A Journey of Discovery

I believe one of the most pleasurable and responsible experiences a music teacher can have is to introduce students, both young and old, to the world of learning music.

Skills and Concepts Introduced During the First Year of Lessons

The responsibility for cultivating and developing an individual’s musical and technical capabilities, for instilling a lifelong joy and appreciation of music and creating a solid foundation upon which all other musical activity is built, are some of the goals we, as teachers, strive towards nurturing in our students.

I like to introduce my students to a wide variety of activities designed to stimulate the ear, the eye and the mind. As well as focusing on the necessary skills of note reading and co-ordination at the keyboard, I strongly encourage the development of aural awareness and creative musicianship.

Above all, I believe learning should be an enjoyable and stimulating experience, a shared ‘journey of discovery’ for both the teacher and the student, no matter what their age.

The following is an outline of the practical knowledge gained and the type of activities I introduce during the first year of tuition.

Don’t panic! I know it appears to be a lot, but I introduce all these elements in a systematic and holistic way, each component building and expanding upon the other to make a student’s progress feel very natural and seamless.

Understanding of Printed Material

  • Pitch & Rhythmic Notation
  • Note Reading
  • Terminology
  • Fingering
  • awareness of stave, clef, location of notes on the stave, letter naming
  • know values of commonly used notes and their equivalent rests
  • recognise different time signatures, describe how many beats per bar

Application of Printed Material

  • Sightreading
  • Theory
  • tactile awareness
  • rhythmic accuracy
  • develop intervalic reading
  • awareness of melodic shape
  • analytical skills
  • develop sightsinging skills

Keyboard Geography & Hand Positioning

  • Keyboard Layout 
  • Five Finger Patterning
  • Hand Coordination
  • position of notes on the stave correctly associated with their corresponding position on the keyboard
  • black key groupings

Posture & Technique

  • Posture
  • Hand Position
  • Arm Freedom
  • Touch
  • Scales & Exercises
  • encourage good habits and awareness of physical actions
  • correct seating position, height of stool and distance from piano
  • back, elbows and shoulders relaxed

Aural Skills

  • Pitch Recognition
  • Rhythmic Recognition
  • Expressive Qualities
  • Tonality
  • Singing
  • distinguish between high/middle/low pitches
  • distinguish movement by step/skip/leap, ascending or descending

Musicianship & Interpretative Skills

  • Musicianship
  • Phrasing
  • Aural Imagination
  • rhythmic improvising
  • melodic improvising
  • basic composition
  • simple transposition

Performance & Knowing the Instrument

  • Shared Music Making
  • How the Piano Works
  • duet work
  • opportunities to perform throughout the year and hear other students at different levels of experience

Fast-track your piano skills & musical knowledge

My "Accelerando Piano" is a collection of short videos designed to help students improve their piano playing skills.