Welcome to the Piano World Piano Forums
Over 2.5 million posts about pianos, digital pianos, and all types of keyboard instruments
Join the World's Largest Community of Piano Lovers (it's free)
It's Fun to Play the Piano ... Please Pass It On!


SEARCH
Piano Forums & Piano World
(ad)
Modern Piano Moving
Modern Piano Moving
(ad)
Virtual Sheet Music
Download Sheet Music Instantly
Virtual Sheet Music - Classical Sheet Music Downloads
Sheet Music...
(125ad)
Piano Life Saver - Dampp Chaser
Dampp Chaser Piano Life Saver
(ad)
Piano Buyer Guide
Piano Buyer Spring 2017
(ad)
Lindeblad Piano
Lindeblad Piano Restorations and sales
Who's Online Now
119 registered members (anotherscott, AGPianist, ADWyatt, Almaviva, accordeur, BananaBarsch, 27 invisible), 2,285 guests, and 7 spiders.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
(ad)
Estonia Pianos
Estonia Pianos
Quick Links to Useful Piano & Music Resources
Our Classified Ads
Find Piano Professionals-

*Piano Dealers - Piano Stores
*Piano Tuners
*Piano Teachers
*Piano Movers
*Piano Restorations
*Piano Manufacturers

Quick Links:
*Advertise On Piano World
*Free Piano Newsletter
*Online Piano Recitals
*Piano Recitals Index
*Piano & Music Accessories
*Live Piano Venues
*Music School Listings
* Buying a Piano
*Buying A Acoustic Piano
*Buying a Digital Piano
*Pianos for Sale
*Sell Your Piano
*How Old is My Piano?
*Directory/Site Map
*Virtual Piano
*Music Word Search
*Piano Videos
*Virtual Piano Chords & Scales
Previous Thread
Next Thread
Print Thread
Page 1 of 3 1 2 3
#1491078 - 08/08/10 06:15 PM How far are we pampering the kids now method-wise?  
Joined: Jun 2010
Posts: 65
Mirela Offline
Full Member
Mirela  Offline
Full Member

Joined: Jun 2010
Posts: 65
Bucharest, Romania
I know this might look as yet another thread on beginner methods.

The truth is I have read most of the threads about methods I found here (at least the ones I could find). I have subscribed to the forum because of those threads that I found enormously helpful.

The reason I am interested in method books is that I am writing a dissertation about this (In Romania there are certain qualification exams you can take as a teacher and "First degree" is the top one, for which you must write a "longish" paper)

My theme is about method books for the beginners. Given the fact that in my country there exists only ONE method book written by a Romanian lady called Maria Cernovodeanu in 1959 and used as "the piano primer bible" ever since I thought my work would be interesting.

Other than the Romanian Cernovodeanu primer, some years ago (especially during the communist era here) the Russian School of piano playing- ed. Nikolaev was also used. And some more passionate teachers would throw in some Bartok Microcosmos at the more talented children. Up until the mid '60's and even early '70s the Beyer method was still in use from the most conservative, older teachers.

During the communist time we didn't have access to any "imported" sheet music, the only ones that made it to the shop were Russian and Peters Editions (based in the GDR Leipzig). And now, in the 20 past years sheet music business is considered a luxury as people can barely feed on the wages, and therefore it's less than before.

To my delight I did finally see some Thompson and Bastien in a little English bookshop, and I send all my students to buy their books from there, crossing my fingers it won't close for lack of interest.

I must confess that for academic purpose only I have collected quite a few method books from the internet (I myself am teaching from Thompson right now and I am quite happy with it, and my kids buy the books from the said shop)

I told you all this so you understand the kind of input I need

I am analyzing the methods on the criteria I found in J.M Jacobson's book Professional piano teaching. What I realized analyzing the Romanian and the Russian books is that they would fail most of the "good method" tests of modern piano pedagogy. Yet, kids from Russian music schools are not that bad... (BTW that is a huge understatement)

I've recently seen comments that are not so flattering even about the Thompson methods.

I can't pronounce myself for the highly praised Piano adventures or Music tree, as I haven't seen them [that's another side concern for my paper] but I have seen screen shots and sample pages and they seem very slow paced compared even to Thompson's Easiest piano course.

Basically, my question is:
How far are we pampering the kids now, and is this a good thing?

I mean, today it does seem extreme to make a 6 year old kid in her second piano lesson remember the names of all the piano octaves on they keyboard and shout at her "OI, I told you to play E in the Contra octave, not in the Great-octave", but hey, that's how all kids my age learned it here in Romania and probably even more drastically in the USSR, and we didn't come out monsters smile



I've just changed the title from "Need input about beginner methods" to the actual question, in hope of rising curiosity.
I guess the best title would be "Ignore this thread too" smile

Last edited by Mirela; 08/08/10 06:54 PM. Reason: changed the title, in hope of getting any response

Piano teacher in Romania
Learning something new every day smile
(ad)
Piano & Music Accessories
piano accessories music gifts tuning and moving equipment
#1491142 - 08/08/10 07:56 PM Re: How far are we pampering the kids now method-wise? [Re: Mirela]  
Joined: Jan 2010
Posts: 1,337
Elissa Milne Offline
1000 Post Club Member
Elissa Milne  Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Joined: Jan 2010
Posts: 1,337
Sydney, NSW, Australia
Mirela, I think it's about different expectations from parents and students regarding what piano lessons should be and what they should deliver, and it's about new insights into the way children learn as well. To suggest that kids are being 'pampered' through an approach that doesn't assume such an information-rich approach is missing the point: these methods exist in a culture where children are ALL encouraged, irrespective of 'talent', background or IQ.

