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#1349753 - 01/14/10 07:49 PM Dad has some questions / needs advice
CebuKid Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/08/09
Posts: 1174
smile

Hi everyone. I am a regular from the Adult Beginner's Forum and wandered in here because I want my 6-year-old to be the pianist that I never was - typical parent, right? smile

My daughter showed talent at the age of 5 when we were at a relative's house (who had a piano), and I showed her Mary Had a Little Lamb a couple of times, and she got it immediately! When she turned 6, we invested in an upright, found a teacher for her, and both started playing. She has received instruction since April last year.

She is a great "rote learner", play-by-ear, and memorizer of her pieces... The thing is, she's not the best of sight readers. She is very much like me and has my tendencies...I only use the score to memorize my pieces..but I want so much more for her. I want her to be both a great sight-reader and the natural musician that she already is.

Being an adult learner who's played for over a year now (after a 27 year layoff), I've gotten good enough to start teaching her too during the week to supplement her lessons. She takes lessons from a high-school student, competition pianist, every saturday (1 hour)!

So, here's our routine:

1.) We work on sight-reading from her level 1 book. Her repertoire is much more advanced than this (the pieces that she has memorized) - but her sight reading ability is still around level 1. If we continue on this routine, will her sight reading eventually get better? What else can I do to make it "automatic"...(ie she see's "G#" on the staff, and immediately knows where it is.)

2.) She also plays, from memory, her more advanced pieces. She is currently working on Bach's "Minuet in G". She pretty much "rote learns" these more advanced pieces, but during this learning, her teacher tries to get her to read the notes too.

3.) She does "Junior Hanon" and "Dozen a Day" drills.

We've been spending about a 15 min. to 1/2 hour during the week on this routine. I've just started doing this routine for about a week, because she hasn't been practicing "without being told", and her skills have diminished a little...

Is there anything else that I should be doing to supplement her lessons? How do teachers handle a student who is like my daughter (good rote learner, but not-too-good of a sight reader).. Again, my goal is to have her sight-reading at her playing level.

Also, at what point in her development (what piano grade) should I switch teachers? The high-schooler is doing a great job right now just showing her the basics, so we're currently pleased with our current arrangement.. However, as she advances, I'd like to have a person trained in Piano Pedagogy be her teacher....what do you all think?

That's all...thanks in advanced for advice.
_________________________
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Music washes away from the soul
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#1349789 - 01/14/10 08:23 PM Re: Dad has some questions / needs advice [Re: CebuKid]
John v.d.Brook Online   content
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7300
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Learning by rote is great for ear training and developing the memory, but as you note, it doesn't help with reading skills, and much of a pianist's routine activity is reading unfamiliar music.

There are a number of graded "sight reading" drill books available. If your teacher isn't familiar with them, ask her if she would visit the local music store and select one for you.

If you're in a more rural area, we may have to do some digging for you and provide some suggestions.

One suggestion for certain, if the method series she is using has a "performer" type book or a "technique" book which your daughter isn't using, this would be a good supplement to use for developing reading skills.
_________________________
"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA

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#1349852 - 01/14/10 09:28 PM Re: Dad has some questions / needs advice [Re: John v.d.Brook]
Wizard of Oz Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/12/09
Posts: 873
I would recommend that she stick with learning to play by ear. Unless your goal is for her to be a master of the classical pieces then reading sheet music is not that important. Far greater is having an ear that can pick up sounds and melodies.

In fact, sheet music can be a hindrance to people. I play jazz now and never read while playing.
I used to play classical and my sight reading was pretty decent. I remember playing Rachmaninov's Prelude in C# minor and looking at the music was such a pain. I just memorized the melody and worked out the chords.
Now I can't sight read worth a lick but I can play tunes by ear no problem.


What musicians need to work on is relating the keys on a piano to a specific sound (the note). Best way to do this is to sing aloud the note when playing. Similar to solfegge. Pick a scale like C major, start from the root and relate all the other notes to the root. like C D C, C E C, C F C, .... D C D, E C E ...

What this does is work on your relative pitch.

I teach some young kids and I always get them to play by ear first. The sight reading comes later.

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#1349879 - 01/14/10 09:49 PM Re: Dad has some questions / needs advice [Re: Wizard of Oz]
Lollipop Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/28/09
Posts: 820
Loc: Georgia
Quote:
Now I can't sight read worth a lick but I can play tunes by ear no problem.


