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Re: Teaching, some questions. #949944
06/02/07 05:51 PM
06/02/07 05:51 PM
Joined: Jul 2005
Posts: 1,094
England
S
swingal Offline
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swingal  Offline
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Joined: Jul 2005
Posts: 1,094
England
moz. How very true what you say. Though I have not felt a mystification personally. Probably because it was always in my life as far back as I can remember.

I have a very strong mental and physical bond with this instrument. In fact every time I come on this forum to converse and read I want to get back to the piano.

I have huge respect for the pianos I have owned up to and including the one I now own. It is perfect in my view and I love it like I do a women.

Alan.

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Re: Teaching, some questions. #949945
07/06/07 09:49 AM
07/06/07 09:49 AM
Joined: Apr 2007
Posts: 16,839
Boynton Beach, FL
Morodiene Offline
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Morodiene  Offline
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Joined: Apr 2007
Posts: 16,839
Boynton Beach, FL
Swingal:
I think that children stop taking lessons for any number of reasons, and not necessarily due to not liking the instrument. Many children are encouraged to take on way too many activities, which leaves little or no time to simply play and relax, let alone work on a discipline such as music. I try to warn my student's parents if I feel a child has too much on their plate, and sometimes this means they quit piano, sometimes they quit something else, or don't take on something new. Either way, the child benefits.


private piano/voice teacher FT

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Re: Teaching, some questions. #949946
08/31/07 02:32 AM
08/31/07 02:32 AM
Joined: Sep 2006
Posts: 506
USA
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bukopaudan Offline
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Posts: 506
USA
hello! Congratulations on becoming a teacher--I don't think I'd have the will or patience to do it, hehe. That's great though, I admire you. I'm not a teacher, but I loved these books that I started with, so here they are:

The John Thompson Piano Books
The Faber and Faber Books:
- Nursery Rhymes
- Rock and Boogie (I think)
Master Theory Lvls I-III (and more)

Those I pretty much used in my first year or so and then I went on to Sonatinas and Classical pieces.


"Music can name the unnameable and communicate the unknowable." -Leonard Bernstein
Re: Teaching, some questions. #949947
08/31/07 03:50 AM
08/31/07 03:50 AM
Joined: Aug 2007
Posts: 753
Abbotsford, BC, Canada
pianoexcellence Offline
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pianoexcellence  Offline
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Joined: Aug 2007
Posts: 753
Abbotsford, BC, Canada
Quote
Originally posted by John v.d.Brook:
Marianne, the art of teaching is not the same as the art of musicianship. To help yourself become a better teacher, the study of pedagogy (the art of teaching) is a must. There are lots of excellent helps out there for you to draw on.

"A Piano Teacher's Legacy" by Richard Chronister
"Practical Pedagogy" by Martha Baker-Jordon
Marianne Uzler's "The Well-Tempered Keyboard Teacher")
Frances Clark's "Questions & Answers"


Great books john...

I'd also add Abby whitesides "indespensables of piano playing" (with a grain or 2 of salt)

max Camp "teaching piano"

and "for all piano teachers" don't remember the author, but published by Frederick harris. Really old fashioned, but straightforward text on teaching.

to name a few.

Best of luck and keep posting questions.


Music is the surest path to excellence

Jeremy BA, ARCT, RMT
Pianoexcellence Tuning and Repairs
Re: Teaching, some questions. #949948
09/09/07 08:55 PM
09/09/07 08:55 PM
Joined: Sep 2007
Posts: 33
Northeast Tennessee
Cindy O-H Offline
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Cindy O-H  Offline
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Joined: Sep 2007
Posts: 33
Northeast Tennessee
Marianne,
Hello I am new here also. However I have been teaching piano for about 20 years. I begin teaching private piano lessons when I was 15! I thought I was doing well until I went to college and majored in Music Education. WOW! I have to agree about the pedegogy study. I helps tremendously, however not necessary or for everyone.

