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#1140731 - 11/23/08 11:15 AM Rockschool Grade 8 Question
Rob O'D Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/11/04
Posts: 116
Loc: Ireland
Hi Guys,

I'm having a go at a Rockschool Grade 8 piece and I've run into an improv question.

The piece is called "No Time To Lose" and it's a bit of a frantic, balls-to-the-wall 12/8 piece at a tempo of crochet=156. The left hand is a rapidly repeating root-5th-octave kind of pattern.

Anyway, there's a part in the middle where the score reads "Improvise over 7 bars". The chord is Bm7 but Rockschool's suggestion for a solo uses notes way outside any scale that I know would sit well with a Bm7 chord (I admit, I'm not a jazz player ... I'm on page 100 in Tim Richard's Exploring Jazz Piano Book 1).

I'd appreciate it if you could have a look at the attached image and let me know if you can spot what the authors are getting at. Are they saying "This is a crazy piece so just play anything; inside or outside the scale!" or is there something else being suggested in the solo which I can't spot?

I'd appreciate any thoughts.
Thanks!!

Rob.

PS: The image of the bit of the score that I'm talking about can be found here ...

http://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/DPD6ElGbOUxSdDcFxzBvsw

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Piano & Music Accessories
#1140732 - 11/23/08 06:17 PM Re: Rockschool Grade 8 Question
Pete the bean Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 12/06/04
Posts: 463
Loc: Canada
Rob: Are you and I the only ones on the planet aware of this great course? We seem to be the only ones connecting about Rockschool here at the Piano World forums. It sure would be nice if we had a Rockschool user group to share ideas. Have you heard any news about the new keyboard course or updates to the piano course?

Good Luck with this solo. It does say "not for the faint of heart" in the song notes at the back of the book.

The written solo is way out. I would explain it as little motives that modulate with out any particular rational for where they are going other than they do not stay inside.

The solo begins with a rhythmic figure I see derived from bar 10 pg1. I see the figure in A mixolydian against B min.
In measure 3 of the solo I see a new motive. So La Ti Do which modulates- First in A major next in F then in C with a F7 arpeggio at the end. (I don't see a pattern - like shifting keys up a 3rd every time or that it relates to the Bm LH in any way. The composer seems to be working on the strength of the motive alone.)
Bar 5 of the solo makes more sense. (I hear the ending of the James Bond theme.) This 3rd motive modulates up a 4th with each phrase.
_________________________
http://www.poppianopro.com/

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#1140733 - 11/24/08 04:32 AM Re: Rockschool Grade 8 Question
Rob O'D Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/11/04
Posts: 116
Loc: Ireland
Good man, Pete!! I was hoping you'd spot my question!!

It's true, we do seem to be the only people who enjoy the Rockschool course. I've managed to put a few people onto it here in Ireland (bass and piano) but I'm very surprised at the general absence of buzz on this forum.

I've heard nothing about the updated Rockschool Piano syllabus. Perhaps they're doing alot better with their other syllabii (guitar, bass, drums and vocal) so the piano has been put on the backburner.

Anyhow, back to your answer. Thanks for the detailed and honest breakdown. I was quietly hoping the solo wasn't adhering to any particular scale. It just sounded too "outside" to be anything structured (but then again, I'm no jazz pianist .... yet:-) ). I'll probably practice the solo starting with typical simple scales and go from there.

It's true, this piece is a bit of a handful for me but I'm working on it at a slow enough tempo and I am making progress. I first heard this tune 5 years ago a few months before I bought the Rockschool Grade 1 book. I never dreamed I'd ever be giving it a go myself.

Hope your Pop Piano Pro book is doing well, Pete. Thanks again for the reply !!!

Rob.

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#1140734 - 11/24/08 05:26 PM Re: Rockschool Grade 8 Question
Serge88 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/27/06
Posts: 775
Loc: Canada
Please guys, share your thought and review on this Rockschool piano course. I never heard about it. I'm sure others will benefit also.

Serge
_________________________

“Being able to hear recorded music freed up loads of musicians that couldn't necessarily afford to learn to read or write music. With recording, it was emancipation for the people.”
-Keith Richards


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#1140735 - 11/24/08 06:27 PM Re: Rockschool Grade 8 Question
Rob O'D Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/11/04
Posts: 116
Loc: Ireland

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#1140736 - 11/25/08 01:37 AM Re: Rockschool Grade 8 Question
Pete the bean Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 12/06/04
Posts: 463
Loc: Canada
Serge: I am teaching the course at my studio. I find that it fits well with the material I teach-mostly lead sheets, arranging, improvising and song writing.

