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Re: RCM Method Books vs. Keith Snell Method Books [Re: ghostwind] #2734104
05/04/18 12:59 PM
05/04/18 12:59 PM
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Originally Posted by ghostwind
I like how my personal story has turned into a theoretical discussion regarding who can teach who and how smile Clearly there are many variables, but on my end I'm good to go for now.

Topic drift. wink

No stopping it, happens in almost every thread...


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Re: RCM Method Books vs. Keith Snell Method Books [Re: Gary D.] #2734156
05/04/18 05:09 PM
05/04/18 05:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Gary D.
Originally Posted by ghostwind
I like how my personal story has turned into a theoretical discussion regarding who can teach who and how smile Clearly there are many variables, but on my end I'm good to go for now.

Topic drift. wink

No stopping it, happens in almost every thread...


No, I'm aware of that. I meant the last few posts - theoretical questions instead of just asking me!


2017 Boston GP-163 PE II
Re: RCM Method Books vs. Keith Snell Method Books [Re: Gary D.] #2734172
05/04/18 06:14 PM
05/04/18 06:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Gary D.
...
Topic drift. wink

No stopping it, happens in almost every thread...


It happens in real life conversations too.


I've been trying to change my signature quote for weeks.

Re: RCM Method Books vs. Keith Snell Method Books [Re: ghostwind] #2734176
05/04/18 06:30 PM
05/04/18 06:30 PM
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Originally Posted by ghostwind
No, I'm aware of that. I meant the last few posts - theoretical questions instead of just asking me!

Ghostwind, I'm the one who asked AZN, and it was not about you. smile In these threads when someone asks for advice, anyone else with similar concerns may also be reading the info now or in the future. I wanted to see what the criteria might be for recommending these books. It was not at all off topic btw.

As some examples: Years ago when my son changed teachers, they switched to a Suzuki book, which I browsed through. I noticed that there were footnotes in sections of some of the pieces, giving advice on how one might approach practising this section technically; how to understand it musically. The RCM books had not had that. (viola) A teacher with decades of experience and full background might not need something like this; or might even decide that he wants to teach a different approach - an inexperienced teacher might very much like this. ---- I was given an anthology of pieces representative of composers over several centuries, and after struggling with a few pieces discovered that that had been made to "sound nice" which made them implausible enough to send me into a tailspin. But as an "amateur adult" I "would like" this music which was pretty and easy to play. Those can also be criteria.

Usually if a teacher recommends a book or series to me, he might say "This is the only edition that doesn't put in crazy finger numbers that don't work, and isn't over-edited with the editors' interpretation." or some other thing - there are criteria behind choices.

Re: RCM Method Books vs. Keith Snell Method Books [Re: keystring] #2734180
05/04/18 07:13 PM
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Originally Posted by keystring
Originally Posted by ghostwind
No, I'm aware of that. I meant the last few posts - theoretical questions instead of just asking me!

Ghostwind, I'm the one who asked AZN, and it was not about you. smile In these threads when someone asks for advice, anyone else with similar concerns may also be reading the info now or in the future. I wanted to see what the criteria might be for recommending these books. It was not at all off topic btw.


No worries - it just sounded like that in a weird way. Of course I understand. He just recommend it, and I explained why I decided to use it instead of RCM or Snell. I didn't' say it was off topic either smile I enjoy all this back and forth - lots of good info comes out of branching discussions, as long as they stay interesting.


2017 Boston GP-163 PE II
Re: RCM Method Books vs. Keith Snell Method Books [Re: ghostwind] #2734291
05/05/18 11:35 AM
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One thing I forgot to add, and which I like, is that she doesn't typically use a lot of pedal markings - which is a good thing in my opinion. The editing is sparse in that regard, and she prefaces it by stating, "Pedaling decisions should be undertaken with the utmost care, and such markings are generally not added editorially since pedaling will vary from piano to piano and from hall to hall due to acoustical considerations." So one won't see pedaling markings typically seen in most versions of "Fur Elise" or Chopin's "Prelude in E minor" in her books for example. Could be for the above, or because it's obvious, both, etc. Again, little editing is done, and stated as such.


2017 Boston GP-163 PE II
Re: RCM Method Books vs. Keith Snell Method Books [Re: ghostwind] #2734400
05/05/18 09:06 PM
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Only just came across this thread, sorry I'm late to the party, lol. I use Snell's books and I'm very happy with them. Was using RCM, but they are hard to get and expensive, and yes, they do change them up, so it was frustrating.

