I learnt with AMEB from age 8 – 15, moving through all grades up to grade 7.
I started teaching the traditional method in 2006, but then in 2009 I discovered Simply Music. This method gets the students playing pieces of music straight away. It develops the ear, it encourages improvisation and self-expression. It teaches music through shapes and patterns both on the keyboard and in the fingers. It has the students playing many many more pieces, and they enjoy their music so much more than just relying on the written page.
I also do the Play-a-Story method, mainly with little kids as young as 2-3 and up to the age of 6-7. This method teaches the students to create their own music, by becoming the musical backdrop to a story. (This is like the music of the piano playing in the TV show Play School). The lessons get broken up with a short story, drawing the picture on paper while listening to the soundtrack, then transferring the sounds of their picture onto the piano. I show them patterns that help produce the sounds of their picture, and once the pattern is mastered, they are then encouraged to change the pattern around, turn it upside down and inside out until they get the sound that they are after for their own picture. These tools and patterns will be taken with them through their whole musical life, to be added on to more advanced playing.
The Play-a-Window program is almost similar to the Play-a-Story program. Play-a-Window is mainly for the older child or adult students who don’t want to draw their picture on paper – they learn to play their sounds to a short movie scene so that they then become the musical soundtrack. Imagine a movie with no music!! Their music helps to set the feeling of the scene. This is improvising at it’s greatest!!
All of these methods truly allow the pianists to let out their own musical self-expression!
I also teach how to read music and we do integrated theory at every lesson, so the students are getting an all-round exposure to all the elements of becoming a well-rounded an fantastic musician.