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#1401387 - 03/22/10 03:13 PM Leonhard Deutsch  
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I'm not a teacher, so please forgive my intrusion into your forum.

I'm wondering if any of you have experience with Leonhard Deutsch's "Guided Sight Reading" book. Specifically, I'm curious to know if anyone has actually taught the way he suggests... playing along with your student, etc.

I'd be very interested to hear your thoughts about both his proposed method and his ideas (as well as his proposed selections at various levels). Thanks.


"Wide awake, I can make my most fantastic dreams come true..."
- Lorenz Hart
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#1401467 - 03/22/10 05:22 PM Re: Leonhard Deutsch [Re: Legal Beagle]  
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Hmmm... given the number of views without a response, I'm left wondering whether the thundering silence indicates:

1. Not familiar with him/never tried his method

or,

2. Don't like him.


"Wide awake, I can make my most fantastic dreams come true..."
- Lorenz Hart
#1401473 - 03/22/10 05:34 PM Re: Deutsch [Re: Legal Beagle]  
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I thought this thread was about German! Yes, I have his book and his ideas are very sound. I play along with students when possible but there's a lot to fit into a lesson.


snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/

#1401474 - 03/22/10 05:36 PM Re: Leonhard Deutsch [Re: keyboardklutz]  
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Thanks for the response, KBK.

Quote
I thought this thread was about German!


Ha, I bet you're not the only one. I'll edit the title if I can figure out how.


"Wide awake, I can make my most fantastic dreams come true..."
- Lorenz Hart
#1401491 - 03/22/10 06:00 PM Re: Leonhard Deutsch [Re: Legal Beagle]  
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I found a link that contains a couple of (fascinating?) pages of preamble to his approach, whatever it might be.
link to L. Deutsch's book

#1402983 - 03/24/10 06:47 PM Re: Leonhard Deutsch [Re: Legal Beagle]  
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I'm not a teacher, nor a very talented pianist, but I've gotten a lot out of Leonhard Deutsch's approach. In particular he is spot on in his assertion that playing Haydn and Mozart and good folk song arrangements at a very (in my case VERY) relaxed tempo reduces expressions of irritation from involuntary (or semi-involuntary) listeners - a spouse or partner, e.g.
His general point is that for an Amateur sight-reading is the skill that pays off the most. He asserts that once you can sight read fluently, it is much easier to get a piece up to performance standard. A difficult matter to prove.
In my case I haven't been able to interest my teacher (or any teacher) in his method, but my teacher is very happy to have me read a lot of Haydn and to play duets. Over the past several years my sight reading has improved noticeably and as a result I've had fun playing simple duets with much more accomplished friends. I still have to put in a lot of time on preparation, and some things still elude me - Handel Flute sonatas , for one. But if I hadn't worked on the slow-slow-slow reading through of repertoire I don't think I 'd be able to manage playng with another person at all.
One problem with the book is that Deutsch's Haydn sonata numberings don't correspond to any current numbering system that I know of. Maybe the new edition has modern Hoboken numbers.
William Newman, in The Pianist's Problems has a nice summary of the method. To his credit, Deutsch made an effort to study the progress of his students and wrote it up in German, (in a volume of essays in honor of Adler, I think) but my own Deutsch is not quite up to the job of reading it through.



Don

Yamaha U1
Estonia 168
#1403237 - 03/25/10 02:55 AM Re: Leonhard Deutsch [Re: OddTemperament]  
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Thanks for the reply, Don. I appreciate it.

Quote
In my case I haven't been able to interest my teacher (or any teacher) in his method


Yeah, one of my main questions was whether I'd be able to find a teacher interested in doing it... and whether it would be rude or presumptuous of me to ask a teacher to do it. It seems like just the kind of thing I'm looking for, but what do I know? That's why I need a teacher in the first place.