If you decide to use the Snell books, I personally suggest getting the older editions, which are all still available. The older editions have two separate books: baroque & classical, and romantic & modern. There is also the etude book, and you can also find CDs sold separately that cover all the pieces in a level, includIng the etudes, which is very helpful. The newer edition is called "Essential Piano Repertoire" and combines the two books, and the CD that comes with the book does not include the etudes (no idea why they don't have them, since the etudes were already recorded and there's no reason to omit them. Many are hard to find online to listen to, so it would be much easier if they included them). Scale Skills and theory round out the system, and I find it to be very complete and extremely well done. I have found that there are many pieces in Snell's repertoire books that I wasn't even aware of, definitely not the usual pieces you see at the different levels.

Hope this is helpful, enjoy!


Currently working on Masterwork Classics Book 5
Kawai UST-9, Yamaha CLP565GP

"Sometimes I can only groan, and suffer, and pour out my despair at the piano!" - Frederic Chopin
Re: RCM Method Books vs. Keith Snell Method Books [Re: ebonykawai] #2734420
05/06/18 12:31 AM
05/06/18 12:31 AM
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Originally Posted by ebonykawai
Only just came across this thread, sorry I'm late to the party, lol. I use Snell's books and I'm very happy with them. Was using RCM, but they are hard to get and expensive, and yes, they do change them up, so it was frustrating.

If you decide to use the Snell books, I personally suggest getting the older editions, which are all still available. The older editions have two separate books: baroque & classical, and romantic & modern. There is also the etude book, and you can also find CDs sold separately that cover all the pieces in a level, includIng the etudes, which is very helpful. The newer edition is called "Essential Piano Repertoire" and combines the two books, and the CD that comes with the book does not include the etudes (no idea why they don't have them, since the etudes were already recorded and there's no reason to omit them. Many are hard to find online to listen to, so it would be much easier if they included them). Scale Skills and theory round out the system, and I find it to be very complete and extremely well done. I have found that there are many pieces in Snell's repertoire books that I wasn't even aware of, definitely not the usual pieces you see at the different levels.

Hope this is helpful, enjoy!

I wonder if I'm the only person who thinks that the more people "improve" things, the worse the make them.

It would be wonderful if later editions were always improved.


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Re: RCM Method Books vs. Keith Snell Method Books [Re: ebonykawai] #2734429
05/06/18 01:35 AM
05/06/18 01:35 AM
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Originally Posted by ebonykawai
. I have found that there are many pieces in Snell's repertoire books that I wasn't even aware of, definitely not the usual pieces you see at the different levels.

Well, if you put all the available series from different editors side by side, you'll see that the quoted statement is far from the truth.


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Re: RCM Method Books vs. Keith Snell Method Books [Re: AZNpiano] #2734482
05/06/18 09:10 AM
05/06/18 09:10 AM
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Originally Posted by AZNpiano
Originally Posted by ebonykawai
. I have found that there are many pieces in Snell's repertoire books that I wasn't even aware of, definitely not the usual pieces you see at the different levels.

Well, if you put all the available series from different editors side by side, you'll see that the quoted statement is far from the truth.


I certainly haven't "put all the available series from different editors side by side." No time for that, sorry, I have a life, LOL. This statement was from my own personal experience, I'm not a musician, just an adult player giving MHO. Sorry if it's not up to your standards, LOL. I'll sneak back over to Adult Beginners, shall I? They'er a lot more forgiving over there. smile


Currently working on Masterwork Classics Book 5
Kawai UST-9, Yamaha CLP565GP

"Sometimes I can only groan, and suffer, and pour out my despair at the piano!" - Frederic Chopin
Re: RCM Method Books vs. Keith Snell Method Books [Re: Gary D.] #2734483
05/06/18 09:11 AM
05/06/18 09:11 AM
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Originally Posted by Gary D.

I wonder if I'm the only person who thinks that the more people "improve" things, the worse the make them.

It would be wonderful if later editions were always improved.


Agreed! Just wanted to add that the newer books also have less repertoire, they don't have the same number of pieces as the separate books used together.


Currently working on Masterwork Classics Book 5
Kawai UST-9, Yamaha CLP565GP

"Sometimes I can only groan, and suffer, and pour out my despair at the piano!" - Frederic Chopin
Re: RCM Method Books vs. Keith Snell Method Books [Re: ebonykawai] #2734507
05/06/18 10:34 AM
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Originally Posted by ebonykawai
Only just came across this thread, sorry I'm late to the party, lol. I use Snell's books and I'm very happy with them. Was using RCM, but they are hard to get and expensive, and yes, they do change them up, so it was frustrating.

