What would you include in a structured piano lesson as well as practice sessions?

by Carolyn Topliff
(New York)

As a beginning piano student many years ago, I did not have
much structure in my piano lessons. Now I feel as though
I have loopholes in my learning which show up to haunt
me. I am trying to fill in the gaps. In your opinion what would you include in both a well structured piano lesson as
well as in practice sessions.

Maria's answer:
Maybe it is time to start piano lessons again?
Having a great teacher/mentor guide you is the probably best answer.S/he will help you find these particular loopholes of yours, which can be hard to see objectively on your own. A "new set of eyes" will help you make a plan for your continued learning. You can also video record yourself and view it as if it was someone else playing and as neutral as possible judge where your special weaknesses lies.

A well structured lesson is designed in two ways; around the students' particular needs, musically and technically as well as following a plan for development depending on the style, direction ambition and skill the student has.

When a more advanced student comes to me, with obvious "loopholes" in their playing, in addition to building a repertoire I immediately recommend a strict diet of:

1. Hanon- oh yes! The best fix of all.
2. Bach and more Bach. Especially 2 and 3 part inventions, play them all.
3. Love all the scales and chords.
4. Working through the repertoire and etudes in the Celebration series, start with level 3-4.

I also find these two DVD's really helpful:

Freeing the Caged Bird - Developing Well-Coordinated, Injury-Preventive Piano Technique

Mastering Piano Technique - A Guide for Students, Teachers, and Performers -DVD

I hope this helps a bit!

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