I agree that the methods these days take AGES to get the kids playing, say, pieces from the Anna Magdalena Notebook - 5 years is really far too long!!! But I don't think this is coming from a desire to pamper children.


Teacher, Composer, Writer, Speaker
Working with Hal Leonard, Alfred, Faber, and Australian Music Examination Board
Music in syllabuses by ABRSM, AMEB, Trinity Guildhall, ANZCA, NZMEB, and more
www.elissamilne.wordpress.com
#1491159 - 08/08/10 08:15 PM Re: How far are we pampering the kids now method-wise? [Re: Elissa Milne]  
Joined: Aug 2005
Posts: 18,138
Monica K. Offline

Platinum Supporter until Dec 31 2012
Monica K.  Offline

Platinum Supporter until Dec 31 2012


Joined: Aug 2005
Posts: 18,138
Lexington, Kentucky
Originally Posted by Elissa Milne
I agree that the methods these days take AGES to get the kids playing, say, pieces from the Anna Magdalena Notebook - 5 years is really far too long!!! But I don't think this is coming from a desire to pamper children.


I'd love to hear more of your thoughts on where it does come from, Elissa. smile My own guess would've been similar to what you alluded to briefly, that it's the parents, who are happy to have kids in music lessons, but don't particularly like nagging them to practice and thus are happy to have light demands placed on the students (and by extension the parents).


Mason & Hamlin A -- 91997
My YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/pianomonica
[Linked Image][Linked Image][Linked Image]
#1491165 - 08/08/10 08:20 PM Re: How far are we pampering the kids now method-wise? [Re: Monica K.]  
Joined: Jan 2010
Posts: 1,337
Elissa Milne Offline
1000 Post Club Member
Elissa Milne  Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Joined: Jan 2010
Posts: 1,337
Sydney, NSW, Australia
Very quick response, and barely touching the surface..... I think the method books these days are very reading centric, so students only get to experience what they can read. This necessitates the slowing down of physical experiences that would be easily/quickly mastered if reading were not part of the process.

This logocentricity has absolutely nothing to do with pampering!!


Teacher, Composer, Writer, Speaker
Working with Hal Leonard, Alfred, Faber, and Australian Music Examination Board
Music in syllabuses by ABRSM, AMEB, Trinity Guildhall, ANZCA, NZMEB, and more
www.elissamilne.wordpress.com
#1491166 - 08/08/10 08:20 PM Re: How far are we pampering the kids now method-wise? [Re: Elissa Milne]  
Joined: Jun 2010
Posts: 65
Mirela Offline
Full Member
Mirela  Offline
Full Member

Joined: Jun 2010
Posts: 65
Bucharest, Romania
Thanks so much for responding!

My question was rather provocative so to get people's interest, I must admit to that ha

And to be honest, I couldn't see myself teaching exclusively from the Russian one for the love of money (pun intended). I even stopped using the Romanian one a while ago, even if this is a much lighter (as opposed to gloomy) version of the Russian one.

And yes, it's true the reason I first switched was because of parent/children response to the Cernovodeanu.

As a "joke" - sadly TRUE - I had a very intelligent young man, very interested in classical music (concert goer and all) in his third year of Medical school come to me desperate about his inability to play the "kindergarten" songs in the method assigned by his previous tutor. Needless to say teachers here use the Cernovodeanu primer (intended by the very author for kids "no older than 9") for teenagers and adults as well.

So, returning to your answer, yes I understand "the market" drives the demand for the slower paced methods, but has the demand gone so wide (I mean wider than the fifties or sixties) that we get mostly the non talented, not so super bright kids that could go through Thompson's Modern course without whining and pouting every 10 minutes?


Piano teacher in Romania
Learning something new every day smile
#1491168 - 08/08/10 08:23 PM Re: How far are we pampering the kids now method-wise? [Re: Mirela]  
Joined: Jan 2010
Posts: 1,337
Elissa Milne Offline
1000 Post Club Member
Elissa Milne  Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Joined: Jan 2010
Posts: 1,337
Sydney, NSW, Australia
Hmm, do take into account that Thompson's Modern course is hardly cutting edge stuff.....

And in my experience whining and pouting stems from things other than the tasks one sets one's students.....

And I don't think it is the 'market' so much as new insights into how children learn that has been behind most of the slower pacings in more contemporary methods.


Teacher, Composer, Writer, Speaker
Working with Hal Leonard, Alfred, Faber, and Australian Music Examination Board
Music in syllabuses by ABRSM, AMEB, Trinity Guildhall, ANZCA, NZMEB, and more
www.elissamilne.wordpress.com
#1491178 - 08/08/10 08:36 PM Re: How far are we pampering the kids now method-wise? [Re: Elissa Milne]  
Joined: Jun 2009
Posts: 1,702
Minniemay Offline
1000 Post Club Member
Minniemay  Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Joined: Jun 2009
Posts: 1,702
CA
In my experience, the more time I spend establishing good habits in all areas in the first two years, the better able the student is to progress more quickly later and without having to undo things. My experience with Music Tree, specifically, is that my students are confident readers that also have a good technical foundation and also understand what they are doing. When we reach the level of AMB, for instance, they have built-in physical gestures and, because MT repertoire is so written, they have developed their hands equally and can handle the 2-voiced writing nicely.

