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
What's Hot!!
Hurricane Irma & Our Piano Friends!
--------------------
Posting Pictures on the Forums
-------------------
Forums RULES & HELP
-------------------
ADVERTISE on Piano World
(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)
4th Finger Enigma Resolved!
Schumann's 4th Finger Enigma Resolved!
Who's Online Now
71 registered members (Agent88, Beacon Chris, ando, accordeur, 20 invisible), 1,801 guests, and 2 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
#1747826 - 09/06/11 11:06 PM Teaching "The Music Tree"  
Joined: Dec 2009
Posts: 18
Carolynjoy Offline
Junior Member
Carolynjoy  Offline
Junior Member

Joined: Dec 2009
Posts: 18
Milwaukee
I'm considering adding "The Music Tree" to my methods of choice. I have read reviews, and I bought a copy of Time to Begin. But I have some questions about it.

1. It seems that in the entire first book, the students never use their thumbs to play a note. Ever. It's all fingers 2 through 5. Does anyone know the reason for this? It seems like it would encourage bad hand technique to begin with.

2. Also, the first book seems to be so repetitive. The exercise repeat just a few notes with only fingers 2 and maybe 3 on black notes for much of the book. I could only see using this with maybe a 4 or 5 year old. Wouldn't anyone older get bored of these repetitive exercises that can't even be called songs?

The thing is, I don't mean to bash the method, I do think it is pedagogically sound, and I would like to try it in my studio. I just wish there was an accelerated version.

Does anyone have thoughts on either of these issues?

Thanks so much for your insight.

Carolyn
4 years private studio


Carolyn
Piano teacher since 2002
B.A. in Music and Psychology
Piano Pedagogy program completed
http://vivopianolessons.com
(ad)
Piano & Music Accessories
piano accessories music gifts tuning and moving equipment
#1747833 - 09/06/11 11:16 PM Re: Teaching "The Music Tree" [Re: Carolynjoy]  
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
Actually, Music Tree is one of the MOST pedagogically sound courses there is. There is a teacher's handbook and you should get it.

That being said, it is one of the more difficult courses to teach without a formal pedagogy background. You really have to understand the "why" of what they are doing, not just the "how."

Study the course more closely. You'll see some real genius. Yes, there is a fair amount of repetition, but that is purposeful. As for the lack of thumb use, the technical philosophy is on building the hand from the center out. It allows for a natural strengthening of the arch and of the fingers. I find that I don't have students that end up playing on the sides of their pinkies and thumbs because the center of the hand is so firmly estabished.

You must use every suggestion they give.

You might also want to read "A Piano Teacher's Legacy" -- a collection of writings of Richard Chronister and edited by Ed Darling. It's available at www.francesclarkcenter.org

Music Tree works beautifully for 6 and 7 year olds. I'm using it right now with great success with two 6 year old girls.

Get the handbook.


B.A., Piano, Piano Pegagogy, Music Ed.
M.M., Piano
#1747845 - 09/06/11 11:57 PM Re: Teaching "The Music Tree" [Re: Minniemay]  
Joined: Aug 2007
Posts: 7,160
AZNpiano Offline
7000 Post Club Member
AZNpiano  Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Joined: Aug 2007
Posts: 7,160
Orange County, CA
Originally Posted by Minniemay
That being said, it is one of the more difficult courses to teach without a formal pedagogy background. You really have to understand the "why" of what they are doing, not just the "how."

Maybe that's why all the Music Tree transfers (except for one kid) turned out to be disasters who can't read notes. It made me want to scream "The landmark approach doesn't work!!"

Oh, for that one kid who didn't turn out to be a disaster--he's so smart and self-motivated, ANY method will work.


Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member
#1747853 - 09/07/11 12:14 AM Re: Teaching "The Music Tree" [Re: Carolynjoy]  
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
I start all my beginners in Music Tree and they all read fluently.

It's not the fault of the course, it's the fault of the teacher. No course teaches itself.


B.A., Piano, Piano Pegagogy, Music Ed.
M.M., Piano
#1748223 - 09/07/11 12:53 PM Re: Teaching "The Music Tree" [Re: Minniemay]  
Joined: Dec 2009
Posts: 18
Carolynjoy Offline
Junior Member
Carolynjoy  Offline
Junior Member

Joined: Dec 2009
Posts: 18
Milwaukee
Thank you all for your input.

