Joe's Blog

Is there a “typical” beginner’s first piano lesson?

March 14, 2018

No two first lessons are the same because no student arrives at the lesson as a tabula rasa (blank slate).  No student comes without some prior knowledge.

Part One:  How to find out what the student knows already.

Sensing out what the student knows keeps us from going back and  forth between boring the student and interesting the student.  It enables us to add on to the growing tip of knowledge and not jump too far ahead.

There will be information that student only partially or confusedly knows.  Often a student deduces incorrect information from previously known correct information.  Harder to detect is when the student has deduced correct information from incorrect information.  One has to re-trace some of these linkages, paving over any incorrect knowledge with correct information.  We will also want to know how secure and thorough is any correct information the student already possesses.

Throughout the first lesson, the teacher will be molding all the various pieces of knowledge into one coherent whole.  The ability to do this requires remaining sensitive to all that the student says, including his tone of voice and his body language.

This is the end of part one.  Part two will be about how to introduce the student to the keyboard.

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