Learn How to Play Piano
Why Take Piano Lessons?
There are many good reasons to take piano lessons. The piano is an instrument like no other, with endless possibilities for musical expression. One can play melody, harmony, rhythms – each by itself - or in any combination on the piano. It does it all, and for this reason could be considered an “orchestra” by itself. No other instrument has the richness and fullness of sound as does the piano. Its range, from deepest bass to the highest treble notes, is matched by few other instruments. It is extremely versatile – well known on its own as a solo instrument, but also combining beautifully with any other instruments.
Because of its wide range of sound, the student taking piano lessons learns to read in both treble and bass clefs and ear training in both clefs is developed. Playing the piano facilitates and enhances the coordination of both left and right hands. The piano is the perfect instrument for those interested in improvisation and composing music. It gives the student such broad musical knowledge, serving as an excellent foundation for learning other instruments - which is why students are strongly encouraged to start their study of music on the piano, even if ultimately it turns out to be not the major instrument of choice.
Besides the musical training it provides, the piano greatly enhances the student’s appreciation of all types of music, since all styles of music can be played on the piano. It can be used in music therapy, but even if that is not specifically the reason to study piano, it has been shown that playing the piano has wonderful beneficial effects for students with short attention spans and various forms of autism. Piano enhances expression in students (who may not be expressive otherwise) when they play and sparks creativity. Many students are often inspired to compose their own music. A simple song written by a child can bring that child much joy – and much satisfaction to both parent and teacher. That alone makes piano lessons worth it.
How do you teach piano and keyboard at the Mequon Music Academy?
Generally, piano and keyboard are taught in the traditional manner at the Mequon Music Academy. If the student is a beginner, piano lessons begin with workbooks to learn to read notes and to count. By about the third or fourth week of study, the student is ready to begin playing and begins with a book of finger exercises (technique) and a method book (teaching pieces). As the student progresses, he/she advances to succeeding levels in both books. Supplementary books and sheet music are gradually added to the student’s piano repertoire.
If the student is not a beginner and has a foundation in music basics, beginning level workbooks are not necessary. The student is asked to bring the latest books he/she played in and if the student can still play at that level, lessons will continue in those books, or if the student prefers, other books at that same level. The studies continue from there, advancing from one level to the next.
Though a certain amount of study in method (teaching) books is necessary, once the student reaches a certain level, then many options open up as to styles of music the student can play (classical, pop, etc.) which can be chosen by the student who has specific musical tastes and goals.
Students who play by ear (who do not read music) often study at Mequon Music Academy where instructors work with them to develop that wonderful talent. If such a student is also interested in learning how to read music, that can be incorporated into his/her piano lessons as well.
Acoustic Piano and Keyboard
In terms of learning how to play the instrument, playing the (electronic) keyboard is very similar to the piano (with some differences in touch). The keyboard, of course, gives the student the opportunity to become acquainted and experiment with synthesized electronic sounds that cannot be produced on an acoustic piano. Keyboard study is also ideal for the student whose goal is to someday play in a band. Students who practice on a keyboard at home can be taught at our school on piano or keyboard.
Until a young child has taken lessons for a considerable amount of time and has shown definite interest in continuing piano lessons, if the parents don’t already own an acoustic piano, it is recommended that parents purchase a keyboard (which generally is less expensive than an acoustic piano). If, down the line, the child blossoms into a fine young musician, or simply enjoys the piano and wants to stay with it, then, by all means, parents should consider purchasing an acoustic piano. If, however, the student’s main interest is classical music, then the acoustic piano is a necessity. Only an acoustic piano can bring out the richness of expression that classical music requires. If that is not the case and if the keyboard fulfills the student’s musical needs, piano lessons can be continued indefinitely on keyboard.