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Letterhead - Valencia Studio
Piano Lessons – Mars PA

Dear Piano Lover,

I’m establishing a NEW PIANO STUDIO in Valencia, PA.  It’s in a location easily accessible to the people of Valencia, Saxonburg and Mars PA.

Most people would just love to play the piano. The reasons are many. They love the sound of the piano – they want some means to relax after a hard day at work – some just want a chance to get back the joy they had playing the piano as a child – and many parents want to give their child an opportunity for musical expression for their personal development.

I’ve been teaching piano for years and one of the most satisfying things about teaching is hearing from my old students, now adults, telling me how much playing the piano means to them. I presently have openings at my studio(s) in Wexford and Valencia to give you the opportunity to learn to play the piano.

Here’s what a former parent said of my instruction:

Mr. Severino is an excellent instructor, he teaches students on a age appropriate level. He is good at giving background history so the student is better educated in understanding how and why the music is composed. I had my child interview a number of instructors and she choose him because he made her feel the most comfortable. It has been three years and we could not be happier with her progress. Mr. Severino encourages a child’s talent and enjoyment of music. It has been a pleasure and truly rewarding experience.

Please give me a call (724) 898-0273 or eMail me at pianopressings@gmail.com to join my growing studio of great piano students.

Best,
Dan Severino

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Letterhead - Valencia Studio
Piano Lessons – Saxonburg PA

Dear Piano Lover,

I’m establishing a NEW PIANO STUDIO in Valencia, PA.  It’s in a location easily accessible to the people of Valencia, Saxonburg and Mars PA.

Most people would just love to play the piano. The reasons are many. They love the sound of the piano – they want some means to relax after a hard day at work – some just want a chance to get back the joy they had playing the piano as a child – and many parents want to give their child an opportunity for musical expression for their personal development.

I’ve been teaching piano for years and one of the most satisfying things about teaching is hearing from my old students, now adults, telling me how much playing the piano means to them. I presently have openings at my studio(s) in Wexford and Valencia to give you the opportunity to learn to play the piano.

Here’s what a former parent said of my instruction:

Mr. Severino is an excellent instructor, he teaches students on a age appropriate level. He is good at giving background history so the student is better educated in understanding how and why the music is composed. I had my child interview a number of instructors and she choose him because he made her feel the most comfortable. It has been three years and we could not be happier with her progress. Mr. Severino encourages a child’s talent and enjoyment of music. It has been a pleasure and truly rewarding experience.

Please give me a call (724) 898-0273 or eMail me at pianopressings@gmail.com to join my growing studio of great piano students.

Best,
Dan Severino

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THE IMPORTANCE OF EXPERIENCE

I began teaching while in high school.  I had taken about 5 years of lessons on the organ and made good progress.  I thought I could teach beginners.  So I put an ad in our local newspaper. The ad produced several inquiries which turned into my first students.  I thought I did quite well teaching my first students.  My students respected me, accepted me as their teacher and complimented me on my ability to teach.

One mom complimented me saying that I was the only person, other than her son’s father, that could communicate with her son so readily.  The little boy was shy, socially awkward and today would be classified as a slow learner.  All these positive experiences gave me confidence to study music in college and become a teacher.

In college I majored in piano and kept my organ studies. Today I own a teaching studio, Piano Lessons PLUS, and am the organist for my Church.  But after getting my college degrees and starting my teaching career I found there were some things that my natural teaching ability didn’t provide.  There were some things that only experience could provide and those experiences were critical in making me the teacher I am today.

MY PERSONAL LEARNING TRAJECTORY AS A STUDENT WOULD BE FAR DIFFERENT THAN THE LEARNING TRAJECTORY OF MY TYPICAL STUDENT

Most music teachers choose to be teachers because music comes easily and naturally to them.  That’s not to say we didn’t have to work hard but it was “fun”work.

So, I naturally thought that all my students would love music as much as I did.  I mistakenly thought they would learn pretty much at the same pace I did.  Unfortunately this wasn’t the case so one of the first major lessons I learned after my college education, a lesson that could only be learned through experience, was my experience as a student was going to be different than that of my students.

