I felt that 30 or 40 pieces a year would to just too much for the average Indian piano student, given the school plus coaching class schedule that young children here have. So, I gave my students another challenge.
The 10 Easy Piece Challenge
- Learn 10 new easy pieces every 3 months.
- Bring them to class done, and spend just 5 minutes of class time identifying weak spots and how to work on them.
- Get them done to the playing standards set by your teacher – more on this below
- Submit recordings or they will be recorded in piano class.
Selecting pieces for the challenge
Most Mumbai students beyond late elementary level learn between 5 to 10 pieces a year and this reduces to 4 or 5 pieces a year as they move on to intermediate and advanced levels. They learn a new piece for an exam, concert or competition and that’s about it.
The average student stops learning new music when piano class stops, because he/she simply doesn’t know how. Learning so little music means that students only learn pieces which are at the top of their ability and very rarely get work done on their own without their teacher – even easy pieces. So, the pieces selected should be :
- Well within the student’s ability to learn, with a few small challenges
- Varied enough to address different kinds of articulation, speeds & mood
The reason for variable playing standards for each student
The goal is to help each student get a little better than they were before, and to set standards that take the student forward in steps small enough, that it’s easy. So that learning new pieces is relaxing and enjoyable.
For example :
- Playing gently is the goal for students who bang and play with bad hand shape – working on dynamics is minimal and will be focused on later.
- Students who are poor readers get very easy repertoire, until their reading skills get stronger