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#940711 - 05/24/04 08:49 PM what to teach in the first lesson
pauholio Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 05/18/04
Posts: 7
Loc: AUS
I've been playing for 7 years and have decided to start piano teaching but i am a bit confused as to what to teach them in their first lesson.
I think i should start by explain what their technique should be like.
Then i thought i could go on to explain about the notes and keys and how that all works.
If anyone has any suggests they would be greatly appreciated.

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#940712 - 05/24/04 10:39 PM Re: what to teach in the first lesson
*www.mrronsmusic.com* Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 05/23/04
Posts: 12
Loc: Silver Spring, MD USA

You're right! You definitely want to introduce your students to the fundamentals of music notation, note values, etc.

But more importantly, teach them to COUNT! I mean count "out loud!" Traditionally, pianists are they worst "time keepers."

I would definitely focus on Rhythm...

To your success,

Mr. Ron

#940713 - 05/28/04 10:33 PM Re: what to teach in the first lesson
Awakening Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/28/04
Posts: 93
Loc: Seattle, WA
I think that firstly, you should just start out telling them how to sit at the piano, the posture, and general idea behind playing. Then, teach them about the "numbering" of the fingers (1-5) as this is an extremely important part in reading music (especially starting out). Next, I'd go on explaining the difference between a half note and a quarter note, because a basic sense of rhythm is important to start out. You should have a set of learning books to teach from, especially if you're only been playing for 7 years yourself.

#940714 - 05/29/04 06:22 AM Re: what to teach in the first lesson
Hans Hitmachine Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/14/04
Posts: 184
Loc: Netherlands
Sorry, but I find that approach a litlle too serious for the first lesson (notation, sitting straight, counting etc). I'm not a teacher, but wouldn't it be better to start out with just exploring the instrument more? Let her/him play some chords like c-f-g and then you play the melody of any given simple tune with it. Or the other way around. Something like that. Give them the feeling that playing piano isn't that difficult at all.
If I was a 7 year old I would have been put off if my first lesson wasn't real fun.

#940715 - 07/18/04 04:49 AM Re: what to teach in the first lesson
junmer Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/22/04
Posts: 397
Loc: United Arab Emirates
I have always been hunting for something to make piano lessons fun for my students. Fun means different things to different children. It's a case to case basis, more on child psychology. If a child is playful, introduce musical games and then inject a bit of some serious stuff at the right time. If the child is the serious type, do vice versa. It's a matter of balancing what you have to offer to make your student want to come back to you soon.
Piano tuner / Piano teacher
United Arab Emirates

#940716 - 08/18/04 06:09 PM Re: what to teach in the first lesson
pianobabe56 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/08/04
Posts: 5
Loc: Somewhere in the US
I agree with everything that was said. One thing that I was shocked by when I gave my first lesson, was that many students did not even understand the directions of 'up' and 'down' on the keyboard. I would reccommend that you make sure that they understand that as you go 'up' the sounds get 'higher' and as you go 'down' the sounds get 'lower'.
Also, for Hans Hitmachine, if they check back... exactly what do you have the students do to help them have fun? What types of things (in detail, please?) do you teach them? I agree strongly that it needs to be fun, but since I've only been teaching for a little while, I'm not quite sure what to do for them.

#940717 - 08/24/04 12:19 PM Re: what to teach in the first lesson
Stanza Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/18/02
Posts: 1464
Loc: Chapel Hill, NC
I agree with Hans. I wish I had started that way. That is what guitarists do! If you can get the rhythm and chord changes down first, the student will more quickly make music, instead of hunt and peck at the notes.
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Casio PX 310
Yamaha NP 30

#940718 - 08/27/04 08:01 AM Re: what to teach in the first lesson
ampleyfly Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/06/04
Posts: 12
Loc: Vadstena, Sweden
I was 5 years old when I went to my first piano lesson, and even though I tried, I didn't manage to learn reading the notes. Since then, I never have, and personally I think listening to and watching someone else play is easier to learn from since it's more alive and not so sterile as the notes.

I think that when taking on a young student, don't focus too much on theory and reading the notes, creating an interest for the instrument and learning what it sounds like is more important.

Older students, who can easily grasp the theory and workings behind the notes/piano are probably helped by it though.

(You might want to take this "Cum grano salis", though, since I'm not a teacher.)
Who needs music sheets anyway?

#940719 - 08/27/04 10:02 AM Re: what to teach in the first lesson
Nina Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/13/01
Posts: 6467
Loc: Phoenix, AZ
I"m not sure I would agree fully with introducing the finger numbers right away. This is how my daughter learned, and she never was able to separate the finger numbers from the note values. They started with thumbs on middle C, and she just thought that whenever she saw '1', it meant middle C. This *really* got in the way, needless to say! I'm convinced that it's part of the reason she gave up piano and switched to clarinet.

I'd be tempted to be very, very specific about the numbering, and perhaps wait a bit to do it. Then, when you introduce it, do something like "use the '1' finger to play a C. Now use the '1' finger to play a G...," etc. In other words, separate the finger concept from the note value completely.

I also think it's great to start with some familiar tunes, rather than just obscure exercises. It helps develop your ear, and it's quite rewarding to be playing something you recognize right away.

My 2c!


#940720 - 08/28/04 09:25 PM Re: what to teach in the first lesson
DSWills Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/21/04
Posts: 30
I think you'd have to take a different approach to whether or not the new student already had a background in music/basic knowledge of how to read music or not. If not, you should probably start with scales, reading music, clefs, and maybe get them on a simple melody like Yankee Doodle. If they do ... well, then you can adjust what you're teaching accordingly.

#940721 - 09/02/04 08:16 PM Re: what to teach in the first lesson
Candywoman Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/14/03
Posts: 1050
I don't have a problem with you starting to teach, but I feel you need to be more prepared. It is essential that you work under an experienced piano teacher. Taking private pedagogy lessons will give you all the answers you need.

Remember, when you teach a student, you take responsibility for their music education. Knowing how to play yourself is only one step in becoming a good piano teacher.


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