In the first years of my teaching I tended to go much too fast through the initial books.  I could get away with this for a short while but then the student would come to a plateau and crash.  We would try to fight our way through that plateau but it brought about a frustration to the student that wasn’t necessary.

The initial steps in learning to read musical manuscript must be thoroughly understood.  Depth of learning is critical to teaching the beginning piano student, regardless of their age of beginning lessons.  It doesn’t matter if the student is 4 or 12.  To learn to read music well a student must read music, a lot of it.  Here’s one place where we are not talking quality; we’re talking quantity.

Once I learned this very important lesson my students began learning at a much steadier rate.  I found they were no longer the running into “brick walls”.  There was much less frustration and piano lessons became a natural progression.  The trajectory of my students learning was much steadier.  Experience became my friend.

TECHNIQUE IS A LONG AND ARDUOUS TASK — FOR THE TEACHER

It wasn’t until I was in college that technique was approached as a scientific study of how to utilize the human mechanism to produce facility and a beautiful tone.  My teachers before college gave me finger exercises.  Play these exercises and with sufficient repetition you could play any piece you desired.  While in college it was a huge mental adjustment to approach the piano from this new paradigm.

When I began teaching professionally I had to take these rather complex ideas I learned in my 20’a and apply them to young grade school students.  It was among the most difficult of the tasks I had, to bring these sophisticated principles down to a grade school level.  But with each student I taught I learned better and better ways to convey these principles to my students.

My class of students had students with so many different mechanical abilities that it just added to my personal learning curve.  Some students had very delicate hands.  Some where honestly frail.  Others students had very strong hands but each with varying degrees of flexibility.  Even other students had finger joints that easily collapsed that made producing a good sound on the piano difficult.

But after years of close observation eventually I got to the place where I had enough experiences that the problems I saw began to repeat.  Eventually I knew what I needed to do and the tasks I needed to give the students so they could maximize their personal technical potential.  It was only through experience that I as a teacher learned how to master the teaching of technique to my young students.

PROGRESSING THE STUDENT — ANOTHER TASK ONLY MASTERED THROUGH EXPERIENCE

My first lessons were on the organ.  I was 11 years old.  My progress was far different than the progress of those who started on the piano at age 7, which was the typical starting age in the early 1960’s.  The rate a student progresses is very different depending on the age the student begins.

When I began teaching I had to guess which books to purchase.  I had to hope the books I choose would match the rate of progress of each student.  Of course, each student had a different level of natural ability and that further complicated this issue too.  Every student brought me a different set of issues that demanded my attention.

But again, the only example I had was my own personal experience.  And starting music rather late at age 11 didn’t give me a very good template when I began my own studio of students.  Again there was a lengthy learning curve in understanding all the possibilities of judging the right level of music that would maximize my individual student’s progress.

This is especially true in the intermediate level of piano study where one chooses more repertoire from a body of musical compositions that really wasn’t written with any thought to step by step progress as is typical of method books written for the elementary piano student.  Bach wrote many superb pieces for children.  So did Schumann and Bartok.  But these pieces were written with no thought to sequencing; which piece to teach first and which piece to teach next.

So, choosing the “right” next piece is dependent upon the teacher’s judgment.  This requires a lot of thought and study for any piano teacher.  It comes from seeking out and knowing a vast amount of literature for the developing piano student and then categorizing them it in a logical progression of study.  Then from this body of music choosing selections wisely that will maximize the students learning.   Of course, this is different for each student.

Choosing selections that are not too hard or too easy, choosing selections that are progressing the student musically and technically, choosing selections that are properly varied from the major historical epochs of music history, choosing selections that would be appealing to the personality of the student all go into finding the next “right” composition.  I didn’t learn this without a lot of study and experience.

TEACHING THE CLASSICAL MUSICAL TRADITION

Most piano teachers I know feel they are passing on to their students a great musical tradition.   A tradition that is centuries old and a tradition that was centuries in the making.  It is a tradition that teachers feel a responsibility to pass on to their student because it represents the very best of all human endeavor.

