After more than 40 years of giving private piano lessons for children, Jody Brown still finds she learns just as much from her young proteges as she teaches.
Brown, a Seneca Falls resident who this week began holding lessons at Auburn’s Unitarian Universalist Society, said one of her favorite parts of the job is seeing the unique ways each student adapts to learning the piano.
“The art of teaching is figuring out how each student’s brain works,” Brown said.
A practitioner of the Suzuki method, developed by violinist Shinichi Suzuki and adapted for piano by Haruko Kataoka, who Brown studied under personally, Brown uses a language-based approach to introduce students to music.
In much the same way babies hear their parents speak to them and then learn to speak themselves long before learning to read, the Suzuki method is based on listening.
Students begin by “ear-training,” learning to play and repeat music as they hear it before they learn to read sheet music, which Brown said allows them to play more advanced music quicker.
As she instructs students, Brown is able to tell if they can be categorized mostly as readers or ear players. Watching the students progress, and figuring out how best to help them on their unique path, is the most interesting and challenging part of her job, Brown said.
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