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#1294956 - 10/27/09 04:51 PM Did you use Thompson/Schaum? Or...?
ll Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/14/08
Posts: 1101
Well, hello! It's been a long time since I've been around...

I just started private lessons, and had these two books sitting around, so that's what I'm using with my teacher alongside the ABRSM material and selected repertoire per her.

I was just wondering if any of you, the piano teachers themselves, had gone through these series? I chose them over Alfred's and Faber's because they seem more progressive and classical, and mainly to review the material I already know while building up to more standard pieces found in the higher level books.

That, and they don't seem to focus on solely LH arrangements.

What did you, again the piano teachers, learn from yourselves when you first started? Just curious to the fact smile

It's always one of those troubling things for the adult learners that I don't think most teachers can just accept that we will always be worried about. Which method book should we use? How do we, as older folk, learn the same material usually taught to much younger students at maybe a quicker pace so we can leave arrangements and cheesy songs like 'When The Saints Go Marching In' or 'Jingle Bells' to play real piano music?

Or maybe we're just paranoid. I can't find the search button anymore, but I weaved through dozens of pages if not more and couldn't find something on just this question - what did you use when you were learning?
II. As in, second best.
Only lowercase. So not even that.
I teach piano and violin.
BM, Violin & Percussion Performance 2009, Piano Pedagogy 2011.

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#1295212 - 10/28/09 01:46 AM Re: Did you use Thompson/Schaum? Or...? [Re: ll]
currawong Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/15/07
Posts: 6162
Loc: Down Under
Originally Posted By: ll
What did you, again the piano teachers, learn from yourselves when you first started? Just curious to the fact smile
When I was seven I started off with a hand-me-down copy (my cousin's) of an Australian method book called The Magic Land of Music. It's probably been out of print now for about 50 years. The most exciting thing for me was at the back of the book, where there were little composer biographies, and pictures, followed by a simplified piece by the composer. Well, some weren't actually all that simplified! The Beethoven one had the first 24 bars of the Rage Over a Lost Penny rondo, virtually exactly as written, and didn't I love tearing through that! I pored over those pages by the hour.
Du holde Kunst...

#1295316 - 10/28/09 09:23 AM Re: Did you use Thompson/Schaum? Or...? [Re: currawong]
Lollipop Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/28/09
Posts: 820
Loc: Georgia
My mother taught me the first few years - very casual lessons - using John Thompson. When I started with a "real" teacher in 4th grade, he kept me in the JT, since that was what I was already using, but when my sisters started, he put them in Schaum, which is what he usually used. Later, when I switched teachers, she used both JT and Schaum with me. I finished the JT books, but stopped with Schaum after the "Amber" book. Also used Dozen a Day, Hanon, Czerny, and so on.

My teachers did next to no theory with me. What I learned was from reading the blurbs in the books. Later, when my sons were taking lessons, I learned theory along with them! Theory opens up a whole new world.

My teacher also did very little classical outside of what was in the method books. I did learn a lot of pop music, and hymns, and pieces nobody ever heard of.

I am only now, on my own, learning pieces such as the Rage Over a Lost Penny, which is a lot of fun.
piano teacher

#1295427 - 10/28/09 12:50 PM Re: Did you use Thompson/Schaum? Or...? [Re: Lollipop]
Kreisler Offline

Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13837
Loc: Iowa City, IA
I learned out of Glover/Garrow and JT, and I used Dozen a Day for technique. I did very little theory. I especially had trouble with sharps and never did get them figured out until junior high.

I had excellent music teachers at the public schools I attended. They had a good background in Kodaly instruction (and some Orff.) I sang choir during high school and undergrad.

I also attended a church that had a good choir and sang a lot of traditional 4-part music. (Episcopal hymnal stuff and "serious" church music.)

A few other things that I think helped - I took summer lessons, I didn't practice a lot, but I practiced regularly, and I never quit when things got bad. II at state contest: Kept going. Guild judge told me I wasn't very good: Kept going. Teacher disappeared and stopped showing up for lessons: Kept playing. Next teacher quit to go back to work full time: Kept playing. Lost high school concerto competition: Kept going.

Sometimes being stubborn is a good thing! laugh
"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)


#1295558 - 10/28/09 04:18 PM Re: Did you use Thompson/Schaum? Or...? [Re: Kreisler]
Barb860 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/11/09
Posts: 1654
Loc: northern California
My younger years' music/piano experiences are very similar to Kreisler's mentioned above (must be that Iowa living!). We had great music classes in the public schools (going back 30-40 years, I don't know what it is like now). That's where I learned theory. My piano teachers didn't teach that at all.
I used JT, Michael Aaron, and Schaum for the first few years and still pull them out on occasion today for my students.
The Episcopal church choir singing and hymn playing gave me a good foundation in continuing to play church music and help my students with it as well.
Where I live now, there are no music theory classes at the public schools. I use the Julie Johnson keyboard theory workbooks with my piano students.
Piano Teacher

#1296390 - 10/30/09 12:16 AM Re: Did you use Thompson/Schaum? Or...? [Re: Barb860]
ll Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/14/08
Posts: 1101
Thanks for the answers!

I don't know why most people don't seem to like it "because the music is boring." I'm actually enjoying it A LOT more than I did Alfred's boring stuff. I mean, I can understand the whole "moves too quick without much review" and "finger numbers" in the first book, but...eh. Oh well.

It's interesting to see what you all used, and how it's practically what people stay away from now... haha.

Barbs, I love the Julie Johnson workbooks, and use the KJOS Fundamentals alongside them. They're both very thorough and well-written smile
II. As in, second best.
Only lowercase. So not even that.
I teach piano and violin.
BM, Violin & Percussion Performance 2009, Piano Pedagogy 2011.

