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#1510244 - 09/06/10 05:21 PM Student only likes minor keys.
WinsomeAllegretto Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/18/10
Posts: 828
So I have this teenage student who really likes minor keys. She is a good student and is taking lessons because she is interested in learning to play piano, and not because her parents are making her. She is playing late beginner/early intermediate music. However, when I assign her pieces in major keys, I can tell that she doesn't like them or understand them as much, and she doesn't put as much emotion into it. Is there anything I can say to help her understand why pieces in major keys are important to learn also?

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#1510365 - 09/06/10 08:00 PM Re: Student only likes minor keys. [Re: WinsomeAllegretto]
TheHappyMoron Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/06/10
Posts: 1166
Loc: UK
When i was in my early teenage years i would only enjoy playing solemn or heavy pieces in minor keys, and thought anything that sounded remotely happy was dull! But eventually i changed my mind, and now enjoy portraying all emotions, happy ones even more so!
So maybe only time will help your student understand? Afterall, the best way for someone to learn is for them to work it out for themselves...
_________________________
All theory, dear friend, is grey, but the golden tree of life springs ever green.

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#1510397 - 09/06/10 08:50 PM Re: Student only likes minor keys. [Re: WinsomeAllegretto]
eweiss Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/28/09
Posts: 2393
Loc: Beautiful San Diego, CA
Easy solution ... find works in Major keys that have a sad quality to them. I know they exist but don't know which direction to point you in. Fortunately, many here at PW do. smile
_________________________
Play New Age Piano
http://www.quiescencemusic.com

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#1510404 - 09/06/10 09:02 PM Re: Student only likes minor keys. [Re: WinsomeAllegretto]
danshure Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/29/10
Posts: 347
Loc: Massachusetts
Show her that a Major 7 chord is a minor triad with a different root. For example, E- over C is C Major 7.

Beyond that, I'd find out WHY she likes minor keys and not go with any assumptions. I'd even not assume that its so either/or (major vs minor) - I'd dig a little deeper into her musical interests. Maybe its been a coincidence that she seems to only like minor.
_________________________
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#1510513 - 09/07/10 12:15 AM Re: Student only likes minor keys. [Re: WinsomeAllegretto]
Mermanof83 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/08/10
Posts: 55
Loc: California, USA
Sounds like me. I'm 18 and mostly play minor pieces. I feel that I can connect a lot more, and a lot easier with negative feelings than I can with more positive emotions, and so pieces in minor keys speak to my heart more. Maybe it is just my age, and angst is the cause, but I often hear people my age asking me why on earth I listen to sad music most of the time. Maybe it is just that we intelligent piano students have a different take on things!

Why are pieces in major keys important to learn also? Is there really that much in a piece of a major key that you cannot learn from one of a minor key?

If you can come up with a good answer to that, I'll second the recommendation of major key pieces with a sad feel. They are out there, but for some reason the only thing that comes to mind when thinking of that mood is 'The Rain Song' by Led Zeppelin, as well as a folk artist by the name of Nick Drake...oh well. Good luck!
_________________________
But you can call me Brian.

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#1510692 - 09/07/10 09:35 AM Re: Student only likes minor keys. [Re: WinsomeAllegretto]
wavelength Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 340
Loc: Vermont, USA
Maybe it's because major-key pieces in at the late beginner level really are dull?

What are some examples of pieces that she's doing?

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#1510701 - 09/07/10 09:48 AM Re: Student only likes minor keys. [Re: WinsomeAllegretto]
Piano*Dad Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/12/05
Posts: 10349
Loc: Williamsburg, VA
Liking only minor keys is just so sad ....

.
.
.
.

grin



As a teen, I remember a period when I was infatuated with minor keys. In fact, to this day I think C minor is my favorite key!
_________________________
Grotrian 192 #156455

https://www.youtube.com/user/dhfeld/videos

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#1510718 - 09/07/10 10:16 AM Re: Student only likes minor keys. [Re: WinsomeAllegretto]
cinstance Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/12/09
Posts: 104
Interesting!

