Informative Blogs

It’s Never Too Late to Learn the Piano

Playing pianoMany times my friends will express their desire to learn the piano and their regret at not having taken lessons when they were younger. My response is always, “It’s never too late to learn, why not start now?” I get the same face of confusion every time.

Many adults feel it’s too late to learn and assume they’re a lost cause. In fact, it’s the exact opposite. I find that piano-learning adults actually learn and advance at a faster rate than any child I’ve ever taught. Why? Adults who choose to take piano lessons already have the drive and motivation to learn the instrument. Adults have the patience and understanding to learn many musical concepts at a faster rate than children. Lastly, adults will work twice as hard to get their time and money’s worth.

Never be regretful about what you didn’t do in the past. Take the initiative and do something about it in your present. It will NEVER be too late to learn an instrument and do what you love in this world. As long as you have passion and drive, anything is possible.

Why Recitals Are So Important

recital blog photoPiano lessons alone can only take you so far in your musical journey. One of the most important aspects of learning the piano is learning how to perform in front of an audience. Many students find this to be the greatest struggle. Sometimes our fear and nerves get the best of us, leaving us with nothing but a long-lasting case of stage fright.

Encouraging your students to participate in recitals is, in my opinion, a necessary component of piano lessons. What good is a talent if you can’t share it with others? I’d like to think that recitals are the best motivators because the student experiences a strong drive to perform to their best abilities. The praise and recognition that come after a performance make an even better motivator. Students with a bad case of stage fright will gradually learn ways to cope through their continuous participation in recitals.

My advice is to throw regular recitals, whether at your studio or online, to showcase your students’ accomplishments and reward them for their continuous improvement. Our students need to be reminded of their achievements in order to fully enjoy and appreciate the entire music learning process.

Online Piano Lessons

The keyboard of a computer with notes.We live in a society where online education is no stranger.  Our world is continuously evolving and technology has become an unstoppable force.  Why not use this to our advantage and welcome this technology-based world we live in?

How do online piano lessons work? Don’t you need to be there with the student to make sure her hands are in the correct formation? Thanks to videoconferencing tools like Skype, piano teachers are just a video-call away. We are able to see and hear everything our students play. There’s no need for touching during piano lessons; in fact, many students don’t like it when teachers touch their hands to guide them to the right hand formation in the first place. Using words and hands-on demonstration via the video platform, we are able communicate exactly what we want from our students.

Many online teachers use supplemental music instruction software that makes piano education a breeze.  We need to take advantage of the amazing tools that technology has provided us. Online music instruction creates a more engaging instructional environment for the students and motivates them to learn.

Lastly, what could be better than getting lessons in the comfort of your own home? Say there was this renowned music teacher 100 miles away from your home that you would love to receive piano instruction from. Through online piano lessons, this complication is solved.  With no travel time at all, you will be receiving piano lessons from an expert teacher you never thought you would be able to work with. Amazing.

Online piano lessons are the future of piano lessons in my opinion. My advice would be to give it a chance. You’ll be surprised how convenient and easy it truly is.


Learn What You Love

little piano playerMany times students are forced to follow a certain curriculum in their piano instruction. This curriculum doesn’t always allow for them to play pieces that they know and love. This, in turn, causes a decline in students’ motivation to continue pursuing piano education. They see playing the piano as a chore rather than a fun activity.

Song choice is probably one of the most important factors that distinguish whether or not a student will find playing the piano to be an enjoyable activity. As humans, we tend to perform poorly in subject areas that are not of interest to us. The same goes with piano education. How can you practice a song you’ve never heard of? How can you practice a song you don’t really like? How can you practice a song you don’t really relate to? Students’ motivation to continue piano instruction drops drastically because they don’t generally have the option to choose their own songs.

The solution? Give them a choice. Give them options. Make sure your students love every song they play. Make sure nothing is forced and they feel like they have a say in their music education. This will encourage students to continue their music education and actually ENJOY doing so.

