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#1364683 - 02/03/10 10:15 AM How do you feel about High School Musical, Hannah Montana...
toejamfutbol Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/04/09
Posts: 124
Loc: MI
Several of my young students want to learn songs from High School Musical, Hannah Montana, etc. Personally, I completely LOATHE stuff like that and feel incredibly uncomfortable working with it.

First of all, let me explain why I hate it so much. In my opinion, movies and shows like that do nothing but promote the incredibly sad movement of "entertainers" and "stardom" pushing over the true musicians. I hate American Idol for this reason. I hate High School Musical for this reason. And I hate Hannah Montana for this reason. These kids practically worship these TV idols and look up to them. That saddens me because there is nothing honorable about these people as they do nothing but, in my opinion, exploit the music industry. Kids are growing up now being taught that those people prancing around on stage are MUSICIANS. Or that they are someone to look up to because they wear a lot of make up, use dramatic and exaggerated voice "maneuvers" that are 90% computer generated, and simply because they are famous and on TV. This is something that I am passionately against and is one reason why I wanted to teach so that I could show my students that a real musician is someone who works hard and is dedicated to their craft, not to their level of celebrity.

However, lately I've been wondering if I should loosen up a bit. Sometimes, if the student is diligent about doing their homework and practicing their lesson book songs, I will allow them to learn HSM stuff or whatever as a reward. Then I start to think, "Hey, they're reading music, they're learning, it's a song they actually like, what's the big deal?"

I'm terribly torn on this issue and am wondering how other teachers feel about it.
_________________________
"Why should we be in such desperate haste to succeed, and in such desperate enterprises? If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured and far away." -Thoreau

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#1364686 - 02/03/10 10:21 AM Re: How do you feel about High School Musical, Hannah Montana... [Re: toejamfutbol]
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7368
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
The rhythms and harmonizations in many of these are quite advanced, and beyond most elementary and intermediate level students. But I don't want to come across as an old fart, so I simply tell them to go to the music store, look at what's available and use their knowledge to learn it on their own. We'll continue to work on the basics so that they can play what they want as they grow up.
_________________________
"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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#1364696 - 02/03/10 10:42 AM Re: How do you feel about High School Musical, Hannah Montana... [Re: John v.d.Brook]
007Pianolady Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/21/07
Posts: 41
Students can go to the music store and purchase any music they want to learn on their own. I don't take up lesson time for pop pieces, with a few exceptions. However, I encourage students to learn pieces on their own in addition to their lesson assignments. Occasionally I'll assign more popular music "for fun", but it's from movie scores (such as Harry Potter).
_________________________
Independent Piano Teacher 1987 (full-time)

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#1364707 - 02/03/10 11:00 AM Re: How do you feel about High School Musical, Hannah Montana... [Re: 007Pianolady]
Lollipop Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/28/09
Posts: 820
Loc: Georgia
I choose music based upon whether I think it furthers the goals for the student. Reading music - any music - can take the student toward their goals, or side-track them. For example, I have a level 1 PA student who brought a print-out of Fur Elise to lessons one day and asked to learn it. I said no, not yet. I could teach him to play it by rote - the "trained monkey" approach - but it would take a great deal of time and effort, and in the end, we will have lost quite a bit of lesson time, and he would be no further along in obtaining skills that allow him to transfer knowledge from one piece to another, such as note and rhythm identification.

The same student bought a Harry Potter piano book and brought it to lessons. It is close to his level - just a bit above. I agreed that we would spend the last portion of each lesson on it, but that if I ever sensed that all his practice time was being spent on it and not his regular lesson material, then we would have to set it aside. In this case, it is acting as a carrot for him.

Does that mean I like Harry Potter more than Beethoven - of course not!

And I don't think that letting a student play a particular piece of music automatically means you endorse pop culture any more than playing Harry Potter means I endorse witchcraft.


Edited by Lollipop (02/03/10 11:02 AM)
_________________________
piano teacher

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#1364708 - 02/03/10 11:01 AM Re: How do you feel about High School Musical, Hannah Montana... [Re: 007Pianolady]
dumdumdiddle Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/16/06
Posts: 1265
Loc: California
I love teaching pop music to students, but it requires almost an additional lesson alongside their regular lesson. In my opinion, students should be well-balanced and play classical music as well as pop or jazz. With pop music I teach students to follow the chords symbols and lead line, and also improvise. These skills are just as important as learning classical music.

