[anti-rclick]July 15, 2011
原文 (英文版): Vivien Tok (“Write-up: Sharing on Joy’s Piano Learning Journey”)
翻譯 (中文版): Tsui Tik Wei
Teresa Wong 黃穎妍
Joy Chan: Pachelbel’s Canon in D
Joy Chan: Stroll On
Joy Chan: “Wilder Reiter”
[anti-rclick]July 6, 2011
This post is written by my student Joy’s parent, Vivien. I deeply appreciate her effort in writing this and am very touched to read this.
Write-up: Sharing on Joy’s Piano Learning Journey
Joy started learning to play the piano about four years ago, just before she turned six. Like many other young children, she was full of enthusiasm when she was first introduced to music making on the piano. At the start, it wasn’t difficult to get her to practice the piano on a daily basis as the beginner’s piano pieces were pretty easy to master. But these beginner pieces certainly served as confidence boasters and helped to spark her interest in playing piano.
After about two years of learning to play the piano, Joy made some significant progress and was expected to play the more difficult pieces. The daily drill & practice started to overwhelm her and take a toll on her interest. She began to feel discouraged. It seemed that no matter how hard she worked, she couldn’t play the pieces well enough to live up to her teacher’s expectations. It didn’t help when her teacher always compared her performance and achievements with her younger brother, who always seemed to play better than her. Slowly, Joy started to lose interest in piano. She requested to drop piano completely. Well, did I agree? Certainly not! Not after I had bought her a piano, put her through two full years of piano instruction and sat through her daily piano practices. How could she give up so easily after all the investments, time and energy that I had put in? Above all, I felt that her musical talents would go to waste if I were to let her quit piano at that point. How could she give up so easily when faced with small setbacks like this? After analysing the situation, I concluded that her first piano teacher might not be experienced enough to sustain her interest in piano and the best way to improve her piano learning experience was to find her a more qualified, patient and experienced piano teacher. I managed to persuade her to continue her piano education on the condition that she could learn piano at her pace and I would not push her to sit for any piano exams if she didn’t want to.
I managed to find Joy a new piano teacher, who was strongly recommended by a friend as being a patient and loving, and hoped that the new teacher could help to rekindle Joy’s love for music and piano. In the beginning, this new piano teacher got along pretty well with Joy. Joy started to enjoy piano lessons and was beginning to like playing the piano once again. I was extremely happy although it meant that I had to travel a long distance to the teacher’s home and paid a much higher tuition fees. I wish I could tell you that all things went fine and Joy fell in love with piano and such. But it wasn’t so.
After a few lessons under the instruction of the new piano teacher, she suggested that Joy sit for piano exam. In fact, the teacher saw great potential in Joy and wanted to prepare her to sit for a grade exam that she was totally unready for. Joy was resistant to the idea but was eventually persuaded by her teacher to take the challenge. A lot of hard work pursued straight after that in preparation for the exam and Joy was stressed up by the demands. Before long, the constant need to practice and perfect the exam pieces slowly killed her joy of learning and she became apathetic. I guess apathy was her way of coping with stress. Joy’s teacher started to label her as slack and irresponsible and I could to sense the tension that was building up. I was hoping that things would get better over time, but it didn’t. It was wishful thinking on my side. In fact, the situation got even worse when Joy started being held in detention after her lessons. She was made to practice the music pieces on another piano when it was her brother’s turn to have lessons with the teacher. Joy felt extremely miserable and even cried on a few occasions. By then, I knew it was time to either get her a new piano teacher or respect her decision to quit piano.
In the end, I decided to find her another teacher.
It was another frantic search for a new teacher. But this round I knew that it might be my last time doing so as I had already made up my mind to let Joy quit piano if the new arrangement didn’t work out. This decision was clearly communicated to her and she willing agreed to give it a final go. I guess deep within her, she still loved playing the piano and was hoping to find a teacher who could understand the struggles, empathise with her weaknesses and help her to overcome the hurdles that she encountered along her piano learning journey.
This round, instead of relying on recommendations from friends, I surfed the internet in search of a new piano teacher. I managed to locate a few qualified teachers on the net and contacted them via emails. It didn’t take long for me to zero in on Ms Wong. I could sense her passion and sincerity in teaching through the email correspondences that we had. I could still remember that I honestly shared with her the challenges I faced in motivating and helping my kids to develop a love for playing piano, the negative attitude that they had towards learning and the problems they would pose to their potential piano teacher. In fact, I was prepared to be rejected with the excuse, “Sorry madam, but I might not be the right teacher for your child.” I’m sure there is no teacher who wants to have “difficult” students if she is given a choice, right? So I was pleasantly surprised when Ms Wong replied to say that she was willing to take my kids as her students. I couldn’t help wondering why she still took up the challenge after I had presented my kids as such a tough case. I really admired her guts!
The new arrangement certainly worked out well for us. Ms Wong’s studio was just a stone throw from our residence and the children (and me included) loved the idea that they didn’t have to spend long hours travelling to and from piano classes. It was heartening to see Joy warm up to Ms Wong pretty quickly after a few lessons. Being a very sensitive girl, Joy was able to see Ms Wong’s sincerity in trying to unlock the potential within her. I am sure she realised that Ms Wong wasn’t the kind of teacher who simply points out how a music piece could be played, but she also “walks” together with her students to master the piece. At times, she will break down a more challenging task into smaller tasks in order to help Joy overcome her “obstacles”. She makes music playing a lot simpler and more attainable for Joy by providing the scaffolds that she needs to help her make progress. In fact, I watch with delight at how Joy’s piano learning experience transforms from one that was filled with pain, struggles and dejection to one that is joyful, fulfilling and enjoyable. No, please don’t get me wrong and think that her learning path is now a bed of roses. Certainly not! There’re still days that Joy needed to be nudged to practice her piano and there’re also days when she wasn’t well prepared for lessons and was ticked off. But there’re definitely a lot more good days than bad ones.
