Music Analysis Early In Music Lessons

As Private Music Teachers, we’re armed with many similar tools to help our students learn to play an instrument. Teaching Analysis in your lessons early on is important, as it helps students, young to old, learn to make choices about what it is they are playing and how they are playing it.
 

How And Why Does This Piece Work

 
music analysisMusic Analysis is the attempt of a musician to understand why and how a piece of music works. That’s the short answer anyway. It comes as no surprise as we mature as musicians we forget some of the earliest tools for Analysis and sometimes can unfortunately forget to teach it or wait to teach analysis until our students are more mature then beginners.
 

Big, Small, Fast, Slow, Happy, Sad, Loud, Soft

 
Simple words are a great starting point to analyzing music. These words are universally understood before we ever teach the lesson. So if we are teaching a piano lesson for example, and it’s time to have the student play the piano for the first time, it’s also time to start analyzing.
 
“Was that note loud or soft?” says the piano teacher. Now, when the student answers we are teaching them analysis. I love this type of analysis because it makes my students think about what they are doing, something to many of us private music lessons teachers assume our students do naturally. Further more, when an early music lesson student answers the question, we can ask another of them…… can you change your answer? That is, can you do something differently, to the way you played or thought about the music, to change the answer you gave me about the music? It’s a powerful proposition.
 

Feelings Are Also Music Analysis

 
How a student feels about a piece is also a form of music analysis. Again, is it happy or sad, fast or slow? These are also feelings. What an amazing life skill it is to identify and be able to express how we feel. I LOVE giving this gift to people who start lessons.
 
Later analysis, the kind most educated musicians think of when we think analysis, will identify why we have this feeling. If the piece we are analyzing is in a minor key is may sound dark, mysterious, or sad. If they piece is up-tempo and filled with crescendos’ and diminuendos, we feel a strong moving piece. Teachers can point out, through analysis, the how and the whys we look for to understand.
 

Giving Music Lesson Students Choices

 
Understanding what you are playing and why really gives the student a choice. Choices to move forward, change, modify, and express themselves. In essence, these choices define the musicians we become.
 
I think saying to teachers out loud “teach analysis early and often” is a key component to successful lesson.

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