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Help from piano teacher needed regarding John Thompson
#1736382 08/19/11 06:58 AM
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Hello, I am new here and I have a question that nobody has beenable tohelp me with sofar. My teacher and others I have asked have never been sure. Do you think that JT gr. 1 is grade 1, gr 2 is grade 2, then it starts being 2 grades per book, so 3rd grade book is grade 3 and 4, 4th grade book is grade 5 and 6, fifth grade book is grade 7 and 8? In ABRSM / Trinity,at least the boards with 8 grades? Sorry to bother you,but I was so amazed that I finally found one person that looked like knowing the JT books. Thank you so much in advance. Best regards Rune

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Re: Help from piano teacher needed regarding John Thompson
runedubai #1736529 08/19/11 11:36 AM
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Well, I have the books, Rune--- my mother learned to play using them, though my first piano teacher had other ideas about methods and I never studied from them myself. Each of the five I have says that it's a different grade. No idea of how they compare to the ABRSM grades, but they seem to move the student along pretty fast--- JT has them playing in as many as four flats toward the end of the first-grade book.

There are 50 lessons in grade one, and about 80 in grades two and three. They seem very short; I don't know if this really lines up with the weeks of the school year.

Those little illustrations are a kick--- no doubt, they are for the eyes of the parents who don't read music themselves, but who do catch a glimpse of a 'nice' middle-class world in them, for Daddy's little princess. It's just what my grandmother would have liked (and they are nicely-drawn), though their topics would have been horrid and shameful to the eyes of a little boy learning piano.

The later books seem to have less of them, and are almost entirely (probably adaptations) from the classical repertory. They were worn to tatters by the time I was a teenager--- my grandmother probably saw to it that my mom used them. That, or my mom ran a lawnmower over them.


Clef

Re: Help from piano teacher needed regarding John Thompson
runedubai #1736567 08/19/11 12:34 PM
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John Thomson book 2 is way below ABRSM grade 1. I've not honestly seen beyond book 2, so I can't say, but these books generally are for beginners. I would have hoped after ABRSM grades 1 and 2 to be off these kinds of books and into more real music, but that's just my opinion. smile

- wait, I'm talking about the JT easiest piano course. Is that the one you mean?

Re: Help from piano teacher needed regarding John Thompson
runedubai #1736581 08/19/11 12:53 PM
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i love the John Thompson books and am probably among the few who do.. They do move right along. book 2 has technical studies and Haydn's gypsy rondo... lots of techinique hints packed on every page. Do read all the notes and make yourself understand every one before moving on. Thompson has a very 'classical' aura. I find they excellently teach 'ways' to play. ....the use of phrasing and stacatto for instance to teach one's hands how to approach the music.

If you are studying alone I recommend the Suzuki method piano books.. they make so much sense to me and have accompanying CDs.
I used to make fun of them, but after going thru books 1 and 2 with a student - I find they are very efficient and smart... and totally suited for one who wants to sight read.

I get so irritated by the series of learning books that have you buy 4 for each 'grade'.. what a waste of paper... and expensive... they are good for little kids maybe and I don't mean to disparage them.. There are some books well suited to adults.

best of luck to you.


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

love and peace, Õun (apple in Estonian)
Re: Help from piano teacher needed regarding John Thompson
runedubai #1736745 08/19/11 06:19 PM
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Someone still loves them, Apple. Our local music store has a whole shelf dedicated to the JT series; a whole wall dedicated to method books in general.

I don't know if Rune would be interested in doing the look-up, but there was a thread a year or so back concerning the real person, John Thompson.

I wonder if our Search feature is still the adventure it used to be...


Clef

Re: Help from piano teacher needed regarding John Thompson
runedubai #1736750 08/19/11 06:23 PM
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I have only seen the John Thompson Grade 1 book and it definitely isn't comparable to Grade 1 AMEB, ABRSM, Trinity or whatever.

When I was learning piano my teacher took me about half way through this book before starting on the AMEB Preliminary exam material. So perhaps by the end of the book students will be at about this level.


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Re: Help from piano teacher needed regarding John Thompson
runedubai #1736783 08/19/11 07:31 PM
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Here's the thread: http://www.pianoworld.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/ubb/showflat/Number/1493397/Searchpage/2/Main/102639/Words/genealogy/Search/true/Re:%20Who%20is%20John%20Thompson?.html#Post1493397


Re: Help from piano teacher needed regarding John Thompson
runedubai #1736984 08/20/11 03:12 AM
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Hello, all of you and thank you for your help.It is the first time anybody has replied - so I thought perhaps I was too stupid or somethung. I have a teacher, twice a week for 90 minutes each time. Adult learner. It is the JT modern course we are using. It was the only one I knew - and my teacher does not have any preferences. We are usingthe additional books too, like the JT Hanon, Velocity studies, LH books and so on. However, my teacher does not quite know the books, even thoughwe have sat down and gone through all 5 of them. The3rd grade books ends definitely on grade 4 Trinity / ABRSM level. When you look through the 4th and 5th grade books - they really look scary. I am towards the end of the 3rd grade book now and we will start playing sosme grade 4 exam pieces along with the rest of the book. I am not taking exams - I do it for pleasure. Thak you again, all of you. Best regards Rune

Re: Help from piano teacher needed regarding John Thompson
Jeff Clef #1736997 08/20/11 04:18 AM
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Originally Posted by Jeff Clef
Those little illustrations are a kick--- no doubt, they are for the eyes of the parents who don't read music themselves, but who do catch a glimpse of a 'nice' middle-class world in them, for Daddy's little princess. It's just what my grandmother would have liked (and they are nicely-drawn), though their topics would have been horrid and shameful to the eyes of a little boy learning piano.

