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#1510244 - 09/06/10 05:21 PM Student only likes minor keys.  
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WinsomeAllegretto Offline
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So I have this teenage student who really likes minor keys. She is a good student and is taking lessons because she is interested in learning to play piano, and not because her parents are making her. She is playing late beginner/early intermediate music. However, when I assign her pieces in major keys, I can tell that she doesn't like them or understand them as much, and she doesn't put as much emotion into it. Is there anything I can say to help her understand why pieces in major keys are important to learn also?

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#1510365 - 09/06/10 08:00 PM Re: Student only likes minor keys. [Re: WinsomeAllegretto]  
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TheHappyMoron Offline
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When i was in my early teenage years i would only enjoy playing solemn or heavy pieces in minor keys, and thought anything that sounded remotely happy was dull! But eventually i changed my mind, and now enjoy portraying all emotions, happy ones even more so!
So maybe only time will help your student understand? Afterall, the best way for someone to learn is for them to work it out for themselves...


All theory, dear friend, is grey, but the golden tree of life springs ever green.
#1510397 - 09/06/10 08:50 PM Re: Student only likes minor keys. [Re: WinsomeAllegretto]  
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eweiss Offline
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Easy solution ... find works in Major keys that have a sad quality to them. I know they exist but don't know which direction to point you in. Fortunately, many here at PW do. smile


Play New Age Piano
http://www.quiescencemusic.com
#1510404 - 09/06/10 09:02 PM Re: Student only likes minor keys. [Re: WinsomeAllegretto]  
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danshure Offline
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Show her that a Major 7 chord is a minor triad with a different root. For example, E- over C is C Major 7.

Beyond that, I'd find out WHY she likes minor keys and not go with any assumptions. I'd even not assume that its so either/or (major vs minor) - I'd dig a little deeper into her musical interests. Maybe its been a coincidence that she seems to only like minor.


Go here ---> Piano Teaching Blog
#1510513 - 09/07/10 12:15 AM Re: Student only likes minor keys. [Re: WinsomeAllegretto]  
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Mermanof83 Offline
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Sounds like me. I'm 18 and mostly play minor pieces. I feel that I can connect a lot more, and a lot easier with negative feelings than I can with more positive emotions, and so pieces in minor keys speak to my heart more. Maybe it is just my age, and angst is the cause, but I often hear people my age asking me why on earth I listen to sad music most of the time. Maybe it is just that we intelligent piano students have a different take on things!

Why are pieces in major keys important to learn also? Is there really that much in a piece of a major key that you cannot learn from one of a minor key?

If you can come up with a good answer to that, I'll second the recommendation of major key pieces with a sad feel. They are out there, but for some reason the only thing that comes to mind when thinking of that mood is 'The Rain Song' by Led Zeppelin, as well as a folk artist by the name of Nick Drake...oh well. Good luck!


But you can call me Brian.
#1510692 - 09/07/10 09:35 AM Re: Student only likes minor keys. [Re: WinsomeAllegretto]  
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wavelength Offline
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Maybe it's because major-key pieces in at the late beginner level really are dull?

What are some examples of pieces that she's doing?

#1510701 - 09/07/10 09:48 AM Re: Student only likes minor keys. [Re: WinsomeAllegretto]  
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Piano*Dad Offline
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Liking only minor keys is just so sad ....

.
.
.
.

grin



As a teen, I remember a period when I was infatuated with minor keys. In fact, to this day I think C minor is my favorite key!

#1510718 - 09/07/10 10:16 AM Re: Student only likes minor keys. [Re: WinsomeAllegretto]  
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cinstance Offline
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Interesting!

My son dislike minor keys, with the exception of minor with sharps. He gets goose bumps listening to pieces in minor keys according to himself.

#1510735 - 09/07/10 10:52 AM Re: Student only likes minor keys. [Re: WinsomeAllegretto]  
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Overexposed Offline
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Originally Posted by WinsomeAllegretto
So I have this teenage student who really likes minor keys. She is a good student and is taking lessons because she is interested in learning to play piano, and not because her parents are making her. She is playing late beginner/early intermediate music. However, when I assign her pieces in major keys, I can tell that she doesn't like them or understand them as much, and she doesn't put as much emotion into it. Is there anything I can say to help her understand why pieces in major keys are important to learn also?


You could show her how to transpose to minor as it is simple enough. She'd still learn the pieces.

#1510760 - 09/07/10 11:34 AM Re: Student only likes minor keys. [Re: eweiss]  
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Andy Platt Offline
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Originally Posted by eweiss
Easy solution ... find works in Major keys that have a sad quality to them. I know they exist but don't know which direction to point you in. Fortunately, many here at PW do. smile


The second movement of Mozart's K545 springs to mind ... mostly because that's what I'm working on right now. It has such beauty and pathos that it just has to be in a minor key wink


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

Kawai K3
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#1510821 - 09/07/10 01:43 PM Re: Student only likes minor keys. [Re: WinsomeAllegretto]  
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Elissa Milne Offline
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I don't think it matters in the slightest if your student only learns music in a minor key for the next 12 months!!! There is so much fabulous material in minor keys you can turn this interest of your student's into a real teaching point! Compare different kinds of minor. Compare how Classical minor is very different to Baroque minor. Compare Dorian modes with Aeolian modes. Compare waltzes in a minor key with blues. So many opportunities for exploration!!!