I have used the Bastien Series of books primarly. I find the students (especially younger) enjoy the pics and pages. That is just a personal preference. There are some series that are just as good. See if you local music store will let you borrow one Primer book from each series to take home and look over. Make your own judgement. Then end result is what matters, not what roady you took!

Also don't forget about your bookkeeping for the IRS etc. Good luck

* I love the book "The Music Teachers' Survival Guide"
this was a great one for me.

Re: Teaching, some questions. #949949
09/25/07 05:19 AM
09/25/07 05:19 AM
Joined: Jul 2007
Posts: 1,226
Atlanta
M
Minaku Offline
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Minaku  Offline
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Joined: Jul 2007
Posts: 1,226
Atlanta
I wanted to chime in. I noticed everyone here uses different methods, but the common ones are Alfred, Faber and Faber, Thompson, Bastien, sometimes Hal Leonard.

Me, I use Frances Clark's The Music Tree (Time to Begin is the primer book) but there needs to be some dedicated study of pedagogy before teaching students using Music Tree. Still, I love it. I can fill in any areas where the Music Tree falls through (among one of them is the amount of music provided, though the Side by Side series alleviates this somewhat) and the students I have started on Music Tree all have a good grasp of basic skills.

I do find that it is rare to see other people using The Music Tree, and I sort of understand why more don't use it simply because of the knowledge one must have prior to using it. In some places it may be more difficult to get this series than the rest, and after the primer level the activities books take a drop in quality. But what I like the most about it is that it tries to avoid all the major beginner pitfalls. The students I have taught using Music Tree are all wonderful, lovely students with no particular attachment to any one position.

Alfred has in recent years come out with their Premier Series, which has taken a lot of ideas from Music Tree. It's been completely revamped. It's quite a good series, and more accessible than the Clark. I'd look into those also.

Edit: One other book to read is Bastien's "How To Teach Piano Successfully". It is a great resource. I refer to it, as well as Frances Clark's "Questions and Answers".


Pianist and teacher with a 5'8" Baldwin R and Clavi CLP-230 at home.

New website up: http://www.studioplumpiano.com. Also on Twitter @QQitsMina
Re: Teaching, some questions. #949950
09/26/07 05:22 PM
09/26/07 05:22 PM
Joined: Sep 2006
Posts: 302
San Francisco Bay Area
M
MA Offline
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Joined: Sep 2006
Posts: 302
San Francisco Bay Area
Minaku,

Are you aware of Frances Clark's Musical Fingers series? What do you thnik of it comparing with The Music Tree?

Re: Teaching, some questions. #949951
09/27/07 04:19 PM
09/27/07 04:19 PM
Joined: Jul 2007
Posts: 1,226
Atlanta
M
Minaku Offline
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Minaku  Offline
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Joined: Jul 2007
Posts: 1,226
Atlanta
I do know of the musical fingers series, but I haven't given it a good thorough look like the others. When I go back to the sheet music store I'll take a look and play though some examples.


Pianist and teacher with a 5'8" Baldwin R and Clavi CLP-230 at home.

New website up: http://www.studioplumpiano.com. Also on Twitter @QQitsMina
Re: Teaching, some questions. #949952
09/27/07 05:08 PM
09/27/07 05:08 PM
Joined: Sep 2007
Posts: 154
California
jazzyclassical Offline
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jazzyclassical  Offline
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Joined: Sep 2007
Posts: 154
California
Hello Minaku,
I'm a brand new member and wanted to ask you some questions about the Music Tree method. I've been teaching for about 5 years now and have used traditional methods beginning with the Alfred's method, which I used growing up...the switched to mostly Faber Piano Adventures, which I'm not completely in love with like everybody else.
I've been intrigued by the Music Tree Method for a while now but have not tried it out because it is so different from those other methods I am used to.
However, I share the same opinion as you and do not want my students to be limited by position playing. My question is, what are the necessary skills that a teacher must have to switch to this method? Is it simply reading the Clarke and Bastien pedagogy books or are there workshops that might be offered? How did you begin using these methods, what did you use before and why did you stop using it?
Also, does anybody else here have an opinion or some pros and cons about position playing?
Thanks!