Quote:
The sight reading comes later.


Sounds like you're still waiting? wink
_________________________
piano teacher

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#1349880 - 01/14/10 09:50 PM Re: Dad has some questions / needs advice [Re: Wizard of Oz]
Morodiene Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 11406
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
I think the toughest part for people w ho are poor sight readers is not reading the notes, but reading the rhythms AND the notes. Therefore, sight reading rhythms is a great skill to work on with beginners. It can be a lot of fun, too, if you use egg shakers or little drums or any home-made percussion instruments.

Also have her sight read melodies for only one hand at a time, doing equal amounts in treble and bass clef.

A really good book for this I've discovered is published by FJH called "Rhythm and Sight Reading Every Day". You may want to pick this one up or order it.

Also do not neglect interval reading. She shouldn't be reading every note name as she plays, but only when it's necessary.
_________________________
private piano/voice teacher - full time
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Petrof 9'2 Concert, Yamaha G3, Roland FP-7, Yamaha MOX6, Kawai MP11

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#1349883 - 01/14/10 09:53 PM Re: Dad has some questions / needs advice [Re: Wizard of Oz]
Michael Darnton Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/17/09
Posts: 243
Loc: Chicago
I'm not a teacher, but a beginner, and I have the same inclination, to memorize. I really want to sight read, so I have a book of stuff that's simpler than my current level, and I spend some time every day reading things in it so that I don't fall behind. It's this one, http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000EADCNS/ref=ox_ya_oh_product and the tunes at the beginning are very easy and basic.
_________________________
http://darntonviolins.com and http://darntonhersh.com

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#1349886 - 01/14/10 09:54 PM Re: Dad has some questions / needs advice [Re: Lollipop]
Wizard of Oz Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/12/09
Posts: 873
Waiting for what?


I don't play classical anymore so it's not a problem. I can play pretty much any jazz, rock, pop tune by ear.

Like I said earlier, I used to sight-read at a decent level, but it was a skill that I didn't find worth keeping.

Playing and improvising by ear is way more fun.

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#1349899 - 01/14/10 10:10 PM Re: Dad has some questions / needs advice [Re: Wizard of Oz]
stores Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/28/09
Posts: 6646
Loc: Here, as opposed to there
Originally Posted By: Wizard of Oz
Waiting for what?


I don't play classical anymore so it's not a problem. I can play pretty much any jazz, rock, pop tune by ear.

Like I said earlier, I used to sight-read at a decent level, but it was a skill that I didn't find worth keeping.

Playing and improvising by ear is way more fun.


Sure, but one doesn't need sheet music for those genres. Sure you can play the NOTES to that Rachmaninoff Prelude, but what happens to all the other indications the composer has left? You're right...they're not important or worth looking at. Just work out Rach's melody and fill in the chords the best you can.
_________________________

"And if we look at the works of J.S. Bach — a benevolent god to which all musicians should offer a prayer to defend themselves against mediocrity... -Debussy

"It's ok if you disagree with me. I can't force you to be right."

♪ ≠ $


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#1349931 - 01/14/10 10:42 PM Re: Dad has some questions / needs advice [Re: stores]
Wizard of Oz Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/12/09
Posts: 873
To really know the intention of the composer you'd have to listen to him play it. Back then of course there were no CD's or recording devices so the only way was to write it down.

I bet if Rach or Mozart or Beethoven were alive today and played some of their works, it would sound somewhat different each time. They would be altering and changing the dynamics depending on their mood. Musicians do this all the time.

The classical genre has a strict attitude that all the notes must be played exactly as written and with the recommended dynamics. Hogwash!! You get Bach to play one of his preludes 10 times now and you'd find variations and probably even different notes to the melody. Bach would be tinkering and improvising to his heart's liking. In fact, he's probably doing exactly just that upstairs as we speak.

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#1349946 - 01/14/10 10:53 PM Re: Dad has some questions / needs advice [Re: stores]
michiganteacher Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/21/09
Posts: 69
Loc: Michigan, United States
A couple things to think about:

1. I agree with Morodiene that reading intervals is very important! Your daughter should first learn to recognize steps (is it going up or down?), and then skips of a 3rd, and then larger skips. She should learn to recognize immediately how each interval looks.