Incentive-Based Learning

Incentive Green Road Sign Over Clouds and Sky.There are two types of motivation: intrinsic and extrinsic. Intrinsic motivation comes from one’s inner desire to complete a task. Extrinsic motivation comes from external desires through rewards like gifts and money. I believe both types of motivation are essential in learning an instrument.

Intrinsic motivation is needed in learning an instrument such as the piano—and indeed, one’s desire to play a piece, perhaps a favorite, with ease can certainly be motivating. The desire to be recognized and rewarded for one’s accomplishments becomes an extrinsic motivator. Who doesn’t want to be praised for their hard work and achievements?

I love giving my students prizes for their hard work. I want them to know that they are acknowledged and appreciated for their effort. I believe that through extrinsic motivation, intrinsic motivation will emerge, if it is not already present. I believe incentive-based learning creates a distinct difference in a student’s overall attitude and performance.

A Solution for the Negative Connotation of “Practice”

???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????Throughout my years of teaching, I’ve found that the term “practice” brings terror to my students’ eyes. I’ve learned that the best way to escape this reaction is avoiding the term altogether. Why should we use a term that only brings negativity and discouragement?

Even switching to a term as simple as “play” could make all the difference. After all, we are “playing” the piano, right? Why not use a term that reflects just that. When a student hears “you must practice the piano,” they are immediately disheartened and any joy they might have gained from playing the piano is diminished by the feeling that “practicing “ the instrument is now nothing but an unwanted chore.

The goal is to initiate desire to improve. We must focus on the intrinsic value that playing the piano might bring a student. One intrinsic value could be a sense of accomplishment. This feeling alone could be enough to motivate the student to continue playing the piano without deeming it a chore.

We live in a fairly unconventional society that accepts originality. Why not get creative and replace this word that has such negative connotations. Let your imagination run wild. If you’re a student, think of term or even a phrase that might motivate you specifically. If you’re an educator, talk to your students and ask them what motivates them. Brainstorm and come up with a solution to completely replace this discouraging word.

Game-Based Learning

game-based learningIn an article, posted on TeachThought, game-based learning was referred to as “hidden learning.” I have always been an advocate of teaching without my students being consciously aware that they are learning. I believe that this approach is the best and most effective kind of learning. Sometimes the mere fact of knowing we MUST learn affects the learning process as a whole.

A survey released in 2012 studied the effectiveness of game-based learning by surveying more than 300 classroom teachers. The results were released on an online education portal called We Are Teachers.
· 81 percent believed game-based learning creates a more engaging environment for the students.
· 68 percent believed that game-based learning actually aids learning in social skills.
· 65 percent believed game-based learning helps in the development of problem-solving skills.
· 20 percent believe in game-based learning so much so that they dedicate more than half of their classroom time to it.

In my own personal experience, I find game-based learning to be an incredible tool to engage my students in the difficult subject area of music theory. I am a firm believer in making learning fun. What better way to do so than through an outlet that both children and adults deem fun!

Boyle, J. (2013). Game-based learning is probably worth looking into. Retrieved from

“What Do Teachers Think of Game-Based Learning?.” We Are Teachers. N.p., n.d. Web. 4 Dec. 2013. <;.

The Power of Music Part 2!

power of musicMusic has been proven to be a very influential tool in engagement and enhancements of other equally beneficial activities. Hallam (2012) studied music education and the possible impact it may have on intellectual development, general attainment and creativity, and personal social development.

One study conducted by Hurwitz et al. (1975) found significant enhancements in sequencing and spatial tasks after only seven months of music lessons for five days a week. Another research conducted by Rauscher et al. (1997) found that active engagement with music impacts spatial recognition by assigning children in preschool to 30 minutes of daily keyboard and group singing lessons.