While I personally don't care for HSM or Hannah Montana, if students want to play them, fine. Right now, the hot music with my junior high/high schoolers is Bella's Lullaby from 'Twilight'.
_________________________
Music School Owner
Early Childhood Music Teacher/Group Piano Teacher/Private Piano Teacher
Member of MTAC and Guild

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#1364749 - 02/03/10 11:52 AM Re: How do you feel about High School Musical, Hannah Montana... [Re: dumdumdiddle]
toejamfutbol Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/04/09
Posts: 124
Loc: MI
Haha yes dumdumdiddle, I've been working with at least three or four of my students on Bella's Lullaby! And you're right, I agree that learning how to read chord symbols and such is just as important, which is why I am usually more ok with them learning pop songs lately.
_________________________
"Why should we be in such desperate haste to succeed, and in such desperate enterprises? If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured and far away." -Thoreau

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#1364902 - 02/03/10 02:58 PM Re: How do you feel about High School Musical, Hannah Montana... [Re: toejamfutbol]
Elissa Milne Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/11/10
Posts: 1337
Loc: Sydney, NSW, Australia
A big problem is, as mentioned in posts above, the discrepancy between the difficulty of the pop music in question (both in a performance and a reading sense) and the skill set of the student. And part of this problem is because transcriptions are often done in a slip-shod fashion - even worse when the student downloads some random arrangement from the internet.

Another part of the problem is that it takes a while to get a print music product to market. And then, to make it economical, it needs to have a reasonably long shelf life. These two factors make pop music difficult to integrate into lessons.

Final observation: pop music is usually not a great way to 'teach' chord symbols - the students want to hear their performance matching the aural image they have in their memories, and playing block or even broken chords instead of the exact notes in the original ends up sounding lame and try-hard, the complete opposite intention of the student when asking to learn the piece of music in the first place.
_________________________
Teacher, Composer, Writer, Speaker
Working with Hal Leonard, Alfred, Faber, and Australian Music Examination Board
Music in syllabuses by ABRSM, AMEB, Trinity Guildhall, ANZCA, NZMEB, and more
www.elissamilne.wordpress.com

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#1365032 - 02/03/10 05:56 PM Re: How do you feel about High School Musical, Hannah Montana... [Re: Elissa Milne]
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
I'm not finding musical value in them, but obviously, teens like them. The rhythms don't fit in the measure making it dotted sixteenths tied over the bar to a quarter note, etc. I just experienced this with a young adult male with the pieces that he'd like to do next. I played through both and found the rhythms crazy making - after listening to the music (he came prepared for me to hear the recordings) it made more sense with the back up band - it did not translate to a full sounding keyboard and the piano parts were written as accompaniments to vocal - so these were not piano solos. It's going to be a lot of work to count - but I think kids taking on these kinds of pieces are relying on how it sounds on the recording.

"Corpse Bride" really did nothing for me, but was a young teen agers dream music so I bought it for her. I was sorry I did to be honest.

The latest music is awfully expensive, have you noticed?

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#1365135 - 02/03/10 08:50 PM Re: How do you feel about High School Musical, Hannah Montana... [Re: Betty Patnude]
Kreisler Offline


Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13789
Loc: Iowa City, IA
If it fits the student's skill set, then I'll teach anything. I've played a fair bit of broadway and pop/jazz in my time, and the same things that make classical music good (articulation, dynamics, tone, line, focus) are the same things that top pop performers pay a lot of attention to.
_________________________
"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)

www.pianoped.com
www.youtube.com/user/UIPianoPed

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#1365145 - 02/03/10 09:00 PM Re: How do you feel about High School Musical, Hannah Montana... [Re: Kreisler]
Elissa Milne Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/11/10
Posts: 1337
Loc: Sydney, NSW, Australia
That's true regarding what pop performers pay attention to, but most of the sheet music is inappropriately difficult OR simply badly arranged, and either way is not useful in making progress as a pianist. Making progress in enjoying kind-of playing the music you like probably scores a 100%, on the other hand. Once kids are teenagers you end up making a judgment call about whether they actually want to gain skill or simply have supervised musical fun.
_________________________
Teacher, Composer, Writer, Speaker
Working with Hal Leonard, Alfred, Faber, and Australian Music Examination Board
Music in syllabuses by ABRSM, AMEB, Trinity Guildhall, ANZCA, NZMEB, and more
www.elissamilne.wordpress.com

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#1365151 - 02/03/10 09:02 PM Re: How do you feel about High School Musical, Hannah Montana... [Re: Kreisler]
Stanny Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/08/06
Posts: 1461
My students love the music, and I remind them that summer lessons is when we do the "fun stuff." It gives them something to look forward to and keeps them playing through the summer!
_________________________
~Stanny~

Independent Music Teacher
Certified Piano Teacher, American College of Musicians
Member: MTNA, NGPT, ASMTA, NAMTA

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#1365518 - 02/04/10 11:21 AM Re: How do you feel about High School Musical, Hannah Montana... [Re: Stanny]
wavelength Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 340
Loc: Vermont, USA
I think it's corporate trash, designed solely for it's profit to Disney. It may as well be a WalMart or MacDonald's ad jingle.