2. Sometimes I like to use note-reading flashcards with my students. There are some with one note on each, and some with intervals. I think both are useful for some students. Definitely doesn't hurt!

3. Practicing sight-reading is also a good thing. I have a few of my students practicing reading simple, brand new pieces each day. I just give them books to borrow (it is important that these pieces are at a lower level then what the student might normally play!) The idea here is not to work on perfecting the piece, but to play it through, and then let it go. There are good habits to strive for also - such as scanning through the music before starting, and going slowly.

4. As your daughter continues lessons and grows older, it would be good for her to learn some music theory, too. When I sight read music, I am not reading individual notes at a rapid speed, but rather am recognizing intervals, chords, scales, and cadences on a broader level. So much of this is due to my knowledge of music theory. I have currently been using the Keith Snell theory books with my students.

Good luck! It sounds like your daughter has some talent. smile
_________________________
Jessica S.

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#1349969 - 01/14/10 11:31 PM Re: Dad has some questions / needs advice [Re: Wizard of Oz]
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
I'm of the unpopular opinion that to use the ear only to learn piano means you are not completely literatate in musicianship. You are able to "speak" the language in reproducing sound but you are not able to read it or write it. Does my comment seem offensive, I'm sorry it if does. But think about what I'm said and decide if that's the way you want your music to always be made.

Just last night, a 10 year old in her 3rd year of music was working on some Czerny exercises (opus 599)which she had just finished playing back what had been assigned last week. I asked her to play the first note and sing what she had just played in the RH. She looked frightened to do that although we have sung before (lyrics) at lessons. I said "OK, sing measure 1 for me (these exercises are 8-16 measures long) and keep going as far as you can, but if you really feel "off" you may stop at any time you want. She sang easily and with very good intonation and counting skills. Then she sang the LH which was written in the treble clef with no problem, same good results.

She reads music, pays great attention to fingering, good rhythm skills, but has seemed a little uncertain when looking at a piece for the first time. Now she has found that her voice can anticipate the sound to be played before she plays it and it was a nice surprise to her that she could do this.

I think reading of music is essential, and while difficult when starting piano, with good teaching and good materials, the orientation to the keyboard and to the music staff simply has to be carefully and correctly understood one step at a time, starting slowly but with a steady beat. The first 10 lessons are going to produce a "can do" kid or they are going to set in motion a student who can use only their strongest skill set that they prefer to use.

Allowing someone to continue in the only way they know may produce an acceptable product, but it does not enlighted, encourage, or educate to develop their musicianship any further.

Rote and imitation and pre-charts lasting beyond their benefitical time element in beginning lessons is not truly teaching, it is using the most minimal way of learning.

You are sacrificing access to so many elements of music by allowing the very thing you do not want.

From a critical point, I doubt there is any talented, achieving teen ager able to completely instruct a beginner student in all the ways a student needs to be instructed. This student does not yet understand pedagogy and has little experience with methods and what the different approaches are to music lessons. While it might be a satisfying and fun experience for the young teacher and her young student, I question that it will be truly effective teaching that could be cover all the bases that beginners need in instruction from their teachers.

Piano teaching is not a follow the dot kind of simplicity, it requires that we create thinking skills, deliberate actions, counting durations, all part of working with the students brain and motor coordination. Once established any of these habits are going to be set in concrete and very difficult to change. The next piano teacher is probably going to find the student difficult to teach because the student is now very set in her own idea of what piano is like, and she will only have one very small dimension of music to use from her previous instruction.

Those who do the ear thing well are certainly going to expound on the value of it. But those who can play other contributing factors within this kind of teaching. Using only ears to learn with robs the learner of ever playing and readsing music in the fullest dimensions of their being by incorporating brain, vision, ears and tactile senses. You either understand music completely or you don't.

I would push for the completely. That would mean that the musician has several choices 1) to read from a classically written music page and produce a pretty credible accounting of it, AND 2) to improvise freely and 3) then be able to notate (write by his own hand) on a blank music manuscript what occured during the improvisation. If there were a 4), it would be: to perform from memory for adjudication, to earn a college degree in music, or to achieve a career as a professional pianist, composer, or piano teacher. There are different levels of ability and each must be mastered to get to the next. All of it is about being music literate.

