3 Ways Your Piano Teacher is Destroying Your Creativity (and what you can do about it!)
First — fair warning, I’m friends with many piano teachers, and no, they aren’t all destroying your creativity, but I have met many students who have met many teachers who don’t teach the following principles, and have thus lost interest in learning such a wonderful instrument.
Piano teachers are wonderful people, who teach you to play beautiful music. That being said, they are many things that most piano teachers don’t teach when training young pianists. By not encouraging development in these ways, it can lead to a lack of creativity when playing at the piano.
1. Only Classical Music
When people learn to play the piano, they usually always start with classical music. Ever remember Minuet in G? Classical music is great, don’t get me wrong, but it isn’t exactly the most popular genre of music.
A recent Nielsen report showed that in 2015, Pop & Rock music made up about 40% of music sales, while Classical music consisted of only 1.3%. Out of all music sales in the United States, Classical music was only 1%! People aren’t buying classical music, and if they aren’t buying it, then it’s safe to say that they aren’t interested in it either.
This means that most people aren’t learning the kind of music they are interested in learning most of time. People aren’t going to play music they don’t like. Go out and play songs you want to play. You don’t have to play a Clementi Sonatina, or a Bach Invention. There’s nothing wrong with learning “My Heart Will Go On” or “Piano Man”. What are you waiting for?
2. Playing Only The Notes On The Page
Learning only classical music brings with it another caveat, you are only allowed to play the notes on the page. In my opinion, if you only play the notes on the page, and treat them like gospel, then you never learn to play own notes, and thus make-up your own arrangements.
Classical music is the only genre where music is expected to be performed exactly as it’s written, this is not the case with other genres. People love cool and unique sounding arrangements of all different kinds of songs, just look at Post Modern Jukebox. As long as you only play what’s on the page, you’re stuck with what the author wrote, and can’t figure out your own way of doing things.
3. No Improvisation
I’ll never forget the first time someone asked me if I wrote mine own music. I was shocked at the question. Why? I had only ever played music by the greats: Bach, Beethoven, Chopin, Rachmaninoff, etc. No one could ever write music as great as them right?
As long as one thinks this way, one will never write music. We all have unique creative sensibilities to contribute to this world, and thus we can all write beautiful, unique, and interesting music.
I’ll never forget my first ever jazz band rehearsal, where there was a line in the music that had no notes, and when the teacher told me to play, I told him I couldn’t there was nothing there. When he told me to then make something up, I literally couldn’t even put my finger to the piano because I thought it blasphemous to play even a single note that wasn’t on the page.
Now, when it comes to playing pop music, I play more than what’s on the page because what’s on the page in pop and rock music usually sucks.
If you agree, and want to learn more about playing music and songs that most people enjoy, (which is usually not classical), then be sure to check out my free report on 4 Secrets classically trained musicians wish they knew about how to play popular music.
Be sure to check out some of my other articles, and my new course coming soon at PlayAnyPopSong.com