If you decide to use the Snell books, I personally suggest getting the older editions, which are all still available. The older editions have two separate books: baroque & classical, and romantic & modern. There is also the etude book, and you can also find CDs sold separately that cover all the pieces in a level, includIng the etudes, which is very helpful. The newer edition is called "Essential Piano Repertoire" and combines the two books, and the CD that comes with the book does not include the etudes (no idea why they don't have them, since the etudes were already recorded and there's no reason to omit them. Many are hard to find online to listen to, so it would be much easier if they included them). Scale Skills and theory round out the system, and I find it to be very complete and extremely well done. I have found that there are many pieces in Snell's repertoire books that I wasn't even aware of, definitely not the usual pieces you see at the different levels.

Hope this is helpful, enjoy!


Thanks for the comments, but I already decided to go with Jane Magrath's "Masterwork Classics" series instead - see my posts above mentioning why. Her books provide more insight into editorial choices (as well as musical choices, interpretations, etc.) and are more sparsely edited, which I prefer (see my post with the pedaling example for one). She also has technique books with etudes and exercises to go along with the repertoire books.

When I compared a few random pieces that both series have, I found hers to be more authentic to the original sources in notation. Here's just one example from the Snell Level 3 book, as your signature says that's what you are working out of currently. Look at the Bach BWV Anh. 116 piece measure 24 for example. Two things. First, the piece is written in 3/4 time. Snell notation has that bar written out as one dotted quarter note, then one eighth note, and two tied eighth notes. Jane has it written out as on quarter note, two tied eighth notes, and one quarter note. Both are correct, the latter is the preferred way to write it in 3/4 time, and how the original is written. Not a big deal, but a small example. There are numerous. Multiply this by the number of pieces and books, and you get the idea. The other thing is that in that same measure, the D# should really be a D. I have seen this before, and Jane writes it as a D natural with a note at the bottom, explaining - "Most modern editions have a D# here. The sharp does not appear in the original manuscript."

So things like this are why I went with her books. Small things, but important. Again, there are other examples, but it would take a long post. Just check things out. I just like her approach better because of this.


2017 Boston GP-163 PE II
Re: RCM Method Books vs. Keith Snell Method Books [Re: ebonykawai] #2734599
05/06/18 04:20 PM
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Originally Posted by ebonykawai
Originally Posted by Gary D.

I wonder if I'm the only person who thinks that the more people "improve" things, the worse the make them.

It would be wonderful if later editions were always improved.


Agreed! Just wanted to add that the newer books also have less repertoire, they don't have the same number of pieces as the separate books used together.

That's the kind of thing I was referring to. Things get cut, and less is never better. This is also a way of thinking that I totally disagree with, the idea of taking two or more books and putting the together. The idea is streamlining and clarity. The result is less material, and that is never a good thing.

To AZN's point: I've spent decades looking at every method book on the market, and to be honest I've done less of it in recent years. Why? Because every time I check, nothing really changes. People keep reinventing the wheel.

If you look at everything out there, you will see that just about anything that works appears in many different method books unless it is about new material. In other words, you are not going to find any new gems from Bach, Beethoven, Chopin and so on.

Really great stuff out there, not in method books, is pretty new, and that is a matter of copyright. More of Kabalevsky may be available now, and other composers, as one by one composers start to appear in places like the Petrucci site because new things are allowed in the public domain.

But if you want to make the worlds best method book for yourself, buy every book ever published, play everything in every book at least once to find out for yourself what is there and what changes. No student is going to do that, but I have in the past. The real problem is that just about every method book will have something good that is not in any other, even relatively weak method books.

The problem is that we can't legally take the best from every series out there, which is fair and understandable in terms of not stealing. But remember that Bach COULD, which is why pieces by people like Pezold ended up in his book for his wife. If he found something good, he copied it and added it.

We can't do that. If I find one thing I like in Schaum, Aaron, Thompson, Diller and Quaile, Brimhall, Pace, Bastien, PA, Snell, RCM (and other names I am not remembering at the moment), I can't collect that one thing from each series and throw it into a new book.

But when you talk to really experienced teachers, bear in mind that we HAVE seen all these series and have examined them.

The biggest challenge for teachers is trying to include all these diversified materials and then get them ordered or graded in a way that is practical. Most of what I do is around that idea - what works when, in what order, then pointing students in that direction.


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Re: RCM Method Books vs. Keith Snell Method Books [Re: ghostwind] #2734604
05/06/18 04:30 PM
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Originally Posted by ghostwind
Originally Posted by ebonykawai
Only just came across this thread, sorry I'm late to the party, lol. I use Snell's books and I'm very happy with them. Was using RCM, but they are hard to get and expensive, and yes, they do change them up, so it was frustrating.

