I started teaching three new piano students in Brooklyn this week, a third grader and a fourth grader in the Park Slope area and also a five year old in Prospect Heights. The Prospect Heights student is in a really convenient location, since the lessons that happen right before him are in Crown Heights, which makes for an easy and efficient drive from lesson to lesson. I love it when that sort of thing works out.
I always enjoy teaching that first lesson to beginners, breaking out the John Thompson “Teaching Little Fingers to Play” book. It’s a terrific book for getting started, and I think it’s the perfect start for someone even as young as four or five. There are a lot of beginner books out there that feature huge-font notes with the letter of the note displayed within the huge note- a total distraction, in my opinion. The “Teaching Little Fingers” book sticks to the very understandable finger numbering system, with both thumbs anchored on middle C, which leads to a very quick understanding of the Treble Clef/ Bass Clef relationship.
There is some fantastic live piano music in town this weekend. McCoy Tyner, the great jazz pianist that performed with John Coltrane’s legendary quartet, will be at the Blue Note October 4-6. Speaking of Trane, his son Ravi Coltrane will be at the Village Vanguard; his pianist is David Virelles- I’m not familiar with his playing, but I bet he’s a monster.