Rank #1: Oclef Daily | EP91 - All Great Piano Teachers Possess This Ability
This is a great episode to share with a piano teacher friend.
It's simple, yet powerful.
Don't avoid confrontation with a parent - especially if what you are pushing back on something that is in the best interest of their child.
Parents want the best for their kids, but sometimes they don't realize how to think or behave - they are usually new to learning piano, just like their child.
Be you, Be what that child needs.
The tortoise always wins,
Follow us on Instagram! https://www.instagram.com/oclef/
Rank #2: Oclef Daily: EP44 - Mr. Julian said...
We all have a few of them. Stubborn kids. I was one of them!
The trouble is for those who practice, their parents are trained to help and disciplined about practice - the very last step is collaboration. Sometimes it doesn't happen because the student thinks they know more than their parent. And they probably do on most things, but not so often on practice strategies.
Anyway, I think I've solved this issue with the following phrase, "Mr. Julian said..." Try it and let me know. Email me at email@example.com
Rank #3: Oclef Daily: EP42 - Parents as peer learners
One of the biggest things I hear from parents who help their kids, "I don't know if he/she is playing the music right. I don't know music." For me, if they're willing to get into the sandbox with their child, more than half of the work is done. I educate parents step by step and we will start to do this more on YouTube. Check out our channel www.bit.ly/2FSOksp
Rank #4: Oclef Daily: EP43 - Dance like a rock star
Peanut Butter and Jelly. Tom and Jerry. Music and Dance. They just go together so perfectly.
Yesterday, I had the opportunity to have one student dance while another played and magic filled the room. It's these beautiful moments in education that so often define relationships and perspectives for students and parents.
What stories do you have? Reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Rank #5: Oclef Daily | EP89 - The musician's mindset
Yesterday I was working with a mother and her daughter and one simple piece of teaching advice left her speechless the second she tried it.
This episode dives into the "Theory Theory" by Alison Gopnik and how it explains why the "Frozen Pencil" teaching technique works so well when teaching children to read piano.
The tortoise always wins,
Rank #6: Oclef Daily: EP77 - Let progress reveal itself as independence
We all want it.
But should it be shown to parents as a sign of things going well?
I used to think so, but I've gotten to the point now where I see progress as something that reveals itself.
The whole music education infrastructure points to levels and method book with numbers. And everyone means well. But progress becomes obvious when it's actually happening.
We don't need levels. Anyway, most exams test performance and not comprehension.
Getting parents involved to the point where they see the small wins every day has been the solution to the progress trap that most piano teachers fall into (I used to be one of them).
Listen to this! The parents are telling me their child is progressing.
Not the book.
Not me showing them.
And no standardized test is showing it.
I repeat. The parent is telling me they see their child progressing.
So what's the big secret?
Get them SO involved by empowering them as coaches and their child that they don't need me.
I am getting rid of myself as the "teacher" as fast as I can.
The less I teach, the better the teacher I believe I am.
I see myself as the guide who's telling them what's on the path ahead. What to watch out for. How to solve that problem when they face it. Why that will happen. How it may happen. And what the clues will look like when it's happening.
That's what the Oclef method is really about.
Independence to go learn any piece you want with your child once they're ready.
How will you know?
Well because they've completed 17 pieces on triplets and 12 pieces on 3/8 meter and 4 pieces on left hand extended rotation. And now they're ready for Fur Elise for real.
No teacher needed (seriously).
The new generation of parents are here and they are busy, but they want to be involved. Really. They just don't know how to get involved in piano education. It seems so hard.
But it's not. And any confident teacher knows that their best students have always been the ones who almost "taught themselves". Maybe they got stuck here or there. But the parents are in the lesson, taking notes to apply at home or the child is highly motivated and mature.
So why don't we design a system where that happens naturally?
It's going to be called Oclef PRO and it'll accompany the Oclef Method. This new software will be the best tool for teachers or schools who want to create their own methodology.
Yes. You can have your own method!
It'll allow you to expand your reach as a teacher or school to more people than just the local ones in your area. With the ability for teachers to do peer-to-peer video streaming, build a public or private teaching video library and have all your students custom learning programs in one place.
Why can't a school in Kansas use their method to teach parents and students in California?
We're making it happen. Stay tuned for more.
