The best piano teachers reinforce mindfulness
today at 8:49 am
Our 3rd grader started piano lessons four years ago. His lovely teacher Julia Hardin’s weekly lessons inspire mindfulness and more. She leads with the example of her own perfect posture, engaged attention and body awareness.
Remarkable piano teachers help their youth improve executive functioning skills, including working memory, flexible thinking, and self-control, which support mindfulness. To help support disciplined study and build muscle memory, our piano teacher requires a signed contract that each student, and family, will plan to practice and be prepared for each weekly class. She assigns keys, measures, and songs for practice each week in addition to pages in a theory book. Our boy responds well to his teacher’s firm boundaries and gentle, fun spirit. Our piano teacher unlocks the key to scales, chords, arpeggios, and more.
Special piano teachers help students be more resilient. Mistakes, disruptions and distractions happen. One should notice the mistake while playing without judgement, but must continue with self-compassion. Our son’s piano teacher reminds him to be aware of next steps as he plays, which practice and muscle memory prime. Jerry Lee Lewis remarked, “These fingers of mine, they got brains in ’em. You don’t tell them what to do – they do it.”
Junior piano students must do their best and be open to redirection. Young students learn to respect the instrument with clean hands. Food and liquid are not allowed, which may not be intuitive for all little ones.
Although kids, and people, may think they know a lot, piano study reminds students to be humble and deferential. To put in context, Malcolm Gladwell’s bestseller Outliers quantifies a minimum of 10,000 hours or about ten years of deliberate practice to be an expert, which requires discipline. Although my husband plays the piano to accompany his vocal practice for our church choir, the rest of our family continue our now intermediary piano study journey.
On a bittersweet note, our family prepares to say goodbye to our teacher who will relocate with her husband to Lawrence, Kansas. We tear up with joy over the progress our boy has made these last four years. Our wise teacher reminds our boy to breathe before he begins his piece, especially for today’s recital. She guides him to place his hands in his lap when he finishes the song on the bench. Our family will continue to build on the foundation our extraordinary teacher, Julia Hardin, helped build for our family.
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