As child learns language, we teach him to love and understand it's poetry and beauty. And with the same importance we should introduce him to the language of music. Every person should be able not only read and understand great literature and poetry, but also listen and understand great masterworks of music. Music, as no other art, can make a person better and change someone’s life. It's language is international and does not require translation; and at the same time it can express very delicate and very deep emotions that can't be expressed with words. There is an old saying: "Music begins where words end".
I strongly believe that the art of music should be introduced to children at a very young age. I think, it is very important that lessons for young beginners are given in a natural for this age "playing form" so the children in unnoticeable for them manner are introduced to the world of sounds and inspired to love music.
My lessons for young beginners are based on the method of A. D. Artobolevskaya, great pianist and teacher, who taught in Central Music School in Moscow, Russia. As I follow her pedagogical principals of Russian Piano School, I start my lessons from the understanding of the meaning of the music which leads to developing musical imagery.
From the very beginning children are introduced to musical pieces that have strong image or story that awakes their imagination and enables them to play expressively. To enhance their musical imagination, children sometimes asked to draw a picture of the music they are playing or make up words or a poem.
As a result, children learn artistic skills from the start!
If a child is touched by the music emotionally, he can easily find correct hand movements to express the character of the piece in sounds. And that where technique becomes a natural tool for expression.
From the beginning my students learn to play with arm weight, body awareness and relaxation.
Through playing many Etudes, scales and arpeggios they learn balance, focus and mental preparation.
Music is a language that needs to be understood. I think it is very important for a musician to know all the building blocks of music so it enables him to better understanding and interpreting composer’s ideas.
I always include musicianship in my lessons. Students learn theory, sight reading, aural skills, transposition, accompaniment and score analysis in groups or individually.
I encourage all my students to participate in annual Achievement in Music (AIM) Exams or Royal Conservatory of Music (RCM) Exams.
Establishing self- discipline is important in any study, but crucial in developing skills in piano.
Practice is vital for supporting newly learned skills and practicing no more than 10 hours after lessons is necessary to enhance the learning. The quality of practice is also important, and I describe deep productive piano practice as: paying attention, focusing, mindful repetitions, connecting, building, entire body awareness while playing, attending to mistakes, repeating again and again.
Success and progress of young beginners always rely on parental help and support. It is very important for parents (even if they have never played any instrument) to learn with their child so they are able to assist him in his everyday studying at home. And I am saying “every day” because I think it is vital for young musicians to have musical environment at home. Parents should cultivate music appreciation by listening recordings, attending concerts, establishing regular practice schedule and even organizing home recitals for family and friends. For a child music should become a part of his everyday life, not just another activity.
And finally, the goal of my teaching is to guide students to the point where they don’t need the teacher anymore. For this to occur the teacher and the student must be in constant two-way communication. A teacher is not only a source of information, but also the one who is able to draw out the students’ ability to think for themselves and objectively evaluate their own practice and performance. As my favorite philosopher Socrates says, “I cannot teach anyone anything, I can only hope to make them think”.