I strongly believe in these three philosophy points when it comes to educating next generation in reading music and enjoying their journey in piano:
1. Less is more
I believe that I should set the learning stage and then leave abundance space for students’ creativity. Music page under my tutelage is not clutter with fingering and music alphabets ABCDEFG. Students supposed to learn how to read music itself rather than relying on teacher’s marking and original music notation is all they need. Anything extra is taking away the ability of the students to learn. From lesson #1, I tell parents not to label ABCDEFG on the piano keys at home!! It will result delay in learning! I help students think through by asking the right questions so that they arrive at the solution, without feeding them the answer or jumping in to give instruction. I give room for students to make mistake because every mistake is a learning opportunity. If I do 80% for students, they will only have the 20% chances of learning and I will hinder their chances of becoming an independent and savvy musician.
2. Ordinary is more important than extraordinary
I praise student’s patience, not their musical ability or ambition. I help students to find the wonder and the marvel of an ordinary piano lessons and piano practices at home. I show them the joy of tasting Scales, Mozart and Duets! I make the ordinary come alive for them so that the extraordinary will take care of itself. I strongly insisted that I lay strong foundation, teach to understanding instead of rote memorization and “copy-me-method”. I avoid telling students what I expect. Instead, I guide them to stage their own achievable goals. In another word, if students truly enjoy their piano lessons and practice at home, then I do not need to worry about their achievement in piano. For sure they will score A’s in the piano test and recital! Sometimes it's best to focus on the path, not the destination. That is why it is about the journey!!
3. Balance is everything
I believe that there should be a balance between students’ and teacher’s choices in repertoire; balance between learning demanding scales for piano test and fun upbeat duet for recital; balance between doing theory homework and playing repertoire up to speed. There are so many topics such as music history, technique, music theory, sight-reading, ensembles, ear training, repertoire, it is impossible to fit all topics in one 30-minute or 40-minute lesson! That is why I use the “Rotation System” when it comes to the weekly assignment. The Rotation System will ensure that each topic will be covered in a balance way!