I teach a lot of pop music. That is, I'm not prejudiced against non-classical music. It's just that this particular pop music has no value to me as a teacher. I actually have the "easy piano" HSM book in my library. Yes, I'm embarrassed to admit that; it was given to me by a student who decided she didn't want to play it, after all.

The piano arrangement is poor, which I often find with Hal Leonard. There is nothing in the arrangement to give useful knowledge or growth in pop playing-styles, or any style for that matter. I actually met a guy who transcribes and arranges pop music for books like that, and he was incredibly boorish and egotistical. It got me thinking that all these books are probably arranged by failed musicians who wish they didn't have a day job (Can you imagine the hell? 8 hours a day transcribing Hannah Montana?).

The melody isn't strong enough to be played on piano.

The harmony isn't strong enough, either.

I would take the book out of my library and put it in the recycling bin, but I'm afraid someone would see it wink

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#1365667 - 02/04/10 03:07 PM Re: How do you feel about High School Musical, Hannah Montana... [Re: Elissa Milne]
MordentMusic Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/12/09
Posts: 56
Loc: Windsor, Ontario, Canada
In my studio, I'm more interested in building a LOVE for music, not just an understanding. You can shove classical down a childs throat all you want and they'll just loathe it, and you, and their parents for making them do this, and they'll want to quit. If I have to slow the learning rate a little because they want to do fun songs, then so be it. Because then they learn to love music. Not to mention, like any subject, you'll try harder to learn something YOU want to learn. Another observation, like someone pointed out, is that all the Hannah Montana and HSM, even at the "easy piano" level, really isn't that easy! There is some merit to learning those songs, they are all a little advanced for the age group that generally wants to play them.
_________________________
Mordent Music - Offering Piano and Music Theory Lessons in Windsor, Ontario

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#1365680 - 02/04/10 03:24 PM Re: How do you feel about High School Musical, Hannah Montana... [Re: MordentMusic]
Elissa Milne Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/11/10
Posts: 1337
Loc: Sydney, NSW, Australia
IF you can get a great arrangement this kind of music is sensational in terms of both motivation for 80% of students as well as being the basis for learning how to play these styles. But the bad arrangements end up discouraging students in the long run..... They are all pumped up for the first two (maybe three) weeks, but then when they've only managed to learn half of the song, and what they can play doesn't sound anywhere near as cool as the music sounds in their iPods then all that enthusiasm dissipates, and the cycle starts again with a new piece of recently popular and poorly arranged music.

It all comes down to having great arrangements that are appropriately graded and matched to the skill set of the student. Otherwise the 'love of music' theory gets trashed in practice (literally).
_________________________
Teacher, Composer, Writer, Speaker
Working with Hal Leonard, Alfred, Faber, and Australian Music Examination Board
Music in syllabuses by ABRSM, AMEB, Trinity Guildhall, ANZCA, NZMEB, and more
www.elissamilne.wordpress.com

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#1366205 - 02/05/10 08:36 AM Re: How do you feel about High School Musical, Hannah Montana... [Re: Elissa Milne]
apple* Offline


Registered: 01/01/03
Posts: 19862
Loc: Kansas
i remember as a kid (studying on my own,age 12 or so). I had books of classical compilations, and I would learn those pieces dutifully. What I really loved was learning pieces from Jesus Christ Superstar, Sound of Music, Mary Poppins and Hair. I saved all my money to buy these books.
_________________________
accompanist/organist.. a non-MTNA teacher to a few

love and peace, Ă•un (apple in Estonian)

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#1366305 - 02/05/10 11:15 AM Re: How do you feel about High School Musical, Hannah Montana... [Re: apple*]
Lollipop Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/28/09
Posts: 820
Loc: Georgia
I still save all my money for those books, apple! smile I do love musicals.

However, my first teacher loved pop music -- or else he thought all kids did. I played an endless array of "Brimhall Piano Series" -- Cracklin' Rosie, Never on Sunday, Baby Elephant Walk (how i hated that one), Yesterday, Windy, Born Free, Wichita Lineman, Spanish Eyes.... I wonder if he owned stock in the company.

