Friday, July 26, 2013

Making Friends with a Cat

Hello Piano People!

I just had a teaching experience I want to share with you while it's fresh in my mind!

I have a student who has returned to me after an absence. He is a bit reluctant. I believe he was being coerced slightly by his mom. :) But he is nice and respectful. In middle school. I told him that in the summer, I like to be relaxed and ask my students if there is a special piece they would like to learn. He grinned and said, "Heart and Soul!". Arrggg! Well, at least he didn't say "Choptsticks!"

Heart and Soul is one of those pieces that anyone with fingers tries to plunk out on the piano at any family gathering, USA. It's easy to learn and more fun when one person plays the chord progression and the other the melody. And it is one of those songs that never ends! It can really get tiresome for the listener! And once a student learns this piece, they seem to want to play it over and over and over for hours and hours and hours....aaack! lol

 But I do like my students to be happy. Happy students practice! I teach a blues class in the summer.

One thing I discovered years ago is that you can jam on a blues scale over the chord progression of Heart and Soul! This comes in mighty handy for a teacher!! :)

So I told my middle school boy that I would love to teach him how to play Heart and Soul, IF he learned a blues scale in C. Then I demonstrated how you could play the melody one time through, straight. The next time break into a blues jam. I was pleased to see him smile and say, "Wow, cool!" Well the next week he not only knew his blues scale and both parts of Heart and Soul, he was also reviewing note reading in his lesson book!

 Happy teacher here! :)

His mom told me he is excited about piano class and he is practising! BUT, she said, "Can you teach him something other than Heart and Soul?!!!" lol! I told her I am so glad he is practising and enthusiastic. And I am especially glad he is reviewing note reading on his own! I told her I want him to feel he has a choice. If he is interested in a new piece, I will gladly get it for him. But I feel like I am making friends with a cat. I don't want to pounce on him with a new piece - he might run away! :) Good lesson here today. :)

 Have a great day! Teacher Zita

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