noteworth: hopscotch and hanon
Enthusiasm sometimes present well meaning messages heavily.
I’ve experienced this in friends just beginning a new hobby (obsession), rooting for their favorite team (do not dare to choose any other team), or finding Jesus for the first time or upmteenth time. In their shoes, they are dedicated and excited whereas to others, they are a tad bit out of control in their enthusiasm.
A colleague called me to say his student’s sister was interested in piano lessons, that she wasn’t a beginner, was a committed learner and was anxious to meet me. A meeting was arranged and her enthusiasm was a delight, easy for any teacher to love. She loves reading new music, is attentive to sensing her false notes and also speaks confidently. I was just as excited as she was to begin our piano lesson time together.
By her second week, I noticed that although her reading and playing time through a piece was improving, her attack of the notes were a bit intense.
How to support her personality and yet grow her sensitivity using the power of her enthusiasm was my fun puzzle.
She was playing an arrangement of “Alouette” like a bombastic march with its running streaks of sixteenth notes roaring and stumbling into melody. Her Hanon exercises were played intensely.
JNET: “What’s the loudest you can play this phrase? I want to know the color of your fortissimo.”
If you can imagine giving a child the freedom to scream their biggest scream, then you can imagine how my student played to demonstrate her BLASTISSIMO. :)
JNET: “Very good. Now I want to hear your different shades of loudness. Like a crayon box, I want to know your fancy colors.”
D attacks her notes with her mind more and less with finger pressure now. She plays like she’s sitting on a cloud.
D: “This piece is exciting and fun.”
JNET: “It is. But what kind of exciting and fun is what we need to communicate. Its a childrens song so we know we cannot be too strong or it becomes a bully theme song.”
Her playing has transformed with the images we came up together to paint the picture of her piece. Staccatos have turned playful and lighter after thinking of hopscotch and popcorn. And that flurry of sixteenth notes that formerly blurred by has become her rainbow, flashing across in sparkling articulate colors. Its really fun to hear her play and interpret her piece.
Her enthusiasm no longer expresses itself heavy-handed but rather clearly, sensitively and ON PURPOSE.
Listening how my students grow each week and puzzling over how to take them to a different level fascinates me so. So here’s to hopscotch and hanon.