Slow at the beginning, but paying big dividends later.


B.A., Piano, Piano Pegagogy, Music Ed.
M.M., Piano
#1491187 - 08/08/10 08:43 PM Re: How far are we pampering the kids now method-wise? [Re: Mirela]  
Joined: Jun 2010
Posts: 65
Mirela Offline
Full Member
Mirela  Offline
Full Member

Joined: Jun 2010
Posts: 65
Bucharest, Romania
Monica: Talking from the little experience I have (9 years of piano teaching - or 14 if you count tutoring during college), I'd have to agree with what you said.

Originally Posted by Elissa Milne
...students only get to experience what they can read. This necessitates the slowing down of physical experiences that would be easily/quickly mastered if reading were not part of the process.


English is not my first language, so I might need to ask stupid questions, but I hope you don't mind that

What do you mean by physical experiences? You mean the ability of playing things more technically challenging like faster scales, arpegios, sixteenth note passages? And what has that to do with reading?

And, in your opinion, if children would go through faster paced methods they'd get to the point where they just learn by heart the music they're playing instead of actually reading it?

oh, and you've totally lost me at the "logocentricity". The definitions I found on the net put me more in the dark instead of illuminating me smile

Thanks again to both of you for responding. I really appreciate your ideas.


Piano teacher in Romania
Learning something new every day smile
#1491194 - 08/08/10 09:01 PM Re: How far are we pampering the kids now method-wise? [Re: Elissa Milne]  
Joined: Jun 2010
Posts: 65
Mirela Offline
Full Member
Mirela  Offline
Full Member

Joined: Jun 2010
Posts: 65
Bucharest, Romania
Originally Posted by Elissa Milne
Hmm, do take into account that Thompson's Modern course is hardly cutting edge stuff.....


My English has to be blamed for that again. I meant just the opposite. That Thompson's Modern course - that is mostly antiquated - and in my opinion quite fast paced (I use the Easiest course for the children and the Modern one for the adults) didn't seem much of a problem for kids in the '50s or '60s, and they developed good foundations from that too.

Now, 30-40 decades later when paradoxically everything goes faster and faster from computer to trains and what not, piano methods go slower.

To tell you the truth, my personal opinion is that the "good foundations" a child gets have little to do with the method, but with the teacher. And that a good teacher can can produce perfectly fine, well rounded little musicians even with the dullest method (this implying of course much more work and inspiration on his part as opposed to having a brilliant method).

In this thread I am not arguing either for or against the slowing down. It would be scientifically wrong to put a biased opinion in my paper. I have my own opinion that I might very well state in the conclusion if I fell like it, but other than that I need to understand, so that I don't only get my negative feelings over.


Piano teacher in Romania
Learning something new every day smile
#1491198 - 08/08/10 09:05 PM Re: How far are we pampering the kids now method-wise? [Re: Mirela]  
Joined: Jan 2010
Posts: 1,337
Elissa Milne Offline
1000 Post Club Member
Elissa Milne  Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Joined: Jan 2010
Posts: 1,337
Sydney, NSW, Australia
Originally Posted by Mirela

you've totally lost me at the "logocentricity". The definitions I found on the net put me more in the dark instead of illuminating me smile

Damn Derrida.

It just means where the word (which implies writing) is given primacy over speech, or in the case of piano where the notation is regarded as being more the music than the sound or the experience of making the sound is.

All methods these days take reading as the starting point.

Young students can do all kinds of things that are hard to read. But because they are hard to READ these physical actions at the piano are not introduced until they are appropriate from a literacy point of view. This contributes to a 'slowing-down' effect.

In addition, young students can perform all kinds of rhythms that are REALLY hard to read. So they miss out on performing these rhythms until they are capable of processing the notation as instruction.

One could extrapolate at length. But in my case I'm off to visit my sister in hospital - she's just had a baby!!!!! I'll join in the conversation once I'm back from meeting my only nephew!!


Teacher, Composer, Writer, Speaker
Working with Hal Leonard, Alfred, Faber, and Australian Music Examination Board
Music in syllabuses by ABRSM, AMEB, Trinity Guildhall, ANZCA, NZMEB, and more
www.elissamilne.wordpress.com
#1491207 - 08/08/10 09:24 PM Re: How far are we pampering the kids now method-wise? [Re: Elissa Milne]  
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
Actually, Dr. N. Jane Tan's method does just the opposite, or at least stresses learning to play concurrently with learning to read, but focusing more on the learning to play (touch and tone production). So much so that most of us need special classes to learn how to work with such a method! Her method is also more aggressive than most methods available, and thus requires a fair degree of parental support if you are to be successful.

There was an extensive article on her approach published in Clavier Magazine sometime during the 1990s. I'm at a family reunion at the moment, and won't be home until Tuesday, so I cannot be more precise with the reference.


"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
#1491265 - 08/08/10 10:46 PM Re: How far are we pampering the kids now method-wise? [Re: John v.d.Brook]  
Joined: Nov 2002
Posts: 13,837
Kreisler Offline
Kreisler  Offline


Joined: Nov 2002
Posts: 13,837
Iowa City, IA
Quickly...

I agree completely with Elissa and have reached much the same conclusion that modern methods are centered on reading, often to the detriment of technical or listening ability.

