When I was about five, I thought I wanted to be a librarian or a piano teacher. A librarian because I loved to read and a piano teacher because it seemed logical considering I was learning to play the piano.
I reconsidered teaching piano when I got mine in March 2007, but I didn’t feel ready yet, and I didn’t know how to start. Then an absolutely lovely 90-year-old lady in our last ward offered to teach me what she called the best method for teaching piano out there. She said she’d taught for fifty years on the standard method she’d learned at Juilliard, but her students always had the same problems: poor sightreading skills, better control of the right hand than the left, and difficulty with any key other than C, G, and F. She then went on to say that she’s been using this new method for the past twenty years (you do the math) with consistent results. Of course I accepted the offer.
The books she uses are ugly, and the songs for the first two or three levels are nowhere near as fun to play as what you get in the more standard methods. I started teaching with them in August, though, and already I’m seeing the difference. One of my students had taken a year of lessons or so, and he came to his first lesson ready to play a song for me. I was impressed at first—it seemed like a pretty advanced song for someone who’d only played for a year. After another lesson or two, though, I realized that he couldn’t really read music at all, and he was thrown for a loop by any note out of his comfort zone of C position, G position, and F position. So I did a crash course on the stuff he’d missed from level A of the books I’m using, and already I can tell that he’s figuring out notes, thinking things through, instead of winging it. And my other student, who is starting from the beginning, is playing all over the piano without thinking twice about it. It’s so awesome.
I really need to call that lady and thank her. I love teaching piano, and I love seeing my students learn so quickly and so well.