If you decide to use the Snell books, I personally suggest getting the older editions, which are all still available. The older editions have two separate books: baroque & classical, and romantic & modern. There is also the etude book, and you can also find CDs sold separately that cover all the pieces in a level, includIng the etudes, which is very helpful. The newer edition is called "Essential Piano Repertoire" and combines the two books, and the CD that comes with the book does not include the etudes (no idea why they don't have them, since the etudes were already recorded and there's no reason to omit them. Many are hard to find online to listen to, so it would be much easier if they included them). Scale Skills and theory round out the system, and I find it to be very complete and extremely well done. I have found that there are many pieces in Snell's repertoire books that I wasn't even aware of, definitely not the usual pieces you see at the different levels.

Hope this is helpful, enjoy!


Thanks for the comments, but I already decided to go with Jane Magrath's "Masterwork Classics" series instead - see my posts above mentioning why. Her books provide more insight into editorial choices (as well as musical choices, interpretations, etc.) and are more sparsely edited, which I prefer (see my post with the pedaling example for one). She also has technique books with etudes and exercises to go along with the repertoire books.

When I compared a few random pieces that both series have, I found hers to be more authentic to the original sources in notation. Here's just one example from the Snell Level 3 book, as your signature says that's what you are working out of currently. Look at the Bach BWV Anh. 116 piece measure 24 for example. Two things. First, the piece is written in 3/4 time. Snell notation has that bar written out as one dotted quarter note, then one eighth note, and two tied eighth notes. Jane has it written out as on quarter note, two tied eighth notes, and one quarter note. Both are correct, the latter is the preferred way to write it in 3/4 time, and how the original is written. Not a big deal, but a small example. There are numerous. Multiply this by the number of pieces and books, and you get the idea. The other thing is that in that same measure, the D# should really be a D. I have seen this before, and Jane writes it as a D natural with a note at the bottom, explaining - "Most modern editions have a D# here. The sharp does not appear in the original manuscript."

So things like this are why I went with her books. Small things, but important. Again, there are other examples, but it would take a long post. Just check things out. I just like her approach better because of this.

Let me expand on this idea:

One of the "cliches" I teach is the Bach Prelude in C, Book I, WTC. One of my young students chose this to play for a little audition. This was my last choice out of all the things we had done, but the list for the FBA in Florida is just horrible, with pieces for any grade level chosen at random, and each grade simply omitting a lot of great music.

But wait, there's more (sounds like a late night commercial):

For each piece that IS on the list, there is one and only one edition listed as OK. Most of the time the idiots who made this list put the worst possible editor as the default.

So after carefully teaching my student that Bach gave no dynamics, no tempo, no articulation, no phrasing and so on, the edition demanded has all of this bogus stuff.

But wait, there's more!!!

There is one measure that frequently appears in this prelude, a measure that most people agree was not written by the composer. Where this measure came from is a long, complicated story, but when Gounod wrote his famous Ave Maria, he used Bach's prelude and added a melody.

Nice idea.

But he used the extra measure.

I LIKE THE EXTRA MEASURE!

But I tell every student that Bach most likely did not write it, so playing it is a somewhat controversial decision. That measure is in the music I notated myself, with nothing extra, with a note: "This measure supposedly is NOT written by Bach."

Well, I have to use this stupid edition for the judging, and that meant I wrote a note to the judge explaining that NONE of what is written in this edition is kosher - I have to assume that I'll get some band director who is utterly ignorant of piano music.

The point: I very much support minimalist editors who don't add crap that they just make up, and it is crap UNLESS you, as the editor, make it crystal clear that you are suggesting things that may or may not be what the composer intended.

Last edited by Gary D.; 05/06/18 04:33 PM.

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Re: RCM Method Books vs. Keith Snell Method Books [Re: Gary D.] #2734619
05/06/18 05:13 PM
05/06/18 05:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Gary D.
For each piece that IS on the list, there is one and only one edition listed as OK. Most of the time the idiots who made this list put the worst possible editor as the default.

So after carefully teaching my student that Bach gave no dynamics, no tempo, no articulation, no phrasing and so on, the edition demanded has all of this bogus stuff.

That is indeed horrible. Fortunately, most of the festivals here have this caveat: Any edition is acceptable. The listed editions are merely suggestions on where to find the piece. Students are allowed to bring a different edition or anthology, as long as the piece is not abridged or simplified.


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Re: RCM Method Books vs. Keith Snell Method Books [Re: ebonykawai] #2734621
05/06/18 05:21 PM
05/06/18 05:21 PM
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Originally Posted by ebonykawai
I certainly haven't "put all the available series from different editors side by side." No time for that, sorry, I have a life, LOL. This statement was from my own personal experience, I'm not a musician, just an adult player giving MHO. Sorry if it's not up to your standards, LOL. I'll sneak back over to Adult Beginners, shall I? They'er a lot more forgiving over there. smile


[facepalm]

Figures.


