Articles at Singapore Piano Lessons

Read more about learning the piano and music appreciation in the articles that we have put together.

How to motivate your child to learn Piano

Parents can play a large part in maintaining student motivation by showing an interest in attending lessons and student recitals, monitoring practice instructions each week and seeing this is done regularly. They can buy recordings for their children to listen to, talk them to concerts and recitals and above all give regular praise and encouragement to their children.

Parents can offer treats to their children as incentives for quality practice. These may be to watch television, going to the pictures or buying something that the child has been asking for.

Good Piano Teachers should maintain a high level of enthusiasm for teaching. It is important to keep up to date with the latest teaching trends by attending workshops and conferences such as this: exchanging ideas and seeking advice from colleagues. Also important are attending concerts, reading music teaching journals and keeping up the performance standard.

Goal setting is an important motivating tool. Long term goals such as recitals, competitions and exams are well known incentives for conscientious students. Short term goals are just as important. Students need to be show how to set and how to achieve short term goals for themselves.

Piano Teachers should keep a certain amount of pressure on students making sure they are working to their full potential. Students will usually rise to the challenge, provided they know you have faith in their abilities.

Position at the Piano

A good playing position during piano lessons often solves other apparent technical or physical problems. Here are some suggestions to help achieve playing readiness:

1) Adjust the bench to the proper height, keeping wrists and forearms parallel with the floor.

2) Sit the proper distance from the keyboard, leaving upper arms hanging from the shoulders with forearms a comfortable distance from the body.

3) Maintain proper posture, sitting tall with shoulders dropped and relaxed, back straight, leaning slightly into the keys.

4) Balance weight, dividing it between the bench and the feet.

To develop flexibility in playing, try exercises and pieces that require moving over a wide range of the keyboard, from low position to high and back- hands separately, alternating hands, and hands together. In all such music, the emphasis should be on moving to each new position directly, yet freely and gracefully; moving the hand and arm freely behind the finger that is playing; expressing the shape of each phrase with a loose wrist and elbow, supported by a good playing position.

Why Piano Lessons?

Proven: Learning the Piano can improve your child's brain functions.

IRVINE, Calif., Feb. 28, 1997 -- A research team exploring the link between music and intelligence reports that music training -- specifically piano instruction -- is far superior to computer instruction in dramatically enhancing children's abstract reasoning skills necessary for learning math and science.

The new findings, published in the February 1997 issue of Neurological Research, are the result of a two-year experiment with preschoolers, led by psychologist Dr. Frances Rauscher of the University of Wisconsin at Oshkosh and physicist Dr. Gordon Shaw of the University of California at Irvine. As a follow-up to their groundbreaking studies indicating how music can enhance spatial-reasoning ability, the researchers set out to compare the effects of musical and non-musical training on intellectual development.

The experiment included three groups of preschoolers: one group received private keyboard / piano lessons and singing lessons; a second group received private computer lessons; and a third group received no training. Those children who received piano/keyboard training performed 34% higher on tests measuring spatial-temporal ability than the others. These findings indicate that music uniquely enhances higher brain functions required for mathematics, chess, science and engineering.

The implications of this and future studies can change the way educators view the core school curricula, particularly since music-making nurtures the intellect and produces long-term improvements. "It has been clearly documented that young students have difficulty understanding the concepts of proportion (heavily used in math and science) and that no successful program has been developed to teach these concepts in the school system," stated Dr. Rauscher. "The high proportion of children who evidenced dramatic improvement in spatial-temporal reasoning as a result of music training should be of great interest to scientists and educators," added Dr. Shaw.

Results Reinforce Causal Link Between Music and Intelligence

The research is based on some remarkable studies that have recently begun pouring out of neuroscience laboratories throughout the country. These studies show that early experiences determine which brain cells (neurons) will connect with other brain cells, and which ones will die away. Because neural connections are responsible for all types of intelligence, a child's brain develops to its full potential only with exposure to the necessary enriching experiences in early childhood. What Drs. Rauscher and Shaw have emphasized has been the causal relationship between early music training and the development of the neural circuitry that governs spatial intelligence. Their studies indicate that music training generates the neural connections used for abstract reasoning, including those necessary for understanding mathematical concepts.

