One of the big perks of teaching music is that I get to write music for my students. Today I have been working on a new piece for one class in which students are all learning to read music AND play along with each other. The format of the class is actually a lot like a school orchestra would be: each player has their part which adds to the whole. Except in this orchestra, everyone happens to be piano players 🙂
This is a concept which I haven’t seen anywhere else, except in a college conducting class I audited once upon a time. The students learn a lot from listening to each other and having to play together, just as a student in an orchestra would as well. This is really a lot like 4- or 8-hand piano duets, trios, and quartets, yet unlike the music that already exists, I have written this music specifically tailored for different levels of piano students all learning together.
It’s really a fun process that starts with what I’m doing today: writing a new piece of music. The next step after the basic composition is to prepare the different parts, starting with the easiest for the newest piano students, and then building from there to a much more advanced score for students who have been reading and playing for awhile.
All in all, this aspect of my teaching program combines many of the activities that I most enjoy: creativity, learning (by me creating this music for the students, I learn too), teaching, and a constructive and creative group activity. I am very grateful to have the freedom to design this program in this way that fits me so well.
I also see that I inspire other students in all these different ways. Some of my students respond to the traditional aspects of learning to play piano and read sheet music. Others respond more to the performing or collaborative aspects. Still others are more interested in improvisation, and still others are inspired to write music of their own. By me writing music that my students can directly work with, I believe I am creating a win-win-win that can be satisfying on many levels for everyone involved!