Guest Post By Marlene Moore
( This may be the most important article you read this year.)
Changes have happened with piano teachers during the past 20 years. This is especially true with teachers who teach the BACK TO BASICS PIANO METHOD.
Most piano teachers teach one private half hour per week to each of their students. That’s it. For better or for worse, students learn how to play the piano. The teacher holds one or two recitals per year. Most children suffer from performance anxiety. This has been the routine for the past 100 years.
However, things are changing. Back To Basics Piano teachers teach a one half-hour piano lesson for approximately 2 years. Quite often, the mother attends all lessons and takes notes. The student is taught by rote to enhance ear training. Sight-reading is taught as SOUND BEFORE SIGHT. At home, the mother is the coach for daily practice sessions. In the third year, the private piano lesson changes to a one hour lesson. This gives the teacher time to teach more piano technique and work on more sight-reading.
From the time the child starts piano lessons, there is 1 private piano lesson per week as well as one performance group class per month. ( Some teachers have 2 performance group classes per month. )This is usually held on a Saturday for 1 and 1/2 hours.
All students attend the performance group class ( ages 3 to 19….even adults too.) During this class, students are taught how to perform comfortably in front of one another. Parents attend some of these classes, too. Usually, 2 or 3 parents are invited to each class. Quite often, new Back To Basics piano teachers has observed these classes, too.
These classes are FREE. They also act as makeup lessons for absentees. If there are 10 group performance classes during the school year, each performance class equals one missed private lesson. So, in effect, the piano teacher has absolutely no makeup lessons to do for the school year. Counted into this would be holidays such as Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years’, Easter, etc. In addition to a child being absent 5 times…for any reason.( If a child misses a group performance class, the class is not made up.)
This is all explained to the parent at the initial meeting. This format works extremely well for parents, teachers, and children.
So what happens after the children have been exposed to the performance classes for one year?
ABSOLUTELY NO STAGE FRIGHT AT RECITALS for children who have been in this program from ages 3, 4, 5, 6, and up. THEY LOVE TO PERFORM. Because they are rote taught ( as well as sight-reading) the perform, always FROM MEMORY. No Back To Basics student uses notation at recitals.
For children ages 6, 7, 8, 9 , 10 who have started as beginners in the Back To Basics program, who have had consistent Performance Group classes, they have NO STAGE FRIGHT.
The transfer students who have come from other teachers do have a lot of stage fright. They also have problems with memorizing music. It takes most transfer students approximately 3 years of Performance Group Classes plus 2 years of rote teaching ( plus sight-reading) to enable them to be able to perform at recitals more comfortably.
Don’t you wish that you had been taught this way?
Read more about this in my new book called PERFORMING WITHOUT FEAR. Available as e-book or hard copy from: