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Making Piano Lessons Fun Again for a Teenager
#2293174 06/21/14 07:51 PM
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Hi,

I started teaching my nephew piano lessons when I believe he was in the 1st or 2nd grade. He took lessons for two years. He stopped in 2010. When he first started he was very into playing the piano and picked things up fast. He would ask me if I could give him a lesson that day. Then in 2010 he started to lose interest. By that time he had completed a music readiness series called My Piano Book A and completed Book B in that series. I liked those books so I put him in a primer level books called David Carr Glover Method for piano. He didn't make it to the point in the book where he started to play with both hands at the same time. Towards the end I got him a primer level workbook called 30 note spelling lessons. He lost interest and now he is almost 13 and going into the 8th grade in the Fall. My sister wants him to do something over the summer besides playing video games. I want him to enjoy taking lessons again. I think the books that he was in might not be interesting enough for him, but he is at the primer level and they are very good books. Should I keep him in the books that he was in? Are there other books that would be better for a 13 year old primer level student? What other things can I do to keep him interested and make it fun for him? I have a Yamaha Portable Grand Keyboard that I use and would teach him on.


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Re: Making Piano Lessons Fun Again for a Teenager
Pianist@Heart #2293186 06/21/14 08:18 PM
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Hi, welcome to the forum!

It's difficult to find anything that would interest a 13-year-old beginner. Maybe some familiar tunes? Instantly recognizable melodies? Most of the available methods are too babyish for teenagers. Have you tried some methods for adult beginners?

Good luck!


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Re: Making Piano Lessons Fun Again for a Teenager
Pianist@Heart #2293229 06/21/14 10:40 PM
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It sounds like what you have been doing is being a kind and generous relative willing to offer lessons whenever the child felt interested. This is lovely, and it's more appealing to younger children than to teenagers. Teenagers need to stretch themselves outside of the family, have impressive new adults to connect to and identify with and aspire to imitate. You surely are a very capable teacher but this is a developmental issue, not about you.

Try a teacher who isn't a family member, who is expert enough to really impress the teenager, with a regular lesson and concrete practice time expectations. Better yet, have the teenager go to several trial lessons with different teachers and choose for himself the one who seemed the best fit.


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Re: Making Piano Lessons Fun Again for a Teenager
Pianist@Heart #2293244 06/21/14 11:47 PM
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How about trying an Piano Adventures Accelerated series? Kids this age want to play something NOW. A method for younger kids that goes slow is too childish for them. It sounds like he's not at even a late elementary level where you can pull some pieces he might know (like video game theme songs or pop music). But get him to that point and then supplement with fun current things.

Also, you mentioned that you're teaching him on a Yamaha portable grand. Does it have 'styles' that you can add to the pieces he plays? Even a fun drum beat acts like a metronome. Or try changing the voices so it's not always on piano.


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Re: Making Piano Lessons Fun Again for a Teenager
Pianist@Heart #2293245 06/21/14 11:50 PM
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There could be benefits to having him study outside the family. Many of my colleagues choose not to teach family members. However I also know a teacher who has been very successful teaching her own children.

Throw the David Carr Glover books in the garbage. Or in the fireplace. They're not the books for a teen. Look at the adult beginner books in Faber or Alfred Premier if he's pretty bright. Otherwise look for the "later beginner" in either of those.

Best wishes!


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Re: Making Piano Lessons Fun Again for a Teenager
dumdumdiddle #2293246 06/21/14 11:55 PM
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Originally Posted by dumdumdiddle
Also, you mentioned that you're teaching him on a Yamaha portable grand. Does it have 'styles' that you can add to the pieces he plays? Even a fun drum beat acts like a metronome. Or try changing the voices so it's not always on piano.

That's an approach worth trying.

On the other hand that's not the approach I use - I think it depends on the personality of the teacher. I'm not "Mr. Fun" nor do I try to present myself as such. I present the music itself in all it's dignity and make that the fun. I'm very serious about the pieces my students are playing, even if it's elementary level. Students understand that and usually start to identify with those values.


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Re: Making Piano Lessons Fun Again for a Teenager
Pianist@Heart #2295854 06/27/14 03:28 PM
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I would suggest finding some easy arrangements of video game and/or anime music, and use those to supplement a method book. Students will practice more and be more enthusiastic about piano when they are playing music they like. Similarly, ask your nephew what songs he would most like to learn, and see if you can find some easy piano arrangements of them.

Re: Making Piano Lessons Fun Again for a Teenager
Pianist@Heart #2295893 06/27/14 05:17 PM
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Have you looked at the Christopher Norton methods? I really like the Microjazz series and I've also looked at the Microrock (this is for my own amusement). It seems like he's gone through two more methods since Micro series, but I don't know much about those.

Re: Making Piano Lessons Fun Again for a Teenager
Pianist@Heart #2298226 07/03/14 11:48 AM
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I didn't enjoy playing the piano until my teacher gave me tunes and songs that I was hearing on the radio (this was stuff by Elvis and The Everly Brothers so you can guess I'm not young.) Now, as a teacher, I do the same. Perhaps it's easier for me as I teach improvisation, jazz and blues, but this involves an understanding of chord sequences. If a student can play the 4 chords: I, VI, IV an V, then they have the key to thousands of pop songs These 4 triads in the key of C are C, A minor, F and G. They can also improvise over these chords just by playing the C pentatonic scale: C, D, E, G and A.

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Re: Making Piano Lessons Fun Again for a Teenager
Pianist@Heart #2298319 07/03/14 02:58 PM
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"My sister wants him to do something over the summer besides playing video games. I want him to enjoy taking lessons again."

I think the first step is asking him what he wants. Does he want piano? Or guitar? Ukulele? Drums? Is he committing?

If this is just a 3 months -this summer situation, he might be better off at a sports camp or swim program or "rock star" music program. Something with a clear begin and end date, being with peers, and having some sort of public performance.


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