Tag: piano performance

Do you want to teach music?

“You should give up now – it doesn’t pay well.”

“You should get a real job.”

“You can’t make money being a musician/music teacher.”

“You should just get a teaching job at school or a government job.”

“You can’t make stable income teaching (enter any music instrument name).”

“You should study something else than music.”

 

Have you heard these questions – or insult – before?

I have, many times, directed towards me or towards my teaching staff and music friends.

At one point I thought that’s not working for me either. So I thought of doing something else or doing it differently. But I always came back to it.

I don’t give up easily. When I want something, I make it happen.

So I started playing piano, I studied abroad in piano performance, I worked as a pianist, I taught piano, I started my piano studio, and then piano school. I wrote books about piano teaching and playing. I consulted piano performers and piano teachers and music teaching studio owners online. I ran an online music teacher training platform, etc., etc. The list was endless.

And I made money teaching music and piano while enjoying my work. I love teaching, I have immense passion in helping people, I do.

When I get exciting and joyful feedback from piano students/parents/piano teachers about how much they’ve enjoyed my lessons/courses and how I’ve changed their lives for the better, I become so touched sometimes I would even cry with joy.

But hey, this is not about me, this is about YOU.

Being successful in music teaching requires hard work, in some ways more than having a regular job. Especially when you are teaching freelance or on your own. You don’t have the benefits that most people do: you don’t have the paid holidays, the health benefits, the regular time off (because you perform/teach piano on weekends/holidays). People think it’s so great to have your own work! Yes but they don’t see how hard it is for you to maintain your own students, plan your own work schedule, annual student concerts, piano exams, competitions, lessons, fees, parents, the list goes on and on. Wait, did I say no paid holidays so every time you take a vacation you cringe on how much money you didn’t earn on your trip to Japan/Thailand/Italy? And you can never take the same days off to hang out with your family and friends who have a regular job schedule? Heck, you sometimes even forget it’s public holiday because you are working on that day! And if the weather’s bad and everyone gets to stay in and cheer for the extra time off, you are upset because you don’t get to work and get paid?

Ok, that may have gone a bit too far and too much details – I personally had thought about all of the above and that’s why I can write them out easily in one minute.

But still, I love teaching, whether I am teaching piano students or piano teachers or other music instrument teachers. I simply love sharing knowledge and helping others, from teaching piano students how to play better, to teaching piano teachers how to teach better, then to teaching other music instrument teachers on how to build their music teaching career. It is important for the piano students and piano teachers and other music instrument teachers know how they too can be successful in their piano playing and piano/violin/flute/cello/erhu/singing/guitar teaching.  

When I teach a piano student, I influence one person (and perhaps a little on the family too). But when I teach a piano teacher or double bass teacher, I influence someone who can influence many students of their own. I really like the idea of that.

So if you are out there still thinking about my training program “How to Build a Successful Music Teaching Studio”, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me today. I am giving away a very special offer with some freebies on my online training program. Contact me now and get the gifts already!

Teresa Wong

(中文) 网上钢琴课程

Sorry, this entry is only available in 中文.

鋼琴彈奏的基本原則

September 19, 2011

很多年前我已經閱讀了這本書的原裝版本。最近有天,我在音樂商店購買樂譜時看到了這書的中文翻譯版。我認為這翻譯版會是一個很好的參考,給我看看如何為自己的書翻譯和可供借給學生閱讀之用。這本書再次証明,好書不必厚。它可以是簡短而精確。而且,好書是我多年前已經閱讀過,但再次閱讀時,也再次感覺到書中的真理。就像這本書,幾乎每一句話它是金句。還有,我發現作者所寫的,跟我平時每日和學生所說的,幾乎是一模一樣的。

以下節錄自Joseph Lhevinne, 「鋼琴彈奏的基本原則」 (Basic Principles in Pianoforte Playing)

音階 (Scales)
音階最大的實際價值,在訓練指法,使演奏者能在各種音階上自動地運用最好的指法。那麼,將來就能節省許多學習上的時間,而且對視奏 Sightreading 也有幫忙,這是因為手指能自動地選取適當的指法。你的音階可能會練得太少,但卻絕不嫌練得太多,請把這一點認為當然的事。

休止符 (Rests)
對休止符漠不關心,是粗率訓練的表徵之一。休止符與音符同等重要​。音樂是描繪在寂靜畫布上的畫。 莫扎特常說: 「在音樂中最富有感動力的是寂靜。」可是,學生並不懂得寂靜在藝​術上的價值。名演奏家之能以音樂來感動聽眾,是因為他們懂得休止​符的重要性。休止符的效果,常超越音符的效果,因為它能撥動心弦​,培養情緒,而具有極強烈的戲劇效果。

練耳 (Ear-Training)
練耳也是非常重要的。大部份的學生能聽 (hear), 可是卻不會傾聽 (listen) 。這些學會了怎樣傾聽的人,才是最好的學生。這已成教高級學生學的公理。對和聲的感覺,不能明確地傳授。不能辨別共同和弦和七度和弦的學生,就像不懂一個拉丁字的學生,想要了解一頁威吉爾Virgil的朗誦詩,是無法進入更高的音樂境界的。

觸鍵 (Touch)
當手掌下降觸鍵時,手指是作正常的彎曲,不是舉得直直的。手指觸在鍵面時,要感覺像緊握琴鍵似的,而不是打或敲。這個感覺是大不相同。對鍵一直要有有一種握住的感覺,而不僅只做交代似地敲一下就算了。 不要把鍵面比喻成桌面。這個觀念是完全錯誤的。

當手掌下降時,以指尖面積較大的肉墊,盡量合宜地去啣接琴鍵。手腕要很輕,使自然地沉到鍵盤的水平線下。細心地體會在你手上的感覺。音色是由手掌往下搖擺時所發生的。在往下的過程中, 是沒有一點,沒有一處,也沒有一時是停頓的。

有很多自稱會演奏的人,不在乎是怎樣彈的,竟把鋼琴當成鐵砧,猛敲着音樂的馬蹄鐵。

音色 (Tone)
當然清脆的觸鍵,與流暢如歌的音色有時是同樣必要的。在鋼琴上,華麗與「美聲唱法」bel canto 同樣重要。然而,它們都有一個共同的原理,就是要把琴鍵「彈到底」。 許多學生卻不了解這一點。為了要彈出一個美好的音色,琴鍵一定要按到底。習慣只敲至一半的學生,才會產生平淡無味的彈奏。而且有很多學生自己不知道是這樣彈的。這個習慣很快會導致別的問題。甚至在彈奏中會產生猶豫,和失去把握似的感覺。而這是絕對非藝術性的。彈奏的人,對自己似乎毫無把握。

練習 (Practice)
在練琴中,應該避免憂慮,或在任何事上分心。你的心一定要每分鐘都在練習上,不然你練琴的重要性就減低了。要有非常的專心,和聚精會神地,熱衷於所做的工作,那麼半小時內的收穫,就會比毫無目的地練習一小時還要多。如果心不在焉,就等於沒有練習。

對於那些覺得以上節錄有用的讀者,我建議他們去購買這本書,把它從頭到尾閱讀幾次,因為整本書其實是非常有用的。

黃穎妍 Teresa Wong