How skills learnt during piano lessons affect more than just musical performance

The end of year summer concert was a great chance for pupils to show how they had progressed during their weekly piano lessons.

It was good to see that the children had practiced and taken on board what I had told them during their lessons, auditions and rehearsals. Some of them managed to execute their abilities a little better than others, but I put that down to nerves, excitement and adrenaline.

The main takeaway for me was that all children showed they had potential as they performed fluently at the piano. They had learned how to take ownership and responsibility for their own learning through a fun activity such as playing the piano. While the children performed duets and solos, they showed they can work independently, and communicate well with others. They also used their musical skills to enhance cross-curriculum activities such as counting.

Although some of the children made mistakes, they recovered well and didn’t let the audience notice them. They didn’t let their mistakes affect their confidence, and they learned from them quickly. Through performing, they have learned that it is normal to make mistakes and to find strength to work through them. They didn’t let their mistakes define them.

To help calm the children and support them through the concert, I sat beside them as they performed. This meant that I was able to position their hands in the right places, and find the pages in their piano books. Most of the students were independent and didn’t need my help. They needed my help to learn the pieces, but the independent students were performance ready.

Some of the students used my studio license to laminate their scores so they looked more presentable. They had learned presentation skills through performing. Presentation is important as a child and even more so as an adult. It is the first form of contact and communication that an individual has with the world.

As a result of understanding performance, the children introduced themselves and their pieces confidently to the audience, who had filled the school hall – as did the children’s voices – as they showed focus throughout the whole event. They learned how they should behave in any performing environment, as well as in safe place environments. Consequently, the children would be ready to take on smaller audiences like friends and family as well as perform to large audiences in concert halls. They showed maturity for their age.

The audience responded with enthusiasm and parents beamed with pride. A few of the parents spoke to me after the concert to say how proud they are of their child’s achievement, and that they now feel confident enough to invest in their child’s musical learning and development.

Ijeoma Mbubaegbu