Enjoinment – the Key Element
Enjoynment has a primary importance in the progression process of learning how to play a musical instrument.
Enjoinment has a cardinal value in every step, especially so in the first stages.
Enjoinment is a driving force – it propels the will power to practice daily and therefore also the progress of the student.
What are the roots of enjoinment when playing?
The close emotional and intimate encounter with the music
The feeling of “understanding the music” – understanding it intuitively and in the sense of understanding the story or context that is associated with a certain piece.
The technical development of the player – every time a student manages to play a subjectively difficult piece the sense of achievement creates a positive feedback and drives the student foreword, and organically creating the desire to keep playing until the next achievement
The development of musical expression in a student; the possibility of emotionally moving themselves and others when playing a musical piece.
Out of acknowledging the power of enjoinment and being closely familiar with the various playing difficulties (i.e. the difficulty of starting something new, the difficulty of approaching practice, the difficulty of reading music notes, in coordination etc.) I have gained 2 major insights:
I want my music to be easily understandable, inviting and approachable.
The process of learning and performing the music on the piano has to be easy and fun
To produce the TTPWL series from an angle of enjoinment for the students I have decided to include colorful illustrations in the first two volumes meant to draw attention, create imagery, and develop the child’s imagination. Kids would often come up with a story fitting the illustration o0r imagine a scene from life and a wide array of moods and emotions is awakened.
A fun learning process followed by satisfaction and success requires easy to read musical texts in the first few years. When the notes are easy to read – the music becomes approachable and inviting. Texts such as these allow the student at the beginning to learn 3-4 pieces in different techniques in a short period of time, get a sense of quick improvement and because of it become much more successful at playing the piano. Of course, as studying progresses more and more technical and musical challenges in increasing difficulty will be introduced, but these will be presented on the background of previous successes with musical pieces. A student that has experienced successes, will be able to take upon himself new challenges much easily.
When it is convenient to put the fingers on the keyboard – it creates a sense of confidence, a desire to play, and develops the ability to approach more difficult stuff in the future. In many of my pieces it turned out that pieces that look difficult on paper are actually quite easy to play.
Easy to memorize
The issue of having easy to memorize pieces is also very important in the first stages. When the music is easy to remember – there are more options to develop the freedom of playing and interpretive skills. For these reasons, the first two volumes put a special emphasis on pieces that are simple and easy to memorize while not sacrificing sounding musical and melodic. The easy memorization principle is also evident in later volumes although the challenges are also increasing as the level goes up.
Real content rich music
The purpose of my music is to create a link to the player, to touch his soul and give him pleasure from performing the piece again and again while improving his abilities and acquiring new skills.
To reach this goal, I always approach composing by deriving from the scope of my own personal feeling. Only true personal music can touch the heart of the player, make him happy and sad with the piano, that way the laying will reflect feeling as well as evoke them. In my music I give room for the full depth of emotions, for poetic atmosphere, song like melodies and an array of moods and situations. The diversity of feelings and colors also attract to play.
Technical or musical
It’s very important the pieces b e musical from the first few steps, that’s why I don’t have dry tuneless pieces that are only there to serve some technical skill. A melody can be very simple and yet still hold within it interesting musical content and be REAL music. This principle is particularly relevant to volumes one and two but applies to the entire series.
“I play this piece a lot and can’t seem to stop” a student once said to me about one of my pieces (“Spring”, VOL.3). Similar things I heard from many students over the years, in fact it was their honest insistent enthusiasm that have motivated me to keep writing music for them to play, and eventually that brought me to publish To the Piano with Love.
7 year old David was an adorable kid that learned how to play the piano as my student, even though he didn’t have a piano in his house. After half a year of basic learning he got his first two pieces from TTPWL to study: “Magic Morning” and “Rainbow”. David was delighted at the music his fingers have produced. We dedicated two lessons to go over the musical texts of each hand separately and then join them together. I expected that in the absence of a piano at home he will be unable to practice and in the third lesson we will have to repeat what we learned in the first two, but to my total surprise David had managed to play the two pieces from beginning to end with almost no issues! I immediately asked him if he got a chance to practice at a different home that has a piano and he said that no. As it turned out, he wanted to learn these two pieces so much, he drew a keyboard on a piece of paper and used that to practice on during that week without an actual piano and essentially managed to learn the two pieces!
Similar stories and others have taken place again and again with my pieces. Not once has it occurred that a kid that was frustrated from learning how to play form the conventional material out there for beginners, but when he got to play my music his enthusiasm has quickly returned and his confidence and passion for playing the piano was ignited brightly than ever before.
Some of the pieces, such as “Sea Waves” (VOL.1) and “Spring” (VOL.3) have gotten an especially amazing responses from my students and even brought students that were ready to give up back on the saddle and with desire to continue playing and improving.
I found out that when a kid loves a musical piece – he is drawn to play it again and again without being bored with it. Favorable pieces were also not forgotten over the years and students returned to play their favorite pieces often even as they grew up and mastered harder more challenging pieces.
Not once has it happened that past students that came by for a visit sat at the piano and played from memory those first pieces they have learned years ago.
The many feedbacks I have gotten from parents over the years have also matched my impressions that the kids were having a lot of fun paying my pieces at home and gave their parents pleasure from seeing their kids have fun. One mom told me that her son, a high school student, woke up half an hour earlier every morning to be able to play my pieces before having to go to school. Those pieces were “Red and Black”, “Feelings” and “Waltz Etude”.
In other cases, parents of my students that have studied the piano in their youth’ heard their kids playing and decided to retry as well and had their interest in playing the piano rekindled. It gave the parents much enjoinment, increased the children’s motivation to keep playing and was just very fun for me to hear about it, since I knew I wasn’t composing music for a certain age group but for all.
If there’s anything I learned I have learned in regards to my music, is that there are no limits to what can happen when people also enjoys the music they play. I have encountered great enthusiasm and joy from my students and for the most part I feel that my music have fulfilled its main purpose – giving pleasure and motivation to play the piano.
For me, the real test of my music begins after the official learning process have ended, when the student wants to play a certain piece simply because he loves it and not just to complete a goal, or make anyone proud, or because “the teacher said so”. Those are the moments I feel that my music have justified its existence. All of this of course also amplifies my enjoinment of the whole process – as a teacher that manages to make her students advance in their studies and also as a composer that her creations are being joyfully preformed by others. Enjoinment is a driving force for all of us – students, teacher and people as a whole.