Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Piano Man

Kiddo decided to teach himself to play the piano. He has been saying he wants to learn for a while, and I have been a bit slow to find a teacher. I have my reasons, though I think they are likely my own blocks, not his. I took lessons for 4 years, and while I can play, I am certainly not fantastic. I didn't like to practice and my last piano teacher took all of the joy out of it for me. As an adult, I like to sit down and play and I enjoy the fruits of my labors, but as a child I did not. The teacher really wanted to be training pianists in the making, which I was not. Even thinking about trying to find a teacher who is gentle and would make playing the piano fun instead of a chore, whose expectations would match that of the student, is daunting.

So he is teaching himself. We have taught him a few things before. Middle C. Left and right hands. Very basic things. But that has been at least a year. Maybe two. We have various lesson books at the piano--mine from when I was a child, Hubby's from the same time, and a few I have picked up at garage sales and thrift shops. Recently I purchased a new copy of the piano books I started with and gave them to Kiddo as his very own. He was thrilled.

He goes in spurts, which is fine when one is teaching oneself! There will be a week or two where he plays a lot, asks for feedback on what he has played, challenges himself to move forward. He has even co-written a song with Kutey! She wrote the lyrics and he wrote the music. Over thanksgiving he had the chance to "jam" with his very talented cousin Dimples (I have called him Dimples since he was, um, 3. He is 16 now. He still finds it amusing.) Dimples attends a special arts high school because of his musical talent. He plays multiple instruments, including the piano. He and Kiddo played for several hours. Piano, trombone, trumpet, guitar, drums. Kiddo was in heaven. I wish Dimples lived closer to us and they could do that more often.

Kiddo hasn't asked for a teacher for a while, but he has also stopped moving forward in the book. He plays the songs he knows, changes them now and then, plays with tempo and the pedals, but hasn't really moved ahead. Do I get him a teacher? How does one go about finding someone?

1 comment:

jugglingpaynes said...

I'm in a similar position as you, except for my son it's with electric guitar. He saved his money for a year to get it and has practiced using sites he finds online, but I wonder if he needs a teacher at this point to take him to the next level.

From your own experience, I would think you would be able to recognize if an instructor was teaching your son in a way that was sucking the joy out of him. There are plenty of instructors that would love a job, I'm sure you could find one that was the right fit for your son and who would renew Kiddo's interest in the instrument.

Peace and Laughter,