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#2173662 - 10/29/13 10:36 AM How Many Books? Too Few? Too Many?  
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Florentin Offline
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How many books do teachers in here use for the typical student?
In your experience, how many books are too many? How few are too few?
To work on at the same time, that is.

Here's an example...

High School Student - Intermediate Level:
• Thompson Piano Book - Level Three
• Hanon - Complete Book
• Schaum Note Speller - Book 3 (Harmony Lessons)
• Schumann Op. 68 - Album For The Young
• Adele For Piano - Hal Leonard

Concerns:
• cost of books
• time allotted for each book throughout the month

The student above is just an example. Not a real student.
There could be other book variations, depending on age and musical preferences.

Thanks.


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#2173681 - 10/29/13 11:15 AM Re: How Many Books? Too Few? Too Many? [Re: Florentin]  
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Peter K. Mose Offline
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Here in Canada we are using 3.8 books per piano student. I think it's a government ministry directive.

#2173693 - 10/29/13 11:33 AM Re: How Many Books? Too Few? Too Many? [Re: Peter K. Mose]  
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John v.d.Brook Offline
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Originally Posted by Peter K. Mose
Here in Canada we are using 3.8 books per piano student. I think it's a government ministry directive.


[Linked Image]


"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
#2173701 - 10/29/13 11:41 AM Re: How Many Books? Too Few? Too Many? [Re: Florentin]  
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John v.d.Brook Offline
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Originally Posted by Florentin
How many books do teachers in here use for the typical student?
In your experience, how many books are too many? How few are too few?
To work on at the same time, that is.

Here's an example...

High School Student - Intermediate Level:
• Thompson Piano Book - Level Three
• Hanon - Complete Book
• Schaum Note Speller - Book 3 (Harmony Lessons)
• Schumann Op. 68 - Album For The Young
• Adele For Piano - Hal Leonard

Concerns:
• cost of books
• time allotted for each book throughout the month

The student above is just an example. Not a real student.
There could be other book variations, depending on age and musical preferences.

I have never, ever paid any attention to how many or how few books a student has. My focus is on their needs, progress, interests, etc. That's what drives their technical and repertoire studies.

We do theory studies in our monthly group lessons, and I usually print out what they need for that, and as for the Hanon, well, I've used it once in 35 years of teaching, and I deeply regret the needless pain and suffering I caused the student.


"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
#2173726 - 10/29/13 12:50 PM Re: How Many Books? Too Few? Too Many? [Re: John v.d.Brook]  
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keystring Offline
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Originally Posted by John v.d.Brook

I have never, ever paid any attention to how many or how few books a student has. My focus is on their needs, progress, interests, etc. That's what drives their technical and repertoire studies.

I agree with this both as a student, and as a trained teacher. I'd go further to say, John, that first you are starting with what you know about how the piano is played, what kinds of skills can be developed at different stages, and your knowledge of pedagogy for putting it all together. You know what you want to teach in general, you consider where that particular student is at, and then you pull in your tools (the books or pieces) to do the job. Am I right?

#2173727 - 10/29/13 12:54 PM Re: How Many Books? Too Few? Too Many? [Re: Florentin]  
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Even if you use that number of books for this theoretical student, keep in mind that most likely the student isn't *buying* them all at the same time, so it's not nearly the sudden expense that your list makes it appear.

#2173736 - 10/29/13 01:11 PM Re: How Many Books? Too Few? Too Many? [Re: Florentin]  
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Hi Florentin,

I think flexiblity is needed in this area. I use a range of 1 to 5, with an average of 3 or 4 books at a time.

I have found that when I suggest an additional book and the parent scowls, that I have a hint that the parent thinks it's too many books. I only had this happen once. In hindsight, I think they were just hanging on with me through the summer and planned to switch teachers in the fall and therefore did not want to go with my suggestions. So maybe it wasn't an issue of too many books.

I find that I have to slow down, and allow kids time to complete books because I am tempted to add more, and as you say they need time to get to all of the assignment.

#2173754 - 10/29/13 01:46 PM Re: How Many Books? Too Few? Too Many? [Re: John v.d.Brook]  
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Originally Posted by John v.d.Brook
Originally Posted by Florentin
How many books do teachers in here use for the typical student?
In your experience, how many books are too many? How few are too few?
To work on at the same time, that is.

Here's an example...

High School Student - Intermediate Level:
• Thompson Piano Book - Level Three
• Hanon - Complete Book
• Schaum Note Speller - Book 3 (Harmony Lessons)
• Schumann Op. 68 - Album For The Young
• Adele For Piano - Hal Leonard

Concerns:
• cost of books
• time allotted for each book throughout the month

The student above is just an example. Not a real student.
There could be other book variations, depending on age and musical preferences.

