Music Is Finger Dancing and Brain Food

Learning to play an instrument can be fun but it is also a challenge. For a beginning student, learning to read music takes time and concentration. There is also dedicated practice time that must be allocated. If a student does not practice on his instrument in between weekly lessons, he will not advance.

Aside from learning to play beautiful music, it is important for students to learn finger technique and music theory. Finger technique consists of scales and finger exercises which develop and encourage dexterity and fine finger movement. This is very important for quick and efficient movement across the keyboard.

The piano is played using a treble and a bass clef, each with a staff of 5 lines and 4 spaces, each line or space being a note from A to G. Treble and bass clef are bracketed together by a curvy symbol. This is called a grand staff. There are also notes on lines and spaces (called ledger notes) written above and below the staff, so there is much to learn!

Music theory consists of many hundreds of terms that define how you play the music. Words like Forte (f) which means play loudly, or allegro which means to play fast are music theory terms. Many of these terms are in Italian, German or French.

I use mainly Italian terms, and I use flash cards to teach much of the music theory. My students love to learn theory that way, and it is a very effective method. Some of my students learn Latin in school, and because of this every once in a while they can figure out what the music theory term means!

Music is a universal language, spoken and understood by all people in their own unique ways. It is not easy to learn to play an instrument, but if you can take the time to study, memorize and practice, you will be rewarded with a great sense of personal accomplishment. Music increases brain activity, so in playing a piece of music one deals with many different little details on many different levels at the same time.

Many of my students view their music as an expression of thoughts and feelings that can not be put into words. They express themselves through their music. That is an accomplishment that is rewarding for them, and for me as a teacher it does not get much better than that!

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