What Happens at Music Lessons?

A piano lesson is a consistent, weekly time where a well-qualified, energetic, and encouraging teacher passes knowledge, direction, and motivation to a student. The teacher chooses piano repertoire, plans the course of the year, suggests goals to work towards, shows the student what their strengths and weakness are and how to develop both, and demonstrates different character aspects of the musical material the student is preparing.

Their lesson time together may include a combination of the following:IMG_5648

  • Written theory – drawing notes, scales, and understanding the structure of music.
  • Technical exercises – playing “warm ups”, major and minor scales, chords, arpeggios, Dominant and Diminished 7ths, etc.
  • Piano Repertoire – music of various genres (folk, Classical, jazz, etc.) which is appropriate for the student’s age and ability.
  • Review Pieces – repertoire which has been learned, memorized, and have become easy and fun to play!
  • Duet playing – performing duets (2 players simultaneously) with the teacher or another piano student.
  • Rhythmic and sight reading exercises – using rhythm instruments to develop pulse, metre, and steadiness, and playing never-before-seen music.
  • Ear training and listening development – for young students, this is as simple as identifying rising, falling, or repeating pitches. For advanced students, this is practiced with melody playback, identifying intervals, or naming cadences.
  • Composition – writing your own music for pleasure or competition.
  • Improvisation – noodling around on the piano until you find a neat sounding tune.
  • Recording – creating tracks to share by email with family and friends.

A piano lesson is not a weekly event where everything the student needs to improve their skill is taught, practiced, and polished in a neat little package. It is the starting point for the projects to follow, a new path set by the teacher, and a constant encouragement to move forward. Once a student leaves the studio, this is where parents take over as “home coach” to develop what has been discussed at the lesson.