My Teaching Philosophy

  Thursday, April 7, 2022 by Maffrine LaConte | Pedagogy

I teach students to:  

  • Produce beautiful tone and sound colors by using the different touches on the piano keys
  • Play piano with using their bigger muscle (arms) to produce tone without finger isolation 
  • Play without tension by having a natural posture and hand shape at the piano and proper transfer of weight
  • Play with firm fingertips, flexible wrists, and aligned hand-arm position to help them develop speed and clarity 
  • Read notation, not note by note, but intervallic, so that they recognize intervals quickly and read music fast 
  • Play by rote so that they can play and experience impressive sounding music before they can read it
  • Chant and move to rhythm so that they play music with flow and understanding of strong and weak pulse
  • Sing the music before playing so that they are able to think musical phrases in their mind first
  • Sing solfege so that they can think music in their mind with understanding and therefore able to transpose music to any keys
  • Improvise at the piano to develop freedom, creativity, and confidence at the instrument
  • Play expressively by helping them to think imaginatively about the music they communicate
  • Know theory of music in its context so that they may develop a deeper appreciation and understanding of the music they play
  • See the beauty and logic of a composition by analyzing its harmony, progression, form and structure
  • Practice efficiently and intentionally by giving them an outline of daily practice goals

Benefits of Group Piano

Thursday, April 7, 2022 by Maffrine LaConte | Pedagogy

  • Students learn from both their peers and their teacher
  • Provides limitless performance opportunities
  • Develops performance confidence and poise
  • Exposes students to a wide variety of repertoire
  • Encourages the development of critical listening skills as students listen to other students perform and then provide comments following the performance
  • Challenges students to develop communication and social skills
  • Aids in the development of problem-solving skills
  • Encourages students to make transfers of concepts and principles
  • Provides a dynamic and motivational learning environment
  • Facilitates productive, positive competition
  • Provides a prime environment in which to teach functional musicianship skills such as harmonization, transposition, sight-reading, improvisation, etc
  • Provides a motivational environment in which creative games and exercises may be used to teach and drill concepts
  • Has the potential to sustain student attention through captivating group activities, in turn permitting a longer lesson length
  • Encourages the development of a strong rhythmic sense through group eurhythmic (rhythmic movement)  activities
  • Provides a natural environment for the study and performance of piano ensembles (duets, trios, quartets, accompaniments)
  • Is a prime location in  which to study technique
  • Encourages the development of musical interpretation
  • An efficient and effective means for the presentation of materials for the teacher
  • Facilitates supervised practice opportunities

Excerpt from Teaching Piano in Groups

by Dr. Christopher Fisher, 

Director, Ohio University School of Music