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#1370870 - 02/11/10 12:05 PM Re: How do you feel about High School Musical, Hannah Montan [Re: Diane...]  
Joined: Nov 2006
Posts: 3,462
Diane... Offline
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Diane...  Offline
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Joined: Nov 2006
Posts: 3,462
Western Canada
And just to add to my point here! here's a story about a 8 year old girl who wanted to play a disney piece! yes Disney!

I had an 8 year old girl. She loves disney! Who doesnt'! I like playing disney pieces!!!!

Anyways, her mother wants her to take all her exams! Great! So she is doing Grade 3! She is not allowed to play pop pieces for the list A B C pieces because they HAVE to be from the CONSERVATORY book! All are classical pieces! Surprise surprise!!! So I give her "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" pieces is in Solo Book - LEVEL 4 of the Alred's Basic Piano Library! It is allowed in the Grade 3 exam . . . But . . . have a look at this piece! Grade 3? So she wants to play it for the exam anyways! She works hard at this 3 page piece! . . . Have to add here that it's WAY harder than the etude "ONE PAGER" pieces from the required classical selection!!!

So she is "thrilled" to play it for her exam! What she didn't know, was that it's classified in the "etude" list and is worth, a whole . . . are you ready for this . . . a whole THREE marks!

THREE whole marks for a 3 page piece? Well this little girl just loved playing it, regardless of how many marks the disney piece was worth!!!!

She got to play the piece she loved!!!!




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Diane
Jazz/Blues/Rock/Boogie Piano Teacher
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#1370888 - 02/11/10 12:35 PM Re: How do you feel about High School Musical, Hannah Montan [Re: Diane...]  
Joined: Jul 2009
Posts: 162
Jennifer Eklund Offline
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Jennifer Eklund  Offline
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Joined: Jul 2009
Posts: 162
SoCal
I had an interesting "a-ha" moment the other day.

I was sitting arranging Lady Gaga's "Bad Romance" for some of my students. I'm thinking to myself, wow I have two degrees in music, a bachelor's in performance, and a master's in musicology and I'm arranging Lady Gaga for easy piano and couldn't be happier. I've spent years in school studying "art music" both old and modern and while I love studying the canon, 98% of my students don't. Since changing my teaching focus towards music that kids can relate to I have the happiest bunch of kids who never have to be prodded to practice. The kids are happy, the parents are thrilled, and I feel like I'm making a significant contribution to their lives. ...and surprise surprise, I have an extremely low dropout rate.

Mind you -- I've never done state testing. I did the testing through MTAC when I was a kid and hated the restrictions on repertoire. I wanted to play all the other stuff. I've never had my kids do exams and my kids are just as dedicated to their musical studies as kids who have to take yearly exams. I think it's sad when teachers believe that exams are the only way to measure success and progress.

I'm not saying this is the route for everyone but it has totally transformed my teaching career and my outlook on what's important in a music education.

Just a few weeks ago I had an interview with a 12 yo girl who was feeling really disenchanted by her studies. I had a frank talk with her about why she felt piano was boring. She pulled out one of her lesson books and opened to her latest piece which was called "A Shave and a Haircut," she looked at me and said, "I seriously cannot play this for my friends when they come over." This was a big "a-ha" for me. My students love that they can play radio songs (that sound good) for their friends and it gives them pride in what they are doing.

I realize we all have different types of clientele and for those who love art music -- carry on, I think it's fantastic. For my kids who want to play music they know we will keep forging this path! I think as teachers we need to be open minded about the way in which we can give kids a skillset that they can have for life. Who says that we can't learn about rhythm, reading, dynamics, articulation, etc. through pop music instead of Beethoven? It's food for thought...


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BA in Piano/MA Musicology


#1370896 - 02/11/10 12:41 PM Re: How do you feel about High School Musical, Hannah Montan [Re: Diane...]  
Joined: Mar 2006
Posts: 7,639
John v.d.Brook Offline
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John v.d.Brook  Offline
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Joined: Mar 2006
Posts: 7,639
Olympia, Washington, USA
Originally Posted by Diane...
I just can't swallow that John! You know I love ya right? grin . . . but!

You can't swallow sugar? I love sugar! [Linked Image]

And unlike the food patrol, I eat it when I like it, and that goes for pop music, too. You might not believe it, but I really like C&W and show tunes.

The trouble with analogies is that they are, well, analogies. Never perfect, and always possible to pick apart.

In all my years of teaching, I've never had parents come to me and ask if I would teach their children to play the latest top 20 hits. They all seem to want their children to learn to be able to play proficiently and be exposed to a wide variety of styles, most especially what we call classical.