My son dislike minor keys, with the exception of minor with sharps. He gets goose bumps listening to pieces in minor keys according to himself.

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#1510735 - 09/07/10 10:52 AM Re: Student only likes minor keys. [Re: WinsomeAllegretto]
Ann in Kentucky Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2647
Loc: Kentucky
Originally Posted By: WinsomeAllegretto
So I have this teenage student who really likes minor keys. She is a good student and is taking lessons because she is interested in learning to play piano, and not because her parents are making her. She is playing late beginner/early intermediate music. However, when I assign her pieces in major keys, I can tell that she doesn't like them or understand them as much, and she doesn't put as much emotion into it. Is there anything I can say to help her understand why pieces in major keys are important to learn also?


You could show her how to transpose to minor as it is simple enough. She'd still learn the pieces.
_________________________
piano teacher

"She played upon her music box
a fancy air by chance,
And straightaway all her polka dots
began a lively dance."
-- Peter Newell

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#1510760 - 09/07/10 11:34 AM Re: Student only likes minor keys. [Re: eweiss]
Andy Platt Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/28/10
Posts: 2375
Loc: Virginia, USA
Originally Posted By: eweiss
Easy solution ... find works in Major keys that have a sad quality to them. I know they exist but don't know which direction to point you in. Fortunately, many here at PW do. smile


The second movement of Mozart's K545 springs to mind ... mostly because that's what I'm working on right now. It has such beauty and pathos that it just has to be in a minor key wink
_________________________
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  • Scarlatti - Sonata in D minor, K. 213

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#1510821 - 09/07/10 01:43 PM Re: Student only likes minor keys. [Re: WinsomeAllegretto]
Elissa Milne Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/11/10
Posts: 1337
Loc: Sydney, NSW, Australia
I don't think it matters in the slightest if your student only learns music in a minor key for the next 12 months!!! There is so much fabulous material in minor keys you can turn this interest of your student's into a real teaching point! Compare different kinds of minor. Compare how Classical minor is very different to Baroque minor. Compare Dorian modes with Aeolian modes. Compare waltzes in a minor key with blues. So many opportunities for exploration!!!
_________________________
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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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#1510825 - 09/07/10 01:47 PM Re: Student only likes minor keys. [Re: WinsomeAllegretto]
apple* Offline


Registered: 01/01/03
Posts: 19862
Loc: Kansas
i agree.. there are some gorgeous works and I don't see how it would affect her learning. I may be a phase anyway, perhaps shortlived.

(I just played 'the Volga Boatman' (a blast from my past) for some reason last nite.. very beautiful.
_________________________
accompanist/organist.. a non-MTNA teacher to a few

love and peace, Õun (apple in Estonian)

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#1510836 - 09/07/10 02:11 PM Re: Student only likes minor keys. [Re: Elissa Milne]
beet31425 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/12/09
Posts: 3728
Loc: Bay Area, CA
Originally Posted By: Elissa Milne
I don't think it matters in the slightest if your student only learns music in a minor key for the next 12 months!!! There is so much fabulous material in minor keys....

I agree too. Not to mention the fact that many minor pieces contain episodes, or whole middle sections, in major keys. So they'll get some major key exposure.

I think it's great to have a student who expresses preferences-- that should be encouraged!

(By the way, I suspect many of us have more of a preference for minor keys than we readily admit. If you look at all the movements in Mozart concertos and symphonies, for example, the small handful that are in minor keys are disproportionally popular.)

-Jason
_________________________
Beethoven: op.109, 110, 111

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#1510873 - 09/07/10 03:18 PM Re: Student only likes minor keys. [Re: WinsomeAllegretto]
wavelength Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 340
Loc: Vermont, USA
I prefer minor keys, without a doubt. Even the major key pieces I'm attracted to have minor elements.

