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I just want to write a quick note for all of you out there, who might be feeling a bit down or frustrated because you didn’t have the better result than you expected in your exam/concert/teaching/building your studio. Please read this:
You didn’t fail.
You tried your best (at that moment) and it wasn’t the result you wanted. (If you didn’t try your best then thats really your fault and you have no one to blame it for.)
You can try again.
But before you take that exam/performance/the next project, think about what went wrong.
Looking into yourself is very important, but most people don’t want to do it. Because it’s hard. It can be embarrassing to see why you made that mistake.
But you are only human.
What you can do now is to think how to move forward and be better next time around. And to reach that goal you need a much better planning this time.
Because most likely, what didn’t work last time will not work next time either. And if you are just going to do the same thing again, you are simply setting yourself up for error and mistake one more time. Who does that? Some people do. You don’t want to be one of them.
Now, get up and tell yourself, you are setting up for success this time. And you are going to do your best you know how for it – this requires very careful and detailed planning and execution of what your plan is.
Stick with your plan is very important, second to having a great plan. But even if you have a great plan, if you don’t do what you plan to do, nothing will work for you, so remember that.
Great reward comes from great effort with persistence and time. Nothing substantial is achieved within a very short period of time. Teaching and playing is building knowledge, that’s very similar to building wealth, no one can do it in one day or even a year. It’s constant work and struggle. I have had my fair share of work and struggle. I get frustrated myself sometimes. But every time I get beat up by life and I get back up faster and faster. Because I know deep inside me there’s no point wasting more time on anything even slightly negative and unproductive, that is not contributing to my growth and success.
So here I encourage you to just step back, relax, take a deep breath, and get back up on your feet. I know you can do this and you have that power within you to make this work.
I get a lot of enquiries about playing by memory. Here are a few useful tips:
1. Mark out the sections and phrases
It’s important to know where a section / a phrase starts and ends – this practice is not only important for memorisation but also in practice and knowing the music more deeply and securely
2. Repeat in small doses
It’s a very useful tool to memorise a piece in small doses first especially if you are new to the practice. Start with one phrase and then two, gradually working up to a whole section. Then work on two sections and more eventually leading up to the whole movement/piece.
Repeat each phrase 5-10 times. Then two phrases 5-10 times. Then three phrases 5-10 times and so on.
It’s also great to try starting in the middle of a piece – a lot of times when performers have a slip of memory it’s never at the beginning of a piece or not even the beginning of a section/phrase. I encourage my students to start playing /memorising in the middle of the music to see if they can start and continue from there – I call them “safety stops”. It’s like taking a train: it starts and ends at big terminals, but it also travels through and pauses by many small stations / stops in between the whole journey to pick up and drop off passengers. So throughout the whole music journey (the music piece you are playing and memorising), you also need some musical stops to know where you are at currently. It helps you keep track of where you have been, where you are at, and where you are going, until the end.
For me I even memorised from the end back to the beginning just to test my memory of the piece. Most important of all, try to be creative about your memorisation process and think/practice outside of the box – remember, there is no one way to do it right for you, and often, those “weird” ways of doing one thing are THE ways to get you closer and faster towards your goal!
Until next time,
We are now introducing new online courses and taking enrolment until the spaces are all filled.