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Re: RCM Method Books vs. Keith Snell Method Books [Re: AZNpiano] #2734691
05/06/18 09:09 PM
05/06/18 09:09 PM
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Originally Posted by AZNpiano


[facepalm]

Figures.


🙄


Currently working on Masterwork Classics Book 5
Kawai UST-9, Yamaha CLP565GP

"Sometimes I can only groan, and suffer, and pour out my despair at the piano!" - Frederic Chopin
Re: RCM Method Books vs. Keith Snell Method Books [Re: Gary D.] #2734695
05/06/18 09:30 PM
05/06/18 09:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Gary D.
Originally Posted by ebonykawai
Only just came across this thread, sorry I'm late to the party, lol. I use Snell's books and I'm very happy with them. Was using RCM, but they are hard to get and expensive, and yes, they do change them up, so it was frustrating.

If you decide to use the Snell books, I personally suggest getting the older editions, which are all still available. The older editions have two separate books: baroque & classical, and romantic & modern. There is also the etude book, and you can also find CDs sold separately that cover all the pieces in a level, includIng the etudes, which is very helpful. The newer edition is called "Essential Piano Repertoire" and combines the two books, and the CD that comes with the book does not include the etudes (no idea why they don't have them, since the etudes were already recorded and there's no reason to omit them. Many are hard to find online to listen to, so it would be much easier if they included them). Scale Skills and theory round out the system, and I find it to be very complete and extremely well done. I have found that there are many pieces in Snell's repertoire books that I wasn't even aware of, definitely not the usual pieces you see at the different levels.

Hope this is helpful, enjoy!

I wonder if I'm the only person who thinks that the more people "improve" things, the worse the make them.

It would be wonderful if later editions were always improved.


I tend to agree in general, but in Snell's case, both are available. The new one I don't think was meant to replace the old - it just gives one a different option of having a compilation if they don't want to get 2 books for each level. Just wanted to add that.


2017 Boston GP-163 PE II
Re: RCM Method Books vs. Keith Snell Method Books [Re: Gary D.] #2734698
05/06/18 09:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Gary D.

But if you want to make the worlds best method book for yourself, buy every book ever published, play everything in every book at least once to find out for yourself what is there and what changes. No student is going to do that, but I have in the past. The real problem is that just about every method book will have something good that is not in any other, even relatively weak method books.


This I'm sure is true, but I think if you can find a graded book set that is pretty good, then that's enough in my opinion to have that solid foundation. You can then always add repertoire, but it's good and nice to have the foundation there, well edited, with explanations, etc. And I believe Jane's "Masterwork Classics" does just that. Would it be nice if, as I said before, Wiener or Henle, had some sort of compilation of pieces in a graded book set? Of course, but they don't. And it would cost too. There will never be a perfect system or solution.

Quote

The biggest challenge for teachers is trying to include all these diversified materials and then get them ordered or graded in a way that is practical. Most of what I do is around that idea - what works when, in what order, then pointing students in that direction.


I'm curious if this can be something that a group of people can come up with using IMSLP/public domain scores as the source. Someone (or a group of teachers) with experience can create a sort of "playlist" of graded repertoire divided in a set number of "books" with IMSLP text. The IMSLP sources will be good editions, and this list can be online and updated any time. Anyone want to volunteer? I'm sure a lot of teachers with experience pretty much already have this list!


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Re: RCM Method Books vs. Keith Snell Method Books [Re: AZNpiano] #2734721
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Originally Posted by AZNpiano
Originally Posted by Gary D.
For each piece that IS on the list, there is one and only one edition listed as OK. Most of the time the idiots who made this list put the worst possible editor as the default.

So after carefully teaching my student that Bach gave no dynamics, no tempo, no articulation, no phrasing and so on, the edition demanded has all of this bogus stuff.

That is indeed horrible. Fortunately, most of the festivals here have this caveat: Any edition is acceptable. The listed editions are merely suggestions on where to find the piece. Students are allowed to bring a different edition or anthology, as long as the piece is not abridged or simplified.

The FBA is a band organization. I'm not a big fan of the red tape, but it works much better for band instruments.

This one student is the son of a band director. He is actually way too young to be a part of the program but can sneak in because of his father.

I'm used to navigating around silly rules. Do your festivals allow printouts from from Petrucci?


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Re: RCM Method Books vs. Keith Snell Method Books [Re: Gary D.] #2734956
05/07/18 11:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Gary D.
Do your festivals allow printouts from from Petrucci?

Only the ones run by enlightened people. Most competitions are run by absolute morons.


