What is Simply Music & Why Miss Dorina is Crazy About It

Ms. Cathy: Hi everyone. It's Ms. Cathy here with Ms. Dorina.

Ms. Dorina: Hello.

Ms. Cathy: Those of you that take Kindermusik with us are very familiar with Ms. Dorina. So Ms. Dorina's been teaching Kindermusik with us for a couple years and she started with us when her daughter was just a little baby. And now she's almost four.

Ms. Cathy: Well what you may not know about Ms. Dorina is that she studied piano in her native country of Russia when she was growing up. And how many years did you take?

Ms. Dorina: About seven years.

Ms. Cathy: Seven years of piano. And when Ms. Dorina discovered Simply Music, we were talking about it and she researched it. She came to me and she said, "You know what? I wanna be involved in this and I want to teach it." So we're gonna ask Dorina today a little bit about Simply Music and what is it. So Dorina, first tell us what is Simply Music?

Ms. Dorina: Well Simply Music is innovative method of teaching and learning piano. It comes originally from Australia. It's just about 30 years ago now, but I guess it's not as popular yet in here in the United States. And that method is developed on the premise that everybody, without any exclusions, is musical. Musical in their heart, musical in their body, and then there's just a wonderful way to bring it up. That was first very appealing thing.

Ms. Dorina: And the second appealing thing, it has quite a different approach in learning piano and learning music and playing music. Basically first, what they do, they teach you to love your instrument and then they give you all the little clues on how to be a great piano player. And, I guess, one more thing that is very, very important for me is that you get to play both hands right away, different pieces of music, and different styles of music. And that sounded to me really appealing. Because I remember from my training, I had to study notes before and I had to practice pretty much very silly, boring songs before I can actually show off my skills. Here it's a different approach. You can show off right away, basically. Two, three weeks in the process and you're playing two hands, beautifully sounding melodies.

Ms. Cathy: So Dorina, I know that you've had some students this year. So tell me what you see in the progress of your students as opposed to the way you were taught.

Ms. Dorina: Well, first of all, I can see the passion right there and I can see the results. I've been teaching the lessons to my students for about 14, 15 weeks right now and the girls that I have, my students, they know about 30 pieces already.

Ms. Cathy: Wow.

Ms. Dorina: Some of the pieces are very short, but they are great sounding music. And it is something that you can truly be proud of. And that's the thing.

Ms. Cathy: I do wanna say, at our piano recital her students performed and one of them had been playing only for a few weeks and did an unbelievable job. Played a song with two hands. So it was very impressive. And I see how happy they are when they're coming out of their lessons and how engaged they are. Can you tell us a little bit about the format of Simply Music and how it differs from maybe a more traditional style of learning? What do you first do with the children?

Ms. Dorina: Well first of all, what that is very different is the parent is involved. And that's what I love the most about it because when you have your parent involved in your music piano lessons, the outcome's quite different. 'Cause I remember, again, from my experience, I would be sitting at the piano and my mom would have no idea what am I doing and what am I supposed to do. So it was all on me to try to figure out what to practice, how to practice. But here, because the parent is in the class with the student, they get to learn piano too.

Ms. Dorina: So at some point, there is a possibility of parent and student playing four hands on the piano or playing duets or even do a little orchestras at home. So that's a very different thing. And then of course what differs is that, I mentioned learning notes and music notation ... we postpone it. In that method, it's being postponed until you already have the ability to play. So, so to speak, think about children, how they first learn to babble and they put maybe a couple sounds together, they make a word. Then they make a sentence. And only then when they're about six or seven years old, they go to school and we teach them how to write and read and all that.

Ms. Dorina: So the same method is applied to music. Rather than giving them all the new notes, all the new knowledge about how to read music, we first let them babble, first let them make sentences. And only then we introduce musical notation. And that helps a lot because it doesn't overwhelm the child and it gives them more fun things to do with the piano.

Ms. Dorina: So basically the end result of it is that you have your piano, your instrument, as a lifelong companion. There is a lot of research now that we can see ... because like I said, the method's been around 30 years. Now we can see that student that took Simply Music, they're playing for life. Those students that were five, six, seven, eight years old ... 20 or 30 years ago, they're still playing. They don't necessarily need to be at the performing level. They might play for themselves, but I think it's the ultimate goal is to keep the music in your heart and in your life for as long as you can keep it. And that's what Simply Music does for you.

Ms. Cathy: So if you think that this is the type of method that your child would enjoy ... some children really do well with a more traditional method of private lessons. Simply Music can be private or group. If you want to learn alongside your child, if you feel that your child would be more engaged in a method that ... I almost feel like it looks at the piano in more of a spacial-orientation way.

Ms. Dorina: Sort of, yeah. Rather than using notes right away, we're using certain patterns and we unfold how can you see the music and how can you visualize it.

Ms. Cathy: Yeah. And I know that you're putting blocks and patterns together, right?

Ms. Dorina: Basically it's like putting Lego together. So we first introduce one piece, another piece, and then we can put all that together and create something magnificent or something of your own.

Ms. Cathy: We are so excited to be able to bring Simply Music to you. It's such an innovative method and we've seen such success. I have a lot of colleagues that I know around the world that teach it. And we really wanted to be a part of this exciting, innovative new piano method.