Here are the courses and short description:
Course 1. How to prepare your students for diploma exams successfully
General criteria of exam requirement and repertoire choice
How to choose pieces for your students
Examples of repertoire choice and general background of genre/pieces
Viva voce questions and preparation
More on viva voce and programme notes
Student project presentation: examples of repertoire choices and viva voce questions
(Class 4/5 are subject to change if most of the teacher students are more inclined to prepare students for Trinity exams instead of ABRSM exams)
Course 2. How to improve your students’ technique
Piano playing and body utilization
Concept of Body weight and weight transfer
Application of body weight and weight transfer
Relation of body weight and weight transfer to arm/hand/finger movement
More elaboration on class 2 concepts
More on weight training and piano technique
Application and examples of different techniques
Student Project presentation: application of techniques with chosen music examples
Course 3. How to analyze and interpret advanced repertoire
General background of musical periods
General development of piano/keyboard instruments
Main genres and their characteristics of keyboard repertoire (Baroque and Classical)
Music examples: form, structure and analysis
Main genres and their characteristics of keyboard repertoire (Classical and Romantic)
Music examples: form, structure and analysis
More on genres and examples of keyboard repertoire
More on background and analysis of keyboard repertoire
Performance practice of each musical period in relation to the development and repertoire of the keyboard instrument
How to analyze and prepare a piece for performance and exam
Student Project presentation: application of knowledge learnt in the course with chosen piece of your own
Total Course time
Each class duration
1 hour in total: 45 minutes’ lecture + 15 minutes’ Q & A session
Total fee per course
Original course fee: $3000
Special course fee for early bird enrolment: $2500
Deadline for early bird enrolment: September 8, 2017
Deadline for all enrolment: September 20, 2017
Commencement of courses (Class 1):
Course 1: September 22 Friday 11am
Course 2: September 21 Thursday 10am
Course 3: September 21 Thursday 11am
Note: We might have more course times if there are more students than open spaces in any of the courses and if students are unavailable at the schedule given above. Contact us directly to request more schedule details.
Pay via PayPal or bank transfer to our HSBC account. (Details will be given after your enrolment – 100% confirmation of your enrolment will be completed after we have received your payment)
We are also organizing a new course to train new teachers to teach Miss Wong’s piano technique method, so that you can train your students to become a more accomplished performer with avid interest in learning music and playing the piano with confidence, control and dexterity! Stay tuned for this course.
You know, sometimes when I write, I get really worked up.
You know why? Because I care.
I care about how people teach, and how people learn.
Because I had “teachers” who screwed me up, never taught me anything, implied that I was bad at playing, trashed my confidence, without a care. And I vowed to myself I never would do that to my students, or hir any teachers who would do that to their students.
But I also had some wonderful Teachers who are great at what they do, who are good at their craft not only in playing but also more importantly in teaching. Those are great human beings who have inspired me to do the same for my students, every single day I teach and run my piano school.
So yes I might sound mean sometimes in my post, I am very straightforward and blunt about how I think and feel. And I think my readers would appreciate my honesty here.
Now, back to the main topic (which I always get derailed from for five paragraphs right from the start).
So, I want our students to enjoy playing the piano, and I also want you, my readers, who might not be our students (per se), to enjoy learning music and playing the piano. Why?
Because playing the piano is not a torture. It’s not a punishment. And for sure it’s not boring.
Certainly, it’s HARD sometimes. And sometimes it feels like HELL when you can’t get this one passage or a scale or a sight-reading exercise (gasp!! just think about that emoji that looks like “The Scream” by Edvard Munch) right. That can be a pain for a while. But that’s called struggle, and that’s how we learn and progress after we have managed that struggle.
So, I hope you have learnt something from me so far in the past seven and a half years on this blog – I know it’s hard to find it now as it’s sort of embedded in this complicated website of mine/my school. Anyone find it hard to find my articles on this site please let me know, I might separate this blog back to stand on its own if that helps. What I want to do here is to help you get better and enjoy more in your music/piano journey.
And forgive me if I have not been perfect – because I never said so. I might have made mistakes here and there and didn’t write all so eloquently at times because I was mad/confused/hurt/pained/wronged or whatever, but my intentions will always stay true.
Much blessings to all of you and happy playing,
P.S. Hey, I have a new scales video (series) coming out, check out the first one here!
I know I have written something rather harsh recently, and some readers might feel offended (“look at what she wrote! So negative and mean!”). To that, I am not apologizing at all. I write what I think and I know those who have been reading my blog in the last few years know that; I know they are here to learn and want to become better; and they also know I am not here to kiss anyone’s bottom.
So today, I want to talk about why I wrote that and point out there are reasons why people complain why things don’t work out the way they want them to be. And therefore if you want to learn something new and completely life transforming today, here’s your chance.
