By: Hellene Hiner
A Sad Little Story With a Happy Ending.
There is a lot of money already invested in method books and music sheets, all which attempt to explain to eyes what they ought to see and present the traditional Grand Staff from the very start. The major question here: in whose best interests do we have to decide – in the interest of people who have personal/financial reasons to maintain the status quo, or in the best interest of our kids?
By continuing music lessons in 'blind mode' millions of parents not only waste a lot of money in very slow and ineffective ways of teaching piano, they invest in ways of teaching music that could completely change their kids lives for the worse… by introducing frustration and failure at an early age.
For almost a year Jenny didn't touch a piano key. When she passed by the instrument, she tried to look in a different direction. It was painful to think that she was a failure and she tried to concentrate on happy thoughts instead.
One day she was listening to a recording of the family’s favorite song and suddenly she recognized the pitch of every single sound! She was hearing 'do la fa re' in her head and got excited. 'I have to check whether I have the right notes by trying them on the keys!', Jenny decided as she went to the piano and opened the lid. Yes, it was all right! That very day Jenny spent several hours playing different recordings and then repeating the same music on the piano. Jenny had what people call 'perfect pitch' – the ability to determine the pitch of every sound by ear. It is a gift, a little present from nature.
Now Jenny 'got it'! Music notation started to make sense to her. Her advanced ear instantly made a connection between each key and music note on the music sheet. One day Jenny's mom asked carefully, “Do you want to continue piano lessons?“. “I think, I do!“, Jenny replied. She went to the same teacher resumed working with a great deal of enthusiasm.
In several years, as she was graduating from school, she had her last recital. Jenny's mom was sitting in the front row. First Lillian came on stage. She played brilliantly! “She is a gem!“, Jenny's mom whispered in Lillian's mom’s ear.
Jenny was playing next. She played Rachmaninov and it was an outstanding performance. After Jenny finished the piece, she received a standing ovation. Jenny turned her face to the crowd and said, “And now I want to give a little present to my mom!“ And she played their family's favorite song. Compare to Rachmaninov it was quite simple music, but Jenny's mom was moved and tears came to her eyes.
“You know, mom, I am going to Music University”, Jenny said that very day. “I want to understand why at first I couldn't play the piano and now I can. Why it took a 'miracle' to make me successful. Maybe I can help others to make it too.“ “I think you’ve made the right decision!“, Jenny's mom replied.
This is a true story. It happened long ago with my mom and me. Yes, I suddenly “won the lottery”, when I realized that I had the natural ability to hear perfect pitch of every music sound. When the beautiful world of music eventually opened my heart, I became very afraid. I was afraid, that if were not for this 'gift' I would have stayed musically blind forever. You are never afraid to lose what you have never had in the first place until you have it and appreciate it very much. Then you care big time!
Since then I have undertaken a long journey of searching for the answers to why many other 'Jennies' can't play piano. This article is my way of sharing some very important things that I have discovered.