Passing on that tradition to my students was another item in my teaching that required a lengthy learning curve.  At college all our classes; history, theory and performance classes combined to give us an overview of that tradition.  There was no class in MUSIC TRADITION 101.

Our musical tradition is something that is slowly absorbed in the consciousness of the student through diligent study.  As a teacher one of my goals and functions was to take this information, this tradition, and distill it to my students in a level they could understand.

When I taught my students about simple music notation, the treble and bass clef or grand staff,  I would relate the story of a time when there was no musical notation.  Music was passed on aurally.  In time, as music became more complex the need arose that music could no longer be passed on from generation to generation aurally.  So, musical notation was born.  Through the next generations a system of musical notation was devised that eventually became what we have today.

Then I can present to my students the concept that music notation is something that is still in the process of changing and most probably what we have in a couple hundred years will be something different from today BUT something that will be built from what we have today.  Students can then see and understand that they are a member of the great sweep of history and they come into the long ongoing story of history at this special moment in time.  Taking this approach we can help students see that when Bach was born he came on the scene at a time when music was doing things that caused him to write music the way he did.  We can understand why Bach wrote minuets but Bartok didn’t.

The reason I use Bach and Bartok as my examples is because Bach and Bartok wrote music at the level of young piano students.  They are going to come in contact with these composers and through these composers I can pass on this great musical tradition to the next generation.  But again, it took a lot of thought and study to take my musical education, absorb it, and bring it to the level of my students.  This only came through experience.

THE CONCLUSION OF THE MATTER

I started teaching in my teen years and found I had a good aptitude for teaching.  This teaching led me to consider studying music in college.  After college I had a good education and could begin my own studio.  But there was a major thing I lacked and that was experience.

It was only through applying myself to the day to day task of teaching my class of students that a comprehensive picture began to emerge of how to go about my teaching tasks in a way that was best for my students.  It was only through drawing constantly from my education and thoughtfully taking that knowledge and making it connect with my students at their level that I became the teacher I am today.

It was only through a careful study of how students learn and progress that I became confident that the materials I was giving them was the right materials for them.  All teachers that take their work seriously go through this same process.  Their journey and their emphasis may be somewhat different but the process is the same.

So parents, if you are considering a piano teacher, consider a teacher that teaches because they love teaching.  And certainly consider a teacher that has had the time to have his education simmer and has had the experience to learn those things that only experience can give.

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Mr. Severino Presents – STEPPING STONES

Every student who has studied a musical instrument has been challenged.   Every emotion listed on this chart is felt by almost every piano student at some point.  Sometimes a piece looks so difficult that you feel it’s not even worth giving it your best effort.  This is not a very fun place to be but know many of your fellow piano students have felt this same thing.

More frequently you may feel I CAN’T DO IT!!  Piano teachers have heard these words from piano students for as long as they have been teaching.  When we feel this way it seems like we cannot possibly get to the top step YES. I DID IT!

Some student that have taken lessons for a while will say I WANT TO DO IT but they are not yet convinced that they CAN do it.  But then these students decide to take up the challenge and decide HOW DO I DO IT?  They know they need a plan or some special help from their teacher that will  help them through the difficult spot(s).

Whenever I hear a student say I’LL TRY TO DO IT I know the student has just put himself in the path to success!  All that is not necessary is the practice time to accomplish the work.

When the student begins to do the work they finally get to that point where they realize I CAN DO IT!  When students reach this point they themselves know success is within their reach and they are full of the energy it takes to overcome the challenge to play the piece.

When a student says I WILL DO IT the student has set his will to succeed and nothing is going to stop him from mastering their music lesson.  Then comes that magical moment when all the practicing pays off and the notes just seem to roll of your fingers and you know YES! I DID IT!

