Melbourne Piano lessons: What to expect in your lesson?

melbourne piano teachers piano girl

I am often asked by friends and non-musicians about what a music teacher actually teaches, specifically what we do in music lessons, so I thought I’d do a quick blog post giving a basic run down of some of the things you could expect to encounter in your music lesson. Of course every teacher is different, and has his or her own approaches, but there are certain things we all agree on as essential things for the aspiring musician to study.

Each instrument is different in the way it’s constructed and played, so there will always be unique things relevant to a specific instrument. But beyond that, there are areas that are common to all instruments.

In the case of the piano, you play the instrument by pressing down keys to play different notes. When you first begin you will start to develop the basic coordination and technique needed in order to play a basic tune. Your teacher will go through different exercises with you to develop this. There are many technical exercises to learn, in the form of scales, arpeggios and other things that help to develop your technical facility on the piano. You will also learn to read music, and understand theory. Aural skills are also very important, that being the ability to play a song just from hearing it, without the sheet music. We work on this by learning to identify by ear different types of chords, rhythms and melodic intervals.

In the course of your studies, you will learn many songs and pieces, otherwise known as repertoire. Learning your favourite song or piece of music is the part that draws most people to music in the first place. The ability to play music from memory to perform for yourself, for friends, in a band or in concert is one of the most satisfying parts of learning music.

This has just been a very short overview of some of the topics we cover in our Melbourne piano lessons. Why not take the step and book in for your first lesson? Call us today.

Effective piano practise: recording yourself

melbourne piano teachers piano girl

Piano students sometimes come to me with the question “I am practising every day but I don’t feel like I’m getting any better.” One of the first things I will suggest is to record yourself while practising. In today’s age of smartphones and personal devices it is easier than ever to hit record and record yourself without any hassle. When I was growing up we didn’t have smartphones (remember the Nokia 3210 anyone?) so it was little harder to try to and record ourselves, but we managed.

Recording your piano practise is such a great habit to get into. It’s a way to get outside of yourself, and listen objectively to how you sound. While you’re in the moment and playing you tend to hear things in a less than objective way – it’s strange how the mind perceives our sound as being very different when we’re playing vs when we’re listening back to our recorded selves.

You will find you are far more able to identify weaknesses in your playing, including timing issues, technical problems or dynamic range for example if you listen back to the recording.

So what to record? Anything is fair game really. You might even record your piano lesson with your Melbourne piano teacher. Record some exercises/studies you are working on, or perform a piece as if you would to a live audience. But remember, the first time you hear yourself you will surely cringe, so be prepared for that! After a while that passes and you become used to hearing yourself playing. If you’re curious about some more technical approaches to recording your practise, check out this interesting article on the subject.

Call us today and get 20% off your first piano lesson!

The role of parents when children learn music

melbourne piano teachers piano girl

A challenge often faced by music teachers is how to encourage children to practise during the week, outside of their music lesson. While they may be having fun and being stimulated during the lesson, it is sometimes the case that once the lesson is over, the child doesn’t pick up his/her saxophone until their next lesson. Meaning, they don’t do any practise during the week at home. Practise is crucial. I can’t say that enough. it surprises how many people don’t realise that daily practise is so very important to the develop of musical ability. I’d go so far as to say that it’s not just the amount of time you spend practising, but also the daily regularity. In other words It’s better to do 15 minutes practise each day than an hour and a half once a week.

So why is practise so important? Why do music teachers harp on this so much? There are several reasons. Firstly, You need to develop your physical body to the task of playing music. Both muscle strength and endurance is important, but also the more subtle details of technique and finesse on your piano, all of which only come from daily practise.  Secondly is the mental aspect of development. When you practise, you develop your memory and your ability to hear musical elements such as chords, melody and rhythm, but also of repertoire that you learn, new songs.  Thirdly, and equally importantly, with regular daily practise the student develops structure and routine in their daily lives, which is hard to achieve and learn, and requires discipline. Regular and rewarding progress will occur when this happens.

All that aside, without the help and encouragement of parents to keep the students on track, just like is often needed with regular school homework, music practise can easily fall by the wayside. This is followed soon after by the student having a bad time with music, as their progress slows and their interest declines. So I always say to parents, if you honestly want your child to develop musically and learn to play the piano well, make sure they practise regularly. It’s not always going to be easy and it might not always be fun, but they’ll develop quickly, and then lots of fun will be had!! So the moral of the story is, parental support is really essential in the development of young children learning music. Call us today and we can help you get started.

Our new Melbourne Piano teacher Jennifer Kingwell.

Melbourne piano teachers Jen Kingwell

Ladies and gentlemen we are very proud to introduce you to our newest piano teacher, drumroll please….Miss Jennifer Kingwell! Jen has joined the MIM team this year as a part-time teacher, as many of our teachers are. She balances regular performances with her busy teaching schedule and also manages to find time to run a radio show on PBS! Her show “Glitter and doom” is an exploration of cabaret as a musical genre amongst other things, and can be heard live every tuesday from 7-8pm!

Jennifer is a classically trained pianist with a background in computer music and experimental multimedia. Her debut EP The Lotus Eaters, released in 2014, has been turning heads, earning a nod as a PBS FM 106.7 feature album in 2014 and receiving airplay and inclusion in ‘best new music’ lists on radio stations and in music blogs across Australia.

Jennifer is one of the many super talented piano teachers in Melbourne we are privileged to work with here at Music in Mind, and we invite you to try us out with an introductory offer of 20% off your first piano lesson. Call us now to make 2016 the year you become a pianist…