Play it again Poppy, but this time by ear

LAURA WALTERS
Last updated 14:30 07/12/2012
Poppy
AMANDA CARRINGTON/ Fairfax NZ
BY EAR: Vicki Lee teaches a student to play piano.

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You do not learn to read before you can talk, so why do aspiring musicians have to learn to read music before they can play?

That is the philosophy behind the non-traditional teaching method, Simply Music, adopted by musician-turned-piano-teacher Vicki Lee.

Mrs Lee, who has been teaching the Simply Music method for the past five months, and who now has eight pupils, said the programme appealed to her way of playing music.

The method was created by Australian Neil Moore, after he was asked to teach an 8-year-old blind boy to play the piano.

Mrs Lee is one of six qualified teachers of the method in New Zealand.

Simply Music focused on patterns, and shapes, with a strong emphasis on the ear, Mrs Lee said.

It did not discount traditional teaching methods - it just delayed reading.

The 14-year-old programme proved everyone was musical, she said.

"Everyone is deeply, and profoundly musical. If anyone casts doubt on that, just look at how many people attend concerts . . .

"A lot of people view music as something that other people do, that they can view, but not be a part of."

The unused pianos in people's lounges needed an airing, she said.

Mrs Lee's students range in age from 9 to a man in his late 50s.

One of the more mature students who learnt to play a simplified version of Fur Elise in two lessons, when it took his wife three years, had come a long way since his first lesson, Mrs Lee said.

She said she planned to stick with the programme for a long time to come.

Parents, or a coach, were encouraged to sit in on lessons, and be part of the learning process as well, Mrs Lee said.

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- Manawatu Standard

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