SO STUDENTS ….. Whenever you are assigned a challenging composition use this chart.  You can print out your own personal copy of this poster by clicking Stepping Stones HERE.  Put it by your piano or musical instrument and decide what STEP you are on in the poster and move yourself up the staircase until you reach the top – YES! I DID IT!   Sometimes JUST TRYING is all it takes to move up the Stairway.  Sometimes you will need your teacher to help you through the tough parts.  But after you succeed to the top several times you will gain in confidence and before you know it you’ll be beginning on the higher steps of the Staircase – I CAN DO IT.

Thanks for listening to Mr. Severino Presents — STEP RIGHT UP!   and until next time — KEEP PRACTICING!!

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Greetings!!  Welcome to this installment of Mr. Severino Presents.  I think you’ll have fun going through today’s music lesson.

Look at the picture.

What animal do you see?

The lion is known as “the King of Beasts”.  Kings and lions can be described with the word MAJESTIC.  Majestic describes things that are grand and noble or stately and dignified.

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Now what animal do you see?

Of course, we have a picture of a turtle.  Turtles do not move very fast.  In fact, because they are so slow, people may express things as being as slow as a turtle.  If you are on a trip and caught in traffic you may say a turtle is moving faster than this traffic.  We characterize turtles as being slow.  Or, maybe we could say it like this …      S___L___O___W !  !  !

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What is our next animal?

How would you describe a monkey?  Did you ever go to a zoo and observe the monkeys?  If you went to the zoo and saw the monkeys how did you react?  Did you ever see monkeys in cartoons?  Did the monkeys make you happy?  We can describe monkeys very well with the single word PLAYFUL!

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Finally, what is being described in our fourth animal card?  The butterfly!   Butterflies are a favorite part of summer.  Their beautiful colors make them very fun to watch.  A very good word to describe the butterfly is to say they are FLIGHTY.  They fly from place to place, from flower to flower. They move to each destination with grace and motion.

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We described each of our four animal creatures with a characteristic word.

Lions are MAJESTIC.

Turtles are SLOW.

Monkeys are PLAYFUL.

Butterflies are FLIGHTY.

Music also can be described with words because music also has character.

We are now going to listen to 4 examples of music that can also be said to be MAJESTIC, SLOW, PLAYFUL and FLIGHTY.  Your job is to tell me if we are listening to …

LION MUSIC (majestic)

TURTLE MUSIC (slow) 

MONKEY MUSIC (playful) or

BUTTERFLY MUSIC (flighty)

There will be two short quizzes.

QUIZ ONE will have 4 questions.  QUIZ TWO will have 4 questions.

Before beginning, print out the Character in Music QUIZ SHEET  [Click HERE]  Play each musical example.  Decide what animal creature best fits with the musical example.  Put the example number in the upper right hand corner of each creature you decide upon.  If you wish, color each animal creature on the QUIZ SHEET.

To do the second quiz print out a second copy of the Character in Music QUIZ SHEET [Click HERE]

QUIZ ONE

QUIZ ONE – EXAMPLE 1

QUIZ ONE – EXAMPLE 2

QUIZ ONE – EXAMPLE 3

QUIZ ONE – EXAMPLE 4

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QUIZ TWO

QUIZ TWO – EXAMPLE 1

QUIZ TWO – EXAMPLE 2

QUIZ TWO – EXAMPLE 3

QUIZ TWO – EXAMPLE 4

Would you like to know how you did?  Click HERE for the Character in Music ANSWER SHEET.

Listening for character in music asks us to use our imagination in ways that most of our school work does not.  Yet, this is the daily work of composers and musicians.  YOUR JOB, as a music student, is to use your imagination to best express the character that is found in every composition you perform.

Thanks for participating in Mr. Severino Presents.  ‘TILL NEXT TIMEKEEP PRACTICING!!

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Greetings!!  Today in Mr. Severino Presents I’d like to give you some ideas to help you become a more interesting pianist.   At first you may think odd the whole idea of becoming an interesting pianist.

I learn the notes and play them.  What more is there?  you may be thinking to yourself.  That’s a very good place to begin!!  Let’s begin with the question What more is there?

When I was in 4th grade we began learning about poetry.  I thought it was interesting how the poets would put together words in very clever ways.  I think my first favorite poet was Ogden Nash.  His poems made me laugh.  Like this one.