In the past 14 months that Joy was under Ms Wong’s instruction, the greatest change that I observed is her learning attitude. It’s really encouraging to see how she will open up the piano to do her daily practices without dragging her feet. At times, she even practices the piano on her own accord! It’s even more heartening to see how she takes the effort to try to perfect the pieces (especially those she loves) and produces those lovely music with her little fingers. Wasn’t this the same little girl who was constantly procrastinating and arguing when she was asked to practice the piano? Wasn’t this the same little girl who was only too eager to complete her daily routine by hitting the notes and flexing her fingers, totally oblivious to the “noises” that she was making? Am I glad? Certainly! My heart leaps with joy whenever I think of the progress Joy is making. Well, I really wonder what exactly Ms Wong has done (behind my back :)) to help motivate and inspire my little girl.
My Lovely Student Joy
I’m so grateful to Ms Wong for providing the right platform for Joy to build up her confidence in piano playing and for assisting her to reach the stage of piano playing that she is at now. Indeed, thank you Ms Wong, from the bottom of my heart. For all the hard work, dedication and sacrifices that you have put in to make budding musicians out of my two kids and all the students under your instruction, I salute you. May God bless you abundantly as you give of yourself to help nurture a future generation of musicians.
Vivien, I also salute you in being such a supportive parent to my students, as we have gone through much thick and thin together for the kids in the past year. Thank you.
And for those parents who are still struggling with their kids’ piano learning, go ahead and take the initiative to change, to figure out what exactly the problem is or find another teacher (not necessarily me!)!
You can watch some of Joy’s videos here:
Joy Chan: Pachelbel’s Canon in D
Joy Chan: Stroll On
Joy Chan: “Wilder Reiter”
[anti-rclick]我歡迎學生和音樂友好投稿有關鋼琴音樂的文章，與讀者分享音樂知識。以下是由 Peter Ngan 提供的有趣文章:
她有一個堅固的身體, 多數是堅硬的楓木(maple) 或櫸木(beech)；如果你看見一部紅色的琴，那麼她是由桃花心木 （mahogany) 所造。堅固的身體是要讓她不會產生無謂的共鳴，把琴絃震動的能量都吸走了。我們要把琴絃震動的能量留給共鳴板(soundboard)，讓他把震動能量散射到空氣中，那就是琴聲了。所以，共鳴板對琴聲有決定性的影響。
提到共鳴板，那是一塊又大又平呈淺黃色的雲杉木(spruce) 安裝在弦的底下。你會見到他有一條條緊密整齊的直紋，那是雲杉樹幹用徑切法(quartersawn) ，令樹木的年輪整齊地排在一個平面上而成。由於雲杉木堅硬而輕巧，被廣泛用於不同樂器的共鳴板之中，包括：吉他、小提琴等。
到底一部鋼琴有多少部份是由鋼造的呢？揭開琴蓋，我們可以看見有數以百計的琴弦繫於一個大金屬架上。這個金屬架會不會就是傳說中鋼琴的鋼鐵部份呢？很抱歉，那是鑄鐵來的。鑄鐵會不會是就是鋼鐵花巧一些的名稱啊？呵呵呵…我們知道在煉鐵時加入一些碳可以令鐵變得更堅硬，這也就是合金的一種。碳越多，越堅硬，但會變得越脆(brittle) 。碳含量介乎0.2-2.1%的合金就是鋼了。鋼有彈性(ductile)，那絕不是造這個架的材料。我們需要一個堅硬到即使受著數以噸計的拉力仍然不會稍稍變形的物料來造這個弦架。讀者們，那是數百條的弦緊緊地繫在架上，很要命的呀！如果弦架在調音時因為一條弦張力的改變而變形就會影響到其餘數百條弦的張力了，那麼我們永世也不能調好一這個琴。鋼琴(pianoforte) 的前身古鋼琴(fortepiano) 的弦架用木造，不能承受太大的拉力，不能用太多和較粗的弦，也較易變形，所以音準和音量都比較差。李斯特就經常彈爛琴，在演出時要預備一個後備琴。那麼鑄鐵是什麼呢？鑄鐵是含碳介乎2.1-4%，含硅1-3%的鐵合金。由於極度堅硬易碎，必須原件鑄造。我們不可鑄成後再改變其形狀，否則它會碎裂。他就如此的倔強，造就了一個弦架。
我估計那是因為鋼琴傳入中國時，正是鋼鐵大行其道之時，一些舶來品都很易冠上一個鋼字。問問鋼筆為什麼叫鋼筆吧；我們不是在十年前都爭著在尾部加上一個 “.com” 嗎？
共鳴板(Soundboard)是一塊又大又平呈淺黃色的雲杉木(Spruce)安裝在弦的底下。細心觀看可以看見一條條平行的木紋。平行的木紋是樹幹用 Quarter Sawing 造成。