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Observations from Masterclass in Rome Conservatory of Santa Cecilia

Jaak Sikk

Jaak Sikk at the Conservatory of Santa Cecilia

Greetings from the magnificent and culturally extremely rich city of Rome. I have been giving a masterclass for pianists here in the famous conservatory Santa Cecilia. The subject is improvisation and creativity. While working all together as a happy and friendly group many interesting ideas came up and several universal obstacles people encounter were revealed.

The Reason Why We Play Piano

There were several moments when after playing a bit of music the student looked at me with a shy attitude to get my evaluation about whether she/he had been good enough.

At first glimpse there seems nothing wrong with the situation. But for me there is a conceptual error in this kind of behavior. Why? Actually one of the first things I told to the group of students was “I am actually not a teacher and you students, I am here just to help you to teach yourself”. So when a teacher gives a task, before executing the task the student should:

    a) understand the idea why a task was given;
    b) see a personal reason, why the task has a benefit;
    c) be able to create an image of how to execute the task (mental modeling);
    d) be able to evaluate herself/himself whether the execution went well or not.

With a good teacher all of the four points are present automatically. The student is encouraged to look inside and see the task as her/his own logical next step how to go on. A reason to please someone else is never a reason that would activate students brain in a healthy and balanced way.

Piano Students

Students of the Conservatory of Santa Cecilia

Having a Clear Mental Vision

The next very important topic, which seems to need an endless talk and emphasize is having a clear mental vision, plan, idea (or however you want to call it) before playing. This artistic image in our mind and its clarity is a contact place between your creativity and the actual piano playing. When the imagery is very vague, the playing process can only be just as vague. Content and the execution cannot be separated from eachother in the terms of playing an instrument well.

Everything I have written before is combined with an expressive artistic courage. What is courage in this case? It is a complex of the following components:

    a) having a clear mental vision of something inner going on;
    b) being focused on the inner vision as much as possible;
    c) executing the inner vision with all needed resources and energy you have;
    (And for adding more quality, I would also say) d) being with very open ears towards ones own playing.

Despite the fact that these observations are based on work with university students, I still teach same principles and ideas in my piano course for adult beginners.

Thank you Rome, thank you Conservatorio Santa Cecilia, and thank all the wonderful students I had the luck to meet!

How Does Personal Feedback for Classical Piano Course Students Work?

Personal feedback is a very important feature of the adult beginner piano course because it enables to deal with your current unique situation and help you with your very own specific issues. This way it ensures that you get the maximum out of the course and improve faster. It is good for catching mistakes and focusing on the right learning habits. I will be giving you personal feedback in different ways. Communication takes place via e-mail, exchange of videos and if needed also via Skype conversation. Look at the example video exchange below between me and my online piano student (he gave me permission to post the videos).

Please note that feedback is never obligatory. It is going to be exactly according to your personal wishes and readiness. For example some people do not want to record themselves or just want to learn completely alone. So feedback is all the time a possibility whenever you decide you need my support and it happens exactly according to your wish.

About the Video Feedback

Sending your videos and receiving feedback has multiple benefits to your development as a beginner pianist and for many piano students it is an exciting challenge. The prerequisite of getting feedback on your videos is a video of your own playing. Creating this video is very improving. After recording you will see yourself playing from a distance. Then you will discover a lot about your physical motion, and see a lot where you can change and improve yourself. Usually students want to give their best and record the best version of a piano piece they can at that moment. It is a natural situation where development speeds up.

After I receive your video, I will either:

    1) Record you a video, where I show exact things you could do to develop further
    2) Send you an answer as an e-mail, when video feedback is not necessary according to the content of the answer

Usually I will answer the e-mails straight away (or maximum within 24 hours). The video answers might take more time because I need to record and upload them. Usually it takes 1-3 days to get a video feedback from me.

How Does the Video Feedback System Work Step-by-Step?

    1) You will need to record a video of your playing, and then upload it (for example Dropbox, Youtube etc.)
    2) Send me the link of your playing
    3) After I watch your video and come to the best conclusion about what to say to help you go on, I will send you the feedback video

How to Organize Skype Conversations?

The only thing you need to do to get a Skype conversation with me is letting me know about your free times and the subject you want to talk about. If that is set, I will write you back and we can confirm the chat.

To get professional feedback specifically on your piano playing just join the free piano course and send me a video of yourself playing piano or just an e-mail with your questions. I will give a prompt answer.

My contact details are here:

Skype: jaak.sikk.jr

Read Answers to Other Frequently Asked Questions:

Is It Too Late for Me to Start Learning the Piano?
Am I Talented Enough to Learn to Play the Piano?
What Equipment Do I Need for Joining Jaak Sikk’s Adult Beginner Piano Course?
How Much Do I Need to Practice Piano?
I Cannot Sight-read, Can I Join the Adult Beginner Piano Course?
11 Proven Concepts for Effective Piano Learning Used in the Courses
Are My Hands Too Small for Playing Piano Well?
I Do Not Have a Piano, Which One Would Be the Best for Me?
When Will I See the First Outcome When I Follow The Adult Beginner Piano Course?
Are My Hands And Fingers Too Stiff for Playing?

A Testimonial by Jaak Sikk’s Piano Student Dennis Dooley

The first month of the Beginner Classical Piano course is a free complete course that provides learners with a package of high quality basic skills for a beginner pianist. Everything is explained in detail and based on proven scientific theories and approved teaching methods. Give it a try to prove it works for you, and get all the basic knowledge for free. Accomplishing the free course enables to continue studies in the follow-up course.

Learn more about the free online piano course here ►Classical Piano Course for Beginners by Jaak Sikk
Or join the piano course ►HERE

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