I've actually known teachers to hold students back from playing challenging repertoire because "we haven't gotten to 16th notes yet in the book." What a horrible excuse!

Oddly enough, this is where Suzuki differs - children are encouraged to progress technically, and when they do, teachers are quick to point out "but they can't read!" Well, maybe not yet, but they can actually play!

I also think it's true what Mirela said about market forces. Music publishing is a volume business, and most people study music rather casually - as an enrichment exercise. One often hears the phrase "I don't want my kids to be concert pianists, I just want them to have fun." So publishers put out stuff that tends to be instant fun - requiring very little discipline or practice.

This results in a lot of method and supplementary pieces that are highly patterned, based on very basic presentations of chords and scales, and require very little contrapuntal or physical skill. (I was actually SHOCKED when my publisher agreed to publish my baroque suite. I'll be very interested to see the sales figures.)

Great topic, by the way - I look forward to reading more!


"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)

www.pianoped.com
www.youtube.com/user/UIPianoPed
#1491267 - 08/08/10 10:56 PM Re: How far are we pampering the kids now method-wise? [Re: Kreisler]  
Joined: Feb 2009
Posts: 2,393
eweiss Offline
2000 Post Club Member
eweiss  Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Joined: Feb 2009
Posts: 2,393
Beautiful San Diego, CA
Originally Posted by Kreisler
(I was actually SHOCKED when my publisher agreed to publish my baroque suite. I'll be very interested to see the sales figures.)

FJH huh? Love their stuff. Especially by Wynn Anne Rossi. They actually publish contemporary composer's works and that is something to celebrate. Especially since I consider many of them to be (gulp) New Age. smile


Play New Age Piano
http://www.quiescencemusic.com
#1491401 - 08/09/10 06:15 AM Re: How far are we pampering the kids now method-wise? [Re: eweiss]  
Joined: Jun 2010
Posts: 65
Mirela Offline
Full Member
Mirela  Offline
Full Member

Joined: Jun 2010
Posts: 65
Bucharest, Romania
Oh, I just woke up and the first thing I did was to check on the thread!

OT Elissa, CONGRATULATIONS for the new baby in your family!!

Thank you all for being so helpful!!!

Yes, Suzuki came to my mind too when I first read Elissa's post last night, but that too requires huge amounts of parental involvement.

On the other hand, I must confess that the system here in Romania doesn't make me happy at all. I wrote something about it in another post on a "dead" thread, so I'll just repeat myself. The response was in a thread called "I hate John Thompson" (the OP didn't really hate him, but had some issues, mainly about an adult beginner who read by finger numbers)

So, here's what I wrote there:
Of the many students I started on JT not one failed to read. I do all the worksheets in the book (the ones where they're supposed to write the note names, only I don't let them write the names, but every other lesson I have them "read" the notes to me). Also, before playing each and every piece we first read the notes aloud. For some kids who are slower to learn I write additionally, weekly, one line of random notes so they practice reading at home.

As for the Modern Course (which I use for Adults or for older children)... The only students who are proficient sight-readers in my class are the ones who did JT!

Let me explain.... In the music school where I teach one is supposed to start the kids on some kind of primer (mostly the Romanian one, but it's not a rule, you can choose whatever you want). When the teacher considers the kid can move from the primer (usually after the first year, but sometimes even sooner than that) the child jumps to Czerny 599, Bach - the Notebook for Anna Magdalena, Sonatinas by Clementi or the Beethoven G major and other rather similar level repertoire (Kabalevsky, Bartok, Schumann, Burgmuller etc...)

Basically, after the fist year the child must produce 2 pieces in December (etude+Romantic/Modern) and 3 in June (etude+Baroque+Classical). Needless to say that's all they do! So, they end up learning those pieces by heart and the only music they do "read" in an entire year is basically 5-6 full pages. I don't make the curriculum of the Music School (the State does...) and parents who send their kids there don't complain, as - being a State School, it's free.

The students I teach privately however don't need to go by that said curriculum. It's true that at recitals the kids from the Music School seem "much better". Their repertoire is at a much higher level, but that's all they've learned in a whole semester. On the other hand, the children on JT even if they are at lower level have "something new in every lesson". They read tons of pages of music as compared to the others.

I know you'll say I should make kids from Music School read something new in every lesson - and, for as much as I can - I try to do so, but something happens there:

1st - We need to focus on the exam pieces that are way beyond their reading level and rarely there's time to do something else in a lesson. "Sight-reading" becomes a side thing, not as important as the "real thing" - EXAM stuff. With the JT kids progressing through the book - thus reading a new piece IS the real stuff.

2nd - Music School kids tend to "block out" when a new piece of music is in front of them. Somewhere in their mind a new piece - however easy - must be studied at least 3 weeks separately right hand and left hand before attempting at reading it as a whole. Kids in JT do this (almost)every week. It's normal. Also, they go from one piece to another progressing fairly even (not from say "Lightly Row" to Beethoven's Sonatina in G) and don't get the "new piece fright"

This is why I love JT smile

I realize though that my experience is "JT as opposed to something worse". I don't have the ocean of alternatives everybody else here has. (As I said, I did see some Bastien in a bookshop, but I didn't quite like it)

But what totally puzzled me - and what made me write in that thread - was that for me JT means the exact solution for sight reading - thing that they said JT hinders!