Specifically, earlier studies led by Drs. Rauscher and Shaw reported a causal relationship between music training and spatial-temporal ability enhancement in preschoolers (1994), and among college students who simply listened to a Mozart sonata (1993, 1995). References to these and other findings related to music research conducted worldwide are available at the Music and Science Information Computer Archive (MuSICA) at the University of California, Irvine.

How to Choose a Good Piano Teacher

What parents and students should look for when choosing a private piano teacher.

You already understand that there is a direct effect with learning piano and the development of your child’s intellectual capability. You are now at the stage of embarking on learning the piano, or wanting your child to start having piano lessons. How do you go about choosing a good piano teacher?

Good piano teachers should be:

1) Patient and Encouraging
Especially when working with children, patience and strong encouragement are critical qualities needed in a teacher. Children typically have short attention spans and believe that everything is quickly achievable. Frustration quickly seeps in when they realize that keeping a tune or getting the right note is not so easy after all. These are the times when the teacher must be able to make the piano lesson fun and engaging.

2) Showing Passion
There is a saying that passion is not taught, it is caught. A good piano teacher would be able to express the language behind the music, the life and the rhythms behind the sounds. A teacher does not have to be highly certified to exude the love for music and piano playing. A child that is exposed to such passion during the formative years will continue to maintain the learning journey for the instrument.

3) Firm but fair
Those of us that have been through piano practice during childhood would have fudged a little during the week. An experienced teacher would be able to spot between the lack of practice and the practicing of a mistake. It is as important to address the lack of practice in a firm way as it is to encourage the efforts in building the required dexterity.

4) Certifications
In the Singapore context, examinations and qualifications are the common ways of marking the level of achievement. A teacher that has gone through the paces of music certifications would better understand what is needed by the examination board. Beginners can still succeed with a teacher having a Grade Seven certification. For students of higher grades, Grade Eight should be the minimum requirement of the teacher. For students learning piano for recreational development, qualifications take a back seat to passion and expressiveness of the teacher.

The appreciation of music and the learning of the piano is a rewarding process that sometimes has its tough paces of practice and repetition. A good teacher will be able to bring that out in the child learner’s skills and capabilities. There will be a few situations where there is simply personality mismatch between the teacher and the student. This should be obvious within the first two months of piano lesson and should be addressed before the interest for the instrument is affected.

Tips For Preparing For Your Piano Exam

Whether you are a new piano player or a full-time professional, exams for piano lessons singapore can be a strenuous and often daunting task. Each exam has its separate challenges. However, if you prepare for your exams correctly, it could mean the difference between passing and failing.

This is an example for a student sitting for a Grade Six piano exam.

Three months before the exam

At this time you should be doing approximately one hour's worth of practice a day, five days a week. In your selected pieces you should be able to at least press all of the right notes. This is the time to start developing your pieces from a series of notes to a piano masterpiece. Concentrate on things like expression, dynamics and tempo. Put some feelings and emotion into your pieces.

You should also profusely study all of your theory and scales. Too often scales and theory are neglected at this time and are only revised about a fortnight before the exam. This is a terrible mistake! Remember the more you study now, the more you will retain this information, thus having a better chance of recalling the required knowledge during your exam.

One month before the exam

It is time to up the anti a bit. You should be spending one and a half to two hours practicing a day, six days a week. This is the time to smooth out all of the minor flaws in your pieces of music. Practice things like getting that tricky triplet sounding fluent and making sure you hit the F sharp with your fourth finger rather than the fifth. These issues might seem minor, but it will help you immensely with your exam.

Practice without the sheet music in front of you and see how well you go. During your exam if you rely too heavily on your score, I can guarantee you will stuff up. Learn your music off by heart.

Also, make sure that your exam becomes your number one priority. Do not be distracted by other issues in your life. Do not become distracted by relationship, financial or other issues that might divert your attention from your exam. You will become stressed and worn out, and you will not perform at your potential.

One week before the exam

Now is the time to just practice, practice, practice! I would recommend doing between two to three hours per day by now. You should have all of the knowledge required for the exam. It is simply a matter of revising it for your exam.

Whilst we are working and studying hard, we have to remain relaxed. Put it into perspective; it is only an exam. There is no need to worry about it 24/7.