And I rarely touched a classical piece. He taught out of Schaum, but I showed up with my John Thompson (my mother had taught me for several years), and at least got a tiny taste of other kinds of music.

I have a young student who thinks she only likes jazz. Her face fell when I handed her a PA classical book two weeks ago, and said we were going to be working in that as well. She came yesterday to lessons, effusing love for The Merry Widow Waltz. Whoda thunk?

I guess I don't really have a point in this post, other than to say, one-sided is probably never a good idea, regardless of the side.
_________________________
piano teacher

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#1366346 - 02/05/10 12:01 PM Re: How do you feel about High School Musical, Hannah Montana... [Re: dumdumdiddle]
Diane... Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/16/06
Posts: 3450
Loc: Western Canada
Originally Posted By: dumdumdiddle
. . .'Twilight'.


Oh I was hoping someone would mention this book! I just love the arrangements in this! It combines classical with rock! Have a look at this book! Just beautiful!

I especially like:

1. Supermassive Black Hole
2. Tremble for My Beloved (classical edge on this one)

Get the music book with the CD. Hal Leonard Piano Play-along.
Worth it because the CD is most enjoyable!
_________________________
http://www.pianoworld.com/Uploads/files/goldsparkledress.jpg
Diane
Jazz/Blues/Rock/Boogie Piano Teacher


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#1366356 - 02/05/10 12:10 PM Re: How do you feel about High School Musical, Hannah Montana... [Re: Diane...]
Diane... Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/16/06
Posts: 3450
Loc: Western Canada
Also just tumbled on to Christopher Norton's
"Rock Preludes"!
Oh, these are really good!

1. Forcing the Pace (this one is my favourite!)
2. Wildcat
3. Jingo
4. Blue Sneakers

EDIT: Should add that Christopher Norton has a "Jazz Preludes" too! I love both books!
And I use Christopher Norton Connections with the younger students Grades 1-8!




Edited by Diane... (02/05/10 12:18 PM)
_________________________
http://www.pianoworld.com/Uploads/files/goldsparkledress.jpg
Diane
Jazz/Blues/Rock/Boogie Piano Teacher


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#1366362 - 02/05/10 12:18 PM Re: How do you feel about High School Musical, Hannah Montan [Re: Diane...]
mattchrisross Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 11/05/09
Posts: 9
Loc: San Diego, CA
Originally Posted By: Diane...

I especially like:

1. Supermassive Black Hole


If you like this song you should definitely check out Muse's first album: Absolution (warning - iTunes link). The piano on that album is amazing. I especially like "Butterflies and Hurricanes."
_________________________
Matthew Ross
Kawai US-6X (photos here)
Played for several years as a child and restarted as an adult in November of 2009

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#1366557 - 02/05/10 04:43 PM Re: How do you feel about High School Musical, Hannah Montan [Re: mattchrisross]
Elissa Milne Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/11/10
Posts: 1337
Loc: Sydney, NSW, Australia
Along the lines of Dianne's post....

Here in Australia there's a composer who does great jazz-style compositions, Kerin Bailey. His stuff is really popular, especially a piece called Melinda's Mini March which is an instant hit.

There's another Australian composer, Sonny Chua, whose work is also very funky, although not everything would be 'jazzy' it is all very appealing.

Matyas Seiber, who died too young back in 1960, wrote stunning little tangos and foxtrots and so forth - each piece is a gem.

And then there's Mike Cornick, Brian Chapple, Manfred Schmitz, Gerard Hengeveld, Terence Greaves, Gerhard Schwertberger and Luis Zett. All of these composers write in a popular idiom and kids who are not so keen on the classical sound really enjoy pieces by these composers.
_________________________
Teacher, Composer, Writer, Speaker
Working with Hal Leonard, Alfred, Faber, and Australian Music Examination Board
Music in syllabuses by ABRSM, AMEB, Trinity Guildhall, ANZCA, NZMEB, and more
www.elissamilne.wordpress.com

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#1366618 - 02/05/10 06:24 PM Re: How do you feel about High School Musical, Hannah Montan [Re: Elissa Milne]
Canonie Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/04/09
Posts: 1941
Loc: Australia
Melinda's Mini March - I haven't come across this one. What book can I find it in and what level of difficulty Elissa? (feel free to recommend your own collections here as we buy a lot of your books smile )

A couple of my favourites-
Brian Chapple's March Hare is a real winner with students - not pop or jazz.
Sonny Chua'a Midnight Snack is a good one too (harder).
Both of these have great contemporary appeal but are excellent teaching pieces for developing pianistic technique.