"Wide awake, I can make my most fantastic dreams come true..."
- Lorenz Hart
#1403984 - 03/26/10 01:00 AM Re: Leonhard Deutsch [Re: Legal Beagle]  
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I read through a good deal of it through google books. It's really not that informative, I think it reinstates a lot of basic principles in piano pedagogy. Through course of piano education, or any form of formal classical education in any instrument, learning how to read a score has always been part of the curriculum. Whether or not the instructor decides to "accompany" you through the sight read is depends on each instructor, but the author doesn't add much but insist that "sight reading" has to be developed first before anything else. It seems that the author is simply trying to rebuttal his old instructors teaching methods, which in many cases is the more effective path for children, since how many children will come to a teacher and express how much they love Chopin and give a list of pieces they aim to learn. The author on the other hand was an exception and found his love for classical piano at a very young age and decided to explore it in a unorthodox matter.

Modern piano pedagogue I think, for the beginner, tries to instill motor skills first (ie, finger exercises) first that eventually aids the player to sight read correctly, with the most ergonomic fingering. The rest depends on how musical the child's environment is. Imagine sharing happy childhood memories with your parents in front of a piano, and picture how that instills a lifelong appreciation for music. I think a piano student who is musically curious (note I did not use talented) will naturally absorb and come to understand how a score can be rendered into something musical. The contextual accuracy of the interpretation seems to be utmost standard of what is considered talent it appears, at least for the classical realm. Most importantly, for the child, is still exposure and hoping him/her will have a breakthrough. Throwing all kinds of sight reading material for a child may just frustrate him/her, leading to perhaps more damage.

Edit: One key notion I failed to address here is the students sense of accomplishment. Unless one is truly fluent in reading reading music, there is no way to dodge the requirement of monotonous repetition. In the most optimal condition, if the student has the passion to learn the piano, practice itself will not seem to be a chore. Although this aspect may delay the formation of a strong sight reading skill, it does play a part in overall interest in continuing piano education.

Last edited by Rui725; 03/26/10 02:22 AM.
#1404164 - 03/26/10 10:15 AM Re: Leonhard Deutsch [Re: Rui725]  
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Thanks for your post, Rui725. I note that you gear your comments to the development of a child on the piano. I'm wondering... would your answer change in any way for a 45 year old adult beginner?


"Wide awake, I can make my most fantastic dreams come true..."
- Lorenz Hart
#1404189 - 03/26/10 10:50 AM Re: Leonhard Deutsch [Re: Legal Beagle]  
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I think an adult beginner is very different in that there is already a very strong preference in music style, and are more geared towards having a repertoire that suits that taste. Like the author, adults tend to lay a ground work of pieces they want to learn before the teacher even suggests anything, and are more eager to jump straight into repertoire work. Even still, I think sight reading needs to be a greater emphasis for adult students and diversify the style of music that is attempted, but not the only focus.

My answer wouldn't change, as I believe technical and mechanical abilities obtained through repetition enhances the player's ease to maneuver around the keyboard. One thing to stay away from is keeping the eye on the keyboard during this time, as it is very easy to stop "reading" the music when practicing a small section at a time. From my experience in the violin, my old instructor used the exact same approach as the author's first teacher, where each piece was an award by reaching and accomplishing a particular technical feat. My sight reading was built from technical exercises itself, although they are not as musical per say, but still the process of transferring the notes on paper to the fingers was still occurring. A great role a teacher can play is lay out the technical exercises that will help in playing a particular type of music, and start building from there.

One point the author made that I disagree is how he does not acknowledge the use of suggested fingerings. Fingerings should be followed, even during sight reading. Lack of adherence will amount to other problems and may be the bottle neck from polishing a piece to performance level. The author plays for his own enjoyment as he mentioned in this preface, and really does not mention how to get a piece to performance level but only states this method will give students a access to a greater range of music. Which I would think, under any form of classical training, the player tends to develop a dependency on the music score rather than the other way around, so some of the points made by the author seemed obvious.

In the end the technical securities needed for a piano performance can not be obtained through strict focus on sight reading, thus other methods need to be used in parallel that addresses reading, mechanical movement and memorization.


Last edited by Rui725; 03/26/10 10:57 AM.
#1404213 - 03/26/10 11:40 AM Re: Leonhard Deutsch [Re: Rui725]  
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Thanks, Rui725. An excellent post directly addressing my question. Your points are well made and I will listen to them.


"Wide awake, I can make my most fantastic dreams come true..."
- Lorenz Hart

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