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#752147 - 01/27/04 12:59 PM A Challenge!
Luke's Dad Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/28/03
Posts: 1426
Loc: Mid Atlantic
Just about all of us here understand the importance of Music Education to children. If asked, we will explain all of the benefits: mathmatics, discipline, creativity, etc...... But still, it seems like every year there are fewer and fewer children involved in music classes. Schools drop funding for music programs every day, raise budgets for sports; there's little hope for help from that angle. So instead we sit here and complain about the lack of funding, lack of interest, and the slow death of the arts. The problem is this, the problem will never be solved if we wait for a government entity to do it for us, or if we keep waiting for our society to change. I can't abide by that however, as I said before; Society doesn't dictate to individuals, individual choices dictate our society.

So here's my proposal: each of us on this forum (even those that aren't regular posters, even those that don't post at all, but just lurk) take the month of February to recruit at least one child to begin piano lessons. If each of us can find just one potential student, think of how many new piano students that would be! Think of how many children you know; whether they are your own, nephews and nieces, cousins, children of friends, children of coworkers, students, friends of our own children, etc........ Surely there is one child you know that you can help get involved in music. Instead of waiting for other parents ask you what you think about music classes, approach them with the wonders and benefits playing piano will bring to their children. Think of what you are bringing to their lives by getting them involved, what do you say? Let's be a little proactive this month! For every new pianist you recruit, you'll get a free smiley \:\) ! Just keep me updated on this thread.
Purveyor of Yamaha, Petrof, Pearl River, and Kohler & Campbell pianos.

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#752148 - 01/27/04 01:58 PM Re: A Challenge!
JIMBOB Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/18/02
Posts: 1347
Loc: South Carolina
Dear Luke's Dad

I maintain a list of area piano teachers.
I ask every client that I do work for if they would like to know about teachers in the area. I even had a guy knock on the window of my van last week asking if I knew of any teachers. Most teachers do not advertise widely and many referrals are by word of mouth. I added a new teacher just last week to my list and I like to think it is a public service. Parents often ask me about lessons for their kids. I even get a lot of clients fired up about taking lessons for themselves. I tell everyone they are not to old to start but that they should at least call a few teachers to set up some lessons to get pointed in the right direction. I have also helped people find pianos and to sell them as well.

It takes a grass roots effort to keep music alive. Unfortunately the art get chopped before
other things. I talked to the owner of a local music shop who got a call last week from a school that wants to teach guitar for its students.
They are interested in buying the best guitar there is for the lowest bid. Sounds familiar- everyone wants a Steinway but wants to pay keyboard prices. I encourage parents to buy a piano over a keyboard and suggest that they read The Piano Book before they go out shopping. There is no better gift you can give children than the
gifts of love and music.

I would like to see more of the industry promoting piano on tv spot ads, in magazines and newspapers. Was a time in this country when the piano was a big thing and a big part of life.
Hundreds of hundreds of companies made pianos or piano parts. Motion pictures, radios, tv, computers etc etc changed all of that.
Someone on the piano forum was feeling guilty for buying a piano. If we could get the piano to be as popular as the SUV's on the road that would be something. I guess there is no chance we can get a tax break for those that buy a nice piano.
Imagine getting a $25k writeoff for your Grand Piano Purchase ?
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#752149 - 01/27/04 02:48 PM Re: A Challenge!
Axtremus Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/29/03
Posts: 6195
Luke's Dad, that's a good challenge. I applaude your good intention!

This is what I will do: take one or two prospective students off a piano-teacher friend's waiting list. (That friend of mine seems quite over-booked as a piano teacher and has close to two dozen prospective students on his waiting list for months now, and we don't have that many teachers in this area. I don't teach, but it's something I have been thinking about for a while. I will take your challenge as the kick to get started. It makes me crinch a bit to see those who want to learn have to wait because the teacher is already overbooked, plus, that piano-teacher friend have been encouranging me to teach for a while now.)

I also want to widen this challenge by lifting the "piano-only" restriction as well as the "children only" restriction. Any sort of music education, for child or adult, is fine. Other instruments, voice, ear training, music appreciation, theory, composition, all of these count too! We need musicians of all sorts. I see no point in making every one a pianist. (I have seen that in some neighborhoods where every kid learns the same thing -- piano -- very boring, they cannot lug their pianos around, they cannot "jam" when they get together, and they have no chance of ever organizing a chamber ensemble or a community orchestra. I would rather see different people learn different instruments and learn to make music together with their different gifts/trainings.) I would also narrow the challenge down to only encouraging those who want to learn to take the plunge (or their legal guardians/financial sponsors to support them) -- I see no point to make anyone learn anything they don't want to unless it's crucial to their survival (and frankly, IMO, music education is not crucial, only "nice to have"). ;\)
www.PianoRecital.org -- my piano recordings

#752150 - 01/27/04 03:04 PM Re: A Challenge!
Linda in PA Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/01/02
Posts: 767
Loc: PA - USA
Originally posted by Luke's Dad:
Just about all of us here understand the importance of Music Education to children.
. . . recruit at least one child to begin piano lessons.[/b]
I think encouraging children to take music lessons is a noble sentiment, but I don't think it should necessarily be piano lessons. I'd rather encourage a child to become familiar with a wide range of instruments, the sounds that they can generate, and their role in various styles and venues. I believe that the choice of which instrument (if any) to pursue should be the child's, not mine. But then, I'm not trying to sell any particular instrument. ;\)

Why limit your challenge to encouraging children? There are a lot of adults who, for any number of reasons, were insufficiently exposed to music in their youth. Personally, I like to encourage women who gave a back seat to their extracurricular interests while rearing children to make an investment in their own musical interests. Same for retiring executives who, upon unwedding themselves from their positions, find themselves at a loss for hobbies and recreational interests.