You've obviously got some issues here, Jeff! Want the name of a good analyst? :-)

Re: Help from piano teacher needed regarding John Thompson
runedubai #1737137 08/20/11 10:48 AM
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I do my best to be obvious... not always with much success.


Clef

Re: Help from piano teacher needed regarding John Thompson
Jeff Clef #1737418 08/20/11 10:43 PM
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I learned on John Thompson. I learned very well to read finger numbers and was slow to learn to read notes. Now that I'm teaching, I went back to check out JT, hoping they had updated it, but no, there was a finger number written for almost every note. What a very bad idea!


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Re: Help from piano teacher needed regarding John Thompson
runedubai #1737535 08/21/11 06:43 AM
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I teach from John Thompson quite often and find the finger numbers incredibly frustrating as well. I just white them out!


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Re: Help from piano teacher needed regarding John Thompson
ymapazagain #1737729 08/21/11 02:50 PM
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Most teachers absolutely cringe at the thought that anyone is still using this series. Why? Is it because millions of students were taught using John Thompson's materials; a few thousand actually learned to play the piano as a result (or despite it). Has anything come along since which is better? Absolutely. Why continue using this series? Is it ignorance of pedagogy learned over the past 80 years? Or teacher laziness? Or some other reason?


"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
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Re: Help from piano teacher needed regarding John Thompson
John v.d.Brook #1737871 08/21/11 06:37 PM
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I use a variety of method books depending on what I think would suit each individual student. I find that John Thompson (Teaching Little Fingers to Play) is good for students with some existing musical knowledge or students who pick things up quite quickly, as it progresses a lot faster than other method books. With other students, depending on their needs, I will use Hal Leonard or Bastien instead. Because I eliminate finger numbers and place a strong emphasis on note reading I don't encounter any of the issues that some seem to have with this method.

I use select songs from the JT Grade 1 book, however I don't have students work through the entire book as I think it gets incredibly repetitive and boring.


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Re: Help from piano teacher needed regarding John Thompson
runedubai #1738431 08/22/11 02:46 PM
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I'm also one of the few who loves the JT series although I do not use this for any of my current students and would not universally recommend it. All method books have their own style; they are not one size fits all - it makes me cringe how the same method books are recommended only knowing a student's age.

I would use the Modern Course for a *very* good student defined as one who listens and absorbs information readily (finger numbers are not a problem for those who understand they do not tell you the actual note), one who practices (all the other methods are extremely slow and each of these books only lasted me a few months when I was studying), and one who doesn't need fluff to keep playing (it's very dry compared to other methods). Even as I'm studying a different instrument, I personally prefer to use a method considered by many as too fast and too dry; it's just the right pace and style for me to use with a good teacher.

Re: Help from piano teacher needed regarding John Thompson
runedubai #1740334 08/25/11 10:27 AM
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Dear all,
Thank you so much for the different opinions and ideas. I have a teacher, and dopractice at least 1 hour every day, 3-4-5 hours per day in the weekends, with several breaks. Sight reading books and theory in addition ( from ABRSM ). In addition to the "modern course" ( red books ) velocity studies, Hanon and left hand studies. My teacher told me that I have a normal progress speed. However, I am not able to play allegro or anything near it - and I am almost at grade 4. I am an adult learner - and have played for 2.5 years. 20 years of trumpet playing earlier. I am only playing for fun, but would like to have more security of where in the JT books the next grade starts. This, for a natural progress in the JT books from exam grade to exam grade. Again, thank you all. Rune

Re: Help from piano teacher needed regarding John Thompson
runedubai #1740493 08/25/11 04:21 PM
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You sound like a very determined student, Rune, and a much better-than-average practicer. You'll soon be far past the sheltered cove of method books, and out onto the great ocean of music.


Clef

Re: Help from piano teacher needed regarding John Thompson
runedubai #1740558 08/25/11 06:19 PM
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I also can't believe that people are still using the JT course, or that it's even called a "modern" course! I think my piano teacher's teacher learnt with it... and that isn't usually a good thing in educational circles - it's like the classroom teacher who just does the same thing, year after year. Modern pedagogy has hopefully advanced since then. There are so many great options out there and I think half the fun is in tryin them out and exploring.


Tim Topham
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Re: Help from piano teacher needed regarding John Thompson
runedubai #1741224 08/26/11 07:10 PM
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timtophan.. what do you suggest. I have almost all the method books and prefer Thompson actually.. the others seem so repetitive.


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

love and peace, Õun (apple in Estonian)
Re: Help from piano teacher needed regarding John Thompson
runedubai #1742853 08/29/11 07:20 PM
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Have you looked at Alfred's Premier series? Most importantly, it has students moving all over the piano from the very first lesson and doesn't set any hand position as more important than any other. This gets rid of the 'thumbs on middle c' orientation which I find can cause problems later when kids always think that finger 2 = d, 5 = g, etc. The newer methods all have play-along CDs (don't think JT does?) which I find really encourages beginners to play more. I also like Hal Leonard's new adult piano method with 2 CDs - great for teenager beginners.


Tim Topham
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