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Re: RCM Method Books vs. Keith Snell Method Books [Re: AZNpiano] #2735152
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Originally Posted by AZNpiano
Originally Posted by Gary D.
Do your festivals allow printouts from from Petrucci?

Only the ones run by enlightened people. Most competitions are run by absolute morons.

I know!!!

My student played from MY score, meaning that as always I notated the music exactly as I prefer. That means never changing notes and making it clear when I add anything editorial.

I do adjust the notation now and then, with great care, but it never changes the music or the intent of the music. If anything I suggest might possibly change the intent of the composer, I'm very sure to say that this is my idea, and that it might not be right for anyone else. Or if I do anything I think might be a bit more controversial, I find a standard edition that is accepted as closest to what the composer wrote.

Petrucci has some pretty horrible editions, and it has some superb ones. "Buyer beware" turns into "downloader beware".

I don't teach as much late 20th and early 21st century music as I'd like because it's not in the public domain, and most of more recent music I don't like well enough to throw out money on the mostly over-priced editions.


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Re: RCM Method Books vs. Keith Snell Method Books [Re: ghostwind] #2735154
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Originally Posted by ghostwind

This I'm sure is true, but I think if you can find a graded book set that is pretty good, then that's enough in my opinion to have that solid foundation.

I think you are dead wrong. I don't think there is a graded series in the universe that is anywhere near complete, and I say this with decades of experience.

I also think you missed my point, so I'll give you just one example:

As a child I used the Michael Aaron series. In comparison to what is available today, Aaron is woefully outdated. Schaum is even more so, and it has some simplifications that are damaging because they leave out notes and even transpose the music.

Thompson is a bit better about not screwing around with the music, but there are huge weaknesses. I'm most definitely not going to use any of those three series with any student.

HOWEVER: all three of these men wrote some of the materials. There is original music. You may or may no like any of it, but some students will. The same is true with John Brimhall.

In other words, there are things in all these books that do not appear any place else.
Quote

You can then always add repertoire, but it's good and nice to have the foundation there, well edited, with explanations, etc.

Yes, but suppose for a moment you had gigantic books with 10 or 50 times the selection, on each level. This would mean two things:

1. You would inevitably get more practice reading new things, and that practice is always invaluable.
2. You would not have to play everything. You could pick and choose more.

So back to these other books. In all the Aaron books there are maybe 10 things I like, and I'm talking about all the grade levels. I can't tell people to buy the books when there might be one or two things we like in the whole book, and I can't give them the individual things because of copyright. So I am practically prevented from teaching these things, even if I have young students who could use them.

There is one piece in a very early book called "Indian Dance", and I think it is a good elementary tune. However, the Politically Correct Police deemed that showing a picture of "Indians" doing an "Indian" dance is not too cool, so someone renamed the piece to something ridiculous. I'm not advocating insensitivity to minority groups. I understand the change. But now I have an old selection renamed to something that does not suit the music, and I can't show it to you because I might get sued.

What this means, on a very practical level, is that if I see anything simple that works, my only option as a teacher is to look at it very carefully, figure out what works, then try to write something with a similar principle that is not a copy, when in fact what I'd like to give to my young students is Indian Dance, with an explanation of why the title got changed.

And I believe Jane's "Masterwork Classics" does just that. Would it be nice if, as I said before, Wiener or Henle, had some sort of compilation of pieces in a graded book set? Of course, but they don't. And it would cost too. There will never be a perfect system or solution.

Quote

The biggest challenge for teachers is trying to include all these diversified materials and then get them ordered or graded in a way that is practical. Most of what I do is around that idea - what works when, in what order, then pointing students in that direction.


I'm curious if this can be something that a group of people can come up with using IMSLP/public domain scores as the source. Someone (or a group of teachers) with experience can create a sort of "playlist" of graded repertoire divided in a set number of "books" with IMSLP text. The IMSLP sources will be good editions, and this list can be online and updated any time. Anyone want to volunteer? I'm sure a lot of teachers with experience pretty much already have this list![/quote]


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Re: RCM Method Books vs. Keith Snell Method Books [Re: Gary D.] #2735179
05/08/18 06:24 PM
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Gary, I understood your point, but you never answered mine about using public domain music via IMSLP. No you will not have every piece you or a student may like, but so what? You have a huge selection to choose from. Just an idea.

Also I was just pointing out that there will never be a perfect system or solution, yet plenty of teachers still use inferior method books for whatever reasons (to appease students and their parents, creatures of habit, lazy, etc.). And my point was that there ARE better method books to be used as a foundation. It's your job as a teacher to figure out how to augment and supplement the material. Complaining about copyrights won't help. You seem like a fine and dedicated teacher, so this is just discussion, not aimed at you. But many teachers I've ran across are not like you. Perhaps most..