The tortoise always wins,
Rank #7: Oclef Q&A: EP008 - How can I start learning piano at 16?
It’s the most important element you’ll need to confirm or solve for before moving forward.
Don’t start looking for a piano or a Method book or anything until you figure out how you plan to be consistent.
If you focus on all the tools of learning music and not focus on the way you will work (i.e. accountability and daily routine), then it won’t happen.
Habits are the best things and the worst things.
If you can get habits to work for you, then you’ll learn piano well.
So find someone to keep you accountable and disciplined in daily practice if you cannot do it yourself. Eventually you should develop yourself to do it on your own.
The tortoise always wins,
Rank #8: Oclef Daily | EP90 - Is there an end to piano lessons?
Pain relievers like aspirin can be taken if you have a headache and usually within 15 minutes the headache is gone. But what if there were a product that made that headache go away and then come back in 7 days?
Whenever I have new classes start I often get the question from parents…how long does it take to learn piano?
And I used to think that was a really silly question. Simply because, well, I’m still learning piano. And I’ll probably be learning piano for the rest of my life.
But lately the more I think about that question, I realize that there should be an answer to that question. If you change the question slightly, the answer becomes something that FEELS achievable. I’d ask:
“How long does the average child take to acquire all the necessary skills, knowledge, practice strategies and coordination to become an independent learner of piano music?”
I think there is an answer to that question.
The tortoise always wins,
Follow us on www.instagram.com/oclef
Rank #9: Oclef Q&A: EP006 - What is your advice for someone just starting piano?
- Have a very diverse set of books to read from. Don’t stick to one book or one piece of music.
- Develop your ‘visual vocabulary’. Music is built from patterns and if you look, intervals (or the spaces between notes) are the building blocks of almost everything (chords, cadences, melody, counterpoint, etc.). Get very good at reading music by interval and you’ll start to see how music is assembled.
Rank #10: Oclef Daily: EP76 - Why radical candor is required when teaching
Honesty It’s a desirable quality. But the funny thing is how people often consider that NOT saying something because it’s not positive, is a good thing. Radical Candor is one of the biggest changes and tools to my work as an educator over the last few years.
Not saying something to a parent that is the truth and is hurting their child’s chance of success in music is ludicrous.
Check out this podcast on how being candid with parents has made them trust me and listen to me more than ever.
Take responsibility, be frank with people and you’ll be surprised.
Presentation is everything. So choose your words with taste.
Feel free to reach me at email@example.com
Rank #11: Oclef Daily: EP75 - Does musical talent exist?
We posted a survey on our Instagram and got hundreds of responses.
The question was:
Does a student need musical talent to succeed in learning music?
The audiences answer was a yes...
57% Yes to 43% No
Any great teacher will tell you that the answer to that question is obviously no. That's an easy answer. So I guess I need to do a better job educating our IG community.
But, I am at the point where I'm even questioning if musical talent exists.
In this episode,
- I go into my personal history
- Briefly talk about perfect pitch
- Discuss soft skills
- Talk about the 'one thing' keeping me from completely dropping the idea of musical talent.
What are your thoughts on musical talent? Does it exist? How do you know?
Reach me firstname.lastname@example.org
Rank #12: Oclef Q&A EP010 - How do I improve my sight reading?
Rank #13: Oclef Daily: EP78 - Tools of the Oclef Method: Priming, Narration, and Feedback
This is an episode from our Oclef Method. It’s a series for parents wanting to help their children during practice. Find all the episodes for our methodology that teaches parents here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCUqEmaLrf_Fs-Cvyk1HvOkA
As a parent, you can help your child with this so much.
Navigating a piece of piano music can be daunting.
Two staves, multiple pages, hands going in opposite directions and that’s just the notes.
As a parent who is sitting with your child, you have an opportunity to:
• Keep focused on practice
• Build proper habits
• Understand mistakes
• Improve faster
I could go on...(for a while).
But in this episode of the Oclef Method, you will get an introduction to three skills that you can develop to help your child practice piano.
Priming. Narration. Feedback.
Mentally preparing your child for what is coming in the piece of music in front of them.
Guiding their attention through the play through to focus on the challenges as they happen (counting, hand position changes, intervals).
Observing the patterns in their mistakes and telling them what to watch out for next time.
