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#1771502 - 10/16/11 11:50 AM progression/level 10 year old
moebo Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/15/11
Posts: 11
I'm looking for opinions. My 10 1/2 year old started lessons at age 8. His teacher uses the Faber books and he is currently in Level 3A. Typically he meets her once a week and she assigns one -- maybe two-- songs for that week. We've had some breaks in lessons with summer/travel et cetera.

Two questions:
a) is level 3A about right for someone of his age? is he progressing normally or slowly?
b) I've noticed that he still doesn't seem to sight read very well. It seems he uses the music to sort of check in. He can play according to the position of the notes i.e. steps and skips. But I don't think he's very good at really reading the music from scratch. Is this normal? If he hears the piece he's usually able to reproduce it using the "clues," then he'll memorize it and then perform it.

Just curious to see if you the above is "normal" for a student entering his third calendar year of lessons (as I said there have been a few travel breaks et cetera along the way)

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#1771531 - 10/16/11 12:40 PM Re: progression/level 10 year old [Re: moebo]
Morodiene Offline
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Registered: 04/06/07
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Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
a) "For someone his age" with the goal of what? Becoming a concert pianist? Learning how to play piano? If the former then he will probably be considered behind other students his age with that goal, if keeping up with the Jones' is what you're concerned with. However, if he does want a career in piano it's not impossible from where he is. He is where he is. There is no set schedule for how quickly or slowly one should learn.

Perhaps the better question is: "Is he doing all that he can to make the most out of his lessons?" Is he practicing daily? Is he practicing efficiently, working on all the things his teacher is giving him? Is he listening to piano music he enjoys (whatever genre)?

b) Your question and description of his reading shows a lack of understanding as to what sight reading is. This is a common mistake. Sight reading is not about reading every note (A,B,C) as you play, but about recognizing patterns and remembering how they are to be played. This means one has to encounter a LOT of different music over an extended period of time. And not just practicing sight reading, but actually learning a lot of pieces. Then when they encounter that pattern learned (let's say, a C major chord in root position) then it is easy to recognize and remember how such a thing is played and how it sounds, making it much easier to play it upon seeing it.

Reading steps and skips is exactly what he should be doing. Yes, he should also be able to read note names fluently, but when someone learns a new piece (sight reading), it is unreasonable to expect them to read every note. It is very hard to do while trying to maintain any kind of steady tempo. Instead, it should be reading patterns coupled with reading a note every once in a while as needed.

I would like to address your statement regarding what seems to be criticism of either your son's progress or the teacher's teaching ability by asking if this is "normal" for a student in his 3rd year of lessons. Actually, he has not gone through 2 years of lessons and beginning on his 3rd. If he started age 8 in September, let's say, and then went through the school year - 9 months - then took a 3 months break, returned in September, another 9 months, and now is on his 3rd September, he's really only had 18 months of lessons. A year and a half.

That does not even include the fact that after a 3 month hiatus - even if practice is enforced - there is a period of 1-2 months where the student has forgotten much of what was learned in the month prior to the break that they need to relearn.

If you really want your son to get the most out of his lessons, please do not put such obstacles in his way like taking the summer off. Even 3-4 lessons over the summer can help if that is all you can afford. If you have concerns about his progress, you should ask his teacher if there is anything you can do to help him.
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#1771542 - 10/16/11 12:59 PM Re: progression/level 10 year old [Re: moebo]
moebo Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/15/11
Posts: 11
I do appreciate your detailed response. I'm sorry if you thought I was criticizing my son or his instructor. As you have noted from my questions, I do not have any musical knowledge or ability myself and thus I was simply trying to learn. In academics, one has tests and grades, and measurable advancement. Without such, it is difficult for me to assess his situation. Should not a parent continually assess their child's activities when making decision regarding time and finances et cetera. Fear not-- we are not set to be concert pianists nor do we care about the Joneses. Yet- I still believe the question is valid for a parent trying to learn more and make sure we are not against a brick wall.

I appreciate your description of sight reading and that is exactly what I needed to know. Thank you.

I did address the questions with the teacher but the answers were far less detailed hence my writing this forum.

I agree with continuing summer lessons and will do so next year. Many Thanks,

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#1771543 - 10/16/11 01:00 PM Re: progression/level 10 year old [Re: moebo]
Kreisler Offline


Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13706
Loc: Iowa City, IA
Sounds normal to me. There's a wide range, of course, but 3A after two years at 10 1/2 years old seems fine.

But you are at a bit of a crossroads. Faber 3A is where students are transitioning from Elementary to Intermediate level literature. Expect to spend more practice time for the same amount of progress. And kids naturally lean on various crutches to get them through - for some it's playing by ear, for some it's being tied to the score and having trouble memorizing. That's natural, but it's also important for the teacher to make sure students don't get addicted to their crutches. It's okay to lean on your strengths and comfort zones, but being 100% reliant on them can stifle progress.
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#1771546 - 10/16/11 01:04 PM Re: progression/level 10 year old [Re: Kreisler]
moebo Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/15/11
Posts: 11
Thank you Kreisler!

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#1771548 - 10/16/11 01:06 PM Re: progression/level 10 year old [Re: moebo]
dumdumdiddle Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/16/06
Posts: 1250
Loc: California
There are so many factors that determine if a student is progressing at or above/below level. From what you've said, though, if he's gone from Primer to level 3A in 2 years, that's pretty good. That means he did Primer, 1, 2A, 2B, and now 3A.

The only thing that struck me in your post is that he's only being assigned 1-2 pieces per week. Does that mean he only has the Lesson book? The Performance book for Faber's Piano Adventure series has wonderful, recital quality pieces in it that my students love There are also other supplementary books that are designed to go with each level (Technique & Artistry book, Theory, Gold Star series, Pop Repertoire, Jazz, etc...).

Also, at Level 2A or 2B I begin introducing beginning classical repertoire.

Of course, it's difficult to fit all that wonderful music into a 30 minute lesson. You might ask the teacher if your child is ready for a longer lesson.
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#1771582 - 10/16/11 01:58 PM Re: progression/level 10 year old [Re: moebo]
Stanny Offline
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Registered: 11/08/06
Posts: 1461
I have some students in the same place where your child is...actually most. But they use all four of the books and are working on one or two from each one, and only if they really like a piece will I have them memorize it and put it on their repertoire list.
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#1771588 - 10/16/11 02:14 PM Re: progression/level 10 year old [Re: moebo]
keystring Online   content
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Loc: Canada
As a parent I would want to ask about goals. Is sight reading a goal? If so, is there something that his teacher wants him to do to get his sight reading going? Has he learned how to practice, and how to approach a piece when practicing? What types of skills is this teacher trying to strengthen, and what does she want him to do at home to strengthen them?

I am a parent but my child is now grown. These are the kinds of things we didn't know to ask.