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Re: RCM Method Books vs. Keith Snell Method Books [Re: ghostwind] #2735184
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Originally Posted by ghostwind
Gary, I understood your point, but you never answered mine about using public domain music via IMSLP. No you will not have every piece you or a student may like, but so what? You have a huge selection to choose from. Just an idea.

I already do it, and have done so for years. wink

I can't answer for anyone else.
Quote

It's your job as a teacher to figure out how to augment and supplement the material. Complaining about copyrights won't help.

Was I complaining?

Maybe. But mostly I think I was talking about the reality of not being able to get some really good materials for various reasons.
Quote

You seem like a fine and dedicated teacher, so this is just discussion, not aimed at you. But many teachers I've ran across are not like you. Perhaps most..

Thank you.

In my experience most teachers simply go with whatever method book they think is best. My grandmother was my first teacher, and although there were a lot of things she did not know, she did something really smart - she used two or three method books. I used as many as 5 or 6 at the same time for a long period before completely going to my own system, where I edit everything in Finale. The word is huge. I probably notate each day as many hours as I teach, but I enjoy it. My students like it.

This does not mean I don't add other materials, both from Petrucci and from separate books.

There is a lot more to this, and there are really solid reasons for a multi-method book approach. But I won't go into it here, unless you or someone else is interested. I'll only say this: the way I now teach is linked to how I learned foreign languages. There is a huge connection.


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Re: RCM Method Books vs. Keith Snell Method Books [Re: Gary D.] #2735262
05/09/18 08:27 AM
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Originally Posted by Gary D.
There is a lot more to this, and there are really solid reasons for a multi-method book approach. But I won't go into it here, unless you or someone else is interested. I'll only say this: the way I now teach is linked to how I learned foreign languages. There is a huge connection.

That might be an interesting thread all by itself.

FWIW, I also don't stay in one method. I supplement all the time, especially for the slow-moving crowd. Sometimes I get them five different books just so they can spend more time at the given level. And when that fails, we go into theory books, flash cards, and more supplementary materials. The girl who is checking out this June probably will never get past the 2A books.


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Re: RCM Method Books vs. Keith Snell Method Books [Re: AZNpiano] #2735265
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Originally Posted by AZNpiano
Originally Posted by Gary D.
There is a lot more to this, and there are really solid reasons for a multi-method book approach. But I won't go into it here, unless you or someone else is interested. I'll only say this: the way I now teach is linked to how I learned foreign languages. There is a huge connection.

That might be an interesting thread all by itself.

FWIW, I also don't stay in one method. I supplement all the time, especially for the slow-moving crowd. Sometimes I get them five different books just so they can spend more time at the given level. And when that fails, we go into theory books, flash cards, and more supplementary materials. The girl who is checking out this June probably will never get past the 2A books.


I understand the analogy Gary, but it's an individualized thing IMO, depending on the student, as AZNpiano points out. If a student is progressing fast and properly, adding another method is for what purpose? If it's to see a different point of view when presenting material, isn't that something the teacher would do anyways? If it's for variety in material, then why use a method book and not just supplement with repertoire? Everyone and every method book has a different style, I get that, and being exposed to different styles is always good. But again, why not just do the explaining as a teacher? I can see doing it for the slow student, where to understand a concept you s/he may need it explained in 10 different ways, but for a good student? I don't see why a good teacher would need to use 5 method books. As for my background, it's in classical guitar, which I've played since I was 12. I've also played violin and piano when I was much younger than that, but those were put on hold after moving here from Eastern Europe. But we didn't do 5 methods, or even 2 methods. Nobody did. You had some books, some materials, and the teacher. And it was just fine.


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Re: RCM Method Books vs. Keith Snell Method Books [Re: ghostwind] #2735431
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Originally Posted by ghostwind

I understand the analogy Gary, but it's an individualized thing IMO, depending on the student, as AZNpiano points out.

First of all, you answered AZN, not me. Why assume he is making the same point that I am?

I've never been a slow student, and I do not believe you or anyone else in this forum understands my point, so let me attempt to flesh it out about languages, so I'll make the same offer: I'll explain if you are interested.
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If a student is progressing fast and properly, adding another method is for what purpose?

Those are two huge assumptions. Would you like to know the percentage of students who learn piano "fast and properly"? I'll give you a hint: for every student who succeeds, learning to play well in a manner that will lead to lifelong success, there are an incredible number who never learn to play well, never become really fluent readers, and they quit. Some come back to lessons later, but there is no guarantee at all that things will be better "the second time around".
Quote

If it's to see a different point of view when presenting material, isn't that something the teacher would do anyways?

