Your beginners’ piano lessons in classical music follow a tradition of piano education that has existed for centuries.
Nearly all of the great classical piano composers throughout history were also piano teachers. When their students needed new piano music to study and play for their piano lessons, these great pianists composed music at the appropriate level for their piano students. They also wrote about their piano teaching methods and their piano lessons. These composers left behind a legacy of beginners’ piano pieces to the piano teachers who followed them, including the piano teachers of today.
Though your beginners’ piano lessons may begin with the basics of the instrument, and learning how to read piano music, you will soon be diving head first into the great and expansive classical piano repertoire.
Progressing through the piano exams held by the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (ABRSM) is an excellent way to develop a thorough knowledge of the classical piano repertoire in your piano lessons. For each piano exam you will prepare pieces for performance from different eras throughout the history of classical piano music. For your first piano exam you could be playing piano pieces by the likes of Mozart and Shostakovich.
Taking the piano exams is not, by any means, mandatory. If you already are familiar with the classical piano repertoire, and have specific preferences for certain composers and classical music eras, your classical piano teacher can design your piano lessons around your musical tastes, rather than around the piano exam criteria.
The important thing - and something often overlooked in classical piano lessons - is to involve yourself completely in the exploration of classical piano music. Listen to pieces by the great piano composers, and find different recordings of the same pieces to discover your favourite classical piano interpretations. Listen to symphonies, operas, chamber ensembles, and vocal music too - the piano can be like an orchestra, and classical piano composers are influenced by all of these genres of composition.
And don’t forget, classical piano music is an art form, and as in literature, poetry, theatre, film, dance, painting, sculpture, and photography, there is a story to tell! It is your job to tell both the composer’s story, and your own story, in each piece you learn in your classical piano lessons.