Supplementing Piano Lessons with IT so students get the advantage of a much longer lesson.
I have been working really hard to do my best to provide the benefit of longer lessons for my students and not have a huge increase in fees. I rarely end a lesson without wishing I had at least 15 to 30 more minutes with these little ones and young people I have grown to love so much.
I have decided to allow my students in the US access to a few of the videos I send to Africa. I am told that Aline watches them almost every day before she practices and that is part of the reason for her rapid progress. I personally address Aline in these videos but the information is relevant to all of my students.
There is no way for me to teach classical piano and integrate theory with ear training and improvisation, transposition, and composition in a 30 minute weekly lesson. Quite often that part of a student's music education is ignored until college and it is a tragedy when they decide they want a career in music and a university won't accept them after years of lessons or they are accepted but the program is more than they can handle because there are so many holes in their prior music education. I am considering ways of using technology to supplement lessons. My website with the videos is one potential way. When I teach a new concept, students can go to the designated page that I record in their lessons to know which videos they need to watch to supplement what was taught in the lesson that week. This provides reinforcement information so there is no excuse for not remembering what they're suppose to do when they practice. The website is frequently updated with new materials.
Also, there is an online program, Noteflight Crescendo for which I pay an annual access fee to use for composing and for writing the more advanced theory, improvisation and transposing lessons for students. If time and energy permit, I hope to eventually develop ear training on that site and make it available to students to use for 15 minutes prior to their lesson each week.
Ultimately, my plan is to provide the benefits of a much longer lesson at a much lower cost through the use of the website. If I can do some additional work up front and save you money and my time and energy in the long run, it benefits us all and my students greatly benefit. This is an experiment and we’ll see how it goes. If it doesn’t work, we’ll have to limit what is taught for those students who can’t afford a longer weekly lesson. I don’t want to do that if there is another way to make this work.
The benefit of what I’m offering to students allows them to get a lot more out of their music lessons. Like the educational materials in our public and private schools, piano method books have been seriously “dumbed down.” This process started in the early 90’s. I am spending about 20 hours a week, writing supplemental lesson materials for my students. I am also networking with other teachers across the country and we are sharing ideas and learning from each other. Please take note: It will be those students who practice who will benefit the most from this. I want to give my students the most I can give them but it is up to each student and family whether they take advantage of it. Check out sample videos on the Videos page in the menu bar.
Please check out the blog post: The Goal of a Weekly Piano Lesson. I hope to quickly do another blog on practice tips for students of various ages. Aline gets her entire lesson from 4-6 one minute weekly videos from me plus her advanced supplemental materials that I write for students and her method books. I’m told she often watches the videos daily before she practices and it reminds her of exactly what she needs to do while she is practicing.
If you have any questions, please feel free to call me. There may not be time to talk at your child’s lesson, depending on the schedule, but I am always interested in your input and want you to get the most for your hard earned money and for your children to grow in their knowledge, skills and love for music and for the piano.
Blessings to all of you. Looking forward to another great year.