My “Math Music Method “ of learning piano
“In the beginning, there was a number ”.
This is how one could begin a story about music. The idea that it is possible to create musical harmony using mathematics is traditionally attributed to Pythagoras.
For Pythagoras and his followers, mathematics was a divine science, discovering the laws of the beauty of the universe. Music was also a part of the divine. He perceived and heard this “heavenly music”, while others were not able to.
Mathematical calculations helped: the octave was divided into 12 equal semitone segments, which made it possible to unify completely the sound of all intervals at any level. So it became possible to compose works in different keys, as well as to switch easily, i.e. modulate, from one to another, without fear of getting an unwanted bad-sounding consonance.
My maths music method of teaching music helps to stimulate the right side of the brain.
The main difference between the left hemisphere and the right is that the centres of speech are located only in the left side, and the processing of all information coming to the left hemisphere is carried out using verbal-sign systems. The left side performs tasks logically: it breaks the picture of the world into parts, into details, and analyses them, building causal chains, classifying all objects, building schemes, sequentially going through everything that falls into the sphere of its perception or is extracted from the volume of its memory. It takes time; the left hemisphere is relatively slow. The right hemisphere, in which there are no speech centres, captures a complete picture, simultaneously taking in consideration all concrete reality, not splitting into parts, but synthesising a holistic image in the entire totality of its specific manifestations. It specialises in the processing of information, which is expressed not in words, but in symbols and images. The right hemisphere (creative and artistic) performs tasks quickly, hence the advantage of using my maths music method.
Interested? find out more
ONE TO ONE LESSONS
This course is available for people who wish to learn classical piano and meet like-minded people.
It is available at beginner, intermediate and advanced level and is designed to be sociable and fun.
1 Hour per Lesson
1 hour and 30min per lesson
2 hours per Lesson
• You can learn to read music in a few hours. Playing the piano takes practice!
• There are no overnight piano players. Just getting your fingers to do what your brain is telling them takes practice because you have to gain muscle control. But don’t be discouraged. Playing the piano is rewarding, whether you are doing it for yourself or have the goal of playing for others to enjoy
Is there such a thing as practising too much? Is there an optimal number of hours that one should practise?
• Practising too much is a waste of time. Why? For one, very little productive learning takes place when we practise this way. This is why we can practise a piece for hours, days or weeks, and still not feel that we’ve improved all that much
• Even worse, you are digging yourself a hole by practising this way because what this model of practising does is strengthen undesirable habits and errors literaly making it more likely that you will make mistakes more consistently in the future. This makes it more difficult to correct these habits in the future – so you are actually adding to the amount of future practice time you will need in order to eliminate these bad habits and tendencies
You will find that deliberate practice is very draining, given the tremendous amount of energy required to keep one’s full attentional resources on the task at hand. Practising more than one hour at a time is likely to be unproductive and in all honesty probably not even mentally or emotional possible. Even the most dedicated individuals will find it difficult to practise more than four hours a day
Keep practice sessions limited to a duration that allows you to stay focused. This may be as short as 10-20 minutes for younger students, and as long as 45-60 minutes for older individuals
Consider the 3-step general problem-solving model summarised below:
1. Define the problem (what do you want this note/phrase to sound like?)
2. Analyse the problem (what is causing it to sound like it does?)
3. Identify potential solutions
The idea that you must study classical music first is incorrect. In fact, even if one’s goal is to focus strictly on classical music there is great value in studying popular chord technique and improvisation
The best way to study music theory is through popular music! This is because chords are presented in a straightforward manner as chord symbols without even having to read music! Theory knowledge can make you a better performer, a better sight-reader, a better memoriser, a better interpreter and a better overall musician, and this, of course applies equally to classical music.
The easiest way to start a path towards music theory is to study jazz or popular music with a teacher who knows how to explain chord-reading. So, one could study classical first and then popular, but remember that these are different skills that take time to master.
It’s never too late. Early neural stimulation as a child does help with musical intelligence as an adult, but it need not be from the piano. For example, kids who are great at sports, gymnastics or dance are often the best at piano when they eventually try it
An adult who has been athletic as a child will find it easier to learn piano as an adult because the advanced neurological stimulation lasts one’s whole life. If you had a nurturing, stimulating environment as a child, you will definitely have an advantage when you begin piano studies as an adult. If you had limited exposure to physical experiences as a child, this would tend to make it more difficult to learn the piano whether you are a child or an adult
• Anyone with enough moveable fingers can learn to play the piano. You can’t play the piano yet because you don’t know how. Doing different things simultaneously is something you learn to do and will get better at if you practise
• The solution: get a teacher and practise regularly. It takes two years to go from an absolute beginner to being an intermediate player
It makes you less confident. In addition, practising too much this way actually hurts your confidence as there is a part of you that realises you don’t really know how to consistently produce the results you are looking for. Even if you establish a fairly high success rate in the most difficult passages via mindless practice, and find that you can nail it three or four out of every five attempts, your confidence won’t grow much from this
After all, it doesn’t really matter how much time we spend practising something – only that we know how to produce the results we want, and can do so consistently, on demand
Keep track of times during the day when you tend to have the most energy. This may be first thing in the morning, or just before lunch, etc
Try to do your practising during these naturally productive periods as these are the times at which you will be able to focus and think most clearly. Try using a practice notebook. Keep track of your practice goals and what you discover during your practice sessions
Reality: there is no difference.
In my personal experience of teaching both children and adults, the idea that a child’s brain is more receptive is incorrect. It’s just a illusion that the child may be able to absorb new material faster than the adult.
However, what the child often doesn’t have is desire. The adult really wants to study piano and this great desire creates the type of focus that is needed for quick learning. In fact, adults who have this intention, often from wanting to make up for “lost time” often learn faster than children!
Is physical technique and accuracy more important than interpretation and expression? Does physical technique and accuracy take more time to master than interpretation and expression?
No, it’s like comparing apples and oranges, but both require a lot of time. The best way to develop interpretation and expression is through the repertoire. In some countries, it’s common to have a student just doing drills for five years before they are allowed to play any music. Then the student is allowed to play the repertoire. It’s no surprise that these performers play accurately and fast with very little expression
The best thing to do is to study music along with finger technique. Ideally, the difficulty of the technique level should always be slightly ahead of the requirements of the repertoire