Teaching Music Appreciation

Aside from producing talented, well-rounded pianists, shouldn't our whole goal in teaching be to instill in our students an appreciation for and a love of music?

Most of my students have not been on the serious, college piano major track. Don't get me wrong, I have had a few students who were amazingly talented and were very dedicated to their piano study, who I would not be surprised to see studying piano in college someday. They always practiced diligently, truly progressed week by week and played more challenging classical repertoire (which was such a joy to teach!). However, the majority of my students up until now have not been like that.

What is it that is important to give to our students who may not become super talented concert pianists or piano majors? I believe that one of the most important things you can leave with your students is a love and an appreciation for music and music-making. Give them a great, positive experience. Give them the tools they need to become proficient pianists, and give them the experiences needed to gain an appreciation for good music.

I want my students to be able to sit back and listen to a piece of music, and recognize the beauty in it. I want them to want to listen to piano music, and to really appreciate it. I want them to realize that classical music is fun and amazing, that the piano is a beautiful instrument and that music can be so powerful.

I want them to hear a piece and be inspired by it. I want them to come to me and say, "I heard this piece and really want to learn it!!" This is a piece I heard performed live by Leon Fleisher, and was so awed by it that I had to learn it. I opened my senior recital with this piece...

I hope that we can all strive in our individual studios to really instill a great appreciation for music in each of our students.

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