I like to direct, suggest and encourage the discovery of favourite pop or movie music on their own. Great for holiday exploration. I'll give a little bit of help in lesson time but more happy just to listen to products of student's own efforts and leave them in a rough state. The student learns how to explore music independantly and lesson time is spent developing technique etc using pieces that do this well.

I think if a student didn't do at least some finding, self-teaching, composing, inventing, improvising or exploring on their own it would put piano learning in a very strange relationship with the rest of the creative arts. And yet I once had some lessons with a teacher who assumed control of all of the lesson and practice - the exactly what and which bars and how, in such a pervasive way that the students learned to be dependant, and learned this very well. So the students didn't waste any time going down dead ends and arrived at perfect fingers and perfect reading in as short a time as possible, gathering excellent exam marks along the way. Observing the beneits and costs in a few of her students at different levels has greatly informed my own teaching.
_________________________

Composers manufacture a product that is universally deemed superfluous—at least until their music enters public consciousness, at which point people begin to say that they could not live without it.
Alex Ross.

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#1366623 - 02/05/10 06:31 PM Re: How do you feel about High School Musical, Hannah Montan [Re: Canonie]
currawong Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/15/07
Posts: 5929
Loc: Down Under
Melinda's Mini March is in Jazzin' Around 1. It's on the G4 AMEB syllabus (piano for leisure).
_________________________
Du holde Kunst...

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#1366633 - 02/05/10 06:41 PM Re: How do you feel about High School Musical, Hannah Montan [Re: currawong]
Canonie Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/04/09
Posts: 1941
Loc: Australia
Ta smile

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#1368331 - 02/08/10 12:12 AM Re: How do you feel about High School Musical, Hannah Montan [Re: Canonie]
russmom Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 12/25/09
Posts: 17
Loc: Malaysia
It's inevitable that our kids are drawn to modern/pop music - its all around their environment. I look at the positive side of it - my son is the typical kid who loves his computer games and stuff - yet he is also learning piano and doing well.

A large part of his motivation comes from idolising David Archuleta of American Idol fame, and a very popular American-born Taiwanese pop artiste - Wang LeeHom! He was especially mesmerised that both of them play piano - and really wants to be able to play piano and other instruments just like Wang (FYI LeeHom himself is a trained classical violinist who graduated frm Berkelee NY, and plays many instruments such as piano, violin, guitar, drums, chinese instruments).

So there you go smile
_________________________
homemaker with kids learning piano, and also dabbles a little !

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#1369596 - 02/09/10 03:49 PM Re: How do you feel about High School Musical, Hannah Montan [Re: russmom]
Jennifer Eklund Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/16/09
Posts: 162
Loc: SoCal
I think it's rather sad that many teachers have two classifications of music: "the stuff we do in lessons" and "fun stuff." In my experience you can have both. Learning pop music can be extremely beneficial on many fronts. Yes the rhythms are difficult but kids pick them up easily if they are familiar with the songs. Granted I'm not a huge HSM or Hannah Montana fan but there is good pop music out there. As well, if you suggest that they go learn things on their own chances are they'll spend time learning from YouTube and ignoring their regular assignments!

Why not hone your own transcribing skills and offer a wide variety of music to your students? I'm in total agreement that the arrangements on the market are dismal at best -- this is the result of publishing companies cutting corners and allowing unacceptable transcriptions into the marketplace. But why not teach your students how to transcribe or learn a song by ear? Let's face it there are rarely more than 4 chords in a pop song anyways and it's an excellent ear training exercise.

I think as teachers we need to accept and embrace all that is modern because that is what kids relate to. Isn't the ultimate goal with teaching to instill a love for music into our students? If pop music is what they love then play on!
_________________________
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#1369626 - 02/09/10 04:29 PM Re: How do you feel about High School Musical, Hannah Montan [Re: Jennifer Eklund]
007Pianolady Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/21/07
Posts: 41
I don't ban pop music, but won't purchase bad arrangements to give to a student. There are some good arrangements out there worth playing, and a lot of bad arrangements with ridiculous rhythm notation. I occasionally have a student wanting to be a jazz pianist, so that often becomes a focus by the junior high years to prepare for high school jazz band. I'm more inclined to give a student a fake book chart than a bad retail arrangement.
_________________________
Independent Piano Teacher 1987 (full-time)

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#1370126 - 02/10/10 11:16 AM Re: How do you feel about High School Musical, Hannah Montan [Re: 007Pianolady]
wavelength Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 340
Loc: Vermont, USA
Originally Posted By: 007Pianolady
I'm more inclined to give a student a fake book chart than a bad retail arrangement.


