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#993611 - 11/26/08 12:52 PM Classical or "Real Music" Pieces with a Rock/Pop Soul?
Evan G Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/17/08
Posts: 18
Loc: Victoria, B.C.
My son (13 years old) has been taking lessons for several years from a wonderful teacher who focuses mostly on classical. However, she has done a number of transcriptions/arrangements for my son, including a great version of the Transformers movie theme and music from Lord of the Rings, Indiana Jones, Green Day, etc. She doesn't really enjoy that type of music but she tolerates it and teaches some of it.

Earlier this week as a result of a Piano World posting, I came across a youtube video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AYg0tcx9u60 that I thought my son would like. We found the music online and took it to his teacher. She said she really doesn't like that kind of music and said it was more like "just banging on the piano."

We both like her (I recently started taking lessons from her as well) and we don't want to change teachers at this point. However, I want my son to remain interested and continue playing regardless of the type of music he plays. He's typical for his age and the music he listens to and likes to play has bold sounds with big chords and a decent tempo that typically come from movie themes, alternative/rock, etc. He's playing at about a grade five to seven level depending on the piece.

I really need some suggestions for any classical music or older pop, movie themes (new or old), etc. that might qualify as "real music" by our teacher and yet still be enjoyable for my son to play. Or am I asking the impossible and should I be looking for a different teacher for him?

I'll appreciate any suggestions or thoughts you might have!

A man is not old until regrets take the place of his dreams.

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#993612 - 11/26/08 01:54 PM Re: Classical or "Real Music" Pieces with a Rock/Pop Soul?
ProdigalPianist Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/08/07
Posts: 1049
Loc: Phoenix Metro, AZ
I would also suggest checking out the Teacher's Forum. There have been discussions there on repertoire for teenaged boys along the lines of what you're talking about here.
Adult Amateur Pianist

My only domestic quality is that I live in a house.

#993613 - 11/26/08 02:45 PM Re: Classical or "Real Music" Pieces with a Rock/Pop Soul?
Kymber Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/25/08
Posts: 1358
Loc: MA
It's unfortunate when teacher's let their personal preferences get in the way of teaching

I used to listen (well I still do) to punk rock and heavy metal when I was younger and I like Chopin alot (particularly Etudes, opus 25 songs #1-12). Maybe it will appeal to your son as well?

It's hard to say if he should change teachers or not especially if he is happy with her. I suppose it couldn't hurt to look around just in case if he does start to loose interest. Its too bad you weren't in Mass. I know of the perfect teacher...

You might want to see if any music schools have short classes or seminars to supplement his lessons that are geared more towards the music your son likes. Also, maybe he could find other kids his age that play what he likes and they can learn from each other. Does his school offer music classes?

Good luck!
“The doubters said, "Man cannot fly," The doers said, "Maybe, but we'll try,"
And finally soared in the morning glow while non-believers watched from below.”
― Bruce Lee

#993614 - 11/26/08 02:49 PM Re: Classical or "Real Music" Pieces with a Rock/Pop Soul?
Woody-Woodruff Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/11/08
Posts: 622
Loc: Coastal Mississippi
I don't think you should be looking for a replacement teacher - not if your son likes this teacher and is learning from them. I would recommend hiring a second teacher for the "real music" if your son wants to go in that direction. If a question of cost (for two teachers) alternate them. Just my 2 cents.

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#993615 - 11/27/08 01:25 PM Re: Classical or "Real Music" Pieces with a Rock/Pop Soul?
Evan G Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/17/08
Posts: 18
Loc: Victoria, B.C.
Thanks for the suggestions and input.

ProdigalPianist--I found a couple posts in the Teachers Forum. There weren't many specific recommendations for his level, but it seems evident that it is a common issue to have. It makes me wonder why it isn't easier to find arrangements of contemporary music for solo piano.

Kymber--Do you have any specific etude or other Chopin recommendations that might be playable at his level?

A man is not old until regrets take the place of his dreams.

#993616 - 11/27/08 01:36 PM Re: Classical or "Real Music" Pieces with a Rock/Pop Soul?
Gyro Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/24/05
Posts: 4534
You can get the piano sht. music for just about
any rock, country, jazz, or popular song.
These piano renditions are pretty good
as printed and if worked up well would
sound almost professional.

I see no difference between classical
and rock, jazz, country, and popular
music. It's all played the same way
on the piano, with the same technique
and the same notation. Thus, I believe
you can learn the piano just as well
from an anthology of popular music
as from an anthology of classical music.

As for classical teachers refusing to
teach a popular song, there might be
a number of reasons for it. With
many teachers, about the worst thing
you can do is to bring in a piece and
say "teach me this." This is almost
like saying "I don't like the pieces
you're teaching me, and so this is
a way to improve the lessons." It
would be bad enough if you brought
in a classical piece like that, and
so with some offbeat popular piece
that's going to be much worse.

Also, this teacher likes doing arrangements,
and so this is almost like saying "I
don't like your arrangements--look at this;
it's much better than anything you could

In any case, if the teacher won't teach
some song, what's to prevent you from
playing it on your own? This is how
you really learn, in any subject, by
doing extra things on your own. If you
want to excel in math, for example, you'll
never do that by just doing exactly
what you're assigned in math class and
nothing else in the way of math. The
best math students do much outside work
on their own; that's where they really
learn the subject.

#993617 - 11/27/08 01:47 PM Re: Classical or "Real Music" Pieces with a Rock/Pop Soul?
ROMagister Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/26/08
Posts: 518
Loc: Bucuresti, Romania
I've seen Bach (Toccata and Fugue, Triosonatas etc on pipe organ) referred as 'the original Heavy Metal'... certainly it goes toward the style of Yngwie Malmsteen (or the other way ;-)).

Nice pop with classical soul is in some Benny Andersson (ABBA) pieces - The Winner Takes it All, Andante Andante, ... also the musicals/operas 'Chess' and 'Kristina fran Duvemala' have some choral pieces at least like Verdi.

#993618 - 11/28/08 12:16 PM Re: Classical or "Real Music" Pieces with a Rock/Pop Soul?
Donna R. Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/26/07
Posts: 794
Check out this website Acanthus Music , especially the collections by Daniel Hellbach and Hans Zellweger. You can look at a couple of sample pages from each collection to see if it's the kind of music that would appeal to your son. I have several of their books - the music is interesting and enjoyable to play, and the books are nicely printed and produced. They ship worldwide. I also recommend 'Beatmuller' by Fons van Gorp and 'The Contemporary Keyboardist - Stylistic Etudes' by John Novello, both available from sheetmusicplus.com.

EDIT: There's also a Dan Coates arrangement of "Stairway to Heaven" for solo piano that's available as a solo sheet.


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