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#1771604 - 10/16/11 02:46 PM Re: progression/level 10 year old [Re: moebo]
Morodiene Offline
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Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 10766
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted By: moebo
I do appreciate your detailed response. I'm sorry if you thought I was criticizing my son or his instructor. As you have noted from my questions, I do not have any musical knowledge or ability myself and thus I was simply trying to learn. In academics, one has tests and grades, and measurable advancement. Without such, it is difficult for me to assess his situation. Should not a parent continually assess their child's activities when making decision regarding time and finances et cetera. Fear not-- we are not set to be concert pianists nor do we care about the Joneses. Yet- I still believe the question is valid for a parent trying to learn more and make sure we are not against a brick wall.

I appreciate your description of sight reading and that is exactly what I needed to know. Thank you.

I did address the questions with the teacher but the answers were far less detailed hence my writing this forum.

I agree with continuing summer lessons and will do so next year. Many Thanks,


We get several parents that like to come on here and brag about their child under the guise of finding out if they are progressing "well enough" when in fact, they really just want to brag. Thank you for clarifying your purpose and not being one of those parents! Asking questions is very important for a parent to make sure that they are getting what they are paying for. smile

As another poster pointed out, 1-2 pieces at a time really isn't quite enough, but perhaps it is all your son has time for at this point. When I have busy students I tend to give them less so that they don't become frustrated that they cannot get to all I have assigned. However, I do normally give 3-4 pieces at a time, usually 2 that are new and 2 that are being refined. Exposing students to several examples of music that apply concepts learned is very important. Perhaps you will want to ask if your teacher can assign him more, assuming he has the practice time available to handle it.
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#1771605 - 10/16/11 02:50 PM Re: progression/level 10 year old [Re: moebo]
moebo Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/15/11
Posts: 11
Thank you for all of your responses! Yes, he only uses the lesson books but will occasionally add other pieces i.e. patriotic pieces around memorial day; holiday music. I will also ask about using the other artistry and performance books to enhance his learning as the previous two posters mention.
Keystring-- those are excellent questions and I will add them to my list. I think you have hit the nail on the head as I believe I am struggling with defining and measuring "progress." That is a great way to phrase the questions for the teacher and also get something more measurable for me. All and all--I know that he is enjoying piano and for that reason we continue of course. But it's nice to know what goals we can work toward rather than just turning a page each week.

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#1771686 - 10/16/11 05:23 PM Re: progression/level 10 year old [Re: moebo]
Luke in ChiTown Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/07/11
Posts: 96
Loc: Chicago, Illinois, USA
Sounds like your son is making good progress to me. However, I would discuss sight reading with his teacher (in a very non-confrontational way) and communicate how you think this is an important skill that you would like to see him improve upon.

Personally, I think sight-reading is the MOST important SKILL I can teach my students IF my ultimate goal is that they will continue enjoying making music at the piano for the rest of their lives.

I've simply met too many adults who took lessons for eight, nine, ten years, and don't play any more. The reason being- they are poor readers and they don't have very much time to practice. As I see it, for MOST of my students, if piano playing is going to continue to be a part of their adult lives, they had better get to the point where they are able to pick up intermediate level repertoire and play through it pretty well with little or no practice.

Then again, teachers tend to focus on different things at different times during a student's development. We constantly are prioritizing what are the most important things to focus on for the limited amount of time we get to spend with a student each week. Again, it sounds to me like your son is developing just fine. But do make your feelings gently known to the teacher regarding his sight-reading ability. For instance, you could simply ask the teacher if he think your son's sight-reading skills are on par with other students the teacher has taught.
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#1771935 - 10/17/11 01:41 AM Re: progression/level 10 year old [Re: moebo]
AZNpiano Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5278
Loc: Orange County, CA
Level 3A sounds okay, if he plays well and doesn't stumble much. A lot of students start to transition out of method books by this time, and it's not always a smooth transition.

The concept of "normal" is so skewed nowadays, anyway. Let's get beyond that.

Originally Posted By: moebo
If he hears the piece he's usually able to reproduce it using the "clues," then he'll memorize it and then perform it.


Is this your way of saying your son plays piano by ear? A lot of kids memorize their pieces quickly because the pieces are short and easy at this level, but if he over-relies on his ears to play piano (at the expense of actually reading notes), then sooner or later he'll hit a stumbling block.
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#1771938 - 10/17/11 01:51 AM Re: progression/level 10 year old [Re: moebo]
Gary D. Online   content
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 4649
Loc: South Florida
Originally Posted By: moebo
I'm looking for opinions. My 10 1/2 year old started lessons at age 8. His teacher uses the Faber books and he is currently in Level 3A. Typically he meets her once a week and she assigns one -- maybe two-- songs for that week. We've had some breaks in lessons with summer/travel et cetera.

Two questions:
a) is level 3A about right for someone of his age? is he progressing normally or slowly?
b) I've noticed that he still doesn't seem to sight read very well. It seems he uses the music to sort of check in. He can play according to the position of the notes i.e. steps and skips. But I don't think he's very good at really reading the music from scratch. Is this normal? If he hears the piece he's usually able to reproduce it using the "clues," then he'll memorize it and then perform it.

Just curious to see if you the above is "normal" for a student entering his third calendar year of lessons (as I said there have been a few travel breaks et cetera along the way)


What does summer/travel mean? Short time off during vacations, in summer, or summers off AND more time for travel? How many months per year? Or better yet, how many weeks per year does he have lessons?
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Piano Teacher

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#1771940 - 10/17/11 01:56 AM Re: progression/level 10 year old [Re: Luke in ChiTown]
Gary D. Online   content
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 4649
Loc: South Florida
Originally Posted By: Luke in ChiTown

Personally, I think sight-reading is the MOST important SKILL I can teach my students IF my ultimate goal is that they will continue enjoying making music at the piano for the rest of their lives.

I would rate two "skills" as equally important:

1) What another teacher here calls "the quick learn", meaning the ability to master new music very quickly, from a score. That demands very good reading skills. So I agree with you about the importance of sight-reading.

2) The ability to listen to something that does not exist in written form and master it solely with the ear.

For me *personally* it is much easier to teach reading than "playing by ear". I don't have any systematic method for getting people to the point at which they can listen to something and figure out how to play it when it is not written. frown


Edited by Gary D. (10/17/11 01:58 AM)
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#1772040 - 10/17/11 08:09 AM Re: progression/level 10 year old [Re: moebo]
Piano*Dad Offline
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Registered: 04/12/05
Posts: 10297
Loc: Williamsburg, VA
I can't emphasize more strongly the points that Morodiene and others have made about summer. If piano is viewed as a nine month activity, progress will be slower. And the slower the progress the more likely the child is to abandon the activity over time. After all, many kids like to stick with what they're getting good at doing, and treating piano as a seasonal occupation downgrades it.

