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#1241436 - 08/01/09 09:39 AM Supplementation of method books?  
Joined: Sep 2007
Posts: 209
BSP Offline
Full Member
BSP  Offline
Full Member

Joined: Sep 2007
Posts: 209
Hudson Valley, NY
Hi,
My postings with mitts_off WRT supplementing method books with Suzuki leads me to this question for the group.

How do you all approach supplemental materials for your students using method books, such as Faber, Alfred, Bastien, etc.? Do you consult the Guild, or ABRSM syllabi??

thanks!
BevP

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#1241458 - 08/01/09 10:32 AM Re: Supplementation of method books? [Re: BSP]  
Joined: Feb 2005
Posts: 1,179
Ebony and Ivory Offline
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Ebony and Ivory  Offline
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Joined: Feb 2005
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Minnesota
I don't have a "plan" for my supplements. I use whatever I think will benefit them the most. Ie: if they are having trouble with "over-under" I grab one with a lot of that.



It is better to be kind than to be right.

Professional private piano teacher since 1994.
#1241488 - 08/01/09 12:03 PM Re: Supplementation of method books? [Re: Ebony and Ivory]  
Joined: Sep 2006
Posts: 1,269
dumdumdiddle Offline
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dumdumdiddle  Offline
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Joined: Sep 2006
Posts: 1,269
California
The Faber series has several supplemental books like the FunTime/ChordTime/Showtime/Bigtime books, as well as the 'Gold Star' series. There's also popular repertoire, Christmas, etc... When my students are in 2B I like to use the Developing Artist series ( http://www.fjhmusic.com/piano/dapsl.htm ) to introduce simple original classical pieces. I like the idea of NOT waiting until a student is completely out of the method books to give them classical music.


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#1241527 - 08/01/09 12:58 PM Re: Supplementation of method books? [Re: Ebony and Ivory]  
Joined: Nov 2002
Posts: 13,837
Kreisler Offline
Kreisler  Offline


Joined: Nov 2002
Posts: 13,837
Iowa City, IA
I consult syllabi quite a bit, mostly our state syllabus, but also RCM.

I also have a few favorite anthologies I draw heavily from. The Festival Collection, Essential Keyboard Repertoire, Celebration Series, Christopher Norton Connections, Frances Clark Contemporary Repertoire, and a couple of composer collections - Gillock's Accent on Solos, Jon George's A Day in the Jungle, and the Preludes by Vandall.

Beyond that, I tend to go into classical repertoire and have a number of favorite pieces that I often use, and I'm continually scanning forums, catalogues, and new collections for things to add to my teaching repertoire.

By the way, I always think it's very useful to have a "teaching repertoire." While it's nice to think that we all pick repertoire with only the student in mind, it's very important that the teacher know how to teach it as well.

If I've taught a piece several times in the past, it's much easier for me to teach because I know where students tend to have trouble, and what is required in terms of preparing and presenting the piece to the student. With a new piece, you're always guessing a little bit.

On case in point - I just finished a lesson with a student who's working on the Latour sonatina. According to most syllabi, it's one or two levels beyond her, but since I've taught the piece a lot, I was able to present it in such a way that she was able to have hands together at a steady, moderate tempo in about 2 weeks time. By contrast, we learned a piece last year that was at her level, but it took us about two months to get it performance ready because I'd never taught the piece before.


"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)

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#1241574 - 08/01/09 02:02 PM Re: Supplementation of method books? [Re: Kreisler]  
Joined: Feb 2005
Posts: 1,179
Ebony and Ivory Offline
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Ebony and Ivory  Offline
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Joined: Feb 2005
Posts: 1,179
Minnesota
Originally Posted by Kreisler
...it's one or two levels beyond her, but since I've taught the piece a lot, I was able to present it in such a way that she was able to have hands together at a steady, moderate tempo in about 2 weeks time. By contrast, we learned a piece last year that was at her level, but it took us about two months to get it performance ready because I'd never taught the piece before.


That's terrific! That is also a very good thing to remember when people want to know why they shouldn't "teach themselves"!


It is better to be kind than to be right.

Professional private piano teacher since 1994.
#1241749 - 08/01/09 06:58 PM Re: Supplementation of method books? [Re: Ebony and Ivory]  
Joined: Aug 2008
Posts: 5,515
Gary D. Online content
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Gary D.  Online Content
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Joined: Aug 2008
Posts: 5,515
South Florida
I think that after many years of teaching, we begin to have a feel for what is going to be a problem for students, on first glance, at least on an elementary to intermediate level.

Often an otherwise straight-forward composition will have one or two spots that are not only several times harder than the rest but also so important that when they are not nailed, the whole rest of the piece turns into a train-wreck.

A minor example of that is the famous Liszt Consolation (Db, always forget the number). In general, the way the eigths are beamed fools the eyes of students and makes fairly easy passages look hard and much harder to work out. But the four against three RH embellishments are something I still wrestle with, as a teacher. I just play them. I've had 4 against 3 "in my bones" for almost as long as I can remember.

For me something of this nature is much more of a challenge than Chopin's F Minor Etude (Trois Nouvelles Etudes) because at least in that piece, that problem IS the piece. In the Liszt, the problem is thrown in like a minor after-thought, and it stops most students right in their tracks.



Piano Teacher

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