“Music can change the world because it can change people.” –Bono
Teaching keyboard, piano or organ is different for each student even if they are using the same book. To get the greatest results we have to understand the student’s ability in different areas such as: ear ability (to recognize the key of a melody and chord changes), timing, note reading, improvisation skills, instrument set up at home (songs such as Fur Elise can’t be played on many keyboards due to an insufficient amount of keys), favourite style of music (instrumental, jazz, etc.) and the degree of parental support.
I instruct the students to acquire the necessary skills so they will play along with MIDI tracks and gain a new sense of maturity in their style of playing. Students will also learn a wide range of theory concepts starting from a beginner level and moving up to more advanced concepts. Some students bring their iPads to the classroom and we facilitate using it to provide assistance with their assignments. This has proven quite valuable for students who are visual learners.
Depending on these factors, I create a personalized lesson plan for each student. To add interest to the class we may arrange the same song in 5 or more different styles (such as bossa, swing, ballad etc.) thus illustrating the various rhythmic patterns. Advanced students learn jazz scales, chord patterns, re-harmonization techniques, arranging, sequencing, recording to MIDI, WAVE file MP3 etc. and have fun with music.
Because of the excellent exposure to the wonder of music some of our students have pursued music as a career in post-secondary education institutions such as MacEwan University (Edmonton), University of Victoria and other similar education facilities.
During our June and December concerts students showcase their progress. I teach students that range in ages from 4 to 84. The most rewarding result is that everyone learns new skills and abilities while having fun in a creative learning environment.