The Cow
by Ogden Nash

The cow is of the bovine ilk;
One end is moo, the other, milk.

What a clever way to describe a cow!  Each end of this creature tells us something very important about itself.  But, as a 4th grader I never came across the word – bovine.   The word bovine means relating to cattle.  The little word ilk was also a word I was not familiar.  Ilk means class or family.  So, the first line of the poem is a poetic was of saying that the cow is a member of the cattle family.

It is not at all uncommon for poets to use words that are a little unusual.  The magic of poetry is often in the clever way poets, like Ogden Nash, put words together.  Now let’s compare Ogden Nash to my version.

The Cow
by Dan Severino

The cow is of the cattle family;
It may moo, but it also gives milk.

There is nothing clever in my version, it doesn’t even rhyme. There is nothing that would make anyone remember it.  Not so with Ogden Nash’s version.

How does this relate to playing the piano?  Much of the music we enjoy is in the clever way the composer puts notes together.  Any time I hear a piece of music I like I want to get a copy of the music to see exactly how the notes were put together.  Also, when playing the piano, we want to make our pieces special so they will be remembered,  just like the Ogden Nash poem.

In music,  it is the composer and the clever way he puts notes together that create a kind of musical poetry.  Let’s now take a longer poem, examine it, and then notice the the tools of understanding and expressing a poem.  We will find the same tools are used in understanding and expressing a musical composition.

The poem I want to use was also one of my favorites while in grade school and it is still a favorite many years later. The Duel by Eugene Field.

The Duel
by Eugene Field

The gingham dog and the calico cat
Side by side on the table sat;
‘T was half-past twelve, and (what do you think!)
Nor one nor t’ other had slept a wink!
The old Dutch clock and the Chinese plate
Appeared to know as sure as fate
There was going to be a terrible spat.
(I wasn’t there; I simply state
What was told to me by the Chinese plate!
)

The gingham dog went “Bow-wow-wow!”
And the calico cat replied “Mee-ow!”
The air was littered, an hour or so,
With bits of gingham and calico,
While the old Dutch clock in the chimney-place
Up with its hands before its face,
For it always dreaded a family row!
(Now mind: I ‘m only telling you
What the old Dutch clock declares is true!
)

The Chinese plate looked very blue,
And wailed, “Oh, dear! what shall we do!”
But the gingham dog and the calico cat
Wallowed this way and tumbled that,
Employing every tooth and claw
In the awfullest way you ever saw—
And, oh! how the gingham and calico flew!
(Don’t fancy I exaggerate—
I got my news from the Chinese plate!
)

Next morning, where the two had sat
They found no trace of dog or cat;
And some folks think unto this day
That burglars stole that pair away!
But the truth about the cat and pup
Is this: they ate each other up!
Now what do you really think of that!
(The old Dutch clock it told me so,
And that is how I came to know.
)

This poem is first of all a story that captures our imagination.  The way the poet tells the story makes us want to listen to the very end.  The poet asks himself, “How can I make this story as interesting as possible?”  The pianist (you) must asks himself, “How can I turn these notes into a musical story”?  Too often we are given a new song and the first thing we do is start playing the notes.  It may be better to do some other things first.

1)  Look at the title.  Does the title give us any clues as to what this piece is all about?  Do you understand the title?  If a composition is titled – Berceuse – do you know what you will be playing?

This poem is called The Duel.  A duel is a fight between two people, usually with witnesses, to settle a point of argument.  Duels have been going on for almost 1,000 years.  Our combatants are the gingham dog and the calico cat and the witnesses are the old Dutch clock and the Chinese plate.  The two witnesses give their witness to the narrator who informs us of The Duel at the end of each verse.

2)  Look at the time signature.  The time signature tells us how our musical notes are organized.  This is VERY important.  Beat 1 is always emphasized and it is especially important to stress this beat in anything dance-like.

3)  Look at the key signature.  Are there sharps or flats that I must play throughout this piece?   Is the piece major or minor?