So, actually I do want my students to be able to read proficiently, because in the end of it that's what gives them independence. (sadly for me, most of my Music School kids need me as "a crutch" and as a result, when they graduate after 8 years of piano and move on to high school - that's when State music school ends) very few continue playing on their own. This is indeed very sad for me!

Elissa or anyone else for that matter
Could you please elaborate on the "new insights into how children learn" that have slowed down the pace of methods?

It is important for me, regardless of the paper I am writing, as there might be things I should change in my teaching that I am unaware of.





Piano teacher in Romania
Learning something new every day smile
#1491426 - 08/09/10 07:38 AM Re: How far are we pampering the kids now method-wise? [Re: Mirela]  
Joined: Mar 2010
Posts: 347
danshure Offline
Full Member
danshure  Offline
Full Member

Joined: Mar 2010
Posts: 347
Massachusetts
Just to chime in here. I honestly mainly use Faber PA because it is so well laid out graphically. You can open to a brand new page and know exactly what is being presented. It's clear and un-confusing. It's more aesthetically pleasing to use than other method books.

I was disappointed when I recently got a chance to see the new Helen Marlais books. I had heard some good things - but I opened it and there's just TOO much STUFF packed into one page.

And I dislike most of the older methods for the same reason (for example, 8 bar songs broken into six bars on one line, two on the next?? - or just mismatched proportions in general. Plus the colors are dull, and do not promote looking at what's important on the page for what they're teaching). If it's visually confusing for a teacher I can't imagine the extra distraction this causes for a student.

And the bottom line is, a good teacher does not teach a "method". They teach exactly what's needed for the child sitting in front of them in that moment.


Go here ---> Piano Teaching Blog
#1491428 - 08/09/10 07:42 AM Re: How far are we pampering the kids now method-wise? [Re: Mirela]  
Joined: Jan 2010
Posts: 1,337
Elissa Milne Offline
1000 Post Club Member
Elissa Milne  Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Joined: Jan 2010
Posts: 1,337
Sydney, NSW, Australia
Ah well, the Music Tree and methods following on from it base the reading of the students not on labelling notes by name but by recognising patterns and shapes - intervallic reading. This was a big move forward and is obviously quite different to the note naming activities students do with JT.

There is no question that this is the way to develop fabulous reading skills, as compared to intensive and exclusive note naming.

But there are other insights, such as learning by exploring, rather than learning by acquisition of intellectual propositions/concepts, and so forth.

Others can take this ball and run with it - I'm really exhausted and am heading for bed! (Big day!!)


Teacher, Composer, Writer, Speaker
Working with Hal Leonard, Alfred, Faber, and Australian Music Examination Board
Music in syllabuses by ABRSM, AMEB, Trinity Guildhall, ANZCA, NZMEB, and more
www.elissamilne.wordpress.com
#1491441 - 08/09/10 08:16 AM Re: How far are we pampering the kids now method-wise? [Re: Mirela]  
Joined: Oct 2006
Posts: 861
EJR Offline
500 Post Club Member
EJR  Offline
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Oct 2006
Posts: 861
Bristol, UK
I'm not a teacher but my £0.02...

You might need to clarify what you mean by "method", particularly inview of the variances from country to country.

e.g Do the graded systems by ABRSM (UK + commonwealth) and RCM (Canada) etc constitute a method in your context? I think they do. But not sure that they've been mentioned above.

You may wish to compare contrast commercial systems versus more academic approaches.

#1491449 - 08/09/10 08:44 AM Re: How far are we pampering the kids now method-wise? [Re: EJR]  
Joined: Jan 2010
Posts: 1,337
Elissa Milne Offline
1000 Post Club Member
Elissa Milne  Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Joined: Jan 2010
Posts: 1,337
Sydney, NSW, Australia
No, an examination/assessment system is not at all the same thing as 'method books'.

Method books are what you use with beginners and have no external assessment attached to them - a very different proposition to the exam systems of the Commonwealth countries.

And the opposition of commercial and academic is basically meaningless in the world of method books. If a method is not commercially viable you won't be able to buy (use) it!!!


Teacher, Composer, Writer, Speaker
Working with Hal Leonard, Alfred, Faber, and Australian Music Examination Board
Music in syllabuses by ABRSM, AMEB, Trinity Guildhall, ANZCA, NZMEB, and more
www.elissamilne.wordpress.com
#1491459 - 08/09/10 09:24 AM Re: How far are we pampering the kids now method-wise? [Re: danshure]  
Joined: Jun 2010
Posts: 65
Mirela Offline
Full Member
Mirela  Offline
Full Member

Joined: Jun 2010
Posts: 65
Bucharest, Romania
Originally Posted by danshure
And I dislike most of the older methods for the same reason (for example, 8 bar songs broken into six bars on one line, two on the next?? - or just mismatched proportions in general. Plus the colors are dull, and do not promote looking at what's important on the page for what they're teaching). If it's visually confusing for a teacher I can't imagine the extra distraction this causes for a student.

And the bottom line is, a good teacher does not teach a "method". They teach exactly what's needed for the child sitting in front of them in that moment.


I definitely agree with you about the layout an graphics of old method books compared to the screen-shots I've seen of the more recent ones, but you haven't seen the Romanian one :)or the Russian for that matter! Dull colors? What colors? there's no option but the black. They haven't even heard about the grey! And childish graphics? Who gave you that silly notion that a child's music book should contain pictures?!?! ha

But you're not saying that should someone take the trouble to re-design the old to be more musically edited and with better graphics you'd switch back to those, are you?

