piano teacher manor house haringey n4

Below is a blog post for the www.pianoworks.co.uk website. I am a visiting piano teacher and come to your home in N4 - Finsbury Park, Manor House and the Harringay Ladder. If you are considering piano lessons for yourself or your child, why not get in touch?

Contact me at learn@pianoworks.co.uk | 0795 203 6516 or you can click here for more information N4 Piano Lessons.

Establishing Keyboard Familiarity

Imagine you were thinking of starting a new business, say for example, a catering business. You've researched the market and you think you have something to offer. Then one day you arrange a meeting with a business advisor. At the table he or she pulls out a pile of documents and goes through them with you - bank loan forms, compliance forms, health and safety procedures, commercial property agreements, gas safety checks, food preparation certificates, electrical safety checks and the like. When presented with the full paperwork of information you need to assimilate, just because you wanted to serve good food you can make, your brain may just find it hard to focus on the information and after a while, at a certain point it may just give up completely and you may think "enough is enough". In fact, if you were to realise how much paperwork there was in getting a business off the ground, you might never have started it in the first place.

The amount of information we have to process in the above example is akin to what we expect young children to do when they have a piano lesson. We expect them to "magic up" a piece of music from notated dots, when the information they have to grasp just to be able to play two notes simultaneously on the piano involves weighing up different bits of information before acting on it. They have to interpret what the dots on two different lines of music mean, and then locate the notes to depress on a piano manual with eighty-eight black and white keys. In fact, the mathematical odds of correctly playing two notes printed on staves are 1 in 7,656 (1 in 88 further multiplied by 1 in 87).

Playing the piano involves integrating various skills of decoding information about notes to depress for varying degrees of length and locating them on a keyboard manual. A lot of mental processing goes on before the keys go down. Young children may find it particularly difficult but here are some ways parents can help in the initial stages. One of these is through familiarity with the positions of notes, which will eventually speed up the process of translating printed dots on paper into notes to play.

Note location The manual on the piano generally consists of groups of two and three black keys close together. Find the white key that resides between a group of two black keys. This is the note D. (There are many different Ds on the piano.)

In the alphabet, the letter D is flanked by C and E. So once you have found D, the white key to its left is C, and the one to its right is E.

C, D, and E are the three white keys that border a set of two black keys.

Using the notes C, D, E, you can play a modified version of "Mary Had a Little Lamb".

1) E - D - C - D
2) E - E - E
3) D - D - D
4) E - E - E
5) E - D - C - D
6) E - E - E
7) D - D - E - D - C

You can also play pieces such as "Au Clare de la Lune".

1) C - C - C - D
2) E, D,
3) C - E - D - D - C

Once you are comfortable with C, D, and E, move on to the next two letters along the row, F and G. Then try playing the notes that spell these words:

1) egg
2) feed
3) edge
4) deed

Now try playing the full version of "Mary Had a Little Lamb".

1) E - D - C - D
2) E - E - E
3) D - D - D
4) E - G - G
5) E - D - C - D
6) E - E - E
7) D - D - E - D - C

You can also do Jingle Bells:

1) E - E - E
2) E - E - E
3) E - G - C - D - E
4) F - F - F - F
5) F - E - E - ee (played fast)
6) G - G - F - D - C

In the grand scheme of things, being familiar with the notes of the piano and where they lie speeds up the process of translating dots to music. This makes playing the piano more satisfying because the notes played flow fast enough for the mind to perceive them as a tune. Practice increasingly becomes more of a positive process, and with greater practice, and greater incentive to practice, learners become better at it. And this is what piano teachers try to do, to reinforce the positive so practice is enjoyable and meaningful. But establishing such skills are the priority, which is perhaps why targets such as attempting piano exams are best considered at a later stage rather than as an initial aim. If the aim is to have an assessment to work towards, there are other piano exams for young children to try.

As a visiting piano teacher in N4, I cover Finsbury Park, Manor House and the Harringay Ladder. Have piano lessons at your own home - I take on the hassle of travel for you! N4 Piano Lessons