23 January 2013

I Am an Example

I encourage all my piano students to learn to play by ear.  Well, I guess I encourage them.  They might say that I require it of them, like it or not.  It works like this:

I play part of a melody twice, and they try to repeat it exactly.  I'm not strict, though, and I usually play it for them as many times as they need me to so that they can learn and memorize the melody.  Once I have given them several sections, we string them all together to make a larger section.  We do this until they have learned an entire  hymn melody by ear.

Then I work with them on the bass line.  I have them learn it the same way as the melody, and when they have a section, we put it together with the melody.  I follow this with the alto, and then the tenor.

But over the last few days I've noticed something.  Right now, since most of them are new at this type of ear training, all but one get to watch my hands on the keyboard as well as listen to the notes.  Most of the time, they focus in on the notes themselves, and do not at all imitate my fingering.

But today, when I was using crazy fingering so my student could see which notes I was highlighting?

My crazy fingering got imitated, too.

I need to remember I'm always an example.  Of something good, or something not so good.  And in the case of fingering, something helpful, or something that will cause my student problems in the future AND in the learning process.

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