Kawai acoustic piano
Casio PX-350
Re: Teaching, some questions. #949953
09/27/07 05:59 PM
09/27/07 05:59 PM
Joined: Sep 2007
Posts: 154
California
jazzyclassical Offline
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Posts: 154
California
The Frances Clark book, Questions and Answers is currently out of print! How unfortunate! I wonder if I could find it at the library?


Kawai acoustic piano
Casio PX-350
Re: Teaching, some questions. #949954
09/27/07 08:25 PM
09/27/07 08:25 PM
Joined: Jul 2007
Posts: 1,226
Atlanta
M
Minaku Offline
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Minaku  Offline
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Joined: Jul 2007
Posts: 1,226
Atlanta
You might be able to find it at the library. Check out university libraries, as they're more likely to have it. Preferably a university with a pedagogical inclination.

The Music Tree, like anything else, takes a good deal of dedication and understanding of how the method is built before teaching from it. If one teaches solely from the book itself the learning will be sparse and I'm pretty sure the student will get bored.

I would say in order to teach using The Music Tree, one has to be quite knowledgeable about intervallic reading, kinesthetics of playing, sightread well, and have a good sense of what it takes to be play piano properly. The method is also given to group classes, which I find is wonderful.

Before I started teaching using Music Tree I had to go observe classes at my university (Carnegie Mellon). The first thing my professor had me do was learn a specific exercise called "drop-up-move". This is extremely difficult for the student to master, and it does take a bit of thought on the teacher's part to get the exercise down.

First, we take the second finger of the hand and place it on C with a good "piano hand". Keeping the second finger curved with the fingertip contacting the key squarely, drop the wrist down, letting the weight of the drop depress the key ("drop"). Second, keeping the wrist loose, let it come up, while still holding the key down with the finger ("up"). Third, shift the entire mechanism to the right by one key ("move"). Repeat.

The shortest it's ever taken me to teach this to a student was three weeks. It is an extremely difficult exercise, like I've said, but we start with these wrist dropping exercises, and by proxy 3-2-3-2 + wrist drop exercises first simply because they are the most difficult. So, here is where knowledge of kinesthetics would help out the most.

The Music Tree spends about 3-4 units in freeform prereading, so the teacher has to be quite comfortable with intervallic reading to teach it. After that the method branches out into 2-line staffs and teaches seconds. When I teach seconds I make sure students understand seconds up and seconds down, both on the piano, by ear, and on the paper (the ear training is the fun part). We translate this to the book. Seconds down means we go backwards in the alphabet. Seconds up means we go forwards. Etc. with 3rds, 4ths.

I totally forgot! The prerequisites to Music Tree are important. First, the child MUST start learning his alphabet from G backwards. Second, finger numbers must be learned and continually enforced.

I've made this massive post and now I'm short on time because I have to go teach, so if you have more questions please feel free to PM me and I will happy to answer them.

PS: I hate hand positions. Nothing annoys me more than giving a student a new piece of music and getting asked, "What position does this start in?"


Pianist and teacher with a 5'8" Baldwin R and Clavi CLP-230 at home.

New website up: http://www.studioplumpiano.com. Also on Twitter @QQitsMina
Re: Teaching, some questions. #949955
09/27/07 10:13 PM
09/27/07 10:13 PM
Joined: Jun 2007
Posts: 4,896
Puyallup, Washington
B
Betty Patnude Offline
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Betty Patnude  Offline
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Joined: Jun 2007
Posts: 4,896
Puyallup, Washington
jazzyclassical:

The Questions and Answers book by Frances Clark is still listed on her website - Frances Clark Center for Keyboard Pedagogy $25. I bought one at Christmas last year. Did you try there? It is a great book worth having a copy on hand.

Try e-bay or amazon?

