I believe that one of the best ways of self-learning is through teaching. Nothing can be more rewarding than seeing the growth of students in a performance or the immediate difference they make during lessons.
Critical thinking is one of the keys to successful practice sessions.
Knowing the goal to achieve before practicing is extremely important.
Asking oneself why the problem/mistake occurs and how to solve it with different tools and strategies is crucial.
Keeping a weekly practice log can be very helpful.
Mental and visual practice as well as recording
are part of the practice ritual.
Piano-learning is a mentally intensive activity requiring much concentration. Nevertheless, keeping the learning environment alive and friendly is the door to successful learning/teaching. For young students, for example, doing fun activities such as music games, singing or task-based challenges not only increase the momentum to learn but also help develop their creativity.
It is strongly encouraged that over time, students start to develop their own musical and stylistic taste with the exposure to a variety of piano repertoire, recordings, writings and art forms. Eventually, it will be an interactive discussion between the teacher and student in taking the music to the direction that he/she envisions.
Effective teaching requires both the student and teacher to communicate, in addition to my recognizing each student’s potential and inherent strength in selecting suitable repertoire, adjusting the teaching approach according to the student’s personality. Equally important is the response and active participation from the student to fully digest and even question what is being told.
Kathy has worked with students of all ages, beginning to advanced—music and non-major majors alike—on piano, incorporating components in music theory, sight-reading and music history to help students understand, appreciate music better.