At the end of October the first Oxford Piano Group meeting of the year focussed on discussing definitions of what 'being professional' means for the UK piano teacher. It was a fascinating discussion stimulated by the thoughts of four presenters; Lucinda Mackworth-Young, Director of the Piano Teacher's Course (EPTA UK), Nigel Scaife, Syllabus Director at ABRSM, Sharon Mark-Teggart, Founder and Director of evoco and Frances Wilson, pianist, teacher and writer.
I am a member of EPTA (UK), the professional body for UK piano teachers, and I was delighted to be asked a few months ago to give a talk at the first of their 2014 One-Day Conferences. This was held at the Jacqueline du Pre Music Building at St Hilda's College Oxford at the beginning of April.
Although sadly I could only be there for part of the day, it seemed like a very stimulating and varied event including sessions on technique with Murray McLachlan, a teacher's question time and a closing recital given by Piers Lane.
The topic of my short talk was one of my favourite subjects - how to teach the piano to young children effectively. In other words, how to get it 'Right from the start!' This is such an important area for us to understand as the approach adopted by teachers can lead to either success or failure for pupils. Ultimately, the wrong approach established at the start can lead to loss of motivation and lessons stopping.
Surely it is in our own interests to introduce the piano in a way that will help sustain and motivate pupil's learning?
Briefly, my presentation presented the argument that the four following aims should act as a frame in lessons with young beginners.
All lessons should aim:
I promised to post a copy of the presentation I gave - apologies for this taking longer than it should have done but here, at last, it is.
EPTA (UK) is holding two more One Day Conferences in 2014. Click here to find out more.