Pillars Approach in a Lesson


All students that study with at Music Pillars obviously are at varying levels of musical ability. Depending upon a student's ability, they will be studying at various levels of difficulty within each pillar.




For all students, it is imperative that part of their study involves learning how to play a piece of music that they really want to learn how to play. For some, its the Movie Theme from Lord of the Rings, for others, its Harry Potter, and for others, its a song that Adele sings that they really like. The actual piece of music is secondary to us as their teacher, what is more important is that they are working on something that they would like to be able to play. Because regardless of what they choose, we can take the other Pillars and teach them through the music that they are learning. One of the keys in teaching piano is that the student is inspired and excited about what they are learning to play. Let's take for example, the song Skyfall.  Here are the first few measures of the song: 

Depending upon the student's ability, there is a great deal to learn here than just the actual notes.

The other Pillars are all here: 

Pattern Recognition -Triads both as chords and a rolling chords in the left hand, repeating Major 6ths

Music Theory - What key is this in? What is the chord progression?

Dexterity - This song requires that the player is  able to play different rhythms in separate hands simultaneously

Audiation - Can the student sing the melody? Can they hear this in a different key and be able to play out the melody in that revised key? 

Improvisation -  This is a pretty boring accompaniment because they piano is keeping time in place of a  percussion section, how can the student still keep the rhythm going but add additional notes or musical themes that are tasteful and add variety to the piece? 

Sight Reading - Is the student at a level that they can play this fairly well after looking at it just once? If not, why not? Do they need to work on their scales? What pattern recognition would help them (if they could see it quickly) sight-read this piece of music more easily? 

So the illustration above wasn't meant to be an exhaustive example of how we teach, but to give you an idea of how multiple other music pillars can and are taught through the student learning and playing a song that they love.  And what's more than that, by learning music through the paradigm of these pillars, they will learn a great deal more than just the actual song. Which is important because those principles that they have learned can be applied to their next musical challenge. Mastery of the Pillars gives them knowledge that transfers with them to the next thing that they undertake to learn.