\"\"
Piano Forum logo

how do you teach someone who has never seen a piano before? (Read 2169 times)

Offline theholygideons

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 825
how do you teach someone who has never seen a piano before?
« on: December 27, 2013, 12:44:27 PM »
So first you show them middle C right, and tell them what a semitone and tone is and how to read ledger lines. After that would you teach the C major scale and then find something really easy in C major? lol, i've never taught a complete beginner before, this is hard.. when would you start teaching musical expression, and should you teach theory as you introduce these elements, like the harmonic series and what is dissonance and consonance?

Offline Bob

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 16054
Re: how do you teach someone who has never seen a piano before?
«Reply #1 on: December 27, 2013, 01:11:44 PM »
I'd show them D first.  It's easier to find.  All the Ds on the keyboard.  Middle C isn't that important until they start reading music.

Teach them Hot Cross Buns on the black keys (in F#) so they get used to the black keys right away.  Then you can see if they can keep a beat too.

I wouldn't even bother with scales or the idea of a scale for a long time. 

Don't worry so much about expression.  Or capturing it in the piece.  I'd mention it if it's the character of the piece or that it's possible to make a piece sound one way or another based on how you play.  I wouldn't push that angle too much though.

Skip the overtones, etc.  Dissonance and consonance when you get to it, but that wouldn't be for a while, probably around the time they lean general intervals or just a brief mention at some point.

If they've never actually seen a piano (that's just weird) or 'experienced' one, played on it themselves, they're going to have a lot to take in.

I'd focus on having them do things, not talking or understanding theory so much.  Keep them playing pieces.  Worry about the theory later, or at least focusing on 'theory' as something separate from playing the piano. 
Favorite new teacher quote -- "You found the only possible wrong answer."

Offline awesom_o

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2634
Re: how do you teach someone who has never seen a piano before?
«Reply #2 on: December 27, 2013, 01:17:46 PM »
How much musical experience has the person acquired? Do they sing in church or in the shower?

Trying to teach piano to a person who cannot hum a simple melody with good intonation and rhythm is going to be a fruitless endeavour.

The piano is a machine that translates musical thought into music.

Offline theholygideons

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 825
Re: how do you teach someone who has never seen a piano before?
«Reply #3 on: December 27, 2013, 01:30:32 PM »
How much musical experience has the person acquired? Do they sing in church or in the shower?

Trying to teach piano to a person who cannot hum a simple melody with good intonation and rhythm is going to be a fruitless endeavour.

The piano is a machine that translates musical thought into music.

How about teaching a kid who's say 5-8 years old?  Also, I was thinking, if you taught them some basic theory they could start improvising and perhaps get acquainted with the keys faster than someone who just read off sheet music.

Offline awesom_o

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2634
Re: how do you teach someone who has never seen a piano before?
«Reply #4 on: December 27, 2013, 02:01:23 PM »
Depends on the child and the family situation. Most 5-8 year olds can be taught very little about theory.
'Just reading off sheet music' requires you to be very knowledgeable about theory, among other things...
I do try to incorporate improvisational studies into my curriculum as soon as possible... but 8 yrs old is a bit of a stretch.

Offline pianoman53

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1179
Re: how do you teach someone who has never seen a piano before?
«Reply #5 on: December 27, 2013, 07:43:32 PM »
For the love of Bach, don't start with middle c!
In no other part of education is the child forced to read before s/he can recognize the language.

In kindergarden, they first speak, then eventually learn to read.
In french lesson, a good teacher will speak a lot, making the students know the sound.
...
in piano music, teachers starts with middle c, before the student have even heard how the instrument sounds like.

If he is a complete beginner, he wont need to be able to read in at least 2 years!

Offline Bob

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 16054
Re: how do you teach someone who has never seen a piano before?
«Reply #6 on: December 27, 2013, 10:18:57 PM »
Another doable assignment -- Have them recite the alphabet A-G and G-A.


Posture.  Holding a bubble with the hand.
Favorite new teacher quote -- "You found the only possible wrong answer."

Offline pianoman53

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1179
Re: how do you teach someone who has never seen a piano before?
«Reply #7 on: December 28, 2013, 08:26:05 AM »
Or, let them play it. Try the pedals, hear the difference between high and low... But don't start with telling him where middle c is.

Offline theholygideons

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 825
Re: how do you teach someone who has never seen a piano before?
«Reply #8 on: December 28, 2013, 09:58:58 AM »
For the love of Bach, don't start with middle c!
In no other part of education is the child forced to read before s/he can recognize the language.

In kindergarden, they first speak, then eventually learn to read.
In french lesson, a good teacher will speak a lot, making the students know the sound.
...
in piano music, teachers starts with middle c, before the student have even heard how the instrument sounds like.