Here's another way to look at it. Do your children cease to read books over the summer because that's just "a school" thing? Children who throw baseballs outside and tumble in the dirt (as fun and as useful as those activities are!!) will probably not be as advanced academically as the children from families whose parents encourage active reading and learning over the summer. This is a generalization, but I'm confident it's one that is supported by a lot of evidence. Piano is harder to teach oneself, especially at a younger age, so continued formal training in the summer makes a lot of sense if you want them to advance. In my own case, summer was always "Great Leap Forward" time for my son. BTW, he too started in September at age eight!
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#1772058 - 10/17/11 08:34 AM Re: progression/level 10 year old [Re: moebo]
moebo Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/15/11
Posts: 11
I want to thank all of you for your insightful advice. As said, I have no musical background hence these questions. I truly appreciate your responses!

Yes, it's my impression that my son does indeed rely on his ears more than his ability to read the notes. I noticed this as he attempted to sit down and play a fairly easy piece from his brother's book. It was very challenging for him as he did not remember how it went. So while, he learns his new lessons every week very well-- I think it's more likely he does so because he hears it a few it few times with his teacher first. Maybe they wil become his crutch.

I wouldn't say he "plays by ear" though, as I'm not sure of that definition. He cannot immediately reproduce any piece of music just like that. My point was that if he hears it first he can then figure it out using the sheet music for "clues." Then once he figures it out he memorizes it. Then he rarely looks up at the music while playing. As said, these are short pieces. I have no idea how he would handle a longer piece.

You have given me great advice and framing for my questions to his teacher. I think I'm armed with better knowledge, Thank you!

(PS- to answer your question regarding weeks: I would estimate he's had around 70-80 total weeks but that is a mere guess. The teacher travels as well ;-)

(Morodiene- I understand completely. I should have clarified my purpose from the beginning. Just a non-musical parent trying to learn. )

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#1772062 - 10/17/11 08:42 AM Re: progression/level 10 year old [Re: moebo]
moebo Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/15/11
Posts: 11
Yes, I agree completely about summer! The first summer we did take off because we could connect with our teacher. She was out of town the weeks we were in town et cetera. I tried to keep his practice up but I will admit there was a big slide. The second summer we missed only July-- still a slide-- but smaller.

I will certainly make summer a priority though if our teacher is away I'm not sure who to continue without her given my obvious lack of knowledge?

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#1772064 - 10/17/11 08:52 AM Re: progression/level 10 year old [Re: moebo]
moebo Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/15/11
Posts: 11
I should mention that I myself am trying to learn piano. I took lessons in elementary school but only for a very short time (a few months?). I regret that I did not learn. So I do the lessons each week as well. They are challenging for me but I can eventually play each piece. My goal is to simply keep music in the house.

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#1772069 - 10/17/11 09:00 AM Re: progression/level 10 year old [Re: moebo]
Morodiene Offline
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Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 10766
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted By: moebo
I want to thank all of you for your insightful advice. As said, I have no musical background hence these questions. I truly appreciate your responses!

Yes, it's my impression that my son does indeed rely on his ears more than his ability to read the notes. I noticed this as he attempted to sit down and play a fairly easy piece from his brother's book. It was very challenging for him as he did not remember how it went. So while, he learns his new lessons every week very well-- I think it's more likely he does so because he hears it a few it few times with his teacher first. Maybe they wil become his crutch.

I wouldn't say he "plays by ear" though, as I'm not sure of that definition. He cannot immediately reproduce any piece of music just like that. My point was that if he hears it first he can then figure it out using the sheet music for "clues." Then once he figures it out he memorizes it. Then he rarely looks up at the music while playing. As said, these are short pieces. I have no idea how he would handle a longer piece.


This is not a bad thing. A student who has a good ear is much better than one who is primarily a reader but doesn't listen. And I think it is perfectly OK, natural, and actually should be encouraged as a part of getting the student to be a better reader to allow them to hear how the piece goes before trying to play it. They then begin to associate a particular sound with what's written. This is with the goal in mind that eventually they can look at a piece of unfamiliar music and "hear" how it goes in their head, at least in a basic way.

Becoming proficient at reading does take a long time. I was terrible at it as a child and progressed exceptionally slowly, but at some point it "clicked" for me and it will for your son.
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#1772131 - 10/17/11 10:38 AM Re: progression/level 10 year old [Re: moebo]
Piano*Dad Offline
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Registered: 04/12/05
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moebo,

Have you done flash card drills with your son? At some point in his first year or so, my son's first teacher had me work pretty intensively with him to just plain burn into memory the notes of the bass and treble clef up to the line or two above and/or below the top F and the bottom G on the grand staff. The drills became a game. I would time him so see how many he could get right in thirty seconds. In fairly short order he had the bulk of the keyboard fully memorized and his sight reading improved dramatically after that.

In a sense, memorizing the grand staff is to music what the multiplication tables are to mathematics. You simply have to know it instantaneously and with perfect recall. You can't be thinking about it as you play or your music reading ability will be quite compromised.
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#1772167 - 10/17/11 11:59 AM Re: progression/level 10 year old [Re: moebo]
moebo Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/15/11
Posts: 11
This next question will prove my naivety. When you show the flash card, are you asking for the letter name response or the key on the piano response? Both I assume?

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#1772217 - 10/17/11 01:20 PM Re: progression/level 10 year old [Re: moebo]
AZNpiano Offline
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Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5278
Loc: Orange County, CA
Originally Posted By: moebo
This next question will prove my naivety. When you show the flash card, are you asking for the letter name response or the key on the piano response? Both I assume?

I actually prefer to use those flash cards with two notes, and ask students to say the interval (2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th) before they identify the letter names. For the sake of developing stronger reading abilities, intervallic reading (reading of shapes, direction, and distance) is extremely important.

And, yes, I'd ask the student to play the notes on the piano, too.
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#1772242 - 10/17/11 02:11 PM Re: progression/level 10 year old [Re: AZNpiano]
keystring Online   content
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Registered: 12/11/07
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Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: AZNpiano
Originally Posted By: moebo
This next question will prove my naivety. When you show the flash card, are you asking for the letter name response or the key on the piano response? Both I assume?

I actually prefer to use those flash cards with two notes, and ask students to say the interval (2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th) before they identify the letter names. For the sake of developing stronger reading abilities, intervallic reading (reading of shapes, direction, and distance) is extremely important.

And, yes, I'd ask the student to play the notes on the piano, too.

Consecutively? Like if a parent were using these flash cards at home, might it go something like this:
- show flash card
- child names the note(s) [and interval]
- child then plays this note / these notes/intervals on the piano?

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#1772347 - 10/17/11 04:39 PM Re: progression/level 10 year old [Re: Morodiene]
Gary D. Online   content
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 4649
Loc: South Florida
Originally Posted By: Morodiene

Becoming proficient at reading does take a long time. I was terrible at it as a child and progressed exceptionally slowly, but at some point it "clicked" for me and it will for your son.

