Questions from Parents:
Q: Is my child ready to start piano lessons?
A: The piano lessons for young beginners will not exceed 30 minutes. If your child is able to sit reasonably still, concentrate on their tasks, and follow simple instructions without getting too distracted during this time period, he/she should be ready to begin piano lessons.
Q: What should I expect my child to gain from piano lessons?
A: Piano lessons will not only teach a child from note reading, rhythm counting, to body coordination, mental concentration, multi-tasking skills, mental as well as physical endurance, disciplines, and most of all, nourish their creativity and apprication for the beauty of music and art.
Q: What kind of piano should I purchase for my child?
A: Any acoustic piano such as an upright or grand piano is fine to begin. An electronic keyboard is not recommended. The “action” of the keys on an electronic keyboard does not simulate a acoustic piano. Even electronic keyboards with “weighted” keys do not allow the pianist to produce the “volume” or “tone" which he/she desires. Pianists spend years to develop their ears and skills to draw various "colors" from the piano to meet their interpretations needs, and this has to start from the very beginning of the piano learning. Electronic piano will never help students to develop such skill.
Q: What is the difference between an upright piano and a grand piano?
A: An upright piano is generally smaller than a grand piano and therefore takes less floor space. A larger piano offers longer strings, which produce greater sounds, perhaps helping pianists in expressing intensity in music. A larger piano can also provides bigger range of sound from loudness to softness. The internal mechanics are different between upright pianos and grand pianos. The pedals are different; a grand piano usually has a sustained pedal whereas an upright piano does not have this pedal at all. In general, a grand piano will produce a richer sound than an upright.
Q: Why does my child not like to practice piano?
A: Practicing piano is a challenging activity for anyone, especially for children. It requires an enormous amount of discipline, concentration, and, most of all, patience. Your child should approach practicing piano in small “increments,” increasing each increment as time goes on and as he/she becomes more comfortable with his/her music and his/her confidence increases. For example, for a beginer student learning a new piece, the child should first start by just reading or singing the notes out loud till he/she can read all of the notes of the piece at least five or six times. Then, he/she can start to play each note one at a time and sing along each note out loud as he/she hits the key for that note. As he/she progresses, he/she can stop saying each note out loud and work on rhythm and technique and so on. Concentrating and mastering fundamental skills such as scales is also extremely important. Repetition is difficult for a child so each practice session should be relatively short. Create a routine for your child so piano practice will become habit-forming. Lastly, reward your child with immediate praise after each and every practice session!
Q: How long should my child practice the piano?
A: Each practice session should be more than his/her lesson time. Of course, the more practice the better. However, you can also break the practice into smaller sessions especially when the child is very young.
Q: Should I help my child practice piano and how?
A: Yes! Please help your child especially when they are very young. You should sit next to them when he/she practices and remind them about the things they learned during his/her previous lessons. And most importantly, encourage them by PRAISE them!!!
Q: Should I send my child to piano competitions?
A: Why not?! Piano competitions are good opportunity for your child to learn from other children and test how well they really know their pieces. Also, it will build their confidence and character. However, piano competitions are not the end to themselves and not necessarily requirements to become proficient and excellent in piano playing. Piano competitions will show your child the results of all those long hours of preparation, practice, and training.
Q: What should I do to help my child develop his/her artistic ability?
A: Besides playing the piano, you can take your child to concerts, recitals, art museums, or travel. Introduce them to painting, drawing, or anything that allows them to use their imagination. Artistry cannot necessarily be taught. But the more exposure your child has to the arts, the better his/her chance of absorbing bits and pieces here and there that he/she may subconsciously apply to his/her music.
Questions from Students:
Q: What is required for me to begin piano lessons?
A: Not only do you need your music books and metronome, you must be interested in music. You also need to be able to concentrate and have the discipline to practice on a regular bases.
Q: How should I prepare for my piano lessons?
A: You need to work on the things that your teacher asked you to correct or improve upon from your previous piano lesson. Therefore, it is important to remember what your teacher had asked you to do so if you have difficulty remembering things, you should take notes during your lessons and practice daily. Don’t wait until the day before your lesson to practice; by then, you won’t remember a thing from the previous week or had enough time to correct errors and deficiencies!
Q: When should I practice the piano?
A: You should set a specific time everyday for piano practice. Schedule it in your daily routine. For example, if you set the practice time between five and six o’clock, you should practice your piano from five to six Monday to Friday. Even if you haven’t finished your homework or you have a test coming up next day etc. Weekends can be more flexible, but it doesn’t mean that you don’t need to practice on weekends.
Q: How long should I practice the piano?
A: It depends on your repertoire. The quality of your playing counts, not the length of the time you sit in front of the piano.
Q: Why do I need to study music theory?
A: Music theory is important. Technically, it helps you to attain the correct rhythm, understand the structure of a piece, and helps you on memorization. Artistically, it educates you about the composer, which helps you understand his/her style and musical language.
Q: Why do I need to practice technique?
A: Technique will strengthen your fingers and train them to be able to execute complex maneuvers and actions effortlessly without thinking. Technique training will make your scale runs smoother, your arpeggio sections faster, and your octave passages more accurate.
Q: Why do I seem to play the wrong notes during a performance or competition?
A: Perhaps nervousness and anxiety is a factor here where only experience can overcome. But, ask yourself the same question when you practice! Make sure your notes are correct when you practice! As you master each and every note in your piece, your confidence should increase as well!
Q: Why am I always nervous when I play at recitals or in front of a group?
A: Nervousness is natural human response but don’t allow it to overwhelm you! Try to relax and remind yourself that you have already mastered your piece and played it hundreds of times. A recital is your opportunity to show everyone how all your hard work has “paid-off”!
Q: Why is there always someone better then me?
A: You shouldn’t worry about things you cannot control. Focus on perfecting your piece; everything else will take care of itself!!!
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