Welcome back to school and piano lessons!
If you’re like a lot of students, you probably spent your summer traveling, swimming, going to summer camps, riding your bike, skateboarding, texting, etc. And, you probably didn’t spend as much time with your instrument as you do the other 9 months of the year. And now, your first lessons of the school year are upon us, and your technique is, to be polite, rusty.
First off, don’t despair. Be prepared to spend a few weeks going back over some basics to get those good habits back. Since I’m a pianist, let’s talk about piano.
Scales. Love or hate them, but DO THEM. Slowly. Please. The point of scales is not so much to find out how fast you can whiz along on the keys, but to familiarize yourself so well with the keyboard and key signatures that you immediately recognize when you play wrong notes in your new repertoire. Yes, you will, by default, build up your ability to play fast, even and accurate scales. And all of my students are expected to develop great facility in playing their scales. But the real reason I assign them is that scales are the alphabet of instrument, and if you don’t know them and the key signatures they represent, you will forever be fighting to learn the notes.
Play a bit under tempo the performance pieces you were studying in the spring. This will give you a great big confidence boost when you find you still got it! But, it’s more than that. You will likely find that you approach those pieces now with a completely different mindset than you did only 90 days ago. You’ve had time for those pieces to “gel” in your mind. And while your technique may not be top-notch, your musicality in delivering those pieces has probably improved.
Pick up your technical studies from last spring as well. Do a little self-check to see if you still have the skills under your fingers. If not, revisit those studies until you’ve recovered where you were in the spring.
Don’t be discouraged if you feel like you’ve lost a little ground. It’s happened to all of us at one point or another. Just be patient, and within a few weeks, you’ll be moving on to your next musical challenge with aplomb!