I want to bring you – teachers and students and parents – whatever your role is – to your attention why you haven’t gotten what you’ve always wanted, be it the right students /teachers/results.
The reason is : you haven’t tried hard enough.
“What? That’s it? Don’t you know how hard I have tried all these years with time, effort and money? Are you kidding me?”
One thing you have never tried enough is to change your mindset drastically and stick with it.
What do I mean?
You think, whenever you can’t teach well, it is because you don’t have the right student or right tool or right education or right area, or even worse, you don’t believe you can do it.
You think, whenever you can’t play well, it is because you don’t have the right teacher or right piano or right environment or right schedule or right time to have lessons/practice or even start learning, or even worse, you think you have no talent and you don’t believe you can ever play better even you try.
But really, have you tried? Have you gone 100% all the way to believe you can and do something about your teacher/student/lesson/practice situation? If not, for sure you would never get what you want.
Also, you have to really suck it up even when you feel down or frustrated or depressed and upset or painful or lazy or whatever negative emotions that come to you. Don’t let them stop you and derail you from where you want to reach. If you do, success would never happen to you as well. And please keep sulking and get upset with what I just tell you too so you can stop working towards what you want to reach.
And oh, those people who tell you you can’t make it or can’t change or laugh at what you are trying to do? If you want to succeed, stop listening to them. But hey, if you want to take a longer route to success and complain about why they say what to sabotage you, then listen to them so that you can fail at getting what you want.
You need to believe that you can make it happen, whatever it is. The future is in your hands.
So, whatever it is you want to change, YOU are the one who is responsible.
It’s not your teacher or your student or your parent or your child’s teacher.
You can change all that (except who your parents/children are).
If you think your (child’s) teacher is not the right teacher for you, find another teacher.
If you think your student is not the right student for you, finds other student.
I do encourage you to talk with your teacher/student about the issues you might have if you feel it’s about communication. Being sincere and open about the problems is a key step to better teaching and learning.
If you think you don’t know how to teach better, that’s okay, just find a way to learn to be better. Go take a course or even just read and listen more online. Talk with other teachers and ask those who know how and where to get the resources. Learn from better teachers. That’s how we learn. Great teachers are always learning. That’s how they become good and better.
Don’t feel like you are stuck when you can’t solve your teaching situation or playing problem or practice issue. There is always another way to do it.
The point is, have you tried hard enough to change it?
You are the only one who can make it happen for you.
So if you want to succeed, you have to change your mindset and do things differently from now on. And trust yourself, you have the power and ability to do this, because you really can.
Trust. Focus. Believe. And keep moving forward, one small step at a time.
Do you want to play scales faster? Do you have a problem with arpeggios? Are you preparing for your graded exam in April/May? Do you want some advice for your ATCL/DipABRSM exam preparation?
Now it’s the time to contact me!
I offer a one-off consultation session for any non-students of mine. So whether you are piano students preparing for your graded exam, or improve your basic piano skills, or you are piano teachers helping your students to be successful in their exams, I welcome you.
This service can be provided in person at my studio or via skype.
Contact me at email@example.com for scheduling and more details.
We are introducing new short intensive courses this year:
*Piano teacher training
Whole course duration: 10 classes
Format: group courses, 3-6 people
Original Fee: $3600.
New student special price: $3400.
*Piano teacher training ($6000 whole course 10 weeks)
**sight reading + ear training ($4600 whole course, special: $4400)
*1030-1145am piano teacher training level I (Teresa Wong)
*12-1245pm fundamental sight reading training (Teresa Wong)
*1-145pm fundamental ear training (Teresa Wong)
*715-830pm sight reading + ear training (Teresa Wong)
4-445pm fundamental sight reading training (Teresa Wong)
445-530pm fundamental ear training (Teresa Wong)
4-450pm sight reading for kids (Carol Yip)
5-550pm ear training for kids (Carol Yip)
6-650pm church pianist training (Carol Yip)
Contact us today at firstname.lastname@example.org for registration and questions!