A couple of weeks ago, I learned of a 72-year old woman who just took her Grade 3 piano exam. I imagine that took a great deal of courage on her part. I'm glad that someone encouraged her to follow her heart!

#752151 - 01/27/04 03:08 PM Re: A Challenge!
Linda in PA Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/01/02
Posts: 767
Loc: PA - USA
While I was typing, Axtremus pretty much said what I wanted to say - and better. Sorry for the late post. \:o

#752152 - 01/27/04 04:43 PM Re: A Challenge!
Ted Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/03/02
Posts: 1573
Loc: Auckland, New Zealand
It goes without saying that I try to do this sort of thing all the time. I will not teach children myself because I do not have the right qualities. My musical personality is so strange that adults too are a dubious proposition. However, I once taught a teenager more or less from scratch and his progress was outstanding.

What I do find depressing is the negativity and inhibition most adults seem to have about their capability of expessing themselves through an instrument. I can only assume this has resulted from unpleasant childhood experiences with uninspiring or overly critical music teachers and parents.

Once this inhibition and self-deprecatory mindset is established it is very difficult to shake off in mature life. I see no reason why anybody who likes musical sound and has functioning hands and a brain should not be able to improvise and compose fluently using the piano. But the fact is that hardly anybody does, even among pianists; somehow or other early musical education is still all wrong and putting more people off than it encourages.

My own conviction is that the most important thing with a young child is to foster a love of music; how you do it doesn't matter particularly. The development of technique without this is a pretty barren thing to behold, even in a talented child.
"It is inadvisable to decline a dinner invitation from a plump woman." - Fred Hollows

#752153 - 01/27/04 05:39 PM Re: A Challenge!
Larry Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/01
Posts: 9217
Loc: Deep in Cherokee Country
I have what I think is a good idea for you dealers. I wanted to do this myself, but didn't have the space for it.

Give free lessons to anyone and everyone who wants them.

Hire a teacher, pay her a salary, with her job being to teach piano group classes all day long, 5 days a week. Don't require the student to buy a thing, in the group setting. Several things will happen. You will have lots of people coming and going in your store, lots of people exposed to your products, and eventually a social atmosphere will develop among the students. Have a room with digital pianos and headphones set up for them to come in as often as they want to practice.

Once a student gets to a certain level (and not one of those silly "learn to play in 8 easy lessons" things, take the time to really teach them), hold a graduation party. Those who have graduated from the first level may now sign up for private lessons, where renting or buying a piano is required. Just make sure that the first level actually taught them the basics of reading music and finding it on the keyboard, and that they are able to play new music on their own using basic sheet music arrangements.

Don't try to take them into formal classical training. Teach them the basics, but let them play music they enjoy and want to learn. It is a lot easier to sell pianos to people who know how to use one than it is people who are afraid they won't be able to.

You could even get the local grade school involved. Come up with some incentives to make it desirable for the kids to enroll in your classes.

Might work....
Life isn't measured by the breaths you take. Life is measured by the things that left you breathless

#752154 - 01/27/04 06:05 PM Re: A Challenge!
Luke's Dad Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/28/03
Posts: 1426
Loc: Mid Atlantic
You guys are absolutely right about including all instruments. I hadn't thought of it because being a piano player myself, and posting on a piano forum, piano was what popped into my mind. We'll open it up to all types of music lessons. This is something I do as well everyday as part of my career, but it's a good time to recommit myself to the effort.

Larry, in a close vein to your suggestion, one thing I'm doing is going to some of the Mom's Clubs (organization my wife belongs to for stay at home mothers) and offering to host a free childrens music program similar to Kindermusic.

Axtremus, that's a great idea. Part of the problem is that too many good teachers are overbooked, and students wind up sitting on a waiting list until they lose interest.

Linda, Great suggestion on the adults as well. Of course, we could always make that into it's own challenge ;\) . What do the rest of you think? Open it up for adults as well?
Purveyor of Yamaha, Petrof, Pearl River, and Kohler & Campbell pianos.

#752155 - 01/30/04 12:13 AM Re: A Challenge!
iteachlifeskills Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 23
Loc: Toronto, ON Canada
I gotta share a story with you here... one that literally saved my life.

I grew up taking music lessons since the age of six. I was pretty darned good at it, so through natural evolution I fell into a career in music.

I didn't really CHOOSE music... it's just that I didn't have too many other marketable skills.

Anyway, I tried several times to get out of "Music" teaching only to come back, usually with my tail between my legs, because I just couldn't seem to make a decent go of it in any other field... at least, not enough to support my accustomed, albeit modest, lifestyle.

About six years ago I came to a crisis point. I had been teaching "Music" for about 25 years by then and I was having more bad days than good.

So I sat down and tried to figure out how to get more of the GOOD days. It was then that I discovered that I really didn't teach MUSIC... when I was really ON, I was teaching LIFE SKILLS and I was just using music as the message medium.

Now, one of my mottos is, "I don't teach music; I teach PEOPLE!" You see, personal development is my REAL PASSION.

Make no mistake - my students know their stuff and can play very well. It's AMAZING what a person can do when they feel great about themselves.

I'm inclined to agree with a lot of the posters on this thread... it doesn't matter much WHAT instrument (and I'll even go as far as to say WHAT SUBJECT) - the real lessons, as far as I'm concerned is WHAT DOES THE PERSON BECOME as a result of his involvement with an activity or study?

Today, I absolutely LOVE what I do. I Teach Life Skills through "Music" lessons; I help people be the best they can be and learn to appreciate themselves as well as others. That distinction really did save my life!

Renewed passion in Toronto after 32 years of teaching,


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