NAMM Sponsors Recreational Music Making Piano Program in Dallas

Nine out of 10 Teachers Endorse New Approach to Teaching Piano to Attract New Players

December 19, 2006

NAMM, the trade association of the international music products industry, recently sponsored an experimental new piano teaching program with some exciting results. At the conclusion of the new Recreational Music Making (RMM) piano class, nine of the 10 selected teachers indicated a desire to continue teaching RMM-type classes.

Other data from the pilot program included:

  • 69 percent of the students said they definitely wanted to continue lessons
  • 19 percent indicated they would consider continuing their lessons
  • 75 percent of the students would not have taken piano lessons if less formal, Recreational Music Making classes had not been offered
  • 47 percent of the students were familiar with research about the proven benefits of music making for children and/or adults
  • 47 percent of the students had previously taken piano lessons, and even when they considered those lessons non-successful, they still wanted to try again.

The new program was coordinated by Brenda Dillon, a local music educator with a history of teaching adult beginners at the Plano Senior Center, and selected 10 area educators to teach classes throughout the Dallas area to 58 students.

“The students were overwhelmingly enthusiastic about learning in a group,” said Dillon. “And the teachers enjoyed the new method of teaching and observed that teaching this way was not ‘dumbing down’ of piano lessons.”

The test included eight-week classes, one hour per week with two pianos side-by-side; six students seated in a semi-circle facing the pianos; solo playing being voluntary; and a primary emphasis on enjoyment. The teachers also used printed materials developed by Dillon.

These teachers and their students, as well as the Plano Senior Center students, will be the focus of a new video that will serve as a documentary of RMM piano classes in the Dallas area. The video will be shown at a presentation at the NAMM Show, an annual gathering of the music products industry in Anaheim, Calif. It will also be included in a session on RMM teaching presented by Brenda Dillon at the Music Teachers National Association conference in Toronto, Canada, in March of 2007.