a name and then explaining what it means is kind of backwards and is harder for the kids to really understand.

Also, I find the biggest roadblocks to playing dynamics or articulations well is technique and not a lack of understanding. Sometimes a student will think they are playing forte, but if it doesn't sound loud, it's not forte. They need to learn to listen to ensure it actually is forte.

private piano/voice teacher FT

[Linked Image][Linked Image][Linked Image]
[Linked Image]
#1272397 - 09/21/09 10:20 PM Re: Marks of expression [Re: Morodiene]  
Joined: Aug 2009
Posts: 71
michiganteacher Offline
Full Member
michiganteacher  Offline
Full Member

Joined: Aug 2009
Posts: 71
Michigan, United States
I try to use creative words that help the student to connect more with the music. Instead of "louder", I might use the word "bigger sound" or "build excitement" or words that describe the technical movement such as "drop deeply into the keys...all the way to the floor". I try to get them to understand how much more interesting, beautiful, and exciting the music can be when you utilize dynamics and other expression marks. We talk about why the composer gave those directions and where he was going with it. I try to evoke as much imagination as possible instead of requesting that they simply following the directions on the page.

I think that while a lack of technique is certainly part of the problem at times, other times it is simply a lack of motivation to follow details. Once the student understands what a difference those expressive details make (often times by me demonstrating), they will be more willing to dive in and be creative and imaginative. Then the expression comes from their heart.

Jessica S.
#1272795 - 09/22/09 01:59 PM Re: Marks of expression [Re: michiganteacher]  
Joined: Sep 2009
Posts: 38
mstrongpianist Offline
Full Member
mstrongpianist  Offline
Full Member

Joined: Sep 2009
Posts: 38
Thanks all for offering your teaching tips! Keep 'em coming!

I will certainly present these ideas to the teachers at my workshop!


#1273052 - 09/22/09 08:35 PM Re: Marks of expression [Re: mstrongpianist]  
Joined: Apr 2009
Posts: 580
heidiv Offline
500 Post Club Member
heidiv  Offline
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Apr 2009
Posts: 580
piano bench, usually
I find imagery to be a great tool. Of course, students need to learn the correct terminology too. But I like to give them a story to go along with a piece; "This is where the dinosaur is walking," "This is where the butterfly is flying away," "This is where the kids are skipping." I find it helps the student grasp the character of the piece, and makes it fun to practice too.

#1273084 - 09/22/09 09:38 PM Re: Marks of expression [Re: heidiv]  
Joined: Apr 2009
Posts: 155
Mrs.A Offline
Full Member
Mrs.A  Offline
Full Member

Joined: Apr 2009
Posts: 155
Great Topic.

I say to students “ If I tell you a spooky story and I say it like this. ‘I was walking down a lonely road and I heard a howl. Then I heard footsteps. Then I heard heavy breathing behind me and I turned to look at it was a Bigfoot.” (I tell the story monotone and matter of fact.) Then I say to the student “IF however, I said ‘I was walking down a lonely road and I heard a howl. (I whisper to add drama) Then I heard footsteps. (Still whispering to build suspense) Then I heard heavy breathing behind me and I turned to look at it was a (and I yell ) BIGFOOT’ Which story was more interesting?” The answer of course is the story with all the dynamics.

I explain that playing music is telling a story. We want that story to be believable. I point out the surprises in the Music (story) are the contrasted forte/piano. I also explain that the spooky part to the Bigfoot story was not that I yelled (forte) but that I whispered (piano) the majority of the story. The piano made the forte believable. Properly handling the piano is what gave the forte its impact.

I use my four year old as an example. I mimic how he whispers a story to me. For example just the other day he said “MOM, it was TERRIBLE. I put my pet grasshopper in a cup and rode my bike and dropped the cup. AND THE GRASSHOPPER GOT AWAY…..(in a whispered whimper) I tried to make him happy but he just ran away.”

I tell the students to think about what “story” the composer is trying to tell and to think about how we are going to make that story believable.

Piano Teacher.
Church Music Director.
Kindermusik Instructor.
Mom to four boys.

#1273135 - 09/22/09 11:30 PM Re: Marks of expression [Re: Mrs.A]  
Joined: May 2007
Posts: 10,856
keyboardklutz Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
keyboardklutz  Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Joined: May 2007
Posts: 10,856
London, UK (though if it's Aug...
Good ideas here. Telling kids to 'yell' on the piano is much better than telling them to play louder. Whose ever heard of 'playing louder'? Children always play loudly, unless they're dressing dolls or building models.

snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.

Moderated by  Ken Knapp 

Piano Acc. & Gift Items in
Piano World's Online Store
Save Big In our online store now

In PianoSupplies.com ,(a division of Piano World)
our online store for piano and music gifts and accessories, Digital Piano Dolly, party goods, tuning equipment, piano moving equipment, benches, lamps Caster Cups and more.

Free Shipping* on Jansen Artist Piano Benches, Cocoweb Piano Lamps, Hidrau Hydraulic Piano Benches
(*free shipping within contiguous U.S. only)
Maine Coast Music Vacation for Adults
Pearl River & Ritmuller
Ritmuller Pianos
PianoTeq 6 Out now
New Topics - Multiple Forums
Wurlitzer upright Scarlatti
by manykeys. 01/21/18 12:48 PM
Yamaha CLP 545 vs 635
by pianist007. 01/21/18 12:33 PM
Correcting technique and slow reading (and ..
by pianopi. 01/21/18 11:51 AM
Kawai ES8 keys clicking
by tesla3. 01/21/18 11:09 AM
A flying concert grand piano - fun!
by Rich Galassini. 01/21/18 07:38 AM
Forum Statistics
Most Online15,252
Mar 21st, 2010
Sanderson Accu-Tuner
Check It Out!
There's a lot more to Piano World than just the forums.
Click Here to
Explore The Rest of Piano World!!
Visit our online store for gifts for music lovers

Help keep the forums up and running with a donation, any amount is appreciated!
Or by becoming a Subscribing member! Thank-you.
Donate   Subscribe
Our Piano Related Classified Ads
| Dealers | Tuners | Lessons | Movers | Restorations | Pianos For Sale | Sell Your Piano |

Advertise on Piano World
| Subscribe | Piano World | PianoSupplies.com | Advertise on Piano World |
| |Contact | Privacy | Legal | About Us | Site Map | Free Newsletter |

copyright 1997 - 2018 Piano World ® all rights reserved
No part of this site may be reproduced without prior written permission
Powered by UBB.threads™ PHP Forum Software 7.6.0