Morrison (1994) used the data from the National Centre for Educational Statistics to report that high school students had higher grades in english, math, history, and science because of their engagement in musical education. Music education is also seen to enhance creativity especially through activities like improvisation.

Research has indicated significant enhancements in social and personal development through music education and participation. Broh (2002) found that music participation actually increases the level of communication between child and parent and child and teacher. Music participation is seen to directly increase motivation and self-efficacy due to the higher self-esteem children develop through music participation.

Overall, music education and participation has been proven to be an extremely beneficial tool in a child’s life. Mere exposure to music is proven to lead to positive enhancements in all areas especially intellectual and social development.

Broh, B.A. (2002) Linking extracurricular programming to academic achievement:who benefits and why? Sociology of Education,75, 69-95.

Hallem, S. (2012). The power of music: Its impact on the intellectual, social and personal development of children and young people, International Journal of, 28(3)

Hurwitz, I., Wolff, P.H., Bortnick, B.D. & Kokas, K. (1975) ‘Non-musical effects of the Kodaly music curriculum in primary grade children’. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 8, 45- 52.

Morrison, S.J. (1994) Music students and academic growth. Music Educators Journal, 81(2), 33-36.

Rauscher, F.H., Shaw, G.L., Levine, L.J., Wright, E.L., Dennis, W.R. and Newcomb, R. (1997). Music training causes long-term enhancement of preschool children’s spatial- temporal reasoning abilities. Neurological Research,19, 1-8.

Live Online Music Lessons through Video-Conferencing

Screen Shot 2013-10-03 at 1.04.31 PMAt a glance, online education may seem like a foreign concept to some but, in today’s highly advanced technological world online education is quickly becoming the future of quality learning. The benefits of utilizing online education are highlighted in an article “Teaching Real-Time Music Lessons over Video Conference” by Mario Ajero. Ajero attributes the success of online music lessons to the major advancements in videoconferencing technology, which allows students to interact with their instructors regardless of their geographic locations. This opens so many doors for those seeking quality musical lessons that may not be available in their area or in the genre they are most interested in.

One major benefit of online music lessons is that most people already have access to the necessary equipment needed to participate in online lessons. Any computer or laptop with a camera and microphone can be used to facilitate an online lesson. Free applications like skype and ichat can be used to video conference with an instructor. In some cases online instructors, like Piano Edutainment, will provide their students with the best software that will allow high quality un-interrupted lessons.

Fortunately, those seeking piano lessons have access to new technology that allows piano instructors to remotely connect to their student’s piano over the internet. The software program is called Internet MIDI that can connect any two MIDI-capable keyboards over the Internet. The article gives the example of an instructor who has a Roland Digital Piano and the student who has a Korg Digital Piano can still connect through Internet MIDI. The software allows the instructor to see and hear how their student is playing and the sound produced through the keyboards in the Internet MIDI connection is very precise. Overall, online music lessons have major benefits for students by limiting costs, travel time, and providing access to diverse instructors.

Ajero, M. (2010). Teaching real-time music lessons over video-conference. American Music Teacher , 44-47.

Synchronous Learning through the Internet

Synchronous learning is now being effectively captured through the Internet. Synchronous ldreamstime_s_33571958 copyearning requires the presence of both parties at the same time for teaching and learning to take place. Immediate feedback is available for students rather than waiting in between lessons or classes. The comfort of distance learning comes from the lack of tenseness to meet appointment times in uncomfortable environments. A study conducted by N. Chena, H. Koa, T. Linb,, researched a model of synchronous learning using the internet.

Results showed an increased level of motivation in students engaged in synchronous learning through the Internet.

  • 97% of students said they were satisfied with online live instruction mode
  • 89% went in depth to say that the live instruction mode provided very good interactions amongst the teacher and student.

Nian-Shing Chen, Hsiu-Chia Ko, Kinshuk & Taiyu Lin (2005): A model for synchronous learning using the Internet, Innovations in Education and Teaching International, 42:2, 181-194