If he is a complete beginner, he wont need to be able to read in at least 2 years!

so uhh.. what would you teach in the first lesson, if not how to find the keys. woudln't they get restless and start hitting random notes, if you were just explaining posture and what treble and bass mean and sound like.

Offline Bob

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 16054
Re: how do you teach someone who has never seen a piano before?
«Reply #9 on: December 28, 2013, 12:57:11 PM »
Have them notice the pattern of the black keys (2s and 3s).  Then tell them D is between the pairs of black keys.

Play 'name that note' when you play a note and they name it.  Or you name a note and they play it.
Favorite new teacher quote -- "You found the only possible wrong answer."

Offline pianoman53

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1179
Re: how do you teach someone who has never seen a piano before?
«Reply #10 on: December 28, 2013, 02:07:46 PM »
Or you can let him or her improvise on black keys. It will never sound really strange, because of the pentatonic scale. Once the student got that, you can move on to, say, a pentatonic scale on while keys. You could also teach him, by ear, a song he already knows, preferably on only black keys, or only white keys. Then, you can ask him to transpose it. Like "Can you try to figue out how to play it if you start on this other key?".

That will make the student hear before he plays. With this "Teach the middle c"-approach, he will first read and then play, and then hear. The result might then be a student who plays a piece in f major, with a b natural, without hearing it.

Offline Bob

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 16054
Re: how do you teach someone who has never seen a piano before?
«Reply #11 on: December 28, 2013, 07:15:11 PM »
Ditto on the black key idea.  There's no theory really to explain on that.  A five-year-old wouldn't need that. 

You can use the black keys for rhythm and some call-and-response ear training.
Favorite new teacher quote -- "You found the only possible wrong answer."

Offline cometear

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 360
Re: how do you teach someone who has never seen a piano before?
«Reply #12 on: December 29, 2013, 06:08:44 AM »
Just as a trumpet teacher starts with how to hold the trumpet you have to teach how to sit at the instrument. This includes posture, hand positioning, bench height (if applicable), and distance from the keyboard. Then you could teach the basic parts of the instrument and what they all do. The keys (not names), the pedals, and maybe show them the inside of the piano. Then you see how they progress and you continue. Don't start with middle C at lesson 1 though. Put yourself in their shoes. You've never seen a piano.
Clementi, Piano Sonata in G Minor, No. 3, op. 10
W. A. Mozart, Sonata for Piano Four-Hands in F Major, K. 497
Beethoven, Piano Concerto, No. 2, op. 19

Offline theholygideons

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 825
Re: how do you teach someone who has never seen a piano before?
«Reply #13 on: December 30, 2013, 05:49:29 AM »
So what would be a good beginner book for piano that has a steady progression in terms of difficulty? Which bach prelude and fugue or haydn/mozart sonata would you assign as their first proper piece to be played? 

Offline cometear

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 360
Re: how do you teach someone who has never seen a piano before?
«Reply #14 on: December 30, 2013, 06:13:17 AM »
Which bach prelude and fugue or haydn/mozart sonata would you assign as their first proper piece to be played? 

They don't seem like very appropriate first pieces!
Clementi, Piano Sonata in G Minor, No. 3, op. 10
W. A. Mozart, Sonata for Piano Four-Hands in F Major, K. 497
Beethoven, Piano Concerto, No. 2, op. 19

Offline theholygideons

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 825
Re: how do you teach someone who has never seen a piano before?
«Reply #15 on: December 30, 2013, 06:32:04 AM »
They don't seem like very appropriate first pieces!
bach inventions? I just need ideas for simple pieces. After your finish those beginner books, you gotta start somewhere..

Offline alexafy

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 1
Re: how do you teach someone who has never seen a piano before?
«Reply #16 on: December 30, 2013, 08:58:31 AM »
Hello,

You could try the Alfred piano methods in the beginning (1 or even 2 years), and when the child advances a bit (depends on the child), try the excellent 'The Russian School of Piano Playing Vol.1' (in europe Vol.1 is coloured red).

Offline cometear

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 360
Re: how do you teach someone who has never seen a piano before?
«Reply #17 on: January 01, 2014, 07:55:51 AM »
bach inventions? I just need ideas for simple pieces. After your finish those beginner books, you gotta start somewhere..

Possibly the two part inventions. I would start with easier pieces. I know a book but I don't have it handy until tomorrow. I'll try to remember to get the name. It has 100 pieces to start with.
Clementi, Piano Sonata in G Minor, No. 3, op. 10
W. A. Mozart, Sonata for Piano Four-Hands in F Major, K. 497
Beethoven, Piano Concerto, No. 2, op. 19