Next week I will welcome a new piano student. Her mother wants lessons for her while her daughter is regularly singing in the house. She is apparently just like her cousins who are very musical and this has been noticed and valued and action is being taken to address it. I love it when parents read their kids’ actions and make executive decisions like, ‘you need to learn an instrument’. I love her already too because she is seven, a great age for learning piano because she will be able to read already, and that means she understands the concept of a symbol (such as a letter of the alphabet, or in this case a note on a staff) representing another idea. Learning to read music is learning a foreign language, and kids who can read already know the basis of language. She’s a great student for me too because she’s never had piano lessons before and that means I get to enjoy the thrill of introducing her to the 88 keys and showing her how she will become the master of them.
Teaching kids to play piano makes me happy because it means I can show them how to accomplish a long term goal in tiny, fun, collaborative steps over time. It is a low pressure experience with me because I want to delight in the playing of duets, for me and for my student, even as early as the second lesson, that show the potential at hand rather than forcing goals that seem to skip over the joy of playing music.
I told the grandmother of one of my students this morning that I am doing this by the seat of my pants. I don’t have a teaching background or a music background beyond having taken lessons myself. But I can teach kids things and so I am.