By the way, my training is in piano pedagogy. It just didn't include The Music Tree specifically. I will definitely need to buy the handbook to understand the specifics of the reasoning behind the "no thumbs" method.

And I do know that it is a rigorously studied and highly pedagogically sound method. I was simply looking for reasons to things I hadn't seen discussed before.

I need the handbook before I consider starting with it, clearly.

My only real concern will be the repetition and lack of "melody" for the first few weeks.

1. How long do you usually spend on Units 1-3? I see that in Unit 4, there are a few songs that are melodic, like "Dinosaurs" and "Merrily We Roll Along," mixed in with the usual 2-note songs.

Also, is it not strange to have a child play a song with only finger 2 of the right and left hand for the first 30 pages of the book? Do you go through these pages quite quickly?

Thank you so much for your insights as people that actually teach with this method.

(Don't worry, I'm buying the handbook on my next trip to the store this weekend.)

Carolyn
B.A. Music, Psychology, Piano Pedagogy


Carolyn
Piano teacher since 2002
B.A. in Music and Psychology
Piano Pedagogy program completed
http://vivopianolessons.com
#1748449 - 09/07/11 06:24 PM Re: Teaching "The Music Tree" [Re: Carolynjoy]  
Joined: Sep 2009
Posts: 379
Arctic_Mama Offline
Full Member
Arctic_Mama  Offline
Full Member

Joined: Sep 2009
Posts: 379
Alaska
Oh my goodness, I LOVE The Music Tree. I've learned under Suzuki, Bastien, and Alfred prior to their course and came away with the most technically sound approach. The course is designed to avoid a lot of pitfalls (like hand positions or only being comfortable in C major, playing more by ear than notes, etc etc) and get students comfortable with the motion of playing (hence the primer's emphasis on simply depressing keys with ease and beginning rhythm, not adding too much else in for the littlest players) and understanding the entire keyboard from the beginning.

It also focuses heavily on transposing, creativity with chord progressions, and fairly exhaustive skill building one piece at a time. I am no piano teacher, but after having spent various portions of my life learning and relearning piano basics, as an adult I can now see the ingenuity of the approach when compared with the other curricula I have been taught with.

I'm surprised to see anyone came away from that course without the ability to read music. If a student has completed the primer and 1A, they should already be fluent in an octave of notes, simple rhythm, and even some small harmonies between the hands.

I know the teacher who trained me with this course had studied piano pedagogy and worked under another teacher in a large studio before going on her own, and that may have been a key difference. Also of note, I skipped the primer entirely and breezed through the first book (entirely skipped the second) due to my prior training. My teacher assessed that I was skilled enough to not need them and the primer, specifically, is aimed at 5-7 year olds. Older children who can retain more information and have longer attention spans can skip it without detriment, provided they have an understanding of the basic skills presented in it.

I can't speak highly enough for the series, truly. Well written, thorough, progressive, interesting pieces and supplements... I am truly heartbroken that my teacher will be moving back to Oklahoma and thus I will have to hunt down another in my area who uses the same curriculum - it has made me an absolute believer, in terms of being thorough and wonderfully suited to young beginners (and older ones, like moi!).


Starting over after a decade-long hiatus from playing!
Yamaha CLP320

Burgmuller - Inquietude
#1748754 - 09/08/11 08:35 AM Re: Teaching "The Music Tree" [Re: Minniemay]  
Joined: Mar 2010
Posts: 787
Gerard12 Offline
500 Post Club Member
Gerard12  Offline
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Mar 2010
Posts: 787
South Carolina
Originally Posted by Minniemay

Study the course more closely. You'll see some real genius. Yes, there is a fair amount of repetition, but that is purposeful. As for the lack of thumb use, the technical philosophy is on building the hand from the center out. It allows for a natural strengthening of the arch and of the fingers. I find that I don't have students that end up playing on the sides of their pinkies and thumbs because the center of the hand is so firmly estabished.




This is timely. Last week - with just with a cursory perusal - I decided that I'll switch over to Music Tree for new students starting with the new year.

I just wish I had investigated it sooner - not just for the reading benefits, but especially for the benefits that Minniemay describes above.

