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The other day my little piano student informed me with great authority that on our eleventh lesson together she would play the C scale with BOTH hands. Well, to me this was not even close to being what I had in mind. Round about the eleventh lesson we’ll be on some very rudimentary ideas, and playing a scale with two hands wouldn’t be among them. But then I teach piano in a very responsive kind of way in that I actively let my students direct their own learning. They don’t necessarily know it, but I use what they tell me and show me to inform my lesson plans. It is not just a predetermined set of instructions that we must walk through. I believe in letting my students show me what they are ready for, much in the way I have let my own children do this in our day-to-day life.

So, after my little girlfriend proclaimed her intentions one day at the piano bench, I made a big show of writing in her lesson book, on the day that would be used for the lesson eleven instructions, Play C scale with TWO hands. Honestly I hadn’t even introduced scales to students before about three months except for in the case of this little girl, because once again she’d brought it up. So when lesson eleven came and we saw the note there, we tried it.

To my surprise, which I did not let her know about, she had no trouble at all facing the daunting task of making each of her hands do something entirely different than the other. It was difficult for her but since no one told her she shouldn’t be able to do it, she did it! She’s only six and this was only her eleventh lesson. I thought it was great and you better believe I told her that.

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