Teacher, Composer, Writer, Speaker
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#1510825 - 09/07/10 01:47 PM Re: Student only likes minor keys. [Re: WinsomeAllegretto]  
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apple* Offline
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i agree.. there are some gorgeous works and I don't see how it would affect her learning. I may be a phase anyway, perhaps shortlived.

(I just played 'the Volga Boatman' (a blast from my past) for some reason last nite.. very beautiful.


accompanist/organist.. a non-MTNA teacher to a few

love and peace, Õun (apple in Estonian)
#1510836 - 09/07/10 02:11 PM Re: Student only likes minor keys. [Re: Elissa Milne]  
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Originally Posted by Elissa Milne
I don't think it matters in the slightest if your student only learns music in a minor key for the next 12 months!!! There is so much fabulous material in minor keys....

I agree too. Not to mention the fact that many minor pieces contain episodes, or whole middle sections, in major keys. So they'll get some major key exposure.

I think it's great to have a student who expresses preferences-- that should be encouraged!

(By the way, I suspect many of us have more of a preference for minor keys than we readily admit. If you look at all the movements in Mozart concertos and symphonies, for example, the small handful that are in minor keys are disproportionally popular.)

-Jason


Beethoven op.110, Chopin op.27/2, Liszt Vallée d'Obermann
#1510873 - 09/07/10 03:18 PM Re: Student only likes minor keys. [Re: WinsomeAllegretto]  
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wavelength Offline
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I prefer minor keys, without a doubt. Even the major key pieces I'm attracted to have minor elements.

#1510884 - 09/07/10 03:44 PM Re: Student only likes minor keys. [Re: WinsomeAllegretto]  
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tangleweeds Offline

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I think it may just be a natural taste, or a natural phase of musical development. Some of us are just a little odd that way.

When I play Irish music, all my favorite tunes are in the Dorian mode, and when I look back at the folk tunes that moved me in the past, most of them are Dorian too. I like natural minor also, but I"m often irritated by classical pieces that use the melodic minor. It sounds whitewashed, prettified, or artificially over-sweetened to my ears. I guess it's just missing that primal modal character which resonates so strongly with me.


Please step aside. You're standing in your own way.
#1511245 - 09/08/10 03:01 AM Re: Student only likes minor keys. [Re: Piano*Dad]  
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ChopinAddict Offline
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Land of the never-ending music
Originally Posted by Piano*Dad

As a teen, I remember a period when I was infatuated with minor keys. In fact, to this day I think C minor is my favorite key!


I love minor keys and have always loved them more than major keys. As a matter of fact, even with other instruments, when I buy a guitar or flute collection for example, I always play minor keys first.



[Linked Image]

Music is my best friend.


#1511845 - 09/08/10 10:30 PM Re: Student only likes minor keys. [Re: WinsomeAllegretto]  
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findingnemo2010 Offline
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minor keys have a great feeling to them but so dont alot of major keys like bflat, teach her beautiful songs in major keys maybe like some elton john can you feel the love tonight...those have a lot of feeling and are played major


music to me is kind of like putting together pieces of a puzzle
i call it the paino because its where i put all my pain
#1512068 - 09/09/10 08:20 AM Re: Student only likes minor keys. [Re: WinsomeAllegretto]  
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TimR Offline
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Here's another wacko thought (I have no shortage of these!).

What kind of instrument does she practice on, and how is it tuned?

I mention this because to a person with sensitive hearing, the overtones present can make a difference for what type of chords are consonant, and these overtones can vary.

A short story: The pastor at a church where I played services requested a favorite hymn for his last appearance (he was retiring, not dying!). It was a weird mournful one in a minor key, but it had special meaning for him so I dutifully prepared it. At my low skill level that meant hours of work, and the whole time it was grating on my ears. My digital emulated an acoustic, complete with inharmonicity. It was in tune, and sounded good to my ears on the major key hymns I was playing at the same service, but those minor chords were like pushing on a toothache. (A more skillful player could have revoiced it, but at the time I was doing well to play the simplest close chords.) But I played the service on the organ, and those minor chords sounded great. The overtones, even given an electronic organ, line up differently.

And acoustic pianos vary as well, depending on when they were last tuned, the degree of inharmonicity present, and the method of imitating equal temperament chosen by the tuner.


gotta go practice
#1512356 - 09/09/10 05:28 PM Re: Student only likes minor keys. [Re: Elissa Milne]  
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Originally Posted by Elissa Milne
I don't think it matters in the slightest if your student only learns music in a minor key for the next 12 months!!! There is so much fabulous material in minor keys you can turn this interest of your student's into a real teaching point! Compare different kinds of minor. Compare how Classical minor is very different to Baroque minor. Compare Dorian modes with Aeolian modes. Compare waltzes in a minor key with blues. So many opportunities for exploration!!!


Wow... interesting ideas. I think my teacher is going to wonder about where some of my questions are coming from, when next we meet!


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