Once upon a time (1968) in a land far, far away (Glendale, CA) a little seven-year-old girl (that would be me) began taking piano lessons.
The lessons were very stressful at first because there was just so much to remember at once! Learning to read the notes on the page, and then to play the right key with the correct hand with the proper finger at the specified time…. Whew! That is pretty overwhelming for anyone. But especially for a kid.
It was hard for me, and I struggled. And because it was hard, it was not much fun. Now, I don’t care if you are 7 or 70, if something is not enjoyable, you do not want to do it any more than you have to. So I didn’t.
Week after week I went to my lessons and tested the patience of my piano teacher to its fullest. I do not remember how long it took me to finally make it through to the end of the Leila Fletcher Piano Course Book One, but I would not be surprised at all if I had won the All-Time-Slowest-Learner Award for my pitiful effort.
But then, something amazing began to happen. I actually got better! All those lessons finally started to sink in and in a few years I was able to have lots of fun when I played. My mom would get the music for songs that were popular at the time – songs by Simon and Garfunkel, Carole King,The Carpenters, etc. – and, after a bit of practice, I could play them well. I could even show off a little and play Beethoven’s "Fur Elise" (the easy part!) for my friends.
For me, those early years marked the beginning of a lifetime of musical enjoyment. There is something magical about being able to make music – even music as simple as clapping out a catchy beat or playing a fun and easy "Heart and Soul" or "Chopsticks" duet with a friend.
My goal as a teacher is to make my piano lessons as fun as possible as early as possible. It is all about the kids and being creative in the ways that I teach so that they do not feel pressured to perform or to get things exactly right all the time. That is not reality! Kids respond to patient, relaxed guidance, and if there is any yelling to be done, the words should be things like, "Great job!" and "I am so proud of you!"
I love teaching kids, and if I do my job well, they will enjoy learning and always look forward to their lessons.
I hope you have enjoyed reading about my musical beginnings- there is more to come in My Piano Lessons, Part II
Written by Julie Chapman - principal piano instructor for Piano Lessons with Julie.
Piano Lessons with Julie provides affordable piano instruction for kids of all ages and is convenient to Woodstock Georgia and North Atlanta Georgia. You can find piano lesson rates and directions to piano teacher's home by clicking the links or just visiting the website - www.pianolessonswoodstock.com