February 24 2009
In my previous post I shared my piano lesson experiences from age seven (2nd Grade) to age 13 (7th Grade). In a nutshell, I confessed that my first months of lessons were stressful and difficult, and I did not make much progress. It took quite a bit of time for me to catch on and have fun playing, but it did happen eventually.
So, on with the story:
In the summer of 1974 my family moved from California to Athens, GA – and my dutiful mother soon found a new piano teacher for me. Her name was Mrs Randolph, and she was very different from my first teacher. Mrs Randolph had a degree from the prestigious Julliard School of Music, and quickly set about fixing my bad playing habits (that I didn’t even know I had) and teaching me music history and music theory.
Mrs Randolph did an excellent job rounding out my musical knowledge. I learned about composers and different types of music, and all about scales and intervals, chords, harmonies, key signatures – you name it. For the first time in my many years of lessons I was shown how to do finger exercises, and they helped greatly with my playing and technique. I left my pop tunes behind (well, a lot of them) and began playing what most people think of as “classical” music. You know, those songs with the highly imaginative names like “Minuet in G” and “Sonata in F” or, simply, “Dance”. I can’t say that my piano lessons ever became the high point of my week, but, for the most part, I enjoyed my time with Mrs Randolph.
So, why did I quit? Two words: Mandatory Recitals. Some people are comfortable performing, and some are not. I definitely fall into the latter category, and the recitals were terribly stressful for me. I think that sometimes teachers can lose their perspective, and end up placing too much emphasis on their students’ public performance skills as a measure of their own success as instructors.
My goal as a teacher is to motivate each student to reach their individual playing/learning goals without a lot of unnecessary stress. Lessons are about the students and how to help them do their individual best, so that they can feel proud and encouraged about their achievements.
Written by Julie Chapman - principal piano instructor for Piano Lessons with Julie.
Piano Lessons with Julie provides affordable piano instruction for kids of all ages and is convenient to Johns Creek, Alpharetta, Duluth, Forsyth, Norcross, and Northeast Atlanta Georgia. You can find piano lesson rates and directions to piano teacher's home by clicking the links or just visiting the website - www.johnscreekpianolessons.com