And yes, as I said a few posts ago good teacher doesn't really depend solely on one method, but you have to have a base. Not all teachers can (or have the time) to compose songs for every student [although I had a theory teacher that composed at least two solfeges and one musical dictation especially for my "weak" points every week we had a lesson. It's an experience (and a lesson for me as a teacher now) I'll never forget!] or choose specific materials from multiple method books to teach a child.

Without one basic method acting as a guideline I think it would be even more confusing for the child. I agree you may and should supplement it, but that's totally another topic.

EJR my paper is specifically about method books, and when I say just method it's just to shorten the phrase, sorry if it creates confusion.

I am aware of the multiple meanings "method" could have, and while I hadn't been thinking about the Commonwealth examinations as a method in itself (as I know little about them, Romania being far from such exams), I had a small chapter in my paper clarifying which meaning of the word "method" I am not going to talk about, that being "the way famous teachers taught piano technique" like in "the Leschetitzky method" or "the Taubmann Method" etc.


Piano teacher in Romania
Learning something new every day smile
#1491463 - 08/09/10 09:42 AM Re: How far are we pampering the kids now method-wise? [Re: Elissa Milne]  
Joined: Jan 2004
Posts: 4,264
btb Offline
4000 Post Club Member
btb  Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Joined: Jan 2004
Posts: 4,264
Pretoria South Africa
Again to set the cat amongst the pigeons ...

Everything in learning to play the piano hinges on the ability to sight-read ...
but sadly our system of notation doesn’t provide an easy read ... only by dedicated practice and the support of aural and muscle memory do we achieve any success.

By comparison we all learn to read Macbeth without any trouble ... but battle with our keyboard sight-reading ... and all because of a bum (antiquated) system of keyboard notation.

#1491474 - 08/09/10 09:52 AM Re: How far are we pampering the kids now method-wise? [Re: Elissa Milne]  
Joined: Jun 2010
Posts: 65
Mirela Offline
Full Member
Mirela  Offline
Full Member

Joined: Jun 2010
Posts: 65
Bucharest, Romania
Originally Posted by Elissa Milne
And the opposition of commercial and academic is basically meaningless in the world of method books. If a method is not commercially viable you won't be able to buy (use) it!!!


Funny you should say that, as the Cernovodeanu primer is definitely the best selling piano book in Romania. I am among the extremely few piano teachers that send my kids to the little shop with Thompson. And the Russians are still learning from the same Nikolaev method that has stayed unchanged since 1963. The only change they made to the 2009 edition was to add more "challenging" repertoire pieces! (Nothing about the graphics or layout).

And, I don't know about Russia, but here in Romania the "quality" of piano students has drastically gone down. It's no more the few talented, super intelligent who play, it's just your average kid playing with bakugan cards (I don't know if you've got that anywhere else, or it's just a local thing / basically a new sort of pokemon stuff) and the pink dressed girls dreaming of becoming the next Hannah Montana.

Still - the top selling piano method book is black and white. with not one single picture in it (except some very very badly printed black an white photographs dating from 59 of a little girl illustrating good and bad piano postures)


Piano teacher in Romania
Learning something new every day smile
#1491479 - 08/09/10 09:55 AM Re: How far are we pampering the kids now method-wise? [Re: btb]  
Joined: Nov 2002
Posts: 13,837
Kreisler Offline
Kreisler  Offline


Joined: Nov 2002
Posts: 13,837
Iowa City, IA
Originally Posted by btb
By comparison we all learn to read Macbeth without any trouble ...


Come on now, btb. Do you really think the general population can read Macbeth without any trouble?

And if people spent the same amount of time on music notation as the written word which is pervasive in our everyday lives and a major part of every single day in the school system - by comparison, music notation is rarely encountered in most people's daily lives, and formal music instruction is a very small part of most people's educational experience. Most kids are exposed for only a few hours each week, if that.

In order to prove that the notational system is at fault, you'd have to show that people have the same exposure and instruction as the written word.


"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)

www.pianoped.com
www.youtube.com/user/UIPianoPed
#1491480 - 08/09/10 09:57 AM Re: How far are we pampering the kids now method-wise? [Re: btb]  
Joined: Jun 2010
Posts: 65
Mirela Offline
Full Member
Mirela  Offline
Full Member

Joined: Jun 2010
Posts: 65
Bucharest, Romania
Originally Posted by btb

By comparison we all learn to read Macbeth without any trouble ... but battle with our keyboard sight-reading ... and all because of a bum (antiquated) system of keyboard notation.


OT, but I had to answer this:

Good thing we don't have two heads and five mouths for each of them, cos' for sure some nut called Shakespeare/Bach would have found a way of writing a play that could be performed by just one man reciting two to four/five (or even more) lines at the same time.

edit: I definitely agree with Kreisler who gave one of the correct logical and scientific answers to the issue. But it made me laugh so hard, I had to answer it on a lighter tone. And since the man had a grudge specifically against the keyboard notation, not music in general - I offered him the other part of the comparison he only implied but didn't really think of thoroughly.