1 day before the exam

Most people on the night before an exam practice for 5-6 hours, studying until some ungodly hour in the morning. This is a big no-no! At maximum you should only play through your pieces once. What I like to do is pretend I am actually sitting for the exam. So I would do my scales first, then my pieces in order, and then do some sight reading.

Don't try to do any last minute revision for your exam. Chances are that you will only put unneeded pressure on yourself and more importantly you will only have a small chance to remember it for your exam. Do not get distracted by other things in your life. Your piano exam is tomorrow - everything else can wait another day.

Relax! It is essential that you get a good night's sleep. I would recommend that you get 8 to 10 hours solid sleep if you can afford the luxury.

Morning before the exam

Do not do any work, whether it is piano related or not. Do something fun that doesn't require a lot of brain power. Watch a movie. Kick a soccer ball. Do whatever that suits you.

Try to eat a healthy breakfast. However, if you suffer from butterflies in the stomach, which I suffer from immensely, don't try to force anything down. It will only comes straight back up! (Trust me!)

I will say it again, RELAX! Try not to think about your exam. Don't try to think about your theory, scales, pieces, fingering etc. etc. Don't think about what you have and haven't done for your exam. This is only going to get you all frazzled and this will seriously hinder your exam.

30 minutes before the exam

By now you should be at the venue where your exam is being held. Do some ultra-light revision. Look through your music sheets and visualize yourself playing it as you read the notes. Play some 'air-piano.' Test yourself with a couple of theory questions.

Do not under any circumstances talk to other people about the exam. Do not ask each other theory questions. Do not discuss your pieces. Do not talk about previous exams or examiners. This is nothing more than an unwanted hindrance. Take a few deep breaths, relax and focus on your exam.

5 minutes before the exam

Close the books for a moment. Take three deep breaths and focus. Think to yourself that this is just like any other piano practice session. Go into the exam with positive thoughts. Whether you have prepared yourself for the exam as I have discussed above or not, it does not matter now. All you can do now is concentrate on the upcoming task of your exam.

During the exam

Two things will be happening to you about now. Firstly, you think you are doing well. Great! Ride on this wave of euphoria until the end of the exam. But you must not slack off! You still have a couple of pieces or a couple of scales or some theory to do. You must concentrate until the end of the exam. A lot can happen between now and then.

The second thing that could be happening to you during your piano exam is that you think you are performing badly. Forget about it! It doesn't matter what has happened. You still have the rest of the exam to impress the examiner. A lot can change between now and the end of the exam.

Another point worth thinking about is just because you think that you have done a bad job, doesn't mean that the examiner knows you've done a bad job. He/She will not pick up every single mistake you make. Just forget what has happened, clear your mind and start again with your next task. Think about what is going to happen, not what has just happened.

After the exam

Congratulations! You have completed your exam! You can now breathe a huge sigh of relief! It's finally over!

Carefully analyse your exam. What did you do well? What do you do badly? What could you have done to improve? Make notes so you can use them as a reference for future exams.

Be careful not to be too confident with your exam. You might be disappointed when you see your results. Conversely, do not be too negative with your exam and think that you have done badly. More often than not you will get a nice surprise!

Receiving the results

After waiting one to two weeks for your results to come back, you would be naturally excited, or at least inquisitive to see your results. Have you done well and/or better than you expected? Have you done worse than you have thought? Either way, read your examiner's comments at least three times. See what they liked about your piano examination and what they didn't. No matter how well you did, you can always improve! Next year's exams are guaranteed to be harder than this year.

Take the assessor's comments on board, but also take your own thoughts on board. Was your preparation leading up to the exam as good as it could have been? Nine times out of ten, if you have done badly you generally know why. Think about why you did badly and improve! Learn from your mistakes. Do not get depressed! It is not the end of the world. There is always next year.

  • 1
  • 2

Looking for a piano Teacher?

Singapore Piano Lessons is Singapore’s leading piano Teacher & Student Matching Service. We are confident that we can find you a suitable piano Teacher of your choice from our huge piano teachers database within 24 hours.

Free Matching Services

We offer free matching service for students. There is no registration fee for both student and teachers. Teachers only pay for successful student assigned.

Trained & Experienced Teachers

Our teachers are all qualified teachers who are well-versed in both the ABRSM and Trinity Guildhall Syllabus. Contact us now to prepare your child for the examinations!