4)  Check out all the musical words in the composition.  If you don’t know them ALL — find out!!  Ask your teacher OR buy a music dictionary.  CLICK HERE for a link to several Dictionaries of Musical Terms.

5)  Look for notations that are not familiar to you.  Examine them to see if you can figure out how to play the passage.

Now the poem itself.  There are two pairs of people in our poem.  The main characters of The Duel are the gingham dog and the calico cat.  The next most important are the witnesses to The Duel; the old Dutch clock and the Chinese plate.  The narrator also has a very important part to play in this poem as he relays The Duel from the information given to him by the old Dutch clock and the Chinese plate.

What is gingham?    Gingham is a checked or striped cotton fabric.  Gingham was a cloth that was first found by European tradesmen that was found in Indonesia.

What is calico?  Calico is a coarse, brightly printed cloth.  Calico was imported from India.  Eventually these two cloths were made on the European continent.

So, the gingham dog and the calico cat were two stuffed cloth animals that were put together on a table, probably for decoration.  And in this same room was a special place for some rare knickknacks like the old Dutch clock and the Chinese plate.  Very often, when people have items in their home that are special or rare, they identify them with the country where they were made.  I think we can say the room than housed our four friends was a very special room indeed.

Let’s now listed to The Duel by clicking on the link below.

First, knowing what a duel is helps the person reciting the poem to understand why we have two combatants and two witnesses that give information to the narrator.  We might enjoy the poem without knowing this information but with the information everything in the poem makes more sense.

It is therefore very important that you know everything you can about the pieces you play.  If you are playing a Minuet, you should learn everything you can about a minuet.  The more information you have found the more interesting you can make your minuet.  The more information you have the more you will enjoy practicing the minuet trying to get it exactly right.  You will soon begin to see that your piano compositions all have interesting stories behind them.  You will also see that music is so much more than “the notes” staring at you on the page.

Did you notice how many times in The Duel that the last word of two consecutive lines would rhyme.  These two lines of poetry are often referred to as a couplet.  Music, too, often has set of notes that musically rhyme.  Here is an example from a popular composer for young students, Cornelius Gurlitt.


Notice the first two short phrases.  They rhythm is exactly the same in each phrase.  The melodic shape is exactly the same in each phrase.  In this sense there is a perfect “rhyme” between the two phrases.  The only difference is the second phrase begins one step higher than the first phrase, the second phrase begins on “D” and the first phrase begins on “C”.

This little example shows you how the two short musical phrases act like the several couplets in the poem, The Duel.

“Rhymes” exist in music just as frequently as in poetry.  Draw attention to the poetical elements you find in your musical compositions.

Did you know there was A LESSON that Eugene Field wanted us to think about in his poem, The Duel?    Eugene Field asks us at the end of his poem –  Now what do you really think of that!   What do you really think about two people that fight each other so intensely that they “eat each other up”.  This is a poetic way of saying they do harm to each other and hurt each other.  I think he wants us to think that this is not a good idea at all.  What do you think?

Composers often have LESSONS they have in mind in the compositions they write too.  Johann Sebastian Bach wrote a group of pieces that we know today as “The Two and Three Part Inventions”.  Bach tells us WHY he wrote these pieces.  He wrote an …

” …  Honest method, by which the amateurs of the keyboard – especially, however, those desirous of learning – are shown a clear way not only

(1) to learn to play cleanly in two parts, but also, after further progress,

(2) to handle three obligate parts correctly and well; and along with this not only to obtain good Inventions (ideas) but to develop the same well; above all, however,

(3) to achieve a cantabile style in playing and at the same time

(4) acquire a strong foretaste of composition.”

Bach wrote these pieces with four major ideas in mind.  I would like to draw our attention to points 3 and 4.  It was very important to Bach that students learn to develop a cantabile style in playing.  It was very important to Bach that one learn HOW TO SING on their keyboard.  Much of Bach’s greatest music was for vocalists and that ability TO SING was at the center of his work as a musician and composer.

