Making Joyful Noises

Welcome to my one woman crusade for a new way to approach teaching piano to children.   For over thirty years I have kept my promise to myself and to the parents of my students to ensure that each child who studies music with me will love music for the rest of their life.

I don’t promise Carnegie Hall or international piano competition medals.  I don’t even give those much over-worked yearly recitals.  But my children will experience the joy of learning and by sharing with them my own experience as a concert performer, they get an opportunity to hear the best and most exciting music.  They learn in a fun and engaging way how to read the notes as fluently as words on a printed page.  And that is the secret to enjoying and actually playing the piano.  With that knowledge, they are far more likely to continue playing the piano for enjoyment in their adult years.

It is a sad fact that most children will take piano lesson for between two and four years  … most will never touch a piano after those lessons are over.  Most will not read notes.  At best they will maybe struggle through the ‘Fur Elise’.  Music lessons are only a tedious memory they’d rather forget.   Few will ever attend a concert or buy a classical CD.

This is tragic.   Music is one of life’s greatest pleasures.  It can and must be nurtured by teachers who are skilled not only in teaching methods, but in psychology and performance.

In these pages I will try to share with teachers some of the secrets I have learned over the years.  Some deal with music, some with subtle tricks of psychology.  But the results have proven astonishing and the Internet allows me a forum to send out these seeds and hope they will find fertile soil.

Just browse through the categories and you will find an array of tips for pianists of all levels, hints on teaching children, some of my own bavarcations on musical topics and  a few of my digital graphics tossed in over some You Tube clips  … mainly to hide my wild gyrations and gnarly fingers.

But above all, I want to offer some new pieces for beginning students which are composed in the classical tradition and which I hope may serve to fill in the bleak gap between the earliest tedious and boring student’s books and those wonderful gems by Clementi, Mozart. Beethoven and others.  This period is a vulnerable one in which many students become bored with the simple two voiced pieces, often composed by stuffy pedagogues merely as exercises.   By adding melody and careful harmonization of those simple voices, easy and beautiful pieces are possible.

Visit the happy piano professor’s new site to find many wonderfully melodic and easy pieces for students.  All are my original compositions

Feel free to download the scores.   I’ve provided a good high resolution and they should print nicely onto a standard 8 1/2 by 11 sheet of paper.  If you make copies to distribute, please acknowledge the source  …. which is me  ….  that Happy Piano Professor!

Nikki Kalanimalie Ty-Tomkins

8 Responses to Making Joyful Noises

  1. Art is never about competition and you seem to get the point so beautifully. I envy your students!

  2. Thank you for a web site with such great tips on keeping students interested in the piano.

  3. Greetings! Very helpful advice in this particular post!

    It’s the little changes that make the largest changes. Many thanks for sharing!

  4. I do not even know how I ended up here, but I thought this post was
    good. I do not know who you are but certainly you’re going to a famous blogger if you are not already😉 Cheers!

    • nikkitytom says:

      Cheers and thanks,

      Check out TheGleefulGuru, for topics outside the world of music. And for an entirely new world of digital graphics.

      But I still eat chocolate.

  5. Alice Siah says:

    Please keep writing.. We piano teachers need you. I totally agree with you with what you write. I learn and got my masters in pedagogy and looking back.. What is the meaning of all that time wasted in practicing and recitals. I’m currently striving to give experiences rather than rigid recitals. But I’m struggling to strike a balance in presenting joy in the preparations in exams, public performances. Without endless repetition of reminding technique and making musical phrases, the students dont play or learn the correct way. Thanks for writing, greetings from Portland, OR!

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