Learning new notes blues

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I have a student who has only been taking lessons for about 6 months. He mastered the middle C notes and the basic five finger C position, but when I tried to teach him the five finger G position, he just can't get it. I have tried to name the notes, do flash cards, work extensively on his pieces, I've even spent the whole lesson time reviewing the notes. He seems to get it and plays well, but when he comes back the next week, he messes up the notes again. I can tell him the name,and he finds it, he just can't read them off the piece. How do I go about helping him learn the notes? I fear when we start to learn more notes and harder keys he will simply give up. Sometimes he refuses to learn when he's messed up a lot and I've had to help him through. Plus he doesn't like getting the same song twice, but how else will he learn? I can't pass him off if he doesn't get it right. What can I do?

-- Ariane Nielson (annabutterfly@juno.com), September 08, 2004


Learning is like a stream of water that you need to get from point A to point B. In between these two points are obstacles, and if you try to force the water to go in a straight line, it might be unable to go that way!

It sounds to me that what you're trying to teach him is too dry for his tastes, but I could be wrong. It's called "playing" the piano, and if he doesn't feel like he's playing anymore, he might be losing interest. No interest = no learning. From his perspective, perhaps he feels he's done this hand position thing once and that's enough, and it's time for something more interesting. Whatever the case, you must find where the water wants to flow, and let it get to point B in its own time.

Sorry for the metaphors, but it seems to apply in this case.

-- Steve Brown (scb3838@hotmail.com), October 01, 2004.

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