You can't supply a point of view without materials to use to present that point of view.
Quote

If it's for variety in material, then why use a method book and not just supplement with repertoire?

Because most of the most creative, amazing composers who have ever lived were surprisingly poor at writing materials for beginners and early intermediates. The biggest exception is probably JS Bach, which is fine if you only want to play his music, but you are stuck in one period only and in a style that is a few hundred years old.

Chopin? Chopin would not teach beginners. He only taught advanced players. Check out his easiest music. Ask yourself how much of that is appropriate for first year players.

Schumann? He tried to write materials for children. His "Album for the Young" has some great music, but don't try to use it for first year students.

Bartok? A creative genius, but I challenge anyone to use his Mikrokosmos as a fundamental teaching course for beginners.

Kabalevsky is one of the few composers I can name who really knew how to write materials for young students, but if you example his materials carefully, you will see that they are not enough.

Most of the greatest composers for piano were not in the least concerned with teaching beginners of any age. You don't want to use materials by composers like Brahms, Liszt, Rachmaninov, Debussy (and so many others) as basic level materials.

Where are you going to get all the materials you need to "supplement", when there are a lot of things you can't even download from Petrucci? It's a great site, but it doesn't have everything. Until very recently, which means for most of the time I've been teaching, you could not download anything by Bartok, Gershwin, Kabalevsky, Khachaturian and many other composers. I could not get much by Debussy. Some of these materials are now available, but many still are not. Let's not even talk about the fact that these people did not write for first year students.
Quote

Everyone and every method book has a different style, I get that, and being exposed to different styles is always good.

No. That's amazingly wrong. In fact, you can find a half dozen method books that are amazingly similar, even to the extent that much of the best music in all of them is also in the others. That's not the problem at all.

The main problem for students who are developing is getting enough practice, and that means a LOT of materials. These materials do not have to be greatly different, but they have to be interesting enough to engage the students on the level they are on at the moment, and they have to be simple enough to work at that level.

So there are two main problems:

1. Finding ENOUGH materials on a given level so that the skills being learned will be blanket covered.
2. Finding materials that do this in a way that is not amazingly boring.

There can never be too many pieces on any level that work and that are interesting. It would be wonderful if Beethoven had written 100 pieces of roughly the difficulty of Fuer Elise, but he didn't.

How many pieces did Chopin write that are accessible to even an average second year student?

None.

Debussy?

None.

Liszt, Ravel, Brahms, Rachmaninov, Gershwin, and many others?

None.

That means as teachers we need to either write our own materials, things that are playable, or search for materials by teachers and method books writers. Or both.

I do both.

The problem is finding enough INTERESTING MATERIALS. Because you are looking for music that is playable, easy, without a bunch of insurmountable problems, that is also engaging, interesting, music that says: "Please play me."

The LACK of a huge amount of such materials is the number one problem we face as teachers, not the lack of text explanation about how to do it.

Last edited by Gary D.; 05/10/18 12:07 AM.

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Re: RCM Method Books vs. Keith Snell Method Books [Re: ghostwind] #2735436
05/10/18 01:29 AM
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And an example:

http://imslp.org/wiki/Category:Kabalevsky%2C_Dmitry

I may or may not be still around by 2023.

So if I want to teach Kabalevsky, I can either sell whole books, even if I don't think all his selections are practical, then use what I want, or skip this composer. I will also have to change the order of the pieces in many sets, because the order in which he puts things in one book does not fit in with ordering of ALL of his music.

http://imslp.org/wiki/Category:Khachaturian%2C_Aram

http://imslp.org/wiki/Mikrokosmos,_Sz.107_(Bart%C3%B3k,_B%C3%A9la)

Although we will probably not get sued in the US, note that it is not legal for us to download and use this. So I can't safely do so and give it to students.

http://imslp.org/wiki/3_Preludes_(Gershwin%2C_George)

Same thing. I can't legally print out the slow prelude, which I teach.

Not that I plan to teach this, because it is VERY difficult, but:

http://imslp.org/wiki/Rhapsody_on_a_Theme_of_Paganini,_Op.43_(Rachmaninoff,_Sergei)

I can't legally print this out either.

This does not even get into composers like John Williams, Dave Grusin, and any pop music.

PETRUCCI IS NOT THE ANSWER


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Re: RCM Method Books vs. Keith Snell Method Books [Re: ghostwind] #2735467
05/10/18 06:54 AM
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Apologies for being off topic. (but I didn't start it <grin>)

I for one am interested in any of your ideas about language. I've just started a math course on Coursera. I'm math literate as an engineer but this is a branch I never had explored. Anyway, the symbols and terminology are new to me and it feels like starting a new language with a different alphabet.


gotta go practice
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