Outside of the UK the course is administered by Trinity College London. They send out adjudicators worldwide. (They have a variety of courses classical keyboard organ and a variety of instruments)

I find Rockschool is cleaner than the Conservatory Canada Course. Instead of reams of repertoire, most of which I find so/so and not too interesting - I am limited to 6 pieces for each grade level. They are in a variety of styles-blues ballad stride locked hand film music latin-Easy! The repertoire gets really funky at the gr 5 level. Nice stuff.

For the exams; Students are required to play 3 pieces-1 can be your own choice.

You can also do a performance certificate- play 5 pieces and you are done the exam-no ear training or technical requirements

I send each student to the exam with one piece we have written together or a famous pop hit on lead sheet that we have arranged. It is easy to find 2 pieces from the book that they enjoy. I would recommend starting at the early grades because the technical requirements require a lot of modes blues and pentatonic scales by gr4. It would not be an easy cross over if you are coming from a classical major/minor course.

As well as the repertoire , students are required to do ear training and sight reading. This is where I feel the course could be improved. The examples in the book are quite difficult. At the exams, the adjudicator was very easy on the students. This part of the course is scheduled for an update in the next year or so. Also there is a new keyboard course coming out any time now. I think it will blend in with the guitar bass and drums course.

Here in B.C. the course is recognized for high school external credits through Trinity College London. That makes it an easy sell to parents. I find that my students respond to the demands of the course. I think the exams make them excel and get twice the work done.

You can hear the material by going to: http://www.musicroom.com/Search/gsearch.aspx?searchtext=rockschool+piano

click on the grade level book and scroll down. Audio is at the bottom of the page.
_________________________
http://www.poppianopro.com/

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#1140737 - 11/25/08 01:49 AM Re: Rockschool Grade 8 Question
keyboardklutz Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 10856
Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
I've entered kids for Rock School but I prefer the standard Trinity. You can play one of your own compositions, improvise, they have rock/jazzy tunes and you get an exposure to classical and technique.
_________________________
snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/


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#1140738 - 11/25/08 03:59 AM Re: Rockschool Grade 8 Question
Rob O'D Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/11/04
Posts: 116
Loc: Ireland
Hi Pete,

My eyes lit up when I read that you send students into the Rockschool exam with 2 Rockschool pieces and 1 piece co-written/arranged by yourself and the student ... What a superb approach!!

If I ever cross-over into teaching (which I would love to one day do), that is exactly the kind of approach that I would hope to adopt.

Great idea, Pete ... !!

Rob.

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#1140739 - 11/25/08 10:40 PM Re: Rockschool Grade 8 Question
Serge88 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/27/06
Posts: 775
Loc: Canada
Thank you,

it looks very interesting, I will put it in my long list of piano books to buy.
_________________________

“Being able to hear recorded music freed up loads of musicians that couldn't necessarily afford to learn to read or write music. With recording, it was emancipation for the people.”
-Keith Richards


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#1140740 - 11/25/08 11:59 PM Re: Rockschool Grade 8 Question
Pete the bean Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 12/06/04
Posts: 463
Loc: Canada
Keyboard Klutz: The Trinity books are unavailable in town and probably all of Canada so I can't check them out myself.
I am interested to know why you switched.

I am totally excited by the Rockschool course because it allows me to teach the skills needed to play contemporary keyboard. If Trinity offers something better I would be glad to hear about it.

I like to work off lead sheets. That is how the contemporary styles were taught when I was in college and the only way I know to survive the gigs I have been on..

To me, playing in the well arranged styles and , the technical material-modes-allow me to teach the materials needed to prep my students for improvising and arranging and one day going pro if they wish.

Hopefully Rockschool will make the improvising in the sight reading portion of the course . This is the part of the course where I can teach my students a lot about theory. Right now the harmonic progressions are too difficult and beyond the grade levels. I have emailed Rockschool and have been told this situation will get fixed on the next update due soon.
_________________________
http://www.poppianopro.com/

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#1140741 - 11/26/08 03:34 AM Re: Rockschool Grade 8 Question
keyboardklutz Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 10856
Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
I find Trinity well rounded. They also assume a good technique and the exam includes 3 exercises to that end. Maybe Rockschool is OK for adults but I wouldn't want to narrow any younger student's options. Try Amazon or I'm sure you can order from a UK company. Canadian customs are a bummer though!
_________________________
snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/


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#1140742 - 11/26/08 12:23 PM Re: Rockschool Grade 8 Question
Pete the bean Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 12/06/04
Posts: 463
Loc: Canada
Keyboardklutz: I am glad Trinity is a good fit for you . We all have our own teaching styles and finding the right course for your teaching style makes life so much easier.

Rockschool fits with my style pretty much seamlessly. I have spend years looking for material I think my students want to play. 11 yearold boys seem to want to rock or quit. Funny that Jerry Lee Lewis can still fill a need!

I do not see Rockschool as narrowing options. Quite the opposite. I have seen so many Classically trained students that want to play pop/jazz and they have no skills or training in thinking harmonically. Learning those skills rarely gets off the ground because it is like starting over for them.

