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Tips on teaching piano to beginners

Posted By: pdiraunmo

Tips on teaching piano to beginners - 02/01/13 09:24 AM

Hi, I am looking to teach a couple of beginner kids to play the piano for a school assignment. What should I find out before I begin teaching? What methods best suit beginners? Any books anyone recommends? Please just give me some basic clues as to what I need to know before I start.
I will be teaching them for 6 months.
I would really appreciate the names of beginner books that you would recommend to start off with please.
I am in grade 7 myself.
Also if you answer please know that this may be featured in the planning folio for the assignment but I will blank out every ones names. Thank you!!!
Posted By: Matt Walker

Re: Tips on teaching piano to beginners - 02/01/13 10:24 AM

Hi, the book I recommend is the Making the Grade series http://www.amazon.co.uk/Making-Grad...mp;ie=UTF8&qid=1359714128&sr=1-3 Has lots of popular songs that kids seem to like.

I always start off with explaining, middle C, the fingers, correct hand position (like you're holding a computer mouse) that 'piano' is short for 'piano-forte' which means 'soft-loud' because you can play a piano soft and loud, and then get them to experiment. Then go into C major scale.
Posted By: Morodiene

Re: Tips on teaching piano to beginners - 02/01/13 01:00 PM

How old are the beginners? That makes a big difference in the method recommended.
Posted By: Peter K. Mose

Re: Tips on teaching piano to beginners - 02/01/13 04:18 PM

What kind of goofy class assignment is this? How are you going to find the kids? Will they be younger than you, or will they be your classmates?

It doesn't matter what materials you use. Just try not to do much harm.

Posted By: Chris H.

Re: Tips on teaching piano to beginners - 02/01/13 05:04 PM

I think if you could provide a little more information like how old the students are and what you hope they will achieve in the 6 months it may help.

There are many method books available to cater for all ages and interests. If you have a local music store it would be worth going and having a browse. See what styles you would feel comfortable with and what you think will suit your beginners.
Posted By: Chris Goslow

Re: Tips on teaching piano to beginners - 02/01/13 05:50 PM

I definitely agree with Chris H. about going to a music store to browse around for books. I have done this at least dozen times in the past year since I started my own teaching studio. It's also a great way to trigger your own ideas about what you want to teach.

At the same time, in my experience the best way to get to know what you want to teach is to actually teach. It's hard to know which book or method works best for you, or if they even work at all. I don't personally have a "one size fits all" method to piano teaching. I believe every student is different, and though there are certainly tendencies, I don't use just one "method."

Instead, I focus on caring about helping the student. Bothering to take the time to really listen to the student, to see what their interests and desires are... I think this is really important. It will give you a big advantage right from the get-go, regardless of your experience or lack thereof.
Posted By: keystring

Re: Tips on teaching piano to beginners - 02/01/13 06:01 PM

As a class assignment this could have some value one if it is approached properly. It should be getting you to think, and maybe instead of people here listing method books, first steps and such, there could be some guidance and back and forth about what's involved.

What do you yourself think are the priorities for beginners? What is it that a beginner needs to get in the way of skills and understanding when he first starts out? What obstacles do you foresee, and how might you prevent them?

Or along a different path - looking at various method books, what kinds of things do they seem to be trying to teach, how are they doing it, and why? Taking your own experience in studying piano from the beginning to now, what do you see? What thoughts do any of these questions bring up that might lead you to how to approach your hypothetical beginner students?

By the way, have they actually taught you anything about pedagogy, teaching philosophies, goals for beginner students and such before setting you out on this assignment?
Posted By: currawong

Re: Tips on teaching piano to beginners - 02/01/13 10:28 PM

Originally Posted by pdiraunmo
I am in grade 7 myself.
This can mean a few different things. Do you mean you're in grade 7 at school, which means you're about, what, 13 years old? Or do you mean you're playing piano at grade 7 level, which (depending which system you're talking about and where in the world you are) can be a widely varying level - just about anything, in fact.
Posted By: Minniemay