Betty Patnude

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#1350021 - 01/15/10 12:16 AM Re: Dad has some questions / needs advice [Re: Betty Patnude]
Wizard of Oz Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/12/09
Posts: 873
Originally Posted By: Betty Patnude
I'm of the unpopular opinion that to use the ear only to learn piano means you are not completely literatate in musicianship. You are able to "speak" the language in reproducing sound but you are not able to read it or write it.


Betty Patnude


Funny how Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder, George Shearing, Marcus Roberts didn't get that memo. Their musicianship seems to be just fine.

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#1350023 - 01/15/10 12:18 AM Re: Dad has some questions / needs advice [Re: Wizard of Oz]
stores Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/28/09
Posts: 6646
Loc: Here, as opposed to there
Originally Posted By: Wizard of Oz
To really know the intention of the composer you'd have to listen to him play it. Back then of course there were no CD's or recording devices so the only way was to write it down.

I bet if Rach or Mozart or Beethoven were alive today and played some of their works, it would sound somewhat different each time. They would be altering and changing the dynamics depending on their mood. Musicians do this all the time.

The classical genre has a strict attitude that all the notes must be played exactly as written and with the recommended dynamics. Hogwash!! You get Bach to play one of his preludes 10 times now and you'd find variations and probably even different notes to the melody. Bach would be tinkering and improvising to his heart's liking. In fact, he's probably doing exactly just that upstairs as we speak.






For starters, I'd agree with you about Bach, since he left us extremely little, if nothing, in the way of any indications at all. That said, you wouldn't, at all, need to hear the composer play his work to realize his intentions. The composer took the time to leave those indications for a reason (many being extremely meticulous in this regard). Beethoven, in his late sonatas, especially, went out of his way to make sure his intent was properly notated (look at some of his tempo indications...oh wait you don't look at the music hahahha...sorry, it was there). I have no doubt in my mind were Beethoven, or Chopin, or Debussy, etc. alive today and heard much of what I hear from "artists" with the mindset you've described they'd more than likely snatch the score off the piano and humiliate to tears whomever was seated at the keyboard. Interpretation is not about deciding FOR the composer what he has to say, but serving as a conduit FOR the composer to say what he has to say.
_________________________

"And if we look at the works of J.S. Bach — a benevolent god to which all musicians should offer a prayer to defend themselves against mediocrity... -Debussy

"It's ok if you disagree with me. I can't force you to be right."

♪ ≠ $


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#1350035 - 01/15/10 12:27 AM Re: Dad has some questions / needs advice [Re: stores]
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
May I say that these composers used INK and wrote diligently, many by candlelight to record their works. They had enough integrity about wanting to share music with others and to have an identity where their path in their musical lives had led them.
Some of these master composers were also master teachers and theorems and treatistes written in the 1600 and 1700' are still factual and used today.

How's that for "good press"!

Don't evem think of minimizing the contributions of great intellectuals in classical music whose outstanding accomplishments many of us revere.

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#1350041 - 01/15/10 12:32 AM Re: Dad has some questions / needs advice [Re: stores]
Wizard of Oz Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/12/09
Posts: 873

I have a feeling you don't play anything other than classical, is that right? Listen to a jazz standard and you'll hear the player injecting his or her personality to the song. The composer may not have intended it that way but the player has a right to artistic interpretation. It may sound worse or better or just different.

Listen to a jazz great like Herbie Hancock play one of his own tunes, and you'll know that he changes things up so drastically that some versions would be unrecognizable to the original.

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#1350046 - 01/15/10 12:37 AM Re: Dad has some questions / needs advice [Re: Wizard of Oz]
Wizard of Oz Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/12/09
Posts: 873
Back then there were no electronic recording devices or CD's or mp3's. Musicians today have the luxury of digital recordings that can last a lifetime, and if you have a good ear you wouldn't need to look at a score.

If Bach or Beethoven lived in today's era they would have just put out a CD and left it at that.

Why aren't there any new classical composers today. Where'd they all go?

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#1350050 - 01/15/10 12:38 AM Re: Dad has some questions / needs advice [Re: Wizard of Oz]
AZNpiano Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5415
Loc: Orange County, CA
Originally Posted By: Wizard of Oz
The classical genre has a strict attitude that all the notes must be played exactly as written and with the recommended dynamics. Hogwash!!


