Friday, April 15, 2011

Pre-College Piano Development

One of the most valuable pre-college experiences is the senior high school recital which can serve as preparation for both the college entrance audition and the ultimate graduation recital. A typical program might include one or two of the easier preludes and fugues from Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier, a Haydn or Mozart sonata, a group of nineteenth-century works of the level of the Chopin waltzes and nocturnes or Schumann's Fantasy Pieces opus 12, and possibly closing with an impressionistic or twentieth-century group of the difficulty of Debussy's Pour le Piano, Copland's Cat and the Mouse, or Bartok's Allegro Barbaro. Even at this level, though, an effort should be made on the teacher's part to expose the student to as wide a range of musical periods and styles as possible.

A common error in the pre-college training is the assigning of pieces that are overly difficult both technically and musically. The experienced teacher will develop the student's playing gradually so that proper attention may be given to all areas of musicianship.

The prospective piano major should not only have acquired a degree of competency in performance, but should also be well-grounded in technique (scales, chords, arpeggios, etc.), have a thorough knowledge of theory, and have some knowledge of the literature. Supplied with an adequate pre-college background, the student will be well prepared to meet the demands of the college music department as a piano major.

At California State University at Los Angeles, for example, the Bachelor of Music degree is a rigorous curriculum for students who wish to prepare for a professional career in music or for those who wish to reach a professional caliber of music attainment. Within the Bachelor of Music degree program, students may pursue specialized study in vocal, instrumental, or keyboard performance; composition; jazz studies; and music education.

For more information about LA piano teachers Calabasas area, contact Piano by Julie.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

When is a Child Ready for Piano Lessons

Not every young child will be ready to begin piano instruction. The maturity level of young children varies greatly. Girls generally are better coordinated and exhibit better dexterity than boys at an early age. Before rushing headlong into piano lessons, parents should ask themselves questions concerning their child's readiness level:

1. Does he show an interest in learning to play the piano? Perhaps he tries to pick out melodies on the piano, or perhaps he sings well. He may also just enjoy listening to music.

2. Is his attention span long enough to practice at least fifteen minutes at a time?

3. Does he have fairly good coordination of his small muscles? If a parent has taught him to draw letters, numbers, or to write his name, is he able to handle a pencil fairly well? A parent who has taught a child any of these things probably will be willing to help him practice.

4. Does he take instruction well from the person who will be helping him at home? This could be a parent or an older sister or brother.

5. Does the child receive a great deal of satisfaction from learning new things? Is he eager to learn?

If a significant number of these prerequisites are missing, it is recommended that piano lessons be started later when conditions are more conducive for learning. The readiness age will vary with each individual child.

For more information about how to learn piano, contact Barbara Ehrlich Piano Studio.