With just these three things:

1) Reading
2) learning to use the ear
3) Developing really good fingering

ONE always seems to lag behind.

I read very fast from the start, and could play almost anything by ear.

My fingering was AWFUL. wink
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#1772358 - 10/17/11 04:54 PM Re: progression/level 10 year old [Re: Piano*Dad]
Gary D. Online   content
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 4649
Loc: South Florida
Originally Posted By: Piano*Dad

At some point in his first year or so, my son's first teacher had me work pretty intensively with him to just plain burn into memory the notes of the bass and treble clef up to the line or two above and/or below the top F and the bottom G on the grand staff. The drills became a game. I would time him so see how many he could get right in thirty seconds. In fairly short order he had the bulk of the keyboard fully memorized and his sight reading improved dramatically after that.

The problem: if you have a "piano dad" who is really sharp, things just flow. I have one.

I usually discourage parents from sitting in lessons, and after age eight they usually do not WANT to be in them. Children split their attention between me and the "helpful parent", who usually does not understand what is going on.

However, in the case of the "sharp father", I not only let him attend all lessons, I ASK him to be here. He is a baseball coach, and he totally "gets" my strategies. Most likely he would have been a very fine player himself if he had taken lessons himself as a child.

BUT: Can you imagine how far parents can screw up things like flash cards if they use them incorrectly? <wince>
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#1772388 - 10/17/11 05:29 PM Re: progression/level 10 year old [Re: keystring]
AZNpiano Offline
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Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5278
Loc: Orange County, CA
Originally Posted By: keystring
Consecutively? Like if a parent were using these flash cards at home, might it go something like this:
- show flash card
- child names the note(s) [and interval]
- child then plays this note / these notes/intervals on the piano?

You can mix it up, in any order:
1) intervals,
2) letter names,
3) press down the correct keys.

And later on we can add finger numbers, just to reinforce the fact that each note can be played by any finger.
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#1772391 - 10/17/11 05:31 PM Re: progression/level 10 year old [Re: Gary D.]
AZNpiano Offline
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Originally Posted By: Gary D.
BUT: Can you imagine how far parents can screw up things like flash cards if they use them incorrectly? <wince>

Hey, at least they try. I have a few parents who absolutely refuse to try, and their kids are "surviving" piano on their own.
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#1772405 - 10/17/11 05:46 PM Re: progression/level 10 year old [Re: AZNpiano]
Gary D. Online   content
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Originally Posted By: AZNpiano
Originally Posted By: Gary D.
BUT: Can you imagine how far parents can screw up things like flash cards if they use them incorrectly? <wince>

Hey, at least they try. I have a few parents who absolutely refuse to try, and their kids are "surviving" piano on their own.

Parents who won't help with flash cards??

I'd be happy if they helped their kids set TIMES to practice. frown
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#1772408 - 10/17/11 05:49 PM Re: progression/level 10 year old [Re: AZNpiano]
christineka Offline
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Originally Posted By: AZNpiano
Originally Posted By: Gary D.
BUT: Can you imagine how far parents can screw up things like flash cards if they use them incorrectly? <wince>

Hey, at least they try. I have a few parents who absolutely refuse to try, and their kids are "surviving" piano on their own.


I hate flash cards and never use them for anything, yet somehow my kids are quite good at reading music. 8 year old son and 10 year old daughter can even read music on 3 clefs without ever using flash cards. There are other ways to learn than flash cards. My kids know their times tables without using them too.
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#1772424 - 10/17/11 06:11 PM Re: progression/level 10 year old [Re: christineka]
Gary D. Online   content
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Originally Posted By: christineka
Originally Posted By: AZNpiano
Originally Posted By: Gary D.
BUT: Can you imagine how far parents can screw up things like flash cards if they use them incorrectly? <wince>

Hey, at least they try. I have a few parents who absolutely refuse to try, and their kids are "surviving" piano on their own.


I hate flash cards and never use them for anything, yet somehow my kids are quite good at reading music. 8 year old son and 10 year old daughter can even read music on 3 clefs without ever using flash cards. There are other ways to learn than flash cards. My kids know their times tables without using them too.

The point here is that notes have to be learned. How we teach it (as teachers) or how *you* teach it, as a parent, does not matter IF the method being used is working.

For the record, I don't use flash cards, ever. But different strokes for different folks... smile
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#1772680 - 10/18/11 06:38 AM Re: progression/level 10 year old [Re: moebo]
Piano*Dad Offline
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Quote:
For the record, I don't use flash cards, ever. But different strokes for different folks...


Indeed. And you managed to say it without dripping condescension.
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#1772739 - 10/18/11 08:57 AM Re: progression/level 10 year old [Re: moebo]
Kreisler Offline


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Originally Posted By: moebo
This next question will prove my naivety. When you show the flash card, are you asking for the letter name response or the key on the piano response? Both I assume?



Yes. I have students "play and say" the note on the card. I do this for two reasons - it gives me feedback on both naming notes and finding them on the keyboard, and I'm a firm believer in connecting the brain, hands, and mouth together.

A side benefit is that once students are used to saying something and playing at the same time, counting aloud becomes much easier, too.

Also, I believe that flash cards must be timed. I don't use them for recognition, I use them mostly for speed. Far too many people ignore this aspect of note learning. I've found that to be a good reader, a student should be able to go through 30 flash cards in 60 seconds. (Yes, my 10 year olds can do 30 flash cards in 60 seconds.)
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#1772742 - 10/18/11 09:01 AM Re: progression/level 10 year old [Re: moebo]
Piano*Dad Offline
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Another reason why timed flash card drills work for some kids is that it becomes a game.
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#1772799 - 10/18/11 10:48 AM Re: progression/level 10 year old [Re: moebo]
moebo Offline
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I understand some people use flash cards and some don't. "Whatever works..." After reading the interesting discussion above I believe I will add them to my son's practice. I am quite sure he will love competing with his mother in this arena. I'm also quite sure that in no time at all, he will happily defeat me on the timed drills (and-- ah yes-- learn the notes/intervals et cetera at the same time). Thank you to all.

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#1774995 - 10/22/11 03:43 AM Re: progression/level 10 year old [Re: Luke in ChiTown]
landorrano Offline
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Originally Posted By: Luke in ChiTown


Personally, I think sight-reading is the MOST important SKILL I can teach my students IF my ultimate goal is that they will continue enjoying making music at the piano for the rest of their lives.


Personally, I agree 100 percent.

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#1775044 - 10/22/11 09:13 AM Re: progression/level 10 year old [Re: landorrano]
Morodiene Offline
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Originally Posted By: landorrano
Originally Posted By: Luke in ChiTown


Personally, I think sight-reading is the MOST important SKILL I can teach my students IF my ultimate goal is that they will continue enjoying making music at the piano for the rest of their lives.


