I have been a piano teacher since I was 15 years old. Safe to say that my first students had to deal with my teething problems. But thankfully when I graduated school and moved, they graduated me, and got the variety we all need for a good music education. One of the regrets I have from that time is that I did not sing with my first students. Instead, I taught the way I had been taught, by playing scales, exercises and pieces. Now, more than a piano teacher, I consider myself a music teacher. Whenever you have a student, you are teaching the whole child. They might end up specialising in the instrument they happen to be studying, they might switch musical specialties, or they might pursue an entirely different career. So the question that needs to be asked is: what skills do you want to leave them with? That brings us around to singing. Apart from the fact that aural skills are part of every music examination, they are also an indispensable musical …
How do I encourage independence in classroom music lessons, when students cannot move on without my input?
The time music teachers love and dread, not in equal measure.
Is there an age limit on music lessons?
A magic number where suddenly students are ready to learn music?
As a short disclaimer to begin, this topic is far too complicated to cover in one small blog post. Therefore, I will aim to inspire thought, not give all the answers. You’re probably wondering about the title to this post. Music ‘theory’. Am I saying music theory doesn’t exist? No. Am I saying music theory is all wildly incorrect? No. Am I suggesting that it is, perhaps, just a ‘theory’? Almost. I’ve shared before the story of how I finally understood chords. Not till I was 18 years old, at University, in a music theory lecture. That shocks many musicians. How could I have made it that far as a musician and not understood chords? Because chords don’t exist. Have I got your attention now? I mean, of course chords exist. But at the end of the day, someone once put a label on a collection of notes, and told us that it should only be used in a certain way. And to me, chords really didn’t exist. I saw each note as a standalone, …