Learning Styles

Learning styles vary depending on whether a person is a visual, aural, or kinesthetic learner.

Someone who learns easier by seeing rather than by hearing or touching is known as a visual learner. Someone who learns easier by hearing rather than by seeing or touching is known as an aural learner. Someone who learns easier by touching the keys to feel the pattens of the notes on the piano keyboard is known as a kinesthetic learner.

There are many people who learn in ways that overlap. Others can learn just as easily no matter which presentations are used when they are taught to play the piano.

In my studio I understand that each person is unique in the way he or she learns new tasks. I observe all my students to find out how it is easiest for them to learn. I begin in a way that each student has the most success.

Once success is established other methods of presentation are used so the student gains an optimum experience in learning. The more ways a student can adjust from one method to another the easier it is to understand new information no matter how it is presented, be it by sight, by ear or by physically feeling the patterns that are made on the keys.

STUDENT EXAMPLE

Susan wanted to learn how to read the notes to get acquainted with many different styles and composers. She was dyslectic and found it very difficult to learn visually in her first lessons. In order to help her enjoy the learning process and to build on her strengths I put melodies on her recording device. I used familiar songs she said she liked that were within her grasp to listen to at home as many times as she chose.

She could hear patterns in the notation. Sometimes the notes went up stepwise and sometimes they went down. Sometimes she discovered small skips between the notes. She found out that singing along with the songs helped her to play the notes on the piano easier. Her listening skills were very good.

Before long she was able to play longer and more complex songs using her aural skills. I gradually introduced songs that were written on the music staff to help her with her visual skills.

We worked together to reach those 'ah ha' moments of discovery. The songs we saw on the staff were some of the same songs she had already learned by ear. Now she could make the connections between listening and reading.

From there I introduced new songs that she had not heard before. She gradually learned to see patterns in the music that she was able to play on the keyboard. Her successes became very obvious and more frequent. She was very happy.

How do YOU like to learn? What is your learning style? Is it easier to see the notes first, hear the music first, or feel the patterns on the keys in order to play?

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