I agree. I think bad arrangements, or sometimes score arrangements at all, do more harm than good for a student who actually wants to learn to play jazz, funk, rock, blues, or just about anything that isn't classical.

I have a pet peeve about transfer students coming to me and showing me the "blues" they played with their old teacher, pages and pages of grand staff notation. Often there is a lame attempt to notate the swing with dotted rhythms. I have to find a way to tell them "that's not the blues; the blues isn't written" without insulting their old teacher.

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#1370461 - 02/10/10 06:07 PM Re: How do you feel about High School Musical, Hannah Montan [Re: wavelength]
Stanny Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/08/06
Posts: 1461
There are very few really good arrangements. One of my high school students is always downloading arrangements of band music, and it's difficult to make a good piano arrangement out of those. I suffer through it....my agreement with them is to learn one pop piece, and then learn one classic.
_________________________
~Stanny~

Independent Music Teacher
Certified Piano Teacher, American College of Musicians
Member: MTNA, NGPT, ASMTA, NAMTA

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#1370824 - 02/11/10 10:04 AM Re: How do you feel about High School Musical, Hannah Montan [Re: Jennifer Eklund]
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7368
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Originally Posted By: Jennifer Eklund
I think as teachers we need to accept and embrace all that is modern because that is what kids relate to. Isn't the ultimate goal with teaching to instill a love for music into our students? If pop music is what they love then play on!


Jennifer, when it comes to modern or contemporary music, I like to differentiate between pop and art music. My students get to play a lot of modern music, modern classical (art) music. One of my students will be playing Christos Tsitsaros' Sonatina Humoresque, published in 2009, in the Sonatina Festival next weekend. This is an upper intermediate level work which is taking some time for preparation.

I do encourage my students to play anything they like after they have completed their practice assignments. And I do encourage them to visit our local music store which is good for both student and the music store.

It's my recollection that children love sugar, candy, staying up late, avoiding bedtimes, watching too much TV, etc. As parents and teachers, we don't really have to feed them that which they will naturally consume. It seems to me that part of our job is to feed them that which they would avoid as "icky" because they are immature and don't know better. Often, they fall in love with it!
_________________________
"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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#1370835 - 02/11/10 10:24 AM Re: How do you feel about High School Musical, Hannah Montan [Re: John v.d.Brook]
Diane... Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/16/06
Posts: 3450
Loc: Western Canada
Originally Posted By: John v.d.Brook
Originally Posted By: Jennifer Eklund
I think as teachers we need to accept and embrace all that is modern because that is what kids relate to. Isn't the ultimate goal with teaching to instill a love for music into our students? If pop music is what they love then play on!


It's my recollection that children love sugar, candy, staying up late, avoiding bedtimes, watching too much TV, etc. As parents and teachers, we don't really have to feed them that which they will naturally consume. It seems to me that part of our job is to feed them that which they would avoid as "icky" because they are immature and don't know better. Often, they fall in love with it!


I just can't swallow that John! You know I love ya right? grin . . . but!

Would just like one book for each grade 1-8 with pop music that we could use in exams! Is that asking too much????

Right now, and I might add, I have bought "all" the required books that we can use for exams. There is "ONE" piece in each book that is a pop piece and that can be used for exams!

Here's the music books I have bought just to get the "one" pop piece out of it!

Starting with the Grade 8 Poplular Selection List!

Grade 8 -
Somewhere - West Side Story Cost of book, $20.00
Star Wars - Dan Coates Popular Music Collection for Advanced Player vol. 3 - cost of book, $25.00
My Funny Valentine - Richard Reodgers Classics - cost of book $25.00
In Dreams - From The Lord of the Rings Cost of book $20.00
Clocks - from Top Hits 2003 - Cost of book $20.00
When Im Sixty Four - Sheet Music Cost $6.00
All the Things you Are - Great Standards - Cost of book $25.00

Each book has the "one" piece in each book required for the exam!

This is just a small selection from just the Grade 8 choice list! I haven't even given the list of books for the Grade 7-1! Each one of those books is in the range of $20.

Can they just make one book with a pop music for "that" grade like they do with the classical pieces that are all "NICELY" arrange in ONE BOOK!

And they wonder why teachers chose to only use the classical pieces in exams!!!!! Who'd be stupid enough to go by a $20 book for just "one" pop PIECE!