Personally, I agree 100 percent.


I agree sight reading is important...but The most important skill in piano? I can think of several things that trump that, like learning how to play expressively so that what they feel can come through the piano, good technique so they are able to play whatever they want pain-free, exposure to all styles and different composers so that they can come to love classical music (which I feel is among the most beautiful music around, and which also is the most demanding technically).

Sight reading will help a student learn a piece faster and not get bogged down with reading through something note-by-note slowly. But true enjoyment from playing (IMO) doesn't come from being able to just sit down and play, but to work on a piece, really learn it well and be able to express your own feelings through it. One can sight read expressively, but it's always much more expressive when you don't have to really read it anymore and you can focus on how you want it to sound. I really don't know if it's what I would put at the top of the list.
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#1775190 - 10/22/11 02:37 PM Re: progression/level 10 year old [Re: moebo]
sonataplayer Offline
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I have a question for all of you who have remarked that 1-2 pieces assigned per week is not enough. I have always made it a point to go over each piece I assign to a student during the lesson, so that I am sure that they will practice it correctly and not come back to me next week having practiced using incorrect rhythm, bad fingering, etc., etc. -- all of which has to be corrected during the lesson and usually results in the student needing to spend additional time on the piece.

When you have the students working on four or more pieces at a time, how do you even get through all of them in a 1/2 hour lesson? Or don't you have them play all of them every week.

I had one student come to me recently whose former teacher had assigned several pieces each week. I told him that I usually stuck to one or two, and he breathed a sigh of relief because he said that he often had trouble practicing his pieces correctly with his old teacher because she hadn't taken the time to go over the piece with him before it was assigned.

I've been teaching for 13 years, and I think I am pretty good at running an "efficient" lesson, i.e., keeping the students focused on what we're working on,keeping chatting to a minimum, etc. but I would find it impossible to go over 3-4 pieces during a 1/2 hour lesson. So, I'm really curious as to how you guys do it.

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#1775196 - 10/22/11 02:57 PM Re: progression/level 10 year old [Re: sonataplayer]
AZNpiano Offline
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Originally Posted By: sonataplayer
I have a question for all of you who have remarked that 1-2 pieces assigned per week is not enough.

Of course, it depends on the student! I have some students who can't do much more than ONE freakin' piece (8 bars) per week. I literally have to make sure they pressed down all the right notes before I let them go home and practice on their own (if they practice at all). These are students whose parents also don't take piano very seriously.

The assiduous students deserve more pieces. 7-8 short pieces for them will be just right for a week's worth of work. 3-4 pieces if they are intermediate and above, and obviously they will just work on parts of each piece, unless they're testing.

And then there's a wide range of students between the two extremes. I adjust their workload according to their practice habits and musical inclinations.
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#1775200 - 10/22/11 03:16 PM Re: progression/level 10 year old [Re: sonataplayer]
Minniemay Offline
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Originally Posted By: sonataplayer

When you have the students working on four or more pieces at a time, how do you even get through all of them in a 1/2 hour lesson?


Well, the trick is teaching 45-minute lessons. smile Imo, 30 minutes just isn't enough time to do everything I need to do with a student.
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#1775277 - 10/22/11 05:25 PM Re: progression/level 10 year old [Re: Minniemay]
christineka Offline
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Registered: 06/29/11
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Loc: Utah
Originally Posted By: Minniemay
Originally Posted By: sonataplayer

When you have the students working on four or more pieces at a time, how do you even get through all of them in a 1/2 hour lesson?


Well, the trick is teaching 45-minute lessons. smile Imo, 30 minutes just isn't enough time to do everything I need to do with a student.


I believe in 1 hour lessons past the first year. There's more to piano than just playing it. Ear training, theory, and composition are important too.
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#1775485 - 10/23/11 01:44 AM Re: progression/level 10 year old [Re: christineka]
AZNpiano Offline
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Originally Posted By: christineka
Originally Posted By: Minniemay
Originally Posted By: sonataplayer

When you have the students working on four or more pieces at a time, how do you even get through all of them in a 1/2 hour lesson?


Well, the trick is teaching 45-minute lessons. smile Imo, 30 minutes just isn't enough time to do everything I need to do with a student.


I believe in 1 hour lessons past the first year. There's more to piano than just playing it. Ear training, theory, and composition are important too.


Try explaining this to parents who refuse to pay for anything longer than a 30-minute lesson, even for their kids in Level 5.
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#1775605 - 10/23/11 10:22 AM Re: progression/level 10 year old [Re: moebo]
Minniemay Offline
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I don't offer 30 minute lessons, period. No explaining necessary. They don't get to pick an option that doesn't exist.
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#1775745 - 10/23/11 03:11 PM Re: progression/level 10 year old [Re: Minniemay]
Morodiene Offline
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Originally Posted By: Minniemay
I don't offer 30 minute lessons, period. No explaining necessary. They don't get to pick an option that doesn't exist.


Yup, I agree. Or at least I did when I had more students than I needed and knew if I lost any by changing my policy to not doing 30 minutes lessons I could replace them. Now that I'm starting all over in a new state, I am finding that I have to compromise some things for an economy that is more affected and kids that are even more overbooked.
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#1775781 - 10/23/11 04:39 PM Re: progression/level 10 year old [Re: AZNpiano]
Dustin Sanders Offline
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Registered: 12/11/10
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Loc: US
Originally Posted By: AZNpiano
Originally Posted By: christineka
Originally Posted By: Minniemay
Originally Posted By: sonataplayer

When you have the students working on four or more pieces at a time, how do you even get through all of them in a 1/2 hour lesson?


Well, the trick is teaching 45-minute lessons. smile Imo, 30 minutes just isn't enough time to do everything I need to do with a student.


I believe in 1 hour lessons past the first year. There's more to piano than just playing it. Ear training, theory, and composition are important too.


Try explaining this to parents who refuse to pay for anything longer than a 30-minute lesson, even for their kids in Level 5.


They probably have to get their Starbucks every morning - You know, that coffee adds up.

I wonder, would it be absolutely inappropriate to have in a studio policy ... "The teacher has the full right to trump the parent when it comes to the lesson length financed. If the student is obviously (stress obviously) advancing, then a 30 minute lesson is just no longer practical to piano studies"

Perhaps I should test it out first? smile
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#1775782 - 10/23/11 04:42 PM Re: progression/level 10 year old [Re: Minniemay]
Dustin Sanders Offline
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Originally Posted By: Minniemay
I don't offer 30 minute lessons, period. No explaining necessary. They don't get to pick an option that doesn't exist.


Goodness, I love this!

OR, what I like to do, is encourage parents with very young children to take more than one lesson a week.

I don't understand why one lesson a week is always the 'norm'. Kids go to school 5 days out of 7 and parents think their child can learn successfully only seeing a teacher ONE time a week for only 30 minutes!? It's insane.