_________________________
Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member

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#1350052 - 01/15/10 12:42 AM Re: Dad has some questions / needs advice [Re: AZNpiano]
Wizard of Oz Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/12/09
Posts: 873
AZN piano let's hear your version of Fur Elise and do a chorus of the 1st movement totally improvised, I bet you can't!

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#1350054 - 01/15/10 12:44 AM Re: Dad has some questions / needs advice [Re: Wizard of Oz]
AZNpiano Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5415
Loc: Orange County, CA
Originally Posted By: Wizard of Oz
Why aren't there any new classical composers today. Where'd they all go?


They're everywhere! When is the last time you actually went to a music bookstore and browsed through the titles?
_________________________
Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member

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#1350057 - 01/15/10 12:48 AM Re: Dad has some questions / needs advice [Re: AZNpiano]
Wizard of Oz Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/12/09
Posts: 873
Originally Posted By: AZNpiano
Originally Posted By: Wizard of Oz
Why aren't there any new classical composers today. Where'd they all go?


They're everywhere! When is the last time you actually went to a music bookstore and browsed through the titles?


Give me some names then! With the advent of the digital age I don't need to step into a music store again. Ever heard of iTunes?

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#1350079 - 01/15/10 01:09 AM Re: Dad has some questions / needs advice [Re: CebuKid]
cinstance Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/12/09
Posts: 104
I can probably share with you some of my son's sight reading secret. My son who is 7 years old has very good sight reading. He "self-trained" himself by listening to music and reading the notes at the same time.

My son started playing piano the same time as he went to the first grade. One of my son's early supplement material was Beyer, and I was able to buy a set of DVD lessons to go with the book. He watched the DVDs and read the notes every day after school. In the DVD, an old Chinese lady goes through every pieces in the book with a cute little girl, and my son found it very "funny". By Christmas time (after three months playing), he not only was able to read most of the notes that are at least two levels higher than his playing level, he also acquired very accurate absolute pitch.

Good sight reading really helped his early progress, since he could pretty much play any music that is not far ahead of his study. I remember when his teacher got him the level 3 book in February, he basically played through the whole book in 2 weeks, from the first song to the last (actually he played the last song first).

During last summer break, he wanted something more challenging, so I bought a set of DVD of Barenboim playing Beethoven 32 sonatas. He watched it for the whole summer break, after which he could pretty much read any music throw in front of him. It also helped his understand a lot of music theory at the same time, just by looking at the notes and checking the music.

I am not sure if this can help your daughter, but might worth a try since it at least is not going to do any harm listening to music.

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#1350080 - 01/15/10 01:09 AM Re: Dad has some questions / needs advice [Re: Wizard of Oz]
AZNpiano Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5415
Loc: Orange County, CA
_________________________
Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member

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#1350087 - 01/15/10 01:17 AM Re: Dad has some questions / needs advice [Re: AZNpiano]
Wizard of Oz Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/12/09
Posts: 873
You can't answer your own statement? How sad.

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#1350092 - 01/15/10 01:25 AM Re: Dad has some questions / needs advice [Re: CebuKid]
AZNpiano Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5415
Loc: Orange County, CA
Originally Posted By: cebukid70
Again, my goal is to have her sight-reading at her playing level.


You are definitely on the right track! But I don't think it's possible to sight read at playing level. That'd be hard to do. Usually people can sight read music that's 2-3 levels easier than the stuff they are currently working on. For example, kids who are working on Kuhlau Op. 20 Sonatinas should be able to sight read "Minuet in G" from the Anna Magdalena Bach Notebook.

I can certainly tell you that the great majority of kids learning piano today are sight reading way, way below their level. It's really sad. frown
_________________________
Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member

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#1350102 - 01/15/10 01:36 AM Re: Dad has some questions / needs advice [Re: Wizard of Oz]
currawong Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/15/07
Posts: 5899
Loc: Down Under
Originally Posted By: Wizard of Oz
Give me some names then!
Do some basic research.

Then come back if you're willing to discuss music in a civilised fashion. People are getting tired of all this them-and-us stuff about jazz improvisation, and the childish "prove it" demands.
_________________________
Du holde Kunst...

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#1350112 - 01/15/10 01:42 AM Re: Dad has some questions / needs advice [Re: Wizard of Oz]
meep Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/19/09
Posts: 62
Originally Posted By: Wizard of Oz
Originally Posted By: AZNpiano
Originally Posted By: Wizard of Oz
Why aren't there any new classical composers today. Where'd they all go?


