Monday Broadcast: Knowing When To Move On To A New Piece

Greetings! During today’s live broadcast via Periscope, we discussed a question sent in by Sarah Arnold: How do we decide when to move on to a new piece with a student?

002 Knowing When To Move On To A New Piece

Here is the video conversation:

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All past broadcasts are here: To watch future broadcasts live, download the free Periscope app (for iOS or Android) and hop online on Mondays at noon Eastern time. Hope to see you next time!

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12 thoughts on “Monday Broadcast: Knowing When To Move On To A New Piece”

  1. Thank you, Joy – great post and it made me realise that I (and my students hopefully) also fall into the fantastic sight reader and huge memorisation avoider (but I do work on it with my students).;-) I connected with the opposing trend of exam teachers, either ABRSM or local Belgian music academies, and my place in the market for a different kind of teaching.

    For my other proposed topic, the merits of mixing methods and exploring strong points of so and so’s composition, I would understand completely if you prefer to credit the topic to a made-up teacher. I don’t want to dominate things.

    Hearts flowing your way for the show,
    Sarah Arnold

    1. Thanks for the feedback, Sarah — I was happy to credit your question to you, of course!! As I said in the video, I’m not sure if I completely answered the question because so much, of course, depends on the student, but I’m glad to hear you enjoyed the post and hopefully gained from it! Thanks again.

  2. Hi Joy!

    I really appreciated this broadcast. Thank you for articulating your thoughts on what mastery looks like. I go through the same process with my students. =)

    The specific benefits of what skills the students gain through short and long term goals was something I hadn’t thought through before though. This will definitely make me more intentional in the types of pieces I assign students and also how to prepare them for it. I can think of some of my students who get scared of harder pieces. If they were aware from the beginning that certain pieces are more challenging and requires a longer period of time to master but knew that it was intentional and we make a longer plan say to record it in 3 months time or play it at the next recital, I think it would be less daunting for them. We act like guides in a lot of ways — we don’t tell them exactly what to do for every little thing but provide basic parameters, help them map out their pieces and guide them in expressing the pieces along way. In a way, preparing their heart for a piece helps ease those who get stressed or discouraged easily. Perhaps it also helps with motivating them in what might seem like long challenging weeks ahead. =)

  3. Thank you so much for your website and topics and information you so freely share with other teachers. I really appreciate your time and talent. I enjoyed this video on knowing when to move on to a new piece.

  4. Hey I love your periscoping! If that was a word. But they happen at about 2am here! I just wanted to mention that there is a post on one of the forums today taking about how many pieces teachers assign at one time. It’s just another angle on this topic of how long to stay on a piece.
    As far as what to assign, l was very much towards the “producing great sight readers” side of things but I have been working on more rote and challenge repertoire and am worried I might fall to the other side too far, so still finding the balance!
    The main thing I want to say is that I have just started using the Piano Safari unit maps which means my students are playing a whole unit at a time in piano Safari. You keep all the piece till the end of the unit. It’s been an interesting experiment for the last few weeks… It is forcing me to really work On polishing things cause every week we can add something else to the existing pieces as well as learn more new ones. Like dynamics, technique, phrasing, etc. i have wondered how this unit by unit approach would work in other methods books like piano adventures…
    Anyway that’s all my thoughts 🙂

    1. Yes, I wish there was a mutually good time even for those in Australia. 🙂 Good thing there is at least the replay option!!

      I didn’t happen see the forum thread you mentioned about how many pieces to assign at once, but that is certainly another consideration relevant to this discussion! I don’t know about other teachers, but I generally like to have 3-4 pieces going at once, in addition to a warmup exercise and written theory assignment.

      Yes, it’s all about balance! Learning by rote is certainly included in that. Thanks for sharing about your experiment with the Piano Safari units. I agree it would be very interesting to apply the same approach to other methods! Thanks for sharing!

  5. Wonderful listening to you on replay Joy. I found the topic really interesting. I was particularly interested in your time span for learning a new piece as many of the beginner method books claim a piece a week and this is not always possible! I find 2 – 3 weeks is most often the case. So yes 2 – 4 is more realistic.
    I look forward to your next broadcast.

  6. A short term goal could be to complete a unit in a method book. Piano Guild could be a long term goal…a program to build up over the entire year. A mini goal could be mastery of 2-3 challenging measures. Playing a piece with a sequencer up to tempo could be a short term goal. I believe that a goal is something a student should work to meet so don’t make it too easy!

  7. I am fairly new to teaching piano and just discovered your blog. It is awesome and extremely helpful. I already have learned quite a few new things I will begin incorporating this week! I only have a few students and they are all beginners, but am lucky in that they are all very focused, conscientious, and quick learners. I have been leaning towards the 1-2 weeks per piece as well to keep the young students engaged, but I really like the idea of continuing a few pieces longer for the simple joy, memorization, and increased fluidity. I am starting a few more students next month and I am prepared that they may need more time to incorporate new concepts.

    I was hoping you or others could direct me to longer pieces that might require a month or more to learn for Level 1 and 2 piano students. My daughter is using the Suzuki violin books so I certainly see the value in working on harder complex pieces that take much longer to master, but I agree that balancing short and long term goals/pieces will be the most successful strategy in the end. Thanks for any advice!

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