Piano Lessons Are Good For You, Part 1

Piano Lessons Are Good For You, Part 1

"If your parents forced you to practice your scales by saying it would "build character," they were onto something," says journalist Tom Barnes.* "The Washington Post reports that one of the largest scientific studies into music's effect on the brain has found something striking: Musical training doesn't just affect your musical ability — it provides tremendous benefits to children's emotional and behavioral maturation."

How Jairin and I Saved $800

My student Jairin just graduated from high school. He’s headed for college, where he plans to major in worship music, eventually hoping to become a minister of music.


Jairin’s already done a lot right. He’s involved in his church’s worship team and has tons of performance experience. He plays guitar. He knows how to cover mistakes, improvise, groove with a click track, and look like he’s enjoying himself when he’s onstage.


In his two years of lessons with me, Jairin and I have covered a fair amount of theory and technique. So when I learned he was going to Greenville College, I asked if he could get a syllabus for the required Class Piano courses so we’d know what was required. Here are the lists:


Class Piano I 

Each student will be able to play: 

    All major and minor five-finger patterns 

    All major and minor triads and inversions 

    Cadence chord progression in any major key (I-IV6/4-I-V6/5-I pattern) 

    One octave scales in C, G, D, A, and E major, hands separately 

In addition, each student will be able to: 

    Harmonize a simple melody with cadence chords 

    Transpose a melody as requested 

    Demonstrate excellent familiarity with all chord qualities 

    Sight-read an appropriately leveled example in a major key 

    Prepare and perform a solo selection


Class Piano II

Each student will be able to play: 

    Cadence chord progression in any minor key (i-iv6/4-i-V6/5-i pattern) 

    The “vocal warm-up” in any key as requested 

    Major scales & arpeggios F, B, Gb, Db, Eb, Ab, Bb (2 8va, hands separately) 

    All minor Scales & arpeggios (2 8va, hands separately) 

    All qualities of seventh chords in any key 

In addition, each student will be able to: 

    Transpose a musical example in minor (chords and melody) 

    Harmonize an appropriately leveled example 

    Demonstrate excellent knowledge of modes 

    Sight-read an appropriately leveled musical example 

    Prepare and perform a solo selection 

    Meet all requirements for testing out of Piano I 


With a little review and brush-up, Jairin was able to test out of both these one-hour classes. Not only will he save time in college, but also approximately $418 per credit hour: more than $800 savings because of private piano lessons.