ME!!!!!!!!!! . . . Damn rights I'm bitter!!!!
_________________________
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Diane
Jazz/Blues/Rock/Boogie Piano Teacher


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#1370870 - 02/11/10 11:05 AM Re: How do you feel about High School Musical, Hannah Montan [Re: Diane...]
Diane... Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/16/06
Posts: 3450
Loc: Western Canada
And just to add to my point here! here's a story about a 8 year old girl who wanted to play a disney piece! yes Disney!

I had an 8 year old girl. She loves disney! Who doesnt'! I like playing disney pieces!!!!

Anyways, her mother wants her to take all her exams! Great! So she is doing Grade 3! She is not allowed to play pop pieces for the list A B C pieces because they HAVE to be from the CONSERVATORY book! All are classical pieces! Surprise surprise!!! So I give her "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" pieces is in Solo Book - LEVEL 4 of the Alred's Basic Piano Library! It is allowed in the Grade 3 exam . . . But . . . have a look at this piece! Grade 3? So she wants to play it for the exam anyways! She works hard at this 3 page piece! . . . Have to add here that it's WAY harder than the etude "ONE PAGER" pieces from the required classical selection!!!

So she is "thrilled" to play it for her exam! What she didn't know, was that it's classified in the "etude" list and is worth, a whole . . . are you ready for this . . . a whole THREE marks!

THREE whole marks for a 3 page piece? Well this little girl just loved playing it, regardless of how many marks the disney piece was worth!!!!

She got to play the piece she loved!!!!
_________________________
http://www.pianoworld.com/Uploads/files/goldsparkledress.jpg
Diane
Jazz/Blues/Rock/Boogie Piano Teacher


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#1370888 - 02/11/10 11:35 AM Re: How do you feel about High School Musical, Hannah Montan [Re: Diane...]
Jennifer Eklund Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/16/09
Posts: 162
Loc: SoCal
I had an interesting "a-ha" moment the other day.

I was sitting arranging Lady Gaga's "Bad Romance" for some of my students. I'm thinking to myself, wow I have two degrees in music, a bachelor's in performance, and a master's in musicology and I'm arranging Lady Gaga for easy piano and couldn't be happier. I've spent years in school studying "art music" both old and modern and while I love studying the canon, 98% of my students don't. Since changing my teaching focus towards music that kids can relate to I have the happiest bunch of kids who never have to be prodded to practice. The kids are happy, the parents are thrilled, and I feel like I'm making a significant contribution to their lives. ...and surprise surprise, I have an extremely low dropout rate.

Mind you -- I've never done state testing. I did the testing through MTAC when I was a kid and hated the restrictions on repertoire. I wanted to play all the other stuff. I've never had my kids do exams and my kids are just as dedicated to their musical studies as kids who have to take yearly exams. I think it's sad when teachers believe that exams are the only way to measure success and progress.

I'm not saying this is the route for everyone but it has totally transformed my teaching career and my outlook on what's important in a music education.

Just a few weeks ago I had an interview with a 12 yo girl who was feeling really disenchanted by her studies. I had a frank talk with her about why she felt piano was boring. She pulled out one of her lesson books and opened to her latest piece which was called "A Shave and a Haircut," she looked at me and said, "I seriously cannot play this for my friends when they come over." This was a big "a-ha" for me. My students love that they can play radio songs (that sound good) for their friends and it gives them pride in what they are doing.

I realize we all have different types of clientele and for those who love art music -- carry on, I think it's fantastic. For my kids who want to play music they know we will keep forging this path! I think as teachers we need to be open minded about the way in which we can give kids a skillset that they can have for life. Who says that we can't learn about rhythm, reading, dynamics, articulation, etc. through pop music instead of Beethoven? It's food for thought...
_________________________
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#1370896 - 02/11/10 11:41 AM Re: How do you feel about High School Musical, Hannah Montan [Re: Diane...]
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7368
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Originally Posted By: Diane...
I just can't swallow that John! You know I love ya right? grin . . . but!

You can't swallow sugar? I love sugar!

And unlike the food patrol, I eat it when I like it, and that goes for pop music, too. You might not believe it, but I really like C&W and show tunes.

The trouble with analogies is that they are, well, analogies. Never perfect, and always possible to pick apart.

In all my years of teaching, I've never had parents come to me and ask if I would teach their children to play the latest top 20 hits. They all seem to want their children to learn to be able to play proficiently and be exposed to a wide variety of styles, most especially what we call classical.
_________________________
"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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#1370903 - 02/11/10 11:46 AM Re: How do you feel about High School Musical, Hannah Montan [Re: John v.d.Brook]
Jennifer Eklund Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/16/09
Posts: 162
Loc: SoCal
It would be terribly interesting if someone did a study about this looking into students who only learn "classical" music vs. kids who learn a variety of styles. It would be interesting to see who sticks with the piano longer and more importantly who maintains the skill for a lifetime (I mean isn't that the ultimate goal?).. In 16+ years of teaching I've known plenty who have done all the testing, played through high school, and then never touched the piano again.

