The Structure of Miss Liberty’s Piano Lesson
When a student enters the waiting room at Miss Liberty Martin’s Piano Studio at 27 North Main St. in New Freedom, PA, he or she is greeted with a warm atmosphere of comfortable surroundings. These include water, (tea, coffee or hot chocolate for parents), candy dish, small couch and other seating, legos, puzzles, and books. Miss Martin will open the door to her studio to say goodbye to one student and greet the next. She will ask how they are, how their week was, and maybe she will inquire as to whether they practiced a little or a lot.
A normal lesson begins with the student playing the previous week’s assignment. If it is near perfect, it is awarded a sticker. If the song is good enough to pass, but without a sticker for excellence, then the check is simply crossed off. If the song does not pass, then the concepts are reviewed in detail for optimum understanding. This may include playing hands separately, saying letter names aloud, or counting aloud.
Each student has two or three books. These usually include a Lesson Book, a Fun Book, and a finger exercise book. The books are reviewed in any order. Each book itself is done in order except for the Fun Book, where the student may choose which song they want to do next. Suppose the student passed his previous assignment. Then the student plays through the next new song, while the teacher goes over any new concepts, and corrects any issues regarding timing, or playing the correct notes. The same procedure is used in each book. The student is periodically encouraged to review old songs.
If there is extra time at the end of the lesson, then a game might be played, such as Memory or “Wrap Up” keys, which is another matching game. A fun/ work page might be utilized, or Miss Liberty may play a song to inspire her students.
With older students it is profitable for them to keep track of their practice time on a piano practice chart and hand it in at each lesson. This enables Miss Liberty to compare the amount of effort spent on a song, with the performance at their lesson. It helps her judge if they are still working on songs that are current with, above, or below their comfort level. Different teaching methods progress at varying intensity levels, and sometimes it is necessary to switch to a different book to enable the student to become more comfortable at their current playing level. More often than not, the lesson books will progress faster than the student grows.
As the student leaves his lesson, Miss Liberty is available to talk to the parent about any issues that need special attention. She strives to be the best, most cheerful teacher possible, and many piano students comment about how much they enjoy their lessons. She is available through email or cell phone at 717.515.1037.