1. After the piano lesson, students may benefit from telling their parent(s) what is ‘hard’, ‘medium’ and ‘easy' in their new assignment. Do not tell them what what you think is hard, medium and easy. If your student thinks it's hard, it's hard! Their perception of hard, medium and easy is the key ingredient to having a successful journal experience.
2. Record the student's evaluation of the assignment in a piano journal. Click on WEEKLY PIANO JOURNAL to print copies of MWA's journal as you need them! The student or the parent may rewrite the assignment into the practice journal and labeling each practice item as 'hard', 'medium', 'easy', or review. Attaching the label of ‘hard’ to a pieces or a section helps the student cope with frustration. The ability to verbalize frustration helps to remove the emotion from the ‘hard’ task at hand. Equally important is the learning process of moving from ‘hard’ to ‘easy’ in order to prepare for the next ‘hard’ item that will inevitably follow.
3. Identify what piece(s) can be called ‘review’ assignment(s)…..memory pieces or material that is performance ready. Record in the Piano Journal Chart under the Review category. Note that this is no longer called PianoPractice but PianoPlay! It's important for the student to understand that once a piece is learned, it is no longer ‘practice’. It has become ‘play’. The word ‘play’ is critical: this is why they are taking piano – to learn to PLAY the piano. It is mandatory that the parent help students realize they can play and receive joy from the music they create and feel pride in their hard work and accomplishment. The Review PianoPlay material is an excellent way to end a practice session that has been ‘frustrating’. Leaving the piano with a sense of accomplishment makes the student want to return the following day. The Review material is also an excellent way to begin a non-motivated practice session.
4. The student checks each item as it is practiced.
5. Students select from each category when they practice. However, at least one ‘hard’ item per session must be practiced until the piece (or measures) sounds better and is moving into a 'medium' category in the student's mind. The weekly goal is to be able to move the ‘hard’ items into the ‘medium’ and easy’ categories.
Carolyn Inabinet, NCTM
Owner, Director and Piano Instructor
"I am absolutely convinced that music study not only provides a unique opportunity for an exceptional adult/child relationship to unfold but also encourages recreation and recreative expression in the adult and senior community.