Re: Tips on teaching piano to beginners - 02/01/13 10:31 PM

Posted By: pdiraunmo

Re: Tips on teaching piano to beginners - 02/03/13 08:54 AM

I am currently completing AMEB grade 7 piano. I have also completed AMEB grade 5 theory. This assignment is for my year 12 (final year of high school)musicianship individual study. The aim of the assignment is to attempt to teach 2 or more individuals (they will be between the ages of 13 to 16, currently studying music theory) a skill, mine being piano. I already have made arrangements and organised who I will be teaching. The emphasis is being placed on 3 key things.
1. To research different techniques, methods and resources needed to design a series of lessons.
2. Reflection and analysis of each individual lesson.
3. The improvement and growth of the students.
The aim of this forum is to gain knowledge and explore the different techniques/resources/methods that are out there for piano teachers and their students. From this, in conjunction with additional research, I hope to gain a great understanding of what is really out there and determine which avenues I wish to pursue as I undertake the next steps of the assignment. Also, I wish to thank everyone who has already given me so much information and have pointed me in the right direction.
Posted By: R0B

Re: Tips on teaching piano to beginners - 02/03/13 03:24 PM

Just wish I had this kind of opportunity when I was at school.

Best of luck with your assignment :-)
Please keep us posted.
Posted By: pamluvskk

Re: Tips on teaching piano to beginners - 02/03/13 09:57 PM

Kudo's to you. The first thing you should ask the student is: "What kind of music background do you have?". Try to get to know as much as you can on the first lesson. The first lesson is the most challengin! Then, go to a music store and look at the course books. Be sure to consider the age of the student that you are choosing the materials for. You will open a book, think of that student and you'll know. The book will resonate with you for that student. Basics first, try to remember your first music lesson, do you? Best of luck to you! Your students will love you and what you are doing!
Posted By: Elissa Milne

Re: Tips on teaching piano to beginners - 02/06/13 02:15 PM

Hey there, pdiraunmo! This is a very weird assignment for Year 12 Music, so I'm wondering if you can clarify it a little... Is this the assignment *everyone* in the class has been given, or is it a project you and your high school teacher have devised as part of your Year 12 coursework?

From a bit of googling it looks as if South Australia is the only state to differentiate Musicianship as an area of study in Year 12 Music courses, but the course structure doesn't seem to support your project - so I'm assuming another state has a Musicianship element to the Year 12 course, and it's just not coming up in curriculum documents that google can find for me tonight...

In any case: go to your piano teacher for mentoring with this. Don't rely on any of us here - we can't possibly give you good advice without knowing LOADS about your students and about you.

Teaching teenager beginners is a real challenge for even very experienced teachers mostly because there are not a lot of teaching materials designed for this age/developmental stage. There have been some big improvements in adult beginner methods over the past 15 years or so, and I'd suggest you look at the Hal Leonard Student Piano Library Adult Method as a good example of a method that might work with your proposed students.

But for you to gain anything substantial from this assignment you need to have an experienced piano teacher mentoring you. Feel free to send me a message on facebook (I'm the only Elissa Milne there) if you'd like me to put you in touch with someone fabulous from your part of the world (if I can), if you don't actually have a piano teacher yourself at the moment.

What's really intriguing me about this assignment is that it seems that the real task is to explore what is involved in teaching a skill, and you just happen to be choosing piano as the skill you will teach. What are the skills your classmates will be teaching? How will your assignment be assessed? These are the kinds of questions that need to be answered if you want to get appropriate support in your learning. We could all give you advice that will do you no good at all, because we don't understand the criteria the teacher will be using to assess your work.

The outline you've given doesn't sound like a *music* assignment at all, but rather an *education* assignment (lesson preparation, reflexion on the lessons given, reportage of student development), and this is what's making me think it's a really, really weird assignment for you to be doing as part of a Year 12 Musicianship course, where the skills that are being examined are your understanding of music theory/notation and contextualised performance skills (such as transposition, for example).

But weird things do happen in this world, and for this purpose God gave us raisable eyebrows. :-)

Again, feel free to be in touch with me for specific recommendations, and good luck!!!
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