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#1510884 - 09/07/10 03:44 PM Re: Student only likes minor keys. [Re: WinsomeAllegretto]
tangleweeds Offline

Silver Supporter until Jan 11 2012


Registered: 12/21/08
Posts: 1269
Loc: Portlandia
I think it may just be a natural taste, or a natural phase of musical development. Some of us are just a little odd that way.

When I play Irish music, all my favorite tunes are in the Dorian mode, and when I look back at the folk tunes that moved me in the past, most of them are Dorian too. I like natural minor also, but I"m often irritated by classical pieces that use the melodic minor. It sounds whitewashed, prettified, or artificially over-sweetened to my ears. I guess it's just missing that primal modal character which resonates so strongly with me.
_________________________
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neglected piano blog

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#1511245 - 09/08/10 03:01 AM Re: Student only likes minor keys. [Re: Piano*Dad]
ChopinAddict Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/29/09
Posts: 6096
Loc: Land of the never-ending music
Originally Posted By: Piano*Dad

As a teen, I remember a period when I was infatuated with minor keys. In fact, to this day I think C minor is my favorite key!


I love minor keys and have always loved them more than major keys. As a matter of fact, even with other instruments, when I buy a guitar or flute collection for example, I always play minor keys first.
_________________________



Music is my best friend.


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#1511845 - 09/08/10 10:30 PM Re: Student only likes minor keys. [Re: WinsomeAllegretto]
findingnemo2010 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/17/09
Posts: 1491
minor keys have a great feeling to them but so dont alot of major keys like bflat, teach her beautiful songs in major keys maybe like some elton john can you feel the love tonight...those have a lot of feeling and are played major
_________________________
music to me is kind of like putting together pieces of a puzzle
i call it the paino because its where i put all my pain

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#1512068 - 09/09/10 08:20 AM Re: Student only likes minor keys. [Re: WinsomeAllegretto]
TimR Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/04
Posts: 3169
Loc: Virginia, USA
Here's another wacko thought (I have no shortage of these!).

What kind of instrument does she practice on, and how is it tuned?

I mention this because to a person with sensitive hearing, the overtones present can make a difference for what type of chords are consonant, and these overtones can vary.

A short story: The pastor at a church where I played services requested a favorite hymn for his last appearance (he was retiring, not dying!). It was a weird mournful one in a minor key, but it had special meaning for him so I dutifully prepared it. At my low skill level that meant hours of work, and the whole time it was grating on my ears. My digital emulated an acoustic, complete with inharmonicity. It was in tune, and sounded good to my ears on the major key hymns I was playing at the same service, but those minor chords were like pushing on a toothache. (A more skillful player could have revoiced it, but at the time I was doing well to play the simplest close chords.) But I played the service on the organ, and those minor chords sounded great. The overtones, even given an electronic organ, line up differently.

And acoustic pianos vary as well, depending on when they were last tuned, the degree of inharmonicity present, and the method of imitating equal temperament chosen by the tuner.
_________________________
gotta go practice

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#1512356 - 09/09/10 05:28 PM Re: Student only likes minor keys. [Re: Elissa Milne]
casinitaly Offline

Gold Supporter until March 1 2014


Registered: 03/01/10
Posts: 4884
Loc: Italy
Originally Posted By: Elissa Milne
I don't think it matters in the slightest if your student only learns music in a minor key for the next 12 months!!! There is so much fabulous material in minor keys you can turn this interest of your student's into a real teaching point! Compare different kinds of minor. Compare how Classical minor is very different to Baroque minor. Compare Dorian modes with Aeolian modes. Compare waltzes in a minor key with blues. So many opportunities for exploration!!!


Wow... interesting ideas. I think my teacher is going to wonder about where some of my questions are coming from, when next we meet!
_________________________
XVIII-XXXIV
Everything's too hard until you make it easy. Follow your teacher's instructions and practice wisely/much, and you'll soon wonder how you ever found it hard ;)-BobPickle
Performance anxiety: make it part of your daily routine and deal with it...Cope! zrtf90

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