Also, as a composer, Bach wanted to draw attention to his students not only to perform well BUT TO COMPOSE too.  Bach wanted to give his students the tools to compose and this is one of the major reasons he wrote his Two and Three Part Inventions.

To be involved in music is to be involved in a great adventure of the imagination.  That imagination is often centered on the poetry of sound.  It is also centered on being as curious as a detective in searching every avenue that might lead you to some information to help you understand your musical compositions better.  The great thing about studying music is that every area of human thought crosses its broad roads; history, poetry, mathematics, science and composition and even athletics.

Thanks for participating in Mr. Severino Presents.  ‘TILL NEXT TIMEKEEP PRACTICING!!

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I was recently browsing the net to see what other piano teachers were doing.  I always seem to find a great deal of creativity in the web sites of various piano teachers.  However, this time my eye noticed that many teachers simply refuse to take on a student that cannot read.  There’s also the issue of “sitting still” that gives many teachers pause concerning teaching the very young.  Maybe here’s an area when my creativity may prove helpful.

Since I first put out my shingle advertising myself as a piano teacher I’ve taken an avid interest in teaching the very young.  I’ve studied the young beginner very carefully.  I’ve also simplified musical concepts to the 4 – 6 year level. I have taught music to pre-schools exposing students to Beethoven, Mozart, Bach, and even Stravinsky.  The key is to bring the information to the student at their level of understanding and, at the same time, to their maturity in concentration.

I created Keyboard Kids, a pre-school piano course, to teach my young 4 – 6 years old students.  I also created Dan, Dan the Music Man, a series of music classes I have taught at various pre-schools.  In an effort to combine the best of both of these programs I’ve decided to create Keyboard Kids Complete.  Students will learn the basics of learning to play piano and how to read music AND they will also receive instruction on all the concepts I’ve taught in Dan, Dan the Music Man.

Here are some examples from the books of the activities in Keyboard Kids Complete.

The fundamental concept of reading music is very simple.  One note = One sound.   There is no need for staves, clefs, bar lines or any other music symbol.  The student is only given the symbol necessary to make a musical sound.  Other symbols are introduced one by one as we need.  Slowly but surely standard music notation is introduced to the student.  Students always comprehend every musical symbol on the music page.

Later …..

This is a page from about the middle of the students first book.  At this point the students understands line notes and space notes.  The student understands that when the music moves from a line to a space the music moves from one white key to the next adjacent white key.  The concept of the musical step, the basic principle of the scale, is firmly established.  The student also understands quarter notes, called walk notes and half notes, called hold notes.  The pacing of the Keyboard Kids Books is geared for the average 4 -5 year old and their shorter attention span.

Supplementing the students lessons in learning to read musical notation is a comprehensive and creative music readiness program.  The student music readiness program includes music appreciation, building rhythmic skills, building singing skills, building listening skills and much more.  A couple examples from my book — Dan Dan the Music Man’s Book for Increasing Musical Muscle.

All students need to develop basic rhythm skills.  This page of exercises teaches students to sense Basic March Rhythm.  The musical symbols are the same symbols covered in the Keyboard Kids Reading Books.  After students master the rhythm they learn to play the rhythm along with Rimsky-Korsakov’s famous  Procession of the Sardar using various rhythm instruments to add some extra interest in the learning process. Classical music is featured highly in Keyboard Kids Complete.

Keyboard Kids Complete also teaches students how to listen to music.  This is often done through a picture.  The picture teaches the music lesson.  The above picture contains a foreground (the old man) and a background (a window).  Music also often has a foreground (a melody) and a background (an accompaniment).  The student will be given a musical example, this time an art song of Franz Schubert called Hedge Roses.  This piece has a very distinct foreground melody sung by the voice.  It also has a very distinct background accompaniment played by the piano.  The picture gives a clear visual image of what the student hears in the musical example; and the student learns a little bit about classical music and art song in the process.

This little blog post only gives you a small smattering of what your child will learn in Keyboard Kids Complete.  For a free interview to answer all your questions please call me at (724) 524-3500.   Ask for Dan.

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