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JOANNE CHANG writes on music education in the USA


Whilst there are many music educators sharing varied teaching experiences with all age groups, articles focussing on the community college, adult, private and classroom piano teaching are rare. I believe this matter is important because it must be seen from the performer's perspective. Therefore this article is to share my efforts and growing experience in advancing community college private and classroom piano instruction. In particular, the advantages of the community college curriculum, the common and uncommon backgrounds of students, reasons why they enrol, goals they set up for themselves, how computer software may assist in coaching, and how we prepare students for their performances.

For the past year I have learnt a great deal about the community college curriculum, and how piano teaching fits into the schedule. For most adults who wish to learn the piano, or take it up again, community college is a reliable route. Benefits also include college concerts, and finding the overall cost very reasonable. By enrolling in a 15-week semester course with half-an-hour's private instruction weekly and three class meetings per semester, students gain a broad experience.

Each student comes to community college with his/her specific reasons, needs, musical and ethnic backgrounds. Some of them wish to polish their techniques, others who have been learning a different instrument for a long time may feel an urge to acquaint themselves with a useful keyboard instrument like the piano, and others want to strengthen their understanding of music theory. Students from differing cultural backgrounds explore American culture through music, learning as well as discovering the music environment in the States.

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Copyright © 22 March 2001 Joanne Chang, New York City, USA




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