It’s really about helping them just enough to get them on the right path. With the right habits. And observing the right details.
It sounds like a lot to learn, but this is just the first step toward your child receiving seven lessons a week with you at their side. Independence is the goal.
Rank #14: Oclef Q&A: EP005 - I can play perfect during practice, but not in public. Why?
I’ll answer in two areas:
- Headspace- mistakes in performance happen and they should be expected. You have got to start focusing on the characters and audience experience you reveal through the music. Music for me is a verb. It is the act of communicating stories, ideas and emotions through sound. A small blip in the screen during a movie goes unnoticed, so don’t worry as long as you’re passionately becoming the character.
- Practical - You need to be relentless and obsessive. I don’t know for sure, but you’re probably not practicing thoroughly. Talk about this with your teacher and discuss how you should optimize your attention to preparation. How are you designing the small wins leading up to performance? Do you always have left hand memorized? Are all your voices memorized separately in the counterpoint? Can you sing each voice? Have you considered writing out the parts of all voices of your pieces. Have you practiced transposing sections to better understand the harmonic structure of the music? Have you played one hand and conducted the other? Be thorough. Be obsessed. Most students are not and that’s why they never make it as a concert artist or even as a great pianist. If you really want results, put all this extra effort in. Send me a recording after you’ve done some of these ideas above and adjusted your headspace.
Like what you hear? Follow us on Instagram www.instagram.com/Oclef
Rank #15: Oclef Q&A: EP007 - Can I teach my seven year old sister how to play piano by myself?
- Be consistent - practice 6–7 days a week for 10–15 minutes a day. Doing 1 day a week for 1 hour will not work out.
- Focus on reading- Get her several books (piano adventures, Alfred, Hal Leonard) and have her constantly focus on building a visual vocabulary of intervals. Reading by interval instead of note names will promote independence and also help her start with the right habits. She shouldn’t read by note names, although knowing the names of notes is important.
- Make it a bonding experience - Focus on her personal growth and don’t make it about perfection. Allow her to make tons of mistakes and try to help her develop a system of auto-correcting by learning to recognize what’s right and wrong from her reading practice. Spending all week on getting one piece right may feel right, but the long term effects of always doing that doesn’t work out.
Rank #16: Oclef Daily: EP80 - Parent Recital
I'm having parents play in a recital with their kids.
The backstory really explains it all. But the main idea here is role shifting.
As educators, find ways to get your parents into their role as a teacher of the child as we shift into the coach of the parent and child team.
The tortoise always wins,
Rank #17: Oclef Daily: EP79 - Be weird. Be awkward. Be quirky. Be you.
I've always thought this.
Weird, awkward and quirky things about people are the best things. The best.
But for whatever reason, I've only recently applied it throughout my teaching and consulting.
I used to work with students and use archetypes to be more efficient in my teaching.
Nowadays, it's all about finding the weirdest thing I can find about students and using that as their strength. Playing their unique traits and views as their strengths allows them to have a better outcome almost every time.
It's the better bet.
But, it means that you won't have a studio full of competition pianists. It means you'll have a studio or school full of all different types of pianists.
If you teach students this way. Questioning them. Learning their views. And then help them be themselves. They will forever love you. Simply because you're helping them be themselves. You're giving them permission to be the person they are and not asking them to conform to someone or something they're not.
And that! That's the art of teaching to me.
Learning the student, their parents, and understanding their "wacky world". So that you can help them build it with them at every lesson, practice, and experience together.
Rank #18: Oclef Interviews | EP29 - Jon Nakamatsu - The Story of a Great American Pianist
Loved doing this interview with Jon! He's just a great guy and I enjoyed getting the chance, like with most guests on the podcast, to ask deep questions.
Please share this with parents of piano students and other teachers or aspiring pianist. He has great insight in many areas and I hope you enjoy the conversation as much as I did.
Rank #19: Oclef Q&A: EP009 - How do pianists make interpretive choices?
Rank #20: Oclef Daily | EP88 - You're more like a therapist than you want to believe
Today's podcast goes into the challenging world of how we as teachers help our students navigate more than just their troubles and anxieties from learning.
If you want your story or question on an upcoming episode - visit www.oclef.com/podcast and leave your story or question.
The tortoise always wins, Julian