I think I'll adopt your idea about not even offering 30 minute lessons soon enough - 6 more slots I have to fill before I really start testing my families to see what I can get away with lol
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#1775812 - 10/23/11 05:43 PM Re: progression/level 10 year old [Re: Morodiene]
Gary D. Online   content
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Originally Posted By: Morodiene
I agree sight reading is important...but The most important skill in piano? I can think of several things that trump that, like learning how to play expressively so that what they feel can come through the piano, good technique so they are able to play whatever they want pain-free, exposure to all styles and different composers so that they can come to love classical music (which I feel is among the most beautiful music around, and which also is the most demanding technically).

I understood "sight-reading" to mean "reading". I have noticed that many people put sight-reading and reading in two different universes, as if there is no connection. In fact, the quicker a student can sight-read, the quicker that same student will read, in general, and that means quicker learning. We can't play music we can't read, unless we are playing by ear, and we can't memorize what we can't play.
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#1775820 - 10/23/11 05:54 PM Re: progression/level 10 year old [Re: Kreisler]
Gary D. Online   content
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Originally Posted By: Kreisler

Yes. I have students "play and say" the note on the card. I do this for two reasons - it gives me feedback on both naming notes and finding them on the keyboard, and I'm a firm believer in connecting the brain, hands, and mouth together.

thumb
I don't use flash cards because I use a keyboard chart, but the real point is what you said above. There are "circles on the page" that have names, and there are "these things we press" that have names. I don't know if I get names from the keys on the piano or from the page, because those two things are linked in my brain. I can't look at a note on a page without instantly seeing the key it belongs to, and that is true just as well for large chords or the sweep of a scale/run.

We all know that when we master these things, we can't name notes at a fraction of the speed that we play them. It would be like reading from a book (language) and trying to spell out every word while reading. It would be absurd. But we as teachers know that all sorts of wonky things go wrong if the names are not mastered and made 100% automatic.
Originally Posted By: Kreisler

A side benefit is that once students are used to saying something and playing at the same time, counting aloud becomes much easier, too.

Again: thumb
And that's exactly what I say to my students if they complain about saying note names will playing either hand alone (as they are mastering the letters). I tell them saying something while playing trains them to be able to say SOMETHING while playing, and I explain to them that this is why it is so easy for them to count. If they are used to saying "F A E G", while playing those keys, it is often easier for them to say "one two three four".

I spend the first 10 minutes of EVERY lesson doing note-name drills, using students music, hands separate, until I know that my students have entirely absorbed the names. But I always let them repeat anything they have played, saying notes, without saying anything, with one condition: if they miss anything, they have to correct it and TELL me what it is. smile


Edited by Gary D. (10/23/11 05:56 PM)
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#1777636 - 10/26/11 04:28 PM Re: progression/level 10 year old [Re: Gary D.]
landorrano Offline
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Originally Posted By: Gary D.

I spend the first 10 minutes of EVERY lesson doing note-name drills, using students music, hands separate, until I know that my students have entirely absorbed the names. But I always let them repeat anything they have played, saying notes, without saying anything, with one condition: if they miss anything, they have to correct it and TELL me what it is. smile


Originally Posted By: Gary D.

That sets up the minor points: every lesson we WILL check the letter names, while playing, of some piece, usually short, LH and RH separate until I am satisified that the notes on the page/keys on the piano are linked and absorbed.

No one gets to pass on that. Not someone seven, and not someone 70.

We WILL count one short piece or one page, every week, until I know that a strong rhythm sense has been absorbed and mastered.

No piece will be started from the beginning until I say so. If I tell someone to play this or that section, or this or that measure, that's what is going to happen.

There are other things like that.


As a parent of a student, pretty deeply involved with my daughter's musical studies, I can't say enough good about this approch. And I am curious as to the "other things like that."

In a number of European countries, including France and Spain, beginning students typically have a half-hour instrumental lesson every week, and two hours of reading class. These classes mix students of various instruments, and often of various ages. These reading classes continue for many years. The students also participate in a choir.

Obviously, these classes aren't limited to simple note recognition.

My 11 year-old daughter is in her 5th year. Among other things they are reading the 3rd-line alto C-clef, the 4th line tenor C-clef, vertical reading and chordal patterns on the grand staff, harmonic analysis, dictations in two voices.

Years ago she learned to beat out the measure with her hand like a conductor while reading, and when there are difficulties in her instrumental lesson ( she's left the piano for trumpet this year, a two or two-and-a-half hour group lesson ) the teacher asks the student to read outloud and/or to sing from the score, notes and rhythm, always while beating out the measure. He insists that the student know what he has to play before he plays it.

Reading classes are mostly in municipal music schools, although there are private studios that have group or individual lessons following this same approach. Most kids who study an instrument with a private teacher eventually enroll in a reading class. It is not rare that parents of young music students enroll themselves even if they do not play an instrument.

I am not sure that there is really a point in recounting all of this. But I have to admit that I am very enthousiastic about the fact that in general reading is given such importance here.

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#1778348 - 10/27/11 07:03 PM Re: progression/level 10 year old [Re: landorrano]
Gary D. Online   content
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Originally Posted By: landorrano

And I am curious as to the "other things like that."


1) No one performs anywhere from memory until they have total success playing in front of people 3-5 times.

2) I don't spend one second drilling from memory until I am SURE that memory is not REPLACING reading. smile

3) I won't teach dynamics until students can play one hand loud and the other soft. (Watch other members stone me for that last statement.)
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#1778428 - 10/27/11 10:02 PM Re: progression/level 10 year old [Re: moebo]
PianoStudent88 Offline
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Gary D, why would #3 be a stonable (stoneable?) statement?
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#1778655 - 10/28/11 09:08 AM Re: progression/level 10 year old [Re: Gary D.]
Morodiene Offline
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Originally Posted By: Gary D.
Originally Posted By: landorrano

And I am curious as to the "other things like that."


1) No one performs anywhere from memory until they have total success playing in front of people 3-5 times.

2) I don't spend one second drilling from memory until I am SURE that memory is not REPLACING reading. smile

3) I won't teach dynamics until students can play one hand loud and the other soft. (Watch other members stone me for that last statement.)


I don't know about stoning, but I really don't understand. Wouldn't you have to teach them dynamics in order for them to play it? Or do you think students naturally come to learn to play forte and piano?
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#1779068 - 10/28/11 07:52 PM Re: progression/level 10 year old [Re: Morodiene]
Gary D. Online   content
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Originally Posted By: Morodiene

I don't know about stoning, but I really don't understand. Wouldn't you have to teach them dynamics in order for them to play it? Or do you think students naturally come to learn to play forte and piano?

