The Importance of Proper Technique
Many parents may have the same question: "Should I let my kids starting to learn the piano/other instruments casually and see if they have shown any interest in it OR wait until they've reached a certain grade and find a better qualified *professional piano/ instrumental teacher later on?" In this article, I will share with you my opinion on this phenomenon based on my years of experiences in piano teaching and adjudicating competitions.
In my experience, I have received many students who have already passed various grade piano exams with their previous piano tutor. Some of these students are even themselves working as a piano tutor and asked me to teach and prepare them for achieving the diploma level. Unfortunately, many of them have some common problems, which can be categorized into two areas: physical problems and musical problems playing the piano.
Let's focus on the physical problem first, as this is the most basic but Important thing in learning the piano.
These will also result as a barrier to block these students to progress to a higher level or some of them just give up playing the piano, when they didn't know how to solve this problem. Sometimes this physical problem might have appeared at the beginner/ junior level but the students just didn't notice the problem as no one told them.
One of the physical problem is the posture of hands and fingers while playing the piano. Do you or your kids have problems when playing fast music? Can they play those running note passage in a fast but EVEN tempo (speed), and have it sound clear (not slippery) as the music actually required? Have they ever struggled and thought maybe their fingers are not able to run that fast even after practicing that piece for a period of time?
Why can some play the running notes at a fast tempo but feel tension and tiredness with their fingers and hands during/ after practicing that running passage for a few times? All these problems are caused by the improper hand and finger posture.
Proper posture and hand positioning should be taught, when they first start learning the piano. However, as I said at the beginning of this article, many of the students do not get proper training (which in many cases, they thought they have had, with someone over qualifying there credentials) at the very beginning when they first start learning the piano. If they didn't notice or understand the importance of this, it will be a problem for them to move forward to a higher level. The worst case may cause injury to their fingers joints. Sadly, some of these students might stop learning piano because they think they are not "talented" even though they were very passionate and showed a lot of interest in playing the piano when they were young! For those who noticed they have problems and lucky enough to find a qualified teacher to correct them, it's a painful and sometimes a long process for them to correct their improper posture as they have already got used to this old posture for a long time.
Without starting to learn playing the piano in the correct manner, many kids will lose their interest in learning and playing the piano and may drop out and give up learning all together. So parents, please take this issue seriously. From my experience, many children are actually keen in learning music and playing the instruments. If they are not having proper guidance at the very beginning, it may kill their passion and musical talent! That all depends on your choice at the moment when you decide to let your kids to "try" learning the piano, and this applies to any instrument, not only piano when you are looking for the correct teacher.
I cant express enough how important it is to get the right posture and hand positioning form the beginning. It will make the greatest difference to them being an accomplished pianist right from the start.
*Note: Professional musician means those who studied music as their profession and majoring in a specific instrument at the recognized University's Music Schools or Music Conservatories around the world and achieving a Masters Degree.
Stephanie Fung Copyright © 2015