Thursday, May 26, 2011

The End Of Piano Lessons - Graduation Day

We think of "Graduation" as the end of a grade level and diploma time.  However, in piano lessons language, that means graduating up to the next level of skills to a harder book or piece.

Traditional graduation doesn't really apply to piano lessons.  Just ask a piano teacher when you graduate and they're thinking something else.  Surely, you don't mean getting a diploma???  No, standard lessons are lessons without end. Therein lies the problem. 

A Set Time-Frame

 The whole dynamic of beginner lessons would change if there was a set time frame for completion followed by graduation.  It might cover a time standard of 2 years (or less) to achieve a specific level of proficiency skills and knowledge.  Imagine!  A two year course for which you would graduate!

At this level, you've learned your chords ("command") and know how to get around with or without written music.  "Diploma" means that lessons are over.  At that point you either take more lessons or take the next year or two off and really figure out what's going on on your own.

Standard Lessons Are Sort of 
False Advertising By Omission

Because there's no defined end to piano lessons, you have no other choice but to quit.  "Quitting" has a negative stigma.  "I've taken enough. It's not for me. I don't get it" people say.

After quitting, people are dumbfounded, wondering when in Sam-Hill the boat sailed by.  They didn't see no boat!  For many it is hard to continue after having such a numbing experience.  They become a "took lessons and quit" statistic.  There is something very wrong with this.

Wouldn't it be phenomenal to fuse extensive chord training into the first two years of standard lessons?  I mean really teach people how to play the instrument independently as a matter of course.  We don't do this but we really must.  We have the technology but do we have the will?

It's not going to be easy to change the world.  It's the "Civil" War

My graduation story is that my son graduated from 8th grade today.  I remember life at 14 idly thinking "Truly, the worst must be over."   


Joseph Pingel is a pianist, teacher and musicologist.  Click here to get the free companion book to this blog.  See his other sites at and 

© 2011 Keyed Up Inc

No comments:

Post a Comment