With Rockschool, I find that playing the modal scales really reinforces the fingering for major scales. It helps me engage them with music theory on a practical level not just on the paper. I use that knowledge to get them to write their own melody for their 3rd choice piece. You can hear a few examples here: http://www.poppianopro.com/ click on the listening booth and there are 3 student pieces.

These pieces are all learned in lead sheet form. This provides students with lessons in Harmony and practical application of the chord theory they need for their exams.
We record them on my Mac using Ivory and I email them an mp3. They own their piece and work like crazy to polish it up.
_________________________
http://www.poppianopro.com/

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#1140743 - 11/26/08 04:47 PM Re: Rockschool Grade 8 Question
keyboardklutz Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 10856
Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
Each to his own. My 11 year olds are very interested in technique and interpretation.
_________________________
snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/


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#1140744 - 11/26/08 06:42 PM Re: Rockschool Grade 8 Question
Rob O'D Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/11/04
Posts: 116
Loc: Ireland
Hi Pete,

Those are very nice original tunes that your students composed. I'm looking forward to sharing them with a piano-teacher friend of mine; I'm pretty sure she'd be interested in adopting a similar approach.

Rob.

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#1140745 - 11/27/08 12:03 AM Re: Rockschool Grade 8 Question
Pete the bean Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 12/06/04
Posts: 463
Loc: Canada
Rob: I would be glad to share my experiences and maybe I could learn something from her.

I have been looking for eartraining materials that accommodate the Rockschool requirements for a long time.I just started working with Earmaster eartraining software. Finally, I have the tools for the ear training portion of the rockschool program. I can program the melody playback to blues or pentatonic scales as well as harmonic progressions with 3 or 4 note chords.It fits like a glove.
_________________________
http://www.poppianopro.com/

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#1140746 - 11/27/08 04:23 AM Re: Rockschool Grade 8 Question
Rob O'D Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/11/04
Posts: 116
Loc: Ireland
Thanks for sharing that, Pete. That sounds really useful!!

I had some trouble with the Grade 6 Aural test so it would be nice if this bit of software could help prepare me for future Aural tests.

Rob.

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#1140747 - 11/27/08 12:25 PM Re: Rockschool Grade 8 Question
Pete the bean Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 12/06/04
Posts: 463
Loc: Canada
You can download a demo version here:http://www.earmaster.com/download/index.htm
I think it's good for 21 days.
I do not own shares in this company.
_________________________
http://www.poppianopro.com/

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#1163457 - 03/16/09 06:40 AM Re: Rockschool Grade 8 Question [Re: Pete the bean]
Rob O'D Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/11/04
Posts: 116
Loc: Ireland
Hi Guys,

I have another question about this particular tune.

I've started studying to piece once again and I've hit some trouble in a passage which requires playing 10ths in the left hand.

My left hand can't stretch to a 10th !!

I've read that if you struggle to play 10ths, it's "permitted" to stagger(arpeggiate?) the notes (play root followed by the 10th) ... but in this case, the right hand is playing triplets.

Arpeggiating(staggering?) the notes in the left hand + playing triplets in the right = A rhythmic nightmare for me!!

I'm considering learning the passage with 9ths rather than 10ths and see how that goes. It's only one bar and I'd rather get the spirit/feel of the piece right rather than break my heart and my fingers learning to play some 10ths.

Does anyone have any thoughts at all?

Rob.

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#1164468 - 03/18/09 03:49 AM Re: Rockschool Grade 8 Question [Re: Rob O'D]
MonksDream Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/08/08
Posts: 101
Loc: Vancouver, BC
Originally Posted By: Rob O'D
Hi Guys,

I have another question about this particular tune.

I've started studying to piece once again and I've hit some trouble in a passage which requires playing 10ths in the left hand.

My left hand can't stretch to a 10th !!

I've read that if you struggle to play 10ths, it's "permitted" to stagger(arpeggiate?) the notes (play root followed by the 10th) ... but in this case, the right hand is playing triplets.

Arpeggiating(staggering?) the notes in the left hand + playing triplets in the right = A rhythmic nightmare for me!!

I'm considering learning the passage with 9ths rather than 10ths and see how that goes. It's only one bar and I'd rather get the spirit/feel of the piece right rather than break my heart and my fingers learning to play some 10ths.

Does anyone have any thoughts at all?

Rob.



Yes, you're making it harder than it needs to be. If you need to play triplets in the right hand and a tuplet (duplet?) in the left it's common practice (at least in jazz and blues) to play the left hand notes so they land at the same time as the 1st and 3rd of the triplet in the right hand. So:


RH xxx | xxx | xxx |xxx
LH x-x | x-x | x-x |x-x


It also gives the left hand a very swung feel. Note that although this is a common practice in jazz and blues there are pieces where a strict 2 against 3 feel is desired. That you have to practice!