Last edited by Mirela; 08/09/10 10:04 AM. Reason: I've just seen Kreisler post

Piano teacher in Romania
Learning something new every day smile
#1491482 - 08/09/10 10:00 AM Re: How far are we pampering the kids now method-wise? [Re: Kreisler]  
Joined: Mar 2010
Posts: 347
danshure Offline
Full Member
danshure  Offline
Full Member

Joined: Mar 2010
Posts: 347
Massachusetts
Reading a book is so different than "reading" music. Reading a book means you say the words in your head or out loud. That's it, there's no other criteria really.

Reading music means you have to execute something at the instrument. Two entirely different uses of the word, two completely different activities.


Go here ---> Piano Teaching Blog
#1491490 - 08/09/10 10:09 AM Re: How far are we pampering the kids now method-wise? [Re: btb]  
Joined: Apr 2010
Posts: 2,496
Andy Platt Offline
2000 Post Club Member
Andy Platt  Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Joined: Apr 2010
Posts: 2,496
Virginia, USA
Originally Posted by btb
By comparison we all learn to read Macbeth without any trouble ... but battle with our keyboard sight-reading ... and all because of a bum (antiquated) system of keyboard notation.


I have to disagree. I bet if you spent the same amount of time on reading music in early school grades as they do with reading, you would have fantastic music readers. It's a time thing, not a difficulty. In fact reading English is far far harder than music. There are only a couple of rules you have to know for music and 100s of rules and exceptions to them for reading English.


  • Debussy - Le Petit Nègre, L. 114
  • Haydn - Sonata in Gm, Hob. XVI/44

Kawai K3
[Linked Image][Linked Image][Linked Image]
#1491496 - 08/09/10 10:23 AM Re: How far are we pampering the kids now method-wise? [Re: Andy Platt]  
Joined: Jun 2010
Posts: 65
Mirela Offline
Full Member
Mirela  Offline
Full Member

Joined: Jun 2010
Posts: 65
Bucharest, Romania
Ok guys, I think he got the message, and up to a point even I thought it was funny to answer his concern, but can we pleeeease stay on topic?

I really need your input regarding method books and the reasons why faster paced methods are becoming less and less attractive to "the market" at least in the US...

BTW, how are things in the UK for example? or anywhere else in Europe - that would be even more interesting for me.

I haven't got Fritz Emonts' European piano school, but from the excerpts I've seen on the net it does look faster paced.

In my paper I am mainly discussing the method books already available in Romania (which are very few, as I've stated in the OP), but I do need to know what are the trends.


Piano teacher in Romania
Learning something new every day smile
#1491557 - 08/09/10 12:21 PM Re: How far are we pampering the kids now method-wise? [Re: Mirela]  
Joined: Nov 2002
Posts: 13,837
Kreisler Offline
Kreisler  Offline


Joined: Nov 2002
Posts: 13,837
Iowa City, IA
A few quick answers off the top of my head. Be aware that I have no proof or evidence for what I'm about to say, it's just opinion based on random observations.

1) People in the US generally don't practice very much. The amount of homework has risen to absurd levels in the last decade or two, and kids are often enrolled in a large variety of activities.

2) Parents are often unable to help their children practice. This is for a variety of reasons - some parents are busy with work, others have no musical background.

3) There seems to be a great many parents who follow a "permissive" parenting style and take it a bit too far.

http://www.parentingscience.com/permissive-parenting-style.html

http://www.parentingscience.com/Summerhill-School.html

Fast-paced methods fail when parents are unable to instill a sense of discipline and responsibility in their children.

I've taught all kinds, and this is one of those areas that seems a little counter-intuitive. In my experience, children of permissive parents see their parents as friends and approach practicing and other aspects of their lives as things they can negotiate with their parents on an equal level. They love their parents, but as friends, and the level of respect varies widely. Children of more authoritarian parents do not get to negotiate. They still love and respect their parents, but as parents, not friends.

4) The same goes for teachers. Many teachers follow a very permissive approach, pretending to "tailor the method to the student's individual needs" or letting them go "at their own pace."

This seems rather like saying "cook what the kid wants to eat" and "let them eat as much as they want whenever they want."

Doesn't work for food. Doesn't work for teaching.

There's a difference between Montessori and Lord of the Flies. Unfortunately that distinction is lost on far too many educators and parents.


"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)

www.pianoped.com
www.youtube.com/user/UIPianoPed
#1491573 - 08/09/10 12:38 PM Re: How far are we pampering the kids now method-wise? [Re: Kreisler]  
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
That pretty well spells out my observations on the subject.


"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
#1491580 - 08/09/10 12:45 PM Re: How far are we pampering the kids now method-wise? [Re: Elissa Milne]  
Joined: Oct 2006
Posts: 861
EJR Offline
500 Post Club Member
EJR  Offline
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Oct 2006
Posts: 861
Bristol, UK
Hi Elissa,

<< No, an examination/assessment system is not at all the same thing as 'method books'.

Method books are what you use with beginners and have no external assessment attached to them - a very different proposition to the exam systems of the Commonwealth countries.>>

I think you are wrong(ish) on this one. laugh

My experience is that the ABRSM system is a method. It's a graded series of progressively more complex pieces. The Grades mirror the exams, but participation in the exams is not a necessary component. It is not necessary to study the examination pieces either. However, the materials are graded 1 to 8 and mirror the exams. My personal experience was that other than the very first introductory book, all my books were collections of ABRSM graded pieces. So I think this matches your definition of being used by 'beginners' and no 'external assessment'.

On the ABRSM web site (where the exam syllabus is freely downloadable), Books of selected pieces are available for the exams, but in addition there's a very large number of graded collections available.


