What do adults want in piano lessons?
This ‘adult piano lessons’ takes a look at Lesson Seven of the Musicarta Pyramids Variations, and shows you hoe this online keyboard creativity course can be the adult piano lesson solution you've been looking for.
(To properly appreciate this point you should look through all the skeleton Pyramids Variations web pages – use the sample page links in right-hand column series navigation table.)
Lesson Seven of the Pyramids Variations takes the Lesson Six ‘B section’ music and expands it to ‘four chord’ status.
Here is the version you’re playing by the end of Lesson Seven:
Notice how the Pyramids Variations builds impressive music from simple building blocks that anyone can master.
And Musicarta shows you how to practice, so that you can learn to play music you might at first think is way beyond your abilities.
Text, illustrations, webpage audio and MidiPiano video performances actually walk you through finding the new bass notes, expanding the two seventh chords, rehearsing the chords on there own before adding the melody, and so on – all without being able to read the music first.
Not only is this a great learning habit to acquire, it also ‘models’ all creative keyboard work. Knowing and mastering these elements is the foundation of real keyboard musicality.
The PYRAMIDS VARIATIONS
The Musicarta Pyramids Variations aims to exceed expectations by coaching beginners and re-starters to an impressive ‘Concert Performance’ in just eight lessons. After that, you learn a set of variations which model all the contemporary keyboard player’s knowledge and skills.
Click through to the final Sample Lesson Eight to see how it all adds up to a stunning Pyramids Concert Performance and opens the door to a life-time of creative music-making!
This is the end of the Pyramids-related content on this web page. Before going on to consider adult piano lessons as a topic, may we invite you to...
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What do adults look for in piano lessons? Some thoughts on adult piano re-starters and continuers, and “going back to piano lessons.”
How many times have the heartfelt words “I wish I’d never given up learning the piano!”? Sadly, too many …!
Youngsters stop taking lessons for a variety of reasons, some good and some bad, but many, later in life, wish they hadn’t stopped and could now ‘just sit down and play.’ As adults, they sometimes come back to the keyboard determined to revive half-forgotten skills and continue their musical journey. The special character of their renewed commitment and needs deserves both recognition and a matching response in terms of teaching material and method.
Often, adult re-starters are hoping the second time round to remain more connected with the creative impulse that initially drew them to the piano. With exceptions, they will probably not want to study classical repertoire or take exams, and will probably be hoping to get emotional satisfaction from their playing rather than simply becoming good pianists.
Limited technical achievement can be very satisfying if we make the ability to enjoy performance – to be carried away – a goal in itself. But in addition, creative learning material should ideally ‘build’, with all the intermediate stages of learning a piece being satisfying, rather than only the finished product in its entirety, as is the case with classical pieces and conventional teaching. The adult re-starter deserves to come away from every lesson with something to show and enjoy.
Secondly, creative keyboard lessons shift the emphasis from the composer and the piece to the player and the piece’s potential as a springboard to further creation. Good creative keyboard teaching material enables the learner to create something unique, using the skills and knowledge acquired in learning the original material.
Many pianists are limited in what they can attempt to play by their sight-reading. Actually, fully written-out music, while fine as a reminder of what you know, tends to dominate the attention and create anxiety and will have only a limited place in the development of the second-time-round creative keyboard musician.
So non-manuscript teaching material which makes sight-reading largely irrelevant would be valuable. Text (as a ‘script’ for lessons), illustrations, audio, video and other technological resources can all help the learner achieve a performance and acquire creative keyboard skills. “Piano lessons should be more like guitar lessons!” – knowing how to play keyboard from chord symbols, at the very least, is a relevant benchmark.
Following on from this, materials and the teaching method should take advantage of available technology. The contemporary music teacher should be up to date and able to help pupils take advantage of modern technological resources too. MIDI files demonstrating performances can be played on free, easily downloaded desktop applications. ‘Backing tracks’ to play over encourage good rhythm and allow even the novice to be transported and ‘feel like a real musician’. The Internet is a safe and speedy source of sheet music and provides performance models of tens of thousands of attractive contemporary pieces, links to which can be emailed to pupils – and so on.
Fourthly, in modern creative keyboard teaching material, practice and theory will be better integrated. In fact, a ‘practical grasp of music theory’ lies at the heart of improvising and playing by ear, often incorrectly considered innate talents which cannot be taught or learnt though they frequently feature high on the wish-list of adult learners. Much of popular music is understandable in terms of relatively simple concepts like key, chords and chord structure, which, one understood, greatly speed progress.
Fifthly, rhythmic skills should be consciously and methodically developed. Many much-loved non-classical performances are in fact quite simple chord material combined with basic but irresistible rhythmic textures. These rhythmic keyboard skills - more like drumming than anything else – can be methodically taught.
Time and the ability to commit to physical lessons is often a constraining factor for adults. A teacher, if found, must have the abilities the learner wants to acquire, and appreciation of the learner’s needs and a readiness take the risks required to develop a pupil’s creativity and his or her ability to enjoy it.
Often, though, self-study is the only option – choosing learning material then becomes the issue. In the new audio-visual era, printed material on its own is becoming less and less satisfying and is difficult to source on a see-before-you-buy basis. The Internet, with its audio-visual dimension, is an obvious alternative place to look.
Teach-yourself material available on the Internet tends to be either huge mail-order all-and-everything packages promising instant success or bitty play-this-by-so-and-so YouTube videos.
Serious, structured learning material which satisfies all the criteria outlined above is what Musicarta aims to provide.
Musicarta offers seven progressive lesson series. Two of these have now been packaged for offline home study. You will find these listed in the right hand column of every Musicarta web page.
The 'Learn more' links take you through to project home pages where you will find enough try-before-buy sample content to help you decide which package to opt for.
This text © R A Chappell 2012. May be quoted freely provided attribution and the www.musicarta.com website address is included.