I have never, ever paid any attention to how many or how few books a student has. My focus is on their needs, progress, interests, etc. That's what drives their technical and repertoire studies.

We do theory studies in our monthly group lessons, and I usually print out what they need for that, and as for the Hanon, well, I've used it once in 35 years of teaching, and I deeply regret the needless pain and suffering I caused the student.


+1


Piano Teacher
#2173774 - 10/29/13 02:28 PM Re: How Many Books? Too Few? Too Many? [Re: Florentin]  
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Originally Posted by Florentin

Here's an example...

High School Student - Intermediate Level:
• Thompson Piano Book - Level Three
• Hanon - Complete Book
• Schaum Note Speller - Book 3 (Harmony Lessons)
• Schumann Op. 68 - Album For The Young
• Adele For Piano - Hal Leonard

The student above is just an example.


Hi Florentin. May I ask a couple of questions: this student, he has one lesson a week? How long? Has he been studying with you for some time. Is he a good student, that is is he well motivated and has he shown a sustained interest, does he practise well and intelligently, is he disciplined? Does he like Schumann? And does he have something of a musical ambition, I mean does he appreciate the usefullness of studying technique à la Hanon?

I am not a music teacher, and I know that you adressed your question to teachers like yourself. But having worked for a number of years with my kids in their musical studies and having watched quite a few others these questions present themselves to me. My impression is that there is a lot of material in this list, and a kid would have to be somewhat seriously seriously engaged in his studies with you.

By the way, a Romanian musician: as you surely know, here in Europe in many cities you encounter Romanians playing in the street, absolutely brillant musicians. I remember seeing a kid, a pre-teen, sitting on the sidewalk playing a little Casio toy keyboard, 32 keys maybe, accompanying his father who played the violin, the kid just belting out jazzy chords. There is clearly in Romania an important musical tradition. The little presentation of yourself that you gave in another thread about sight-reading, I suspect that it doesn't really let in on your level of musicianship.


#2173780 - 10/29/13 02:38 PM Re: How Many Books? Too Few? Too Many? [Re: Florentin]  
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My daughter started with 2 books and slowly more have been added in. She doesn't have every lesson with all the books (and I gave away her beginner lesson books). There was one - a Christmas book that they never used. The teacher offered to buy it back (it was a level one and she is finishing level 5) but my daughter said she wanted to keep it. She likes to be able to play all the songs well without practicing - they are festive.

In one lesson she uses no more than 3 books. She brings all her current books though (six?), just in case.

#2173794 - 10/29/13 03:11 PM Re: How Many Books? Too Few? Too Many? [Re: Florentin]  
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My exam students work on 3 to 5 pieces at a time, and since I don't like dumb anthologies, they most likely have 3 to 5 books.

But I like Peter's idea of 3.8 books. I think California has a minimum requirement of 4.17 books. The less responsible teachers here in California will also make their students buy a CM theory book, a CM theory book answer key (Hey, all the answers are there, go teach yourself!), and a written-out version of the CM technique (because we can't possibly "cover" all the required skills in 30-minute lessons).


Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member
#2173800 - 10/29/13 03:21 PM Re: How Many Books? Too Few? Too Many? [Re: Florentin]  
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But my child has an IEP so her 4.17 books would have to come with accommodations. :P

#2173820 - 10/29/13 03:56 PM Re: How Many Books? Too Few? Too Many? [Re: MaggieGirl]  
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Originally Posted by MaggieGirl
But my child has an IEP so her 4.17 books would have to come with accommodations. :P

One of my piano students needs an IEP for piano!!! We don't hear that term IEP tossed around here very often.


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#2173829 - 10/29/13 04:10 PM Re: How Many Books? Too Few? Too Many? [Re: AZNpiano]  
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0.0 funny
and you don't even need a "government directive" to figure that one out

And IEP jokes?
Really?
Have you ever taught a student with an IEP?

Maybe we can throw in a couple of jokes about disabled piano students as well.
That would fit right in.

100.00 % rude

#2173846 - 10/29/13 04:37 PM Re: How Many Books? Too Few? Too Many? [Re: landorrano]  
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Originally Posted by landorrano




By the way, a Romanian musician: as you surely know, here in Europe in many cities you encounter Romanians playing in the street, absolutely brillant musicians. I remember seeing a kid, a pre-teen, sitting on the sidewalk playing a little Casio toy keyboard, 32 keys maybe, accompanying his father who played the violin, the kid just belting out jazzy chords. There is clearly in Romania an important musical tradition. The little presentation of yourself that you gave in another thread about sight-reading, I suspect that it doesn't really let in on your level of musicianship.


whaat?

#2173848 - 10/29/13 04:38 PM Re: How Many Books? Too Few? Too Many? [Re: Florentin]  
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what is this place?

