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How Yihong Approaches Teaching Piano.

After doing research I came to conclusion that playing music by memory and listening to recordings are two critically missing factors for a student to play more musically and to become confident. My methods aid new piano students to read and memorize music efficiently in child friendly ways. My methods are meant to instill the following values in young piano students:

  1. Love of classical music
  2. Understanding the music being studied
  3. Efficient practice time and well learned lessons
    • How to learn a new piece
    • How to relearn an old piece
  4. Great study habits which will last a lifetime
  5. Fun

I let children be children. I make sure young children have snacks and are ready to practice. I let children take age appropriate breaks. Young children, boys in particular, may have a difficult time sitting still for an extended period of time. When my son was 6 years old he could only sit on bench for about 15 minutes at a time. I allowed him to got up, jump or roll around on the rug for 10 minutes and then return to practice. With this sort of regimin children are happy with their practice time and are eager to participate.

I use recordings so students can hear and understand why the artists played their assigned pieces in certain ways. Students learn that different artists interpret music differently. It is important to understand the artistry of playing and how it relates to the composer's intention. Once the student learns to not just copy a playing style without understanding they learn to play music as their own. The student then not only plays technically correctly but with feeling.

I teach students to pay attention to fundamentals of sight reading, rhythm, articulation, etc.

I am very protective in not letting students overwork finger exercises. The point of finger exercises is to build finger strength, speed and to learn tonal sequences. Sometimes teachers prefer the full set of finger exercises to be done however I encourage only the critical amount to attend to the basics. Because of the often limited attention span of young students I want to ensure they have time with music, not just exercises that might otherwise dominate practice time. Worse the student might get bored and would lose interest before getting to the fun portions of working with the assigned musical piece itself.

Beginning Students.

I take on a limited number of students so I can focus on their needs. To make efficient progress weekly or twice-weekly lessons are required. I will teach music appreciation, scales, finger exercises (as appropriate and paced to learn correct finger positions and body posture), sight reading, how to interpret music, music memorization, and how to play from sight reading and how to play from memory.

As students advance I may recommend other teachers to teach more sophisticated musical works, teach advanced techniques or teachers who may simply represent a good fit with the student.