Improvement: what does it mean?
If you want to improve as a musician, there are five general areas you should try to expand. They are all equally important and should be developed side by side:
- Aural: being able to use the instrument to reproduce your musical ideas or what is being played by the other musicians
- Visual: being able to visualise scales, arpeggios and positions on the keyboard while playing
- Kinaesthetic: being able to use the instrument with as much control and as fast as possible
- Semantic: being able to express your own emotions, meanings and ideas through music
- Syntactic: being able to organise and synthesize rhythm, melody and harmony into a music product (relevant in particular for composers, arrangers and improvisers, ).
Kinds of exercises
To help you reach the aims above, I have organised music exercises and drills into three categories:
- Theoretical exercises to write down on music paper or develop mentally
- Written practical exercises to play with as much rhythmic precision as possible to develop hand dexterity
- Improvisational exercises to unleash creativity and explore the instrument’s potential.
A few tips from my teaching method
– To study music means you foster your cultural, physical and spiritual development. I recommend you adopt a global approach to music: it means that ear training, history, instrumental skills, compositional skills are equally important to develop a good music culture.
– Music tradition and the imitation principle (especially at a beginner’s level) are very useful to develop new ideas.
– The repetition of passages on the instrument is essential to make them automatic and instinctive.
– I want to stimulate a positive approach, trying to eliminate my students’ doubts regarding their instrumental and compositional skills, or their talent.
– Endless search for a balance between instrumental-compositional technique and artistic creation.
– The instrument should become an extension of one’s own body, physically at one with the musician. If you are a musician, whn you study you should try to tune your body to your music and instrument.
– Singing and hands coordination is the first step towards music achievement.
– Courses are flexible but well planned at the same time. This means the course content is clarified in advance and tuition is never left to the teacher’s extemporaneous improvisation.
– I always collect and analyse information on the quality and effectiveness of my methods. I use these data to reorganise and improve my way of teaching.