#2173889 - 10/29/13 05:38 PM Re: How Many Books? Too Few? Too Many? [Re: Florentin]  
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Uh, oh, back to the original serious question. I think 3-4 books at a time is plenty for most students, whether kids or adults. For beginning kids, maybe 2-3.


#2173948 - 10/29/13 07:17 PM Re: How Many Books? Too Few? Too Many? [Re: Florentin]  
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For those unfamiliar with special ed and the IEP reference, it simply means an "individualized education plan". In the situation of private lessons, one would hope each student is receiving an individualized plan.

#2173956 - 10/29/13 07:32 PM Re: How Many Books? Too Few? Too Many? [Re: Florentin]  
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I'm not a piano teacher.

My daughters have around 8-12 books in their bags. They definitely touch all of those books over a 3 month period. That sounds like about the same number of books when I was a piano student many years ago.

Breakdown:
1 anthology
1 etude
3-5 single composer books
2 theory (one serious and one fun)
3 tiny sight-singing (although they're so small, they could be one book)
2 repertoire books for sight-reading lent by teacher - changes every 3-4 weeks
1 sight-reading exercise book
1 binder

One of my girls wanted a cute piano tote for her birthday. I scoured the web for a nice piano tote. Piano tote bag makers don't seem to understand what needs to go into a piano bag. Most of these bags can fit maybe one or two piano books. They wouldn't even fit the 4.17 minimum mentioned here.


Mom of Two Girls Who Used to Be Beginners
#2173960 - 10/29/13 07:34 PM Re: How Many Books? Too Few? Too Many? [Re: Overexposed]  
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Nice definition change...

IEP students are students with special needs (physical, mental, emotional) for whom the educator has to alter the lesson and the assessment.

Not all students receive IEP instruction.
In fact, a small percentage do.

Saying that all students should be on an individual plan is a feeble attempt to redefine what IEP really stands for.

But I digress.
I realize a newcomer could never win this argument in here.
Not even trying to.

I wish people would just drop it and answer the original question.
Or perhaps find a different thread where you can show how witty you all are.
Thanks.

#2173966 - 10/29/13 07:47 PM Re: How Many Books? Too Few? Too Many? [Re: Peter K. Mose]  
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Originally Posted by Peter K. Mose
Here in Canada we are using 3.8 books per piano student. I think it's a government ministry directive.


Peter, I'm getting a case of the sillies imagining 0.8 books. Wherever did you get that idea?!?

ROFL

Anne

#2174005 - 10/29/13 08:50 PM Re: How Many Books? Too Few? Too Many? [Re: Florentin]  
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Originally Posted by Florentin

Saying that all students should be on an individual plan is a feeble attempt to redefine what IEP really stands for.


What Ann said was:
Originally Posted by Ann
In the situation of private lessons, one would hope each student is receiving an individualized plan.

Private lessons being the kind of lessons that a student studying piano with a teacher would get. Each student's lessons are tailored to that student, from lesson to lesson. Thus all private lessons essentially have "individual plans".

Perhaps you misunderstood.

Last edited by keystring; 10/29/13 08:51 PM.
#2174006 - 10/29/13 08:52 PM Re: How Many Books? Too Few? Too Many? [Re: Florentin]  
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Originally Posted by Florentin

I wish people would just drop it and answer the original question.

It may be that the original question cannot be answered. It may also be that the serious answers you got at the beginning of this thread could lead to something better than that question, or at least something else.

#2174020 - 10/29/13 09:10 PM Re: How Many Books? Too Few? Too Many? [Re: Florentin]  
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Originally Posted by Florentin
Nice definition change...

IEP students are students with special needs (physical, mental, emotional) for whom the educator has to alter the lesson and the assessment.

Saying that all students should be on an individual plan is a feeble attempt to redefine what IEP really stands for.


There was no redefining IEP. IEP literally stands for "Individualized Education Plan" as you know. This is used in public school systems to justify stepping away from a standardized plan of education. A teacher has to have a kid tested and jump through hoops to vary teaching as needed with different kids. Kids that learn significantly slower or faster than typical kids often need adjustments in their education plan. "Gifted and talented" kids also receive an IEP.

It does not apply to private lessons. There is no standardized plan. They are all individual plans. You can go as slow or fast or varied as you see fit.

Some people are not familiar with public school abbreviations like IEP, so I only posted about it for that reason.

Of course, someone like the OP who teaches group keyboarding classes in a public school system is not creating an individualized plan for students. But in private lessons, each student DOES receive an individualized plan.

The public school system demands a one size fits all answer to teaching music...and number of books to use. Good luck with that. IMO it is FAR better to take private lessons if you want to learn to play piano,and yes, have an individualized plan.