Again, it just depends on who your clientele is -- different strokes...
_________________________
FREE 90-page eBook of sheet music: www.pianopronto.com/specialoffer

Piano Pronto Music Books: www.pianopronto.com

BA in Piano/MA Musicology



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#1370921 - 02/11/10 12:03 PM Re: How do you feel about High School Musical, Hannah Montan [Re: Jennifer Eklund]
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7368
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Jennifer, we could do the same study with English Lit, Trigonometry, Calculus, Latin, and other sundry studies which are "required" in schools. I'll bet the results would be even worse than for piano! So why do schools and parents insist students learn stuff they will never use?
_________________________
"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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#1370935 - 02/11/10 12:27 PM Re: How do you feel about High School Musical, Hannah Montan [Re: Jennifer Eklund]
wavelength Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 340
Loc: Vermont, USA
Jennifer, I'm in a very similar situation, with a similar approach. It's nice to hear it articulated by another teacher, and in such positive terms. I was just arranging a Taylor Swift song for a 12 year-old girl. She is very excited about it! I think that's even more lowbrow than Lady Gaga laugh I had a great sense of irony as I explained to her that one could play the tune differently to accompany oneself singing, and proceeded to sing the first lines of "Love Story" before coming to my senses and thinking better of it.

But the result is that she has a sense that she can play music that she loves on the piano, that she feels personally connected to.


Edited by wavelength (02/11/10 12:28 PM)

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#1371222 - 02/11/10 07:44 PM Re: How do you feel about High School Musical, Hannah Montana... [Re: Elissa Milne]
CarolR Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/29/05
Posts: 350
Loc: wisconsin
Toejam, I love how expressive you are about HATING certain music. Or should I say "music". This sounds like me talking about Phantom of the Opera. I have almost an irrational hate of it.

I had a student recently dedicate several months to 'Seasons of Love'. It was a stretch, but in the end she did it. I wonder what she got from it, musically. Not really much, except a LOT of counting out loud. I had a hard time really finding much else to teach as I would a classical piece. However, it was a very good boost for her. She worked hard, she accomplished what she set out to do, and she was very proud of herself. Now, I'm hoping she'll come around to thinking that Beethoven is even cooler, and work just as hard at that.
_________________________
Working on:
Chopin: Barcarolle
Schubert: Sonata D959
Rachmaninoff: Daisies
Lutoslawski: Paganini Variations for 2 pianos


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#1371777 - 02/12/10 01:01 PM Re: How do you feel about High School Musical, Hannah Montana... [Re: CarolR]
dumdumdiddle Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/16/06
Posts: 1265
Loc: California
Well, I'm all about BALANCE when it comes to piano repertoire. I think kids should learn classical music as well as pop music. I think they should also have proficient sight reading skills AND be able to improvise and create their own music at the piano. Too many students these days are missing 'chunks' in their musical education. They might play only classical music. They might be able to sight read any music set in front of them but can't plunk out 'Happy Birthday' with a nice LH improvised accompaniment against a RH embellished melody.

I have a group of almost-junior-highers that are really into contemporary worship, so we work on sonatinas, Anna Magdalena's notebook, and then switch to Chris Tomlin, Kutless, and Matt Redman. They're learning how to read lead lines/chord symbols and sing while they play a simple two-hand accompaniment.
_________________________
Music School Owner
Early Childhood Music Teacher/Group Piano Teacher/Private Piano Teacher
Member of MTAC and Guild

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#1371910 - 02/12/10 03:30 PM Re: How do you feel about High School Musical, Hannah Montana... [Re: dumdumdiddle]
Lollipop Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/28/09
Posts: 820
Loc: Georgia
Quote:
I wonder what she got from it, musically. Not really much, except a LOT of counting out loud.


The value of persistence. The feeling of satisfaction after reaching a goal. A spirit of can-do. An emotional connection from mastering a piece she loves. (I know you said "musically" - I'm just pointing out "the things you learn on the way to learning other things," as a teacher friend used to say.)

Good for you, for letting her do it.

Now if I could just figure out how to get my rhythm-challenged student through the quarter and eighth note rhythms of the Harry Potter piece he brought me.... I may be bald before it's done.
_________________________
piano teacher

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