"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA
#1370903 - 02/11/10 12:46 PM Re: How do you feel about High School Musical, Hannah Montan [Re: John v.d.Brook]  
Joined: Jul 2009
Posts: 162
Jennifer Eklund Offline
Full Member
Jennifer Eklund  Offline
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Joined: Jul 2009
Posts: 162
SoCal
It would be terribly interesting if someone did a study about this looking into students who only learn "classical" music vs. kids who learn a variety of styles. It would be interesting to see who sticks with the piano longer and more importantly who maintains the skill for a lifetime (I mean isn't that the ultimate goal?).. In 16+ years of teaching I've known plenty who have done all the testing, played through high school, and then never touched the piano again.

Again, it just depends on who your clientele is -- different strokes...


FREE 90-page eBook of sheet music: www.pianopronto.com/specialoffer

Piano Pronto Music Books: www.pianopronto.com

BA in Piano/MA Musicology


#1370921 - 02/11/10 01:03 PM Re: How do you feel about High School Musical, Hannah Montan [Re: Jennifer Eklund]  
Joined: Mar 2006
Posts: 7,639
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member
John v.d.Brook  Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Joined: Mar 2006
Posts: 7,639
Olympia, Washington, USA
Jennifer, we could do the same study with English Lit, Trigonometry, Calculus, Latin, and other sundry studies which are "required" in schools. I'll bet the results would be even worse than for piano! So why do schools and parents insist students learn stuff they will never use?


"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA
#1370935 - 02/11/10 01:27 PM Re: How do you feel about High School Musical, Hannah Montan [Re: Jennifer Eklund]  
Joined: Nov 2007
Posts: 340
wavelength Offline
Full Member
wavelength  Offline
Full Member

Joined: Nov 2007
Posts: 340
Vermont, USA
Jennifer, I'm in a very similar situation, with a similar approach. It's nice to hear it articulated by another teacher, and in such positive terms. I was just arranging a Taylor Swift song for a 12 year-old girl. She is very excited about it! I think that's even more lowbrow than Lady Gaga laugh I had a great sense of irony as I explained to her that one could play the tune differently to accompany oneself singing, and proceeded to sing the first lines of "Love Story" before coming to my senses and thinking better of it.

But the result is that she has a sense that she can play music that she loves on the piano, that she feels personally connected to.

Last edited by wavelength; 02/11/10 01:28 PM.
#1371222 - 02/11/10 08:44 PM Re: How do you feel about High School Musical, Hannah Montana... [Re: Elissa Milne]  
Joined: Jul 2005
Posts: 350
CarolR Offline
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CarolR  Offline
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Posts: 350
wisconsin
Toejam, I love how expressive you are about HATING certain music. Or should I say "music". This sounds like me talking about Phantom of the Opera. I have almost an irrational hate of it.

I had a student recently dedicate several months to 'Seasons of Love'. It was a stretch, but in the end she did it. I wonder what she got from it, musically. Not really much, except a LOT of counting out loud. I had a hard time really finding much else to teach as I would a classical piece. However, it was a very good boost for her. She worked hard, she accomplished what she set out to do, and she was very proud of herself. Now, I'm hoping she'll come around to thinking that Beethoven is even cooler, and work just as hard at that.


Working on:
Chopin: Barcarolle
Schubert: Sonata D959
Rachmaninoff: Daisies
Lutoslawski: Paganini Variations for 2 pianos

#1371777 - 02/12/10 02:01 PM Re: How do you feel about High School Musical, Hannah Montana... [Re: CarolR]  
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
Well, I'm all about BALANCE when it comes to piano repertoire. I think kids should learn classical music as well as pop music. I think they should also have proficient sight reading skills AND be able to improvise and create their own music at the piano. Too many students these days are missing 'chunks' in their musical education. They might play only classical music. They might be able to sight read any music set in front of them but can't plunk out 'Happy Birthday' with a nice LH improvised accompaniment against a RH embellished melody.

I have a group of almost-junior-highers that are really into contemporary worship, so we work on sonatinas, Anna Magdalena's notebook, and then switch to Chris Tomlin, Kutless, and Matt Redman. They're learning how to read lead lines/chord symbols and sing while they play a simple two-hand accompaniment.


Music School Owner
Early Childhood Music Teacher/Group Piano Teacher/Private Piano Teacher
Member of MTAC and Guild
#1371910 - 02/12/10 04:30 PM Re: How do you feel about High School Musical, Hannah Montana... [Re: dumdumdiddle]  
Joined: Jul 2009
Posts: 820
Lollipop Offline
500 Post Club Member
Lollipop  Offline
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Jul 2009
Posts: 820
Georgia
Quote
I wonder what she got from it, musically. Not really much, except a LOT of counting out loud.


The value of persistence. The feeling of satisfaction after reaching a goal. A spirit of can-do. An emotional connection from mastering a piece she loves. (I know you said "musically" - I'm just pointing out "the things you learn on the way to learning other things," as a teacher friend used to say.)

Good for you, for letting her do it.

Now if I could just figure out how to get my rhythm-challenged student through the quarter and eighth note rhythms of the Harry Potter piece he brought me.... I may be bald before it's done.


piano teacher
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