Transferring students from one method to a better one is always difficult. For me, the transition from Bastien to Faber years ago was pretty time consuming as far as lesson prep goes. Can anyone who has transferred students into Music Tree from another method share more of their experiences?

(Is it just me, or does the title I remember Gurlitt make you laugh?)


Piano instruction and performance
#1752609 - 09/14/11 08:36 PM Re: Teaching "The Music Tree" [Re: Gerard12]  
Joined: Sep 2011
Posts: 413
LeaC Offline
Full Member
LeaC  Offline
Full Member

Joined: Sep 2011
Posts: 413
USA
Hello! I love The Music Tree. The pedagogical points are subtle at first. I like the beginning hand positioons on the black keys, and not using the thumb to establish a relaxed wrist. So very important from the very first lesson. Then, the kids have a blast learning to use "rainbow arms" as the learn to move their arms into the air, making an arch, from octave to octave. If someone (even an adult) is learning quickly, you can always accelerate their pace through the book. This series allowed me to focus on some important finger, wrist and arm movements in an entertaining setting. That's technique. Then there is the note reading that is introduced one line at a time. In fact, using this book heavily influenced the way I teach reading today. I now see reading as a purely intervallic process, and find my students do better with this approach. It encourages spacial perceptions, which is what reading is all about. While you might find it difficult to have the student keep their eyes on the score, they are really learning to synthesize everything into a functional whole. Another advanced technique that is introduced early on is how to lean toward the hands as they move up and down the keyboard. Just like little pros! So adorable.


Working on: Reworking Bartok's Suite Opus 14, Chopin's Polonaise Op.40, The Military (so much fun!)
#1753057 - 09/15/11 04:21 PM Re: Teaching "The Music Tree" [Re: LeaC]  
Joined: Dec 2009
Posts: 18
Carolynjoy Offline
Junior Member
Carolynjoy  Offline
Junior Member

Joined: Dec 2009
Posts: 18
Milwaukee
Thank you so much for your insight. I already had an appreciation for the intervallic approach to note-reading introduced in this book. I've always tried to teach my students through this approach, so I appreciate a method that supports this.
Thank you for helping me to understand the omission of the thumb as a means of establishing a relaxed wrist.

I also got very excited when I saw the "Time to Begin" activity book. I think it has the potential to fill in a lot of leaps in logic that other books skip.

I will continue learning more about the method (of course my local music stores don't stock the handbook--so it's being ordered), and once I feel comfortable with it, I look forward to adding it to my favored methods.

Thanks!



Carolyn
Piano teacher since 2002
B.A. in Music and Psychology
Piano Pedagogy program completed
http://vivopianolessons.com
#1753136 - 09/15/11 06:42 PM Re: Teaching "The Music Tree" [Re: Carolynjoy]  
Joined: Sep 2011
Posts: 413
LeaC Offline
Full Member
LeaC  Offline
Full Member

Joined: Sep 2011
Posts: 413
USA
A pleasure, Carolyn! I know you are a very good teacher!


Working on: Reworking Bartok's Suite Opus 14, Chopin's Polonaise Op.40, The Military (so much fun!)

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, Digital Piano Dolly, party goods, tuning equipment, piano moving equipment, benches, lamps Caster Cups and more.


Free Shipping* on Jansen Artist Piano Benches, Cocoweb Piano Lamps, Hidrau Hydraulic Piano Benches
(*free shipping within contiguous U.S. only)
(ad)
Pearl River
Pearl River Pianos
(ad)
Pianoteq
PianoTeq 6 Out now
(ad)
Lindeblad Piano
Lindeblad Piano Restorations and sales
ad
Pierce Piano Atlas


New Topics - Multiple Forums
Yamaha P255 controller iOS app
by fary. 09/20/17 06:06 PM
Suggestions needed
by Twinstter. 09/20/17 04:23 PM
The Piano Book's 30th Anniversary
by S. Phillips. 09/20/17 04:02 PM
Harp as second instrument
by justyna_ewa. 09/20/17 03:48 PM
Forum Statistics
Forums44
Topics181,952
Posts2,659,034
Members88,871
Most Online15,252
Mar 21st, 2010
(ad)
Accu-Tuner
Sanderson Accu-Tuner
Check It Out!
There's a lot more to Piano World than just the forums.
Click Here to
Explore The Rest of Piano World!!
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