They're everywhere! When is the last time you actually went to a music bookstore and browsed through the titles?


Give me some names then! With the advent of the digital age I don't need to step into a music store again. Ever heard of iTunes?

shocked

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#1350126 - 01/15/10 02:19 AM Re: Dad has some questions / needs advice [Re: Wizard of Oz]
stores Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/28/09
Posts: 6646
Loc: Here, as opposed to there
I assumed you were asking AZN, but I'll answer.
Sofia Gubaidulina, Jennifer Higdon, Einojuhani Rautavaara, John Adams, Jeffrey Harrington, Geoffrey Gordon, Rodion Shchedrin...just for a few.
_________________________

"And if we look at the works of J.S. Bach — a benevolent god to which all musicians should offer a prayer to defend themselves against mediocrity... -Debussy

"It's ok if you disagree with me. I can't force you to be right."

♪ ≠ $


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#1350128 - 01/15/10 02:25 AM Re: Dad has some questions / needs advice [Re: stores]
landorrano Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/26/06
Posts: 2457
Loc: France
Karol Befa.

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#1350132 - 01/15/10 02:28 AM Re: Dad has some questions / needs advice [Re: currawong]
Wizard of Oz Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/12/09
Posts: 873
Originally Posted By: currawong
Originally Posted By: Wizard of Oz
Give me some names then!
Do some basic research.

Then come back if you're willing to discuss music in a civilised fashion. People are getting tired of all this them-and-us stuff about jazz improvisation, and the childish "prove it" demands.


Why would I research music I have no interest in. If these modern classical composers were well known, I'd have heard their name. Do you know who the latest rap artists are, or even jazz?

This argument isn't about improvising, it's about playing by ear vs sight-reading. Ever wonder why so many kids sight-read WAY below their level. It's because that's not the natural way to learn music.

Ask famous musicians like Elton John, Billy Joel, Bryan Adams, Eric Clapton how well their sight reading skills are and I bet it's below their ear training skills.

Music, like languages aren't meant to be taught by reading first rather than speaking and listening.

The classical approach is seriously flawed.

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#1350141 - 01/15/10 02:49 AM Re: Dad has some questions / needs advice [Re: stores]
MomOfBeginners Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/03/09
Posts: 114
Loc: California, USA
For the question of how important it is to read music notation: it's almost parallel to how important is it to be know how to read words in the non-music world.

It's entirely possible to know how to speak and communicate without ever knowing how to read. You learn about styles of speaking and then pass that on to the next person. For centuries, knowledge and stories were passed down in oral tradition. These were probably embellished and evolved. There was not a desire to keep it accurate or the same. The passion that enveloped these stories were also passed on, so people were looking at the inspiration of these stories rather than the accuracy of these stories. That worked well in those communities. There wasn't a need for literacy for everybody.

On the other hand, knowing how to read and write gives such power! The ability to do record-keeping, and the power to take in experiences of others is expanded when you can read what others have written. On one hand, those who never knew how to read would never understand how far you can go if you can only read. In the modern world, illiteracy is crippling.

I can see music residing in two separate worlds. There are people who are happy to pass on music as an aural experience, improvise, embellish, add, no need to read music. They'll go so far and they're happy with that. In some cases, they may not even know what they're missing.

Then there are others who have access to vast library of music because they can read, interpret, and produce. They have the power of music literacy, but it doesn't guarantee that the inspiration of the music comes out of that printed page at them.

Going back to music reading...it's a decision of whether or not you want to give that power of literacy to a music student. If they student just has difficulty reading music, either because of lack of interest, lack of ambition, or lack of talent, do you still push it? Or do you allow a middle ground? Let the student use a play-by-ear method of learning and perhaps make the process more enjoyable. The student will not be playing in certain programs...but in some cases, that may not be the goal?

I do think that learning to read music gives so much more empowerment. My daughter once asked me why she had to learn to read. I told her that it's so that she can read books and learn from others. She told me "But all I have to do is listen to books-on-tape.". Maybe that's true, but her reading would be restricted to only to where she can have access to books-on-tape. I want her to be the person producing the books-on-tape, not listening to it.
_________________________
Mom of Two Girls Who Used to Be Beginners

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