And, I just have to add that I love teaching 5 Finger Hand Positions as it is the precursor to 6ths, 7th, and octaves. From 5 finger positions we can teach hand expansions to navigate to close lying positions...for instance the I-IV-V chord exercises (I-IV-I-V-I)

The 5 Finger positions give us 5 of the 7 letter names of the scale, why would we think this is not important to know? I think it is very efficient and effective and I have been using it for many, many years with no regrets. It makes fingering choices easier and when you want to teach intervals, the hand is useful for counting distances and direction of any size.

Always, my lesson one is about A-B-C-D-E-F-G and backwards G-F-E-D-C-B-A (retrograde)and finding all the keys of the same name and sound on the keyboard based on the groups of 2 black notes and 3 black notes and their white note "neighbors". Keyboard orientation comes before seeing the music staff in my mind.

Nice to get acquainted with you today! Keep posting!

Betty

Re: Teaching, some questions. #949956
09/27/07 10:43 PM
09/27/07 10:43 PM
Joined: Sep 2007
Posts: 48
MTL
X
Xill Offline
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Posts: 48
MTL
I Marianne, it's my tenth year of teaching in a private school right now, and I've seen around 25-30 students a week on average. I would strongly recommend you do not force your teaching methods on the students, but rather build your methods around their strong point (like reading / hearing etc...) and what they like the most. Or course they all have to go through a first preliminary book, but the most "intelligent" ones can sometimes start directly with the first WTC prelude. I do not use any technique books after that besides some exercises I feel they may need (depends on the student)

The most important thing is to make them love not only piano but music as a whole. You want to make musicians, not only robotic pianists.

Once they love it and the technique/reading is in place, then you can make them do "miracles", like get them to play Beethoven sonatas after 3 years at age 10 and so on.

I also recommend playing a lot in front of your students to show them where they have to get at eventually and why they want to practice. Im not forcing them to practice their scales (besides the first ones) without having having a piece that place them in context (technique for the sake of technique can be one of the reasons why they would quit eventually).

Yet after 3-4 years all my students have quite good dexterity compared to other teachers who force technique on their students and make them learn less pieces.

All my students learn to do jazz also to give them a more free and creative challenge after playing some harder classical piece.

I teach them the chords theory as soon as the first technique book is done and even if they only understand like 10%, dont worry, after a year or two they start to hear chords and circle of fifth, etc...

Of course, some are hopeless too... Dont waste your energy on them, just be patient.

Well, maybe something in this messy post can help you.


"The quantity of intelligence carried by the sounds must be the true criterion of the validity of a particular music." Iannis Xenakis
Re: Teaching, some questions. #949957
09/28/07 04:57 PM
09/28/07 04:57 PM
Joined: Sep 2007
Posts: 154
California
jazzyclassical Offline
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jazzyclassical  Offline
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Joined: Sep 2007
Posts: 154
California
Thank you Minaku I am going to get the teacher guide for the Music Tree and study the Clarke website. I'll probably have lots of questions but I'll try not to bug you too much!! smile

As a fairly new teacher, I would like to say that this forum is great, even though I've only been a member for a day! I am so happy that there is a place like this for piano teachers, because I often feel alone in the teacher world. And often I feel that my questions will go unanswered and that I just have to figure them out myself by trial and error.
Thanks to everyone for their suggestions too! It's really cool to hear what other teachers are doing. I find in the method books there are strengths and weaknesses. So I guess the task is to find the one that suits you and the students best.


Kawai acoustic piano
Casio PX-350
Re: Teaching, some questions. #949958
10/08/07 02:14 PM
10/08/07 02:14 PM
Joined: Oct 2007
Posts: 1
song of my heart Offline
Junior Member
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Joined: Oct 2007
Posts: 1
I've had a few different teachers. Just remember to keep it fun. I left my first teacher because I got bored. The other two teachers move out of state, but I loved them and loved playing with them.

I try to keep it fun for my students. I always try to take the last five minutes of the lesson and play a "note game" where they close their eyes and I play a note or an interval etc. and they try to guess it. Not only do they have fun, but it is good ear training as well.