I'd avoid substituting the 9ths for the 10ths. I'm guessing the 10ths are there for harmonic reasons and that the 9ths might well "stick out" too much. I'd "roll" the tenths instead. That's not only "permitted" it's encouraged! Then again the 9ths could sound cool. The only way to know for sure is to try them both and keep whatever pleases your ear.



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#1165675 - 03/20/09 03:17 AM Re: Rockschool Grade 8 Question [Re: MonksDream]
Pete the bean Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 12/06/04
Posts: 463
Loc: Canada
Rob: If I got it right you are at the last measure second last line of pg 15. I can't reach the tenths either but you could try this. Add a 5th to the tenths and pivot on finger 2. It makes it easier to get up to the 10. so GDB, BF#D, BbFDb, GbDbBb. You will see the down beat of the next bar played exactly the same.
I have a work sheet on the 2 against 3 here: http://www.box.net/shared/8ucjpd8mv4
Wish me luck. I have 27 students going for exams in June.
_________________________
http://www.poppianopro.com/

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#1167127 - 03/23/09 05:39 AM Re: Rockschool Grade 8 Question [Re: Pete the bean]
Rob O'D Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/11/04
Posts: 116
Loc: Ireland
Hi Guys,

Thanks for your mails and sorry my the slow reply.

Quick clarification ... When I was talking about "Arpeggiating" and "Staggering" the notes in the Left Hand, the word I should have used was "rolling". Apologies for any confusion.

So, it seems like I need to learn to roll my Left Hand? I was worried about this because I suspect it will be tricky to get a feel for the rhythm. I was quite happy to dump the 10th and replace it with a 9th.

Thanks for the worksheet, Pete. I think I'm comfortable playing 2-against-3 rhythm (playing LH 9ths rather than 10ths) but the idea of a LH pivot may make things a little tricker. I'll give it a go.

27 students...? That sounds like a huge amount of work, Pete!! Best of luck to you and your students. Hope things are shaping up well. I'm giving the Rockschool a miss this year. I got sidetracked with a few other things but I'm starting to revisit the Grade 8 material again. I'm thinking of "Best Bet Boogie", "Cubinato and "No Time To Lose".

Thanks again, Guys. Apologies once again for my slow reply!!

Rob.

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#1203606 - 05/21/09 07:21 PM Re: Rockschool Grade 8 Question [Re: Rob O'D]
PhilCwm Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 04/22/09
Posts: 12
Hi Guys,

I,m halfway through Book 2 of Alfreds Adult Piano Course, but I'm finding most of the pieces pretty boring. I'm thinking of skipping ahead to Book 3 or possibly a different course?

The Rockschool course sounds interesting. Which book do you suggest I start with?

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#1203814 - 05/22/09 02:48 AM Re: Rockschool Grade 8 Question [Re: PhilCwm]
Pete the bean Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 12/06/04
Posts: 463
Loc: Canada
I share your opinion on the Alfreds repertoire. Skipping to level 3 would probably mean missing out on steps you need to take. Maybe Faber and Faber or Hal Leonard or another method would be a better fit. Kenneth Baker? http://books.google.ca/books?id=wrfzoViyYPsC&printsec=frontcover&dq=kenneth+Baker#PPA1,M1
Unless you have a teacher who can explain a few things, I would advise you to think twice about jumping on board the Rockschool Books. These are not method books the way Alfred's and others are structured. I have to do a lot of work with other material to fill in the gaps. I use them as a goal to work towards. Also,having examinations gets a lot of practice out of my students that I did not find them doing before I used the course.
You can listen to the material here: http://www.musicroom.com/Search/gsearch.aspx?searchtext=rockschool++piano++
Click on the grade you want and scroll down. There is audio there. At your level. I would be looking at Gr 1 or 2.
Rockschool is coming out with a new course in June I think. Band Based Keys. Read the info here: http://www.musicroom.com/se/ID_No/0702599/details.html
_________________________
http://www.poppianopro.com/

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#1205247 - 05/24/09 08:57 PM Re: Rockschool Grade 8 Question [Re: Pete the bean]
PhilCwm Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 04/22/09
Posts: 12
Thanks Pete,

I've had a listen to the Rockschool Stuff and I've decided to order the Grade 2 book and I also found "The complete keyboard player" by Kenneth Baker for £1.60 on Amazon so I'll order that aswell.

I'm not a complete novice as I worked through the "Creative Organist" completing book 4 in my teens. I've just learned Frankie and Johnnie from Alfreds and I understand what you mean by missing steps, if I have to go back to book one then so be it, but I've been finding that the simplicity of some the pieces doesn't give you the sense of acheivement which motivates particularly when you've learned Toccata and some of the fugue.

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