Because when BOTH hands play f, it sounds insensitive, all loud. When both hands play p, it sounds timid. When both hands play mf, it sounds average. Since I get to hands together very early, the first thing I stress is how to make one hand loud while the other is soft. Once students can do that, they can do just about anything with dnynamics, because it is really not only harder but also 100% necessary to play anything in a way that does not work.

There are a few exceptions, of course. Now and then block dynamics work well, and I do teach that concept. But not anything subtle. Not cresc. and dim., before teaching balance between the hands. smile
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#1779133 - 10/28/11 10:26 PM Re: progression/level 10 year old [Re: Gary D.]
Morodiene Offline
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Originally Posted By: Gary D.
Originally Posted By: Morodiene

I don't know about stoning, but I really don't understand. Wouldn't you have to teach them dynamics in order for them to play it? Or do you think students naturally come to learn to play forte and piano?

Because when BOTH hands play f, it sounds insensitive, all loud. When both hands play p, it sounds timid. When both hands play mf, it sounds average. Since I get to hands together very early, the first thing I stress is how to make one hand loud while the other is soft. Once students can do that, they can do just about anything with dnynamics, because it is really not only harder but also 100% necessary to play anything in a way that does not work.

There are a few exceptions, of course. Now and then block dynamics work well, and I do teach that concept. But not anything subtle. Not cresc. and dim., before teaching balance between the hands. smile


OK, you talked your way out of stoning there, but I reserve my stone for a later time. :P
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#1779776 - 10/30/11 08:18 AM Re: progression/level 10 year old [Re: moebo]
apple* Offline


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just some thoughts...

i really like one hour lessons and really appreciate parents who recognize that they are valuable.

jmo but i hate the Fabien and Bastien books.. they seem so marketed to make money for the publishers.

I teach from many sources but i am surprised to tell you I really like the Suzuki books for younger students. I don't rely on the CD's.

i suspect my 10 year old will be really great one day.. and i treat her lessons as grooming for her next teacher. She has perfect family support, a knowledge base of performers and composers. I am introducing the notion of composing to her.. showing her how chord progressions can be changed, and showing her how to improvise a melody.. we don't spend a lot of time on this.. I'm just giving her ideas of how to spend 'nonpractice' time on the piano. She came in with a delightful piece of staccato notes in fifths above the chords Dm, Am, Em and Dm.. it sounded so good... and it was so simple. i adore her. Her older sister came back and will restart lessons.

My one problem is that I personally do not like romantic composers.. Debussey and the like. I really should learn how to teach... but there is so much to practice on the organ. i love reading this forum tho.. i learn so much, and thank you.

I personally am certainly not set in stone and have few parameters that i establish for students. they are all different and learn differently. I love it when a student actually starts really practicing because they love it.
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#1779797 - 10/30/11 09:02 AM Re: progression/level 10 year old [Re: apple*]
Morodiene Offline
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Originally Posted By: apple*

My one problem is that I personally do not like romantic composers.. Debussey and the like. I really should learn how to teach... but there is so much to practice on the organ. i love reading this forum tho.. i learn so much, and thank you.

I personally am certainly not set in stone and have few parameters that i establish for students. they are all different and learn differently. I love it when a student actually starts really practicing because they love it.



Perhaps you should try playing Debussy, start listening to his music (and he is considered Impressionistic, which is kind of a style that occurred during the Romantic period), and choose something that appeals to you. Clair de Lune of course is very famous and for a reason, and might be good for you to learn to appreciate. If you don't like something, then that may rub off on your students and they may miss out on learning something they love. There is also Ravel, Satie (take a look at his Gymnopedie), Albeniz, Granados, and even some Grieg has Impressionist qualities to it (like his Nottorno).

I think it's worth the effort to figure out why these are considered great composers. Of course, you're allowed your own opinion, but if it is formed from ignorance of the music out there then that's not really being fair to yourself or your students.
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Petrof 9'2 Concert, Yamaha G3, Roland FP-7, Yamaha MOX6, Kawai MP11

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#1779868 - 10/30/11 11:53 AM Re: progression/level 10 year old [Re: moebo]
apple* Offline


Registered: 01/01/03
Posts: 19862
Loc: Kansas
and you get a red star for that post, Morodienne.

I am playing Clair de Lune now.. just to learn it properly.. I am a baroqist.. (how do you spell that?) .. and i know several Satie pieces, some Brahms and i actually really like Grieg.. i know they are not all romantic per se. I also like Bortkiewics. (?)

My older good student does love this period of music and i need to learn the pieces before i teach them.. so I am working at it.
_________________________
accompanist/organist.. a non-MTNA teacher to a few

love and peace, Õun (apple in Estonian)

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#1779966 - 10/30/11 02:59 PM Re: progression/level 10 year old [Re: apple*]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 10766
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted By: apple*
and you get a red star for that post, Morodienne.

I am playing Clair de Lune now.. just to learn it properly.. I am a baroqist.. (how do you spell that?) .. and i know several Satie pieces, some Brahms and i actually really like Grieg.. i know they are not all romantic per se. I also like Bortkiewics. (?)

My older good student does love this period of music and i need to learn the pieces before i teach them.. so I am working at it.

Oh, then why not listen/look at to Ravel's Tombeau de Couperin? It's Ravel tipping his hat to this amazing Baroque French composer and the Baroque era in general. You also might enjoy his Menuet Antique, also similar to the Tombeau pieces. smile
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Petrof 9'2 Concert, Yamaha G3, Roland FP-7, Yamaha MOX6, Kawai MP11

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#1779993 - 10/30/11 03:54 PM Re: progression/level 10 year old [Re: moebo]
LeaC Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/13/11
Posts: 413
Loc: USA
Although I feel somewhat guilty giving advise behind his teachers back here are some ideas to add.

There are books known as "Notespellers" that you can buy online or at most music shops. They are written for all levels. The neat thing about these worksheets is that you can make numerous copies of each sheet and use it multiple times(alternate sheets)as the student "forgets" the series of notes (Of course, they may start to learn the pattern after awhile.) This may be an unobtrusive way to help your child with his reading. People who tend to memorize quickly and avoid note reading do need special care if they are going to acquire good reading skills. A balance is always what is needed. A good reader needs to be taught listening skills, likewise, a person who tends to play by ear needs to be kept solidly on the path of learning to read well.

As someone who uses the Suzuki method (certified, not just using the repertoire), it became necessary to develop a failsafe way to teach reading. While the ear is cultivated in this method, it is essential to never compromise the student's ability to read. Now, I blend in the Suzuki emphasis on ear development with everyone. So, playing by ear or memorization isn't a bad thing, but it can become lop-sided if careful attention isn't given to reading.