Last edited by Ann in Kentucky; 10/29/13 10:11 PM.
#2174033 - 10/29/13 10:08 PM Re: How Many Books? Too Few? Too Many? [Re: Overexposed]  
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Originally Posted by Ann in Kentucky
Some people are not familiar with public school abbreviations like IEP, so I only posted about it for that reason.
And I'm glad you did, as I had no idea what it meant. Maybe it's used here in Australia too, but it's so long since I was public school teaching that I'm not up to date with all the AITs*

*annoying initial thingies


Du holde Kunst...
#2174039 - 10/29/13 10:19 PM Re: How Many Books? Too Few? Too Many? [Re: keystring]  
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Originally Posted by keystring

It may be that the original question cannot be answered.


That is possible.
Then why the direction of the thread?
It doesn't make any sense to me.




#2174045 - 10/29/13 10:32 PM Re: How Many Books? Too Few? Too Many? [Re: Florentin]  
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Originally Posted by Florentin
I wish people would just drop it and answer the original question.
Ah, Florentin - sadly, when once you have launched your thread into the stormy waters of Piano World, you have lost control of it. You can plead and beg, but it will sail on wherever it wants. All you can do is hope it finds safe harbour eventually. smile And actually, I think most of them do, even if there are some huge detours on the way. Surprisingly few shipwrecks, really.

(My students have an average of 4.3 books. One of them is bumping up the average - she probably has too many things on the go, but she's keen to explore. smile )


Du holde Kunst...
#2174047 - 10/29/13 10:36 PM Re: How Many Books? Too Few? Too Many? [Re: Florentin]  
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The original question would have been better if you explained the reason behind your needing to know. Do you suspect you use too many or too few books?

I think when you join any forum, you need to lurk a bit to get to know the participants and how they like to respond. You may be a bit sensitive because the answer to your question would be based on each teacher's goals for a particular student, and what the student can handle.

I have some students who only want one or two pieces at a time. Many like four pieces at a time. And beginners could have six short pieces at a time.

Hence it's perfectly possible to joke that one needs a governmental directive for x books.

I think it's more important to sense when a new book would spice things up. Also, I don't let students carry too many books for their strength. I try to encourage orderly book bags.

(One student had a moldy orange in her bag, which I couldn't figure out for some time because it was in a zippered portion of the bag!)


Last edited by Candywoman; 10/29/13 10:37 PM.
#2174048 - 10/29/13 10:38 PM Re: How Many Books? Too Few? Too Many? [Re: Overexposed]  
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Originally Posted by Ann in Kentucky

There was no redefining IEP. IEP literally stands for "Individualized Education Plan" as you know. This is used in public school systems to justify stepping away from a standardized plan of education. A teacher has to have a kid tested and jump through hoops to vary teaching as needed with different kids. Kids that learn significantly slower or faster than typical kids often need adjustments in their education plan. "Gifted and talented" kids also receive an IEP.


Yes, but all kids with an IEP have at least one special need.
A very high percentage are needs on the negative spectrum, of a physical, mental, or emotional nature.

The presence of an IEP is not a mere need for an adjusted educational plan. The IEP is there because the student struggles with some obstacle (physical, mental, or emotional). The IEP is a clear sign of a special needs child.

In fact, the need for implementation of an IEP is so grave, that teachers have to sign a form which says they have been made aware of the special need. If there is enough evidence that the educator knowingly fails to accommodate the special need, the school can be sued. THE FORM IS A LEGAL DOCUMENT.

IEP has a very strong connotation.
That's all I'm saying.


Originally Posted by Ann in Kentucky

Of course, someone like the OP who teaches group keyboarding classes in a public school system is not creating an individualized plan for students. But in private lessons, each student DOES receive an individualized plan.


What is this statement based on?
Are there any school teachers in here? smile
Teaching every individual student is a constant purpose in most classrooms.
Differentiation is a key word in pedagogical circles.
It means, as you probably know, to teach each student, if at all possible, according to their own needs.

Of course, you don't always succeed. It is hard with 18 students in your room.
BUT YOU TRY. CONSTANTLY!
If you are a good teacher, that is.

Aside from this, the student I mentioned in the original question was a private student. Do you really think a student in a group lesson could handle all that work? Have you even read my original post? Just wondering smile My initial post has nothing to do with group lessons.

Originally Posted by Ann in Kentucky

The public school system demands a one size fits all answer to teaching music...and number of books to use. Good luck with that. IMO it is FAR better to take private lessons if you want to learn to play piano,and yes, have an individualized plan.


Are you saying this based on your own observation of different music classes in our school system, or is it a hunch?
You brought a smile to my face smile
Thanks!

... at least you used "IMO"
It is just that, my dear: an opinion.

#2174074 - 10/29/13 11:38 PM Re: How Many Books? Too Few? Too Many? [Re: Candywoman]  
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Originally Posted by Candywoman

(One student had a moldy orange in her bag, which I couldn't figure out for some time because it was in a zippered portion of the bag!)


... now THAT was 8.9 funny smile

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