When those hammers hit the strings, the world just melts away.
Re: Teaching, some questions. #949959
10/17/07 09:15 PM
10/17/07 09:15 PM
Joined: Oct 2007
Posts: 305
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Prospero Offline
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Joined: Oct 2007
Posts: 305
You might check out this link:

http://pianofundamentals.com/

It is an online textbook for teachers (and students) that discusses effective practice methods. It is interesting, much of it is confirmed by my own experience, and it is free.

Good luck with your teaching.

Re: Teaching, some questions. #949960
10/24/07 10:54 PM
10/24/07 10:54 PM
Joined: Apr 2006
Posts: 1,595
Pacific Northwest
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pianobuff Offline
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Joined: Apr 2006
Posts: 1,595
Pacific Northwest
Hi and welcome Marianne!

I would recommend to check out and attend some Suzuki Piano Basics workshops to learn how, IMO, to learn to teach young children WELL.

Not to say that any other method or books mentioned are not effective or valid. They may certainly be for those that are comfortable with teaching piano this way. Really it is something that you need to experience and find out what is right for you, like I did.

Doing a search on Suzuki Piano on this site will give you lots of info.

Here is the link to their website if you are interested in Suzuki workshops:

http://core.ecu.edu/hist/wilburnk/SuzukiPianoBasics/

For info on what to charge, studio policies... etc. Do a search on this forum, a lot of talk regarding these subjects have been discussed in length.

All the best to your endeavor! And again welcome to PW!


Private Piano Teacher,
member MTNA and Piano Basics Foundation
Re: Teaching, some questions. #949961
11/08/07 03:01 PM
11/08/07 03:01 PM
Joined: Oct 2007
Posts: 5
Oklahoma City
mechinese Offline
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Joined: Oct 2007
Posts: 5
Oklahoma City
I'm fairly new to teaching as well. I started teaching young beginners at 14, under the tutelage and supervision of my private instructor (I taught for her). I majored in Piano Performance, taking four pedagogy courses, and now am a piano teacher at my old middle/high school (it's a magnet college prep school). I teach privately on the side. Observing other teachers has benefitted me greatly, but this will only help if you have a knack for understanding concepts quickly.

I don't have a lot of advice, but seeing as how I have a little experience, I'll share with you what I know now. I want to go back to school to get my education degree. While I can relate to my students and explain things, I feel I'm only effective in the smaller picture (lesson to lesson). I feel that if I don't have formal training, I can't lay a proper foundation.

Anyone can instruct. I can instruct a student where middle C is. Heck, my boyfriend can do that. He plays guitar. But to teach someone is to stimulate their mind and perspective to see everything musically.


- Marye
Re: Teaching, some questions. #949962
01/07/08 01:59 AM
01/07/08 01:59 AM
Joined: Apr 2007
Posts: 129
Atlanta, GA
K
keithmusic Offline
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Joined: Apr 2007
Posts: 129
Atlanta, GA
I recommend the Faber series as it seems to be the most popular currently. Their technique books also give proper technique tips.
As for proper technique, and I hate to promote here, but I have a pdf booklet, Advanced Piano Secrets, that spells out much piano technique that will turn beginners into strong players and keep your students around for years due to their steady success and confidence in recitals.
Here is the link: http://www.keithphillips.net/AdvancedPianoSecrets.htm


Keith Phillips

www.keithphillips.net
Piano technique for all levels
www.keithphillips.net/AdvancedPianoSecrets.htm
Re: Teaching, some questions. #949963
01/24/08 01:59 PM
01/24/08 01:59 PM
Joined: Jul 2006
Posts: 10
Southeast U.S.
Margo Largo Offline
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Joined: Jul 2006
Posts: 10
Southeast U.S.
Ihave really enjoyed this thread. Am mostly new to these forums and am thinking of teaching lessons out of my home starting later this spring, mostly adult students. I will be sure to check out the resources mentioned here.


"In life one must decide whether to conjugate the verb to have or the verb to be." --Franz Liszt
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