Edited by LeaC (10/30/11 06:15 PM)
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#1780002 - 10/30/11 04:25 PM Re: progression/level 10 year old [Re: LeaC]
Gary D. Online   content
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 4649
Loc: South Florida
Originally Posted By: LeaC

People who tend to memorize quickly and avoid note reading do need special care if they are going to acquire good reading skills. A balance is always what is needed. A good reader needs to be taught listening skills, likewise, a person who tends to play by ear needs to be kept solidly on the path of learning to read well.

thumb
About reading: I have found that the more natural it is for young students to memorize, they more they tend to avoid reading for the simple reason that, for them, memorizing is easier. They develop from the start the habit of deciphering music, measure by measure, line by line, then speeding it up without or almost without the music. The only consistently effective thing I have found to counter this, early, is to give such students one or two new pages each week as a "challenge", to work out at home. Actually, there is another thing: continually bombard them with new music, because these really quick memorizers get things so fast that they may not be reading much at all after the second or third run-through. Transfer students are the most difficult challenge. Often they have become very good at memorizing and no longer think that reading is even a useful skill.

About developing the ear: it is terribly neglected by *some* teachers who stress reading but who do not the WHYS of how music is made. smile
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#1780098 - 10/30/11 07:25 PM Re: progression/level 10 year old [Re: Morodiene]
apple* Offline


Registered: 01/01/03
Posts: 19862
Loc: Kansas
Originally Posted By: Morodiene
Oh, then why not listen/look at to Ravel's Tombeau de Couperin smile


will do thanks
_________________________
accompanist/organist.. a non-MTNA teacher to a few

love and peace, Õun (apple in Estonian)

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#1780101 - 10/30/11 07:26 PM Re: progression/level 10 year old [Re: moebo]
apple* Offline


Registered: 01/01/03
Posts: 19862
Loc: Kansas
I give my students quarters for keeping their eyes on the page.

100%!

they love it.

I'm not so rich tho.
_________________________
accompanist/organist.. a non-MTNA teacher to a few

love and peace, Õun (apple in Estonian)

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#1780114 - 10/30/11 07:44 PM Re: progression/level 10 year old [Re: Gary D.]
LeaC Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/13/11
Posts: 413
Loc: USA
Originally Posted By: Gary D.
Originally Posted By: LeaC

People who tend to memorize quickly and avoid note reading do need special care if they are going to acquire good reading skills. A balance is always what is needed. A good reader needs to be taught listening skills, likewise, a person who tends to play by ear needs to be kept solidly on the path of learning to read well.

thumb
About reading: I have found that the more natural it is for young students to memorize, they more they tend to avoid reading for the simple reason that, for them, memorizing is easier. They develop from the start the habit of deciphering music, measure by measure, line by line, then speeding it up without or almost without the music. The only consistently effective thing I have found to counter this, early, is to give such students one or two new pages each week as a "challenge", to work out at home. Actually, there is another thing: continually bombard them with new music, because these really quick memorizers get things so fast that they may not be reading much at all after the second or third run-through. Transfer students are the most difficult challenge. Often they have become very good at memorizing and no longer think that reading is even a useful skill.

About developing the ear: it is terribly neglected by *some* teachers who stress reading but who do not the WHYS of how music is made. smile




Agreed, Gary. I myself wish that I could be better at teaching ear skills.
_________________________
Working on: Reworking Bartok's Suite Opus 14, Chopin's Polonaise Op.40, The Military (so much fun!)

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#1780278 - 10/31/11 01:11 AM Re: progression/level 10 year old [Re: LeaC]
AZNpiano Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5278
Loc: Orange County, CA
Originally Posted By: LeaC
There are books known as "Notespellers" that you can buy online or at most music shops. They are written for all levels. The neat thing about these worksheets is that you can make numerous copies of each sheet

Actually, unless the writers stipulate in writing that you have their permission to make copies, you can't copy note spellers. To circumvent that, I make my own note spellers.

But you are absolutely right about those weak readers.
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#1780288 - 10/31/11 02:06 AM Re: progression/level 10 year old [Re: AZNpiano]
Gary D. Online   content
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 4649
Loc: South Florida
Originally Posted By: AZNpiano
Originally Posted By: LeaC
There are books known as "Notespellers" that you can buy online or at most music shops. They are written for all levels. The neat thing about these worksheets is that you can make numerous copies of each sheet

Actually, unless the writers stipulate in writing that you have their permission to make copies, you can't copy note spellers. To circumvent that, I make my own note spellers.

But you are absolutely right about those weak readers.

I would argue that there is a common sense factor here.

I would not make copies of anything that is copyrighted. But if a student, for example, or a student's parents copies pages from a note-speller so that their son or daughter can do the page more than once, I certainly would have no objection. smile

(By the way, I also do all my own materials...)
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Piano Teacher

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#1780486 - 10/31/11 12:48 PM Re: progression/level 10 year old [Re: Gary D.]
LeaC Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/13/11
Posts: 413
Loc: USA
Originally Posted By: Gary D.
Originally Posted By: AZNpiano
Originally Posted By: LeaC
There are books known as "Notespellers" that you can buy online or at most music shops. They are written for all levels. The neat thing about these worksheets is that you can make numerous copies of each sheet

Actually, unless the writers stipulate in writing that you have their permission to make copies, you can't copy note spellers. To circumvent that, I make my own note spellers.

But you are absolutely right about those weak readers.

I would argue that there is a common sense factor here.

I would not make copies of anything that is copyrighted. But if a student, for example, or a student's parents copies pages from a note-speller so that their son or daughter can do the page more than once, I certainly would have no objection. smile

(By the way, I also do all my own materials...)


I also avoid making copies. I should have said that 1) I meant for the person to make copies from their own purchased book (not mine), and 2) I have a nice collection of notespellers that are copywrite free, some of which were purchased at Friendship House, some from other sources.
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Working on: Reworking Bartok's Suite Opus 14, Chopin's Polonaise Op.40, The Military (so much fun!)

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#1781170 - 11/01/11 02:18 PM Re: progression/level 10 year old [Re: LeaC]
LeaC Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/13/11
Posts: 413
Loc: USA
Folks, I am really overwhelmed right now, and need to proof my posts. I can't believe I spelled copyright incorrectly. Excuse me until I get some things sorted out that are weighing heavily on me at the moment.
_________________________
Working on: Reworking Bartok's Suite Opus 14, Chopin's Polonaise Op.40, The Military (so much fun!)

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#1781640 - 11/02/11 09:41 AM Re: progression/level 10 year old [Re: moebo]
apple* Offline


Registered: 01/01/03
Posts: 19862
Loc: Kansas
it's copywrite.. ha ah
_________________________
accompanist/organist.. a non-MTNA teacher to a few

love and peace, Õun (apple in Estonian)

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#1781901 - 11/02/11 06:03 PM Re: progression/level 10 year old [Re: apple*]
LeaC Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/13/11
Posts: 413
Loc: USA
At this point, I'm too busy to care!
_________________________
Working on: Reworking Bartok's Suite Opus 14, Chopin's Polonaise Op.40, The Military (so much fun!)

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