When a person starts a new project, he or she normally has some objectives in mind. A timetable. A preferred course of action. A deadline for completion. A predictable outcome.Learn more by visiting Mandeville Piano Lessons Association
When a person decides to learn to play the piano, it is more than a project with a specific objective. It’s a stage in the process. For a beginner pianist who only wants to play the Moonlight Sonata, Bad, Bad Leroy Brown, or Joy to the World, the project unexpectedly becomes something larger, more time consuming, and more difficult than they could have expected.
When a beginner discovers that playing the piano is a developmental experience filled with many obstacles and small victories, the process of learning the piano becomes a pleasure rather than a source of frustration.
In his book Piano Lessons, Noah Adams explains the agony and frustration of learning that his task of playing a particular Schubert piece in a certain amount of time was more than a project. From buying a piano to finding a piano course, to practising with different professors, to attending a piano camp, to the hours and hours of practise associated with his goal, his project took months of planning.
It was a developmental process for Noah Adams, as it is for everyone who decides to learn to play the piano. It’s a mechanism that necessitates constant care and nurturing. It’s not always a simple process, particularly for an adult with a specific piece in mind and a specific sound in mind.
Patience and caution are needed in this developmental phase. Patience with oneself when overcoming physical and technological difficulties. Who’d have guessed that moving one’s fingers in a particular pattern could be so difficult? Over several weeks and months of daily practise, eye-hand coordination must be carefully and meticulously established. Learning to play the piano presents physical difficulties similar to learning to walk. The pianist is able to run as a result of small, incremental measures taken over a long period of time.
The developmental phase encompasses not just the physical but also the emotional dimensions of playing. A written piece of music may be beautiful to look at, but it is a foreign language to a beginner pianist. Each black dot, line, and mark on a music page represents a particular task for the hand to complete. A beginner with only a project goal in mind looks at the manuscript and decides on the goal, which is to read and play the piece they want to learn.
The learning process for reading music is similar to learning a new language with a collection of symbols and signs unlike any other in the world. It’s the equivalent to understanding what the symbols in the Chinese script mean for an English speaker. Music notation is its own language.
The ability to read music is honed in small steps, constructing pattern upon pattern to form a whole. The entire language eventually becomes readable and transforms into the music heard in one’s ears.