#1296440 - 10/30/09 04:27 AM Re: Did you use Thompson/Schaum? Or...? [Re: ll]
AZNpiano Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 7034
Loc: Orange County, CA
I grew up on John Thompson, Schaum, and a little bit of Glover. Now I steer clear of all three of those series. I also don't use Bastien or Alfred.

Teaching piano is one of those things that just fell on my lap. I wasn't planning on teaching piano, or even majoring in music in college. Stuff happens.
Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member

#1296643 - 10/30/09 01:05 PM Re: Did you use Thompson/Schaum? Or...? [Re: AZNpiano]
pianomommy1 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/10/09
Posts: 54
Loc: Florida
I grew up with Thompson and Schaum and I love them still now because of their "classical" feel and foundation. I don't like the Bastien and many of the things like it because of the focus on "chords" (I teach chords as part of theory and harmonization but the MUSIC part is "leaning" classical). I use an eclectic group of materials now for teaching -- no ONE series... I use: Piano Adventures, First Year Piano (? title? yellow book), American Popular Piano by Novus Via Music Group, Guild books, Scales and Chords are Fun, etc etc --

I was a "funky" little student and even though I was taught by a great teacher, I developed my own methods of doing some things that I found out actually DO work! <--- nothing WRONG, just things my teacher never "asked" me to do but I figured things out.
Piano Teacher

#1296857 - 10/30/09 07:35 PM Re: Did you use Thompson/Schaum? Or...? [Re: pianomommy1]
Canonie Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/04/09
Posts: 1941
Loc: Australia
I just found my piano tutor that my father used to start teaching me. I can see now why I never learnt to read. It's called The ABC short tutor for Pianoforte by Cuthbert Harris 1920.

Page 1 introduces ALL the treble clef notes (except middle C, and D) then has a couple of random note pecking exercises. Page 2, all bass clef notes (no mid C or B), then a few tunes. Page 4 all note and rest values down to a demisemiquaver (32th notes), then couple of pages of tunes that use middle C, D, and B (that were ommitted from charts). Next page is leger lines, 2 leger lines off top and bottom of grand staff.

Title page proclaims "A concise book containing all the necessary work for Beginners including Simple Questions and Answers in the Rudiments of Music". Makes you really appreciate the work of the more recent Method book writers, as this one is not so much an Every Good Boy Deserves Fruit book, more like:
Exam Gone Badly; Doomed Future

Composers manufacture a product that is universally deemed superfluous—at least until their music enters public consciousness, at which point people begin to say that they could not live without it.
Alex Ross.

#1296863 - 10/30/09 08:02 PM Re: Did you use Thompson/Schaum? Or...? [Re: Canonie]
BSP Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/03/07
Posts: 209
Loc: Hudson Valley, NY
I remember starting with the red JT book. I started when I was 5. I took continuously up until the age of 16, but I don't have any recollection of what I did between the JT book and "First Lessons in Bach". I'm not that old, but I simply can't remember..it's a blur..

I start my students with Faber. I feel that Schaum really presents classical music very well, but I do like Faber's more contemporary material. Seems to me that the Fabers start with syncopation earlier, too. I also like that their theory books introduce basic composition exercises in the older student versions. Even though my students are anxious about the composition assignments, I think it's so valuable to attempt to write your own songs. I just switched a 12 y.o. level 2 student from Bastien for older beginners to Faber, and he is really loving the boogie-woogie stuff in it. Before I can finish explaining the tune, his fingers are moving on the keys. I love it!!

Rock on!


#1296867 - 10/30/09 08:11 PM Re: Did you use Thompson/Schaum? Or...? [Re: Canonie]
currawong Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/15/07
Posts: 6162
Loc: Down Under
Originally Posted By: Canonie
I just found my piano tutor that my father used to start teaching me. I can see now why I never learnt to read. It's called The ABC short tutor for Pianoforte by Cuthbert Harris 1920.
The Smallwood Pianoforte Tutor was another common one, and sounds pretty similar.
Du holde Kunst...

#1297339 - 10/31/09 05:35 PM Re: Did you use Thompson/Schaum? Or...? [Re: BSP]
Roxy Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/19/08
Posts: 478
Loc: Whittier, Calif
I use a cross-section of all of the above methods and then some. I feel it gives the student a more rounded playing ability versus just say Alfred, or just Bastien. That's like learning just Bach when there are 50 thousand other wonderful composers out there. You have to asses the students strengths and weaknesses and then tailor fit the choice of music to develope those strengths and weaknesses. But there should always be theory involved if the student is to fully comprehend what they are doing with the music. It can only make them stronger players if presented so that they understand it in a cohesive manner. Changing different styles is also more interesting as well as stimulating the student to think in different ways and makes them stronger readers. Classical, versus, Jazz, versus, Hymns, versus Patriotic etc.

#1297355 - 10/31/09 06:20 PM Re: Did you use Thompson/Schaum? Or...? [Re: ll]
ll Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/14/08
Posts: 1101

Ah ha!

But the question isn't, what DO you use, but what DID you use [when YOU were learning]?


@BSP: I gotta agree with the classical vs contemporary approach between JT and Faber's. My brother used the latter with his teacher, and while he did learn a lot, there wasn't a lot of classical focus and there were so make fake songs. At least JT includes more originals, but I can understand the children liking Boogie Woogie and such smile

And I definitely agree about composition!! That's the best thing I want to learn how to do. -sigh-
II. As in, second best.
Only lowercase. So not even that.
I teach piano and violin.
BM, Violin & Percussion Performance 2009, Piano Pedagogy 2011.


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