Lesson from Francis Clark

Dear Parents:

I know that one of my weaknesses in lessons is sometimes to rush through things. I do try hard to slow down and make sure the student understands what I am saying, but, especially with 30 minute lessons, I am always aware of how quickly the time moves along, and I want to get to everything I planned on covering.

I recently came across this quote from a famous, well-respected teacher (who has an entire institute of music education named for her).

“Teach the student first, the music second, and the piano third.”  –Francis Clark

This has really reinforced things I already know, but don’t always keep in the forefront.

The list of things that students learn in music lessons is long, and it is full of life lessons. (This list is from the Frances Clark Center for Keyboard Pedagogy.)

Physics
Frequency
Creativity
Acoustics
Proportion
Morale
Science
Biology
Self-Esteem
Collaboration
Problem Solving
Patience
History
Therapy
Cultural Awareness
Coordination
Efficacy
Discipline
Technology
Aesthetics
Language
Performance
Community
Practice (benefits of)
Socialization
Assessment
Goal Setting
Communication
Velocity
Mathematics
Physiology
Philosophy
Inspiration
Neuroscience
Delayed Gratification

Teachers know that not every student is going to become a highly skilled pianist. But we know that every week students learn something about music, about piano playing, and about life. I try to incorporate as many different kinds of learning as possible in lessons, but I know that I can do better. My goal is for every student to become a good pianist, a dedicated music lover, and a smarter, more capable person. The reminder from Francis Clark will help me.


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