The CMJ Library: A Tool for Building Student Confidence

One potentially overlooked part of learning to play the piano is building a repertoire of pieces you can play really well, and preferably from memory. Learning a large quantity of pieces is important for developing the ability to read music fluently, and helps keep interest up, particularly with young students. The lessons in Children’s Music Journey are designed to provide this variety. But there is also value in taking a piece and working on it for as long as it takes to master it. As the child progresses, you will both see that learning to play the notes of a new piece is really just the starting point, the point at which the real learning can begin. From there you are able to make the “notes come off the page” and personalize each performance. Only when you are past the stage of searching around for the correct notes in the correct rhythms can you start to truly listen to yourself and shape the music the way you want it to sound.

In Children’s Music Journey, this balance of “lesson” pieces and pieces to perfect is facilitated by the Library (the first “room” on the opening screen). Once in the Library, click on the computer for a wide selection of new and familiar songs that can be worked on outside of the weekly lessons. Listen to your child’s selected piece from the Library each week, and encourage the child to master each piece before moving on to another one. The child’s confidence in their own playing increases dramatically as the list of pieces that they can play really well grows. An added benefit of this exercise is that it is character building: in a culture of instant gratification, the value of hard work and the perception that not everything in life is instantaneous will be planted in their minds.

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