<<And the opposition of commercial and academic is basically meaningless in the world of method books. If a method is not commercially viable you won't be able to buy (use) it!!!>>

I probably need to clarify further. One thing to consider, is that passing ABRSM (+ some others) gains points that students can use in UK (+elsewhere presumably) for University application through the general higher education application process. That is, passing say Grade 8 piano can help you get into Uni to study Maths or sociology whatever (not just music) etc (can't remember how many points they are worth).

So there could well be an advantage in doing one method/schema/system over another that's of wider worth than just music.

Hope this helps.

#1491583 - 08/09/10 12:50 PM Re: How far are we pampering the kids now method-wise? [Re: Kreisler]  
Joined: Dec 2007
Posts: 14,546
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
keystring  Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Joined: Dec 2007
Posts: 14,546
Canada
A word about "permissive" vs. "authoritarian". There has to be a third kind - what you have outlined does not seem right.

Those of us who raised our children under the belief that children have an innate drive to learn, and some other innate things we can nurture and draw on, have not just allowed the kids to run wild. It is not "friends" - it is mutual respect, Kreisler. It also involves such things as decision making on the child's part, defining goals, and working with a parent on such things.

My two children are now in their early twenties. They each have a solid set of values which they developed as they grew up, are self-disciplined (as they grew up to be). When they entered the school system in their teens they did more than the norm, but they also knew how to ** prioritize ** precisely because they had learned to define goals.

Quote
The same goes for teachers. Many teachers follow a very permissive approach, pretending to "tailor the method to the student's individual needs" or letting them go "at their own pace."

One has to know HOW to teach in this way. If you want to "tailor the method" then this involves planning and preparation. It's not some pie-in-the-sky idea that you hope will fall from heaven. It may also not work if a child has been under the thumb of authoritarianism and has come to depend on being told what to do all the time.

In a classroom situation, here is an example of open ended teaching of this kind. (gr. 2) I taught the lesson and assigned the work. At the back of the room there were "activity tables". Each table had an activity: water to be measured, a science experiment, a creative writing idea, art project. A child who finished his work correctly got to go to an activity table, where the child was actually ** doing more schoolwork ** but felt it was a reward and fun. The fast bright kids were not bored, and the slow ones got help.

Still in the classroom situation, we had a stream of parent volunteers who would call out a child individually for extra reading practise or whatever - activities designed by the teacher (me) or special ed consultants.

THAT is what "tailored to needs" means. It takes a lot of preparation, work, coordination.

This was not an elite school by any means. It was in a backward rural area an hour from a major city where kids lived in bad situations, there were two rival gangs, and teachers tried not to get assigned there.

Quote
This seems rather like saying "cook what the kid wants to eat" and "let them eat as much as they want whenever they want."

Doesn't work for food. Doesn't work for teaching.

Actually, it does work. It depends on how it is done. No householder should cook accoding to other people's wishes, be that their children or their spouse. We have better things to do with our time. But the general premise is there. Think of how hard commercial entities have to work to get kids to buy their junk products. If a child grows up making decisions and thinking about things, as well as being able to listen to their bodies and feelings, the child will gravitate toward healthy things.

Page 1 of 3 1 2 3

Moderated by  Ken Knapp 

Piano Acc. & Gift Items in
Piano World's Online Store
In PianoSupplies.com ,(a division of Piano World) our online store for piano and music gifts and accessories, party goods, tuning equipment, piano moving equipment, benches, lamps Caster Cups and more.


Free Shipping on Jansen Artist Piano Benches
(ad)
Pearl River
Pearl River Pianos
ad
Pierce Piano Atlas


(ad)
Pianoteq
Grotrian Concert
Royal
for Pianoteq out now
What's Hot!!
Why Do You Play The Piano?
-------------------
Posting Pictures on the Forums
-------------------
Forums RULES & HELP
-------------------
ADVERTISE on Piano World
-------------------
Piano Classified Ads
New Topics - Multiple Forums
Need help with choosing a digital piano
by xiaofeipo. 06/28/17 03:42 PM
Expected sheet reading ability?
by keyboardisproblem. 06/28/17 03:41 PM
Reflections on PianoDisc
by jcgee88. 06/28/17 03:15 PM
Henle editions on sale...
by dogperson. 06/28/17 01:57 PM
(ad)
Sheet Music Plus
Sheet Music Plus Featured Sale
(ad)
Accu-Tuner
Sanderson Accu-Tuner
Forum Statistics
Forums44
Topics180,507
Posts2,639,845
Members88,215
Most Online15,252
Mar 21st, 2010
Check It Out!
There's a lot more to Piano World than just the forums.
Check It Out!
Visit our online store for gifts for music lovers


 
Help keep the forums up and running with a donation, any amount is appreciated!
Or by becoming a Subscribing member! Thank-you.
Donate   Subscribe
 
Our Piano Related Classified Ads
| Dealers | Tuners | Lessons | Movers | Restorations | Pianos For Sale | Sell Your Piano |

Advertise on Piano World
| Subscribe | Piano World | PianoSupplies.com | Advertise on Piano World |
| |Contact | Privacy | Legal | About Us | Site Map | Free Newsletter |


copyright 1997 - 2017 Piano World ® all rights reserved
No part of this site may be reproduced without prior written permission
Powered by UBB.threads™ PHP Forum Software 7.6.0