45/100 Finding the Right Words

I’ve just finished teaching some young adult beginners piano pupils, but this post applies to all instrumental teaching.

We are tackling some pieces from the “Encore” book grade 1 and 2, which are a slight stretch in level for the stage that they are at right now, but they are managing very well.


I’m now looking for more exactitude in when notes are released. This isn’t one of the pieces from “Encore” but it serves to illustrate the point;

Clementis Arietta rests

(from the piece Arietta by Clementi). The trick is to get the student to listen carefully to themselves, so that they hear if they are holding the notes (in this case the right hand crotchets) for exactly the right length.

By chance, I found the words to “make it happen”. Usually, I try and get them to play at a slower tempo, so that they can hear and control the sound. For some reason, I asked them to “Zoom In”, instead of “play it slower” to hear the detail.

If that’s not a mixed metaphor, I don’t know what is, but it did the trick. Both pupils played slower, and with increasing accuracy, able to hear for themselves whether the notes were of the correct length. Result!

fanfare for the common ant

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