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#2260523 - 04/11/14 11:29 PM Baroque for Beginners?  
Joined: Sep 2012
Posts: 862
AZ_Astro Offline
500 Post Club Member
AZ_Astro  Offline
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Joined: Sep 2012
Posts: 862
Tempe, Arizona
It seems like most of the method books that I have seen have a preponderance of baroque pieces at the start. If I had to guess, I would say this is because they are:

1) Short
2) Pithy
3) Fun to play
4) Musical
5) A good finger workout
6) good for technique (which?)

Would you agree with this? Or do you think there is another angle here that I am not seeing?


Kawai KG-5. Korg SP-250. Software pianos: Garritan CFX, Ivory II, Ivory Am D, Ravenscroft, Galaxy Vintage D, Alicia's Keys, et al.
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#2260532 - 04/12/14 12:09 AM Re: Baroque for Beginners? [Re: AZ_Astro]  
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Whizbang Offline
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Whizbang  Offline
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Joined: Oct 2012
Posts: 1,748
There's simply not a lot of amazing music for people completely new to the piano.

Baroque keyboards were smaller, leading to music that doesn't rely on huge jumps.

Bach (and others) wrote a primer for his wife for her birthday, certainly because Bach wanted to introduce her to the piano.

These are... masterpieces. Yes, they're simple and, while it feels like they're elementary, they're amazingly musical. Petzold's Minuet in G is *superb*. So are most of the other introductory Bach pieces I've played. But I must say, I didn't appreciate "Minuet in G" at the time I was introduced to it.

I really love ragtime. One of the saddest questions I have to answer is for beginning players who want to do a full ragtime piece: "I love ragtime but I'm just starting. Can you recommend a piece for me?"

Though Joplin was not renowned for his playing, his and other ragtime requires at least intermediate skills. I sincerely wish he'd had a wife that he felt he could write a primer for.

Otherwise, who are you going to go to? Chopin? The Preludes in A minor(?) and C minor are short and beautiful, but have lots of chords that require painstaking reading.

Mozart? Lots of runs that only work if you can execute them with complete and accurate fluidity.

Clementi. A good choice! But, TBH, while I liked some of this as a kid, it was still 'classical' and the Presto sections made me feel like there was just no way. I was a kid. Of course, I didn't talk to my teacher about this.

Really, it's just that Bach has SO MUCH stuff that is approachable early-ish in the repertoire. I can't think of anyone else who compares.


Whizbang [Linked Image]
amateur ragtime pianist
https://www.youtube.com/user/Aeschala
#2260540 - 04/12/14 12:48 AM Re: Baroque for Beginners? [Re: AZ_Astro]  
Joined: Aug 2007
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AZNpiano Offline
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AZNpiano  Offline
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Orange County, CA
Maybe the editors put the anthologized works in chronological order?


Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member
#2260606 - 04/12/14 07:29 AM Re: Baroque for Beginners? [Re: AZ_Astro]  
Joined: Sep 2012
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AZ_Astro Offline
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AZ_Astro  Offline
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Tempe, Arizona
So -

1) Easy availability of a lot of approachable pieces, and
2) They came first!
3) and, as is widely recognized, the Bach works are master works! (a big plus!)

Does tradition play a role?


Kawai KG-5. Korg SP-250. Software pianos: Garritan CFX, Ivory II, Ivory Am D, Ravenscroft, Galaxy Vintage D, Alicia's Keys, et al.
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#2268788 - 04/29/14 05:03 PM Re: Baroque for Beginners? [Re: AZ_Astro]  
Joined: Nov 2010
Posts: 91
Iori Fujita Offline
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Iori Fujita  Offline
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Joined: Nov 2010
Posts: 91
Tokyo, Japan
By studying Bach's works students can develop their left hand ability and polyphonic sense. So many students don't like Bach.
In Bach's days, Johann Adolph Scheibe wrote in the year 1737 in his paper "Der Critischer Musikus", "This gerat man would be the object of admiration for entire nations if only he had more charm, and if he did not deprive his compositions of naturalness through bombastic and confusing character, and obscure their beauty through an excess of art."
But in the year 1745 he made a review of the Italian Concerto in which he apologized courteously saying, "I did this great man an injustice".
So the Italian concert is good and many young people like it and play. And now there is its No.2.
The Italian Concert No.2 by J.S.Bach.
http://www.geocities.jp/imyfujita/italianconcerto2/index.html
I made it. It is new and fun.
Iori Fujita


#2268808 - 04/29/14 06:09 PM Re: Baroque for Beginners? [Re: Iori Fujita]  
Joined: Mar 2006
Posts: 7,639
John v.d.Brook Offline
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John v.d.Brook  Offline
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Joined: Mar 2006
Posts: 7,639
Olympia, Washington, USA
The Italian Concerto for solo piano is not elementary. Nor is it intermediate. For the average "gifted" student, 7 to 10 years of basic piano study is required to tackle this masterwork. For many students, it's an early college level work.


"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
#2268813 - 04/29/14 06:15 PM Re: Baroque for Beginners? [Re: AZ_Astro]  
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
Originally Posted by AZ_Astro
It seems like most of the method books that I have seen have a preponderance of baroque pieces at the start. If I had to guess, I would say this is because they are:

1) Short
2) Pithy
3) Fun to play
4) Musical
5) A good finger workout
6) good for technique (which?)

Would you agree with this? Or do you think there is another angle here that I am not seeing?

Composers from the classical era, Romantic era and 20th Century have tackled the very, very difficult task of writing compositions for elementary students, compositions which are interesting, technically balanced for the level of the student, and musical. Most fail miserably. A very few succeed.

If you pick up a graded repertoire series, you'll be able to find a selection from all musical eras appropriate for your students.

One which I routinely use if published by Kjos, the Piano Repertoire Series. As several colleagues here have noted, the editing isn't of the highest order, and often the fingering can use some revisions, but as an avenue to expose your students to composers and styles, it's an excellent choice. Others can chime in with some of their favorite series.
Good luck.


"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

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