I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again- I love the challenge of teaching students who are losing interest in piano. It might break my heart at first but I’m confident I’ve got the secret sauce that’ll help them fall in love all over again! What is it- you may ask? POP SONGS! Yep, it’s as simple as that! I discuss this in my previous blog post, How To Convert Piano Quitters into Piano Lovers.
I bring this up because I truly have a passion for making my students and the instructors in my Cascade Method Training Program passionate about piano! My mission for my instructing career has always been to educate and help others to love it. So, with that goal in mind, I found myself called to develop a product that would help students learn more clearly and feel more confident in the beginning stages of their piano teaching.
It all started with one student, a couple of strips of blue tape, and a whole lot of hard work and commitment to establish what I so proudly call NoteMatch- The Best Piano Reading Tool!
The Story of Jonah: Discovering the piano reading tool
Oh, how I love telling this story. Jonah started piano lessons with me when he was five years old. He’s now 14 and he’s so insanely talented- he’s what you call… a natural.
About four years ago, we were learning this piece called Serenade and he was trying so hard to figure out this one note on the sheet music. (I teach my students sentences to help them memorize the notes, so he knew the sentence “All Cows Eat Grass” for space notes in the bass clef).
He knew the note he needed to play was C for “Cows”. He looked at me and said, which C is it? As in which ‘C’ on the piano… and that’s when the lightbulb went off. I said, “Jonah, that ‘C’ you’re referring to has literally only ONE specific spot on the piano!”
I told him to get blue tape (the kind of tape that can comes off easily, of course) and place it from a low G up to an A and then from an E to a higher F.
Those two pieces of tape literally defined the space in which any note on the sheet music would be- which was making for this piano reading tool!
If he looked at music and saw any note between the lowest and highest line on the staff, it would touch this blue tape. If he saw notes outside of those lines, then he knew it would be higher or lower than the tape.
All of a sudden, I became so inspired by this new reality of teaching that I (little ole’ me!) could create for piano beginners.
Once I got home, I sketched a rough, rough draft. I cut it up, taped it together and made one for every one of my students.
When I brought it to them the following week, they all got it. Their reading of sheet music EXPLODED and they all started learning on a much faster rate! Once this happened, it was confirmed. I was onto something and I couldn’t keep it to just myself and just my students!
Making NoteMatch a Reality
I thought my idea was going to be so easy to develop and start selling. Of course, I believed in it, it made sense and I was positive it was going to help so many students! Getting NoteMatch on the market took more time, money, and research that I ever imagined.
What I thought (naively) would happen overnight ended up taking four years. That sure does bring back all the self-doubt, exhaustion, and anxiety that happened within those years but boy, was it all worth it!
After many sketches, late nights, and discovering the right team- NoteMatch is the product every pianist can appreciate. As I’ve always believed, teaching piano should be fun. I was always so focused on inspiring my students and it turns out that they inspired me.