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Evan's Online Piano Success

by Timothy De Prey DePrey.Timothy@MacPhail.org

piano keysI began teaching Evan in September 2012.  Evan was my first On Line student and in the beginning I wondered how I would adapt my teaching for an On Line student.  I embraced the opportunity and Evan turns out to be the perfect On Line student.  He is 8 years old and has had an interest in the piano for a long time.  He would hear melodies on the radio and run to the piano and spend hours trying to figure it out.  

We began with the Piano for Children Curriculum and it became apparent to me early on that Evan has a remarkable ear.  So much so, that I had to be careful not to play too much for him since he could remember what he heard and play it by ear.  I wanted to support his ear and at the same time develop his reading skills and understanding of music theory.  

To keep Evan engaged, I have begun sending him (via email using Audacity and the iPad) video and audio clips to listen to between lessons.  I would make up a simple melody and accompaniment and then after a few phrases, I would discontinue playing the melody which would be his opportunity to improvise over my original composition.  This motivated Evan beyond belief.  Within a day or two, his father would send me a video clips (via You Tube) of Evan's progress.  It has been amazing.  

The obvious challenge is to keep Evan motivated (since his ear is so developed) and at the same time continue to develop his reading and theory skills.  It has been going very well and he is developing beautifully.  He embraces any challenge put before him with excitement and joy. 

Here is a sample of our work together.  I recorded the teacher accompaniment to Firefly from the Piano Adventures Series by Faber and Faber.   Within a few days, his dad sent me this video of Evan.  Watch to the very end to see Evan's joyful completion.

Photo Credit: Piano Keys by Mararie on Flicker CC-By SA 3.0

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