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#1956133 - 09/08/12 09:20 PM "boy music" help for new student
missbelle Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/24/12
Posts: 84
Loc: USA
Hello all!

I am beginning my third year teaching piano after school at a private school, and mostly have had beginners.
I generally use Faber and Faber, but toss in a mix of just about anything, and have done some of my own arranging for hymns for young children. Theory and understanding what and why is huge with me, as I missed out as a student until college, then, Ouch!! I also give stickers and use colored pencils for fun. smile

Anyway, here is an e-mail from a new mom-(boy is 4th grade)

(I ask my students, new and returning, to bring to the first lesson a written answer to the question, "Why I am taking piano lessons.")

MissBelle,

Now that I know when and where I thought I would give you a head's up on something. I fear child's response as to why he is taking piano lessons will be because his parents are making him. And that would be true. He has taken lessons since he was 4 years old at his previous school. He was ready to quit about a year ago but we changed teachers and she motivated him through some more challenging "boy" type of music and her obvious love of piano. Child is pretty good in our opinion although neither Child's father nor I are musically trained. Child has two older brothers and we have typically been a "sports" family. However, we are trying to change this with Child and are viewing music lessons as part of Child's education whether he really enjoys it or not. Child is very involved in sports and Boy Scouts and prefers those....I'm not trying to paint a bleak picture for you but just to be honest so we can partner together to try to motivate him the best we can. We did let him take the summer off even though I know that's not ideal but with our move and the accompanying stress, we thought the break might help for fall piano lessons. We look forward to meeting you and will welcome feedback. We hope and pray that God will use you to motivate Child to gain a greater appreciation for his gift. Thank you in advance. Hope you a great weekend......mom's first name

So forumites,
any suggestions? I have used Faber and Faber's supplemental books for fun music, and I could see if he is ready for ragtime.

My own son is active in Boy Scouts and is a black belt in karate, yet still plays trumpet in jazz band and wants to dabble in music in college, even, so I could try that friendly push/angle. (Think Rice Owl's MOB)

I am afraid that I may be caught in a battle, like the student who HAS to take two years of a foreign language in high school, but barely eeks out a passing grade and never looks back.

I can toss in studies of great composers and some music history, and find what style of music he enjoys, but if he still needs to work on some fundamentals, this may be tough year!

Thanks for any input!

Please and thank-you!!!


Edited by missbelle (09/08/12 09:21 PM)
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#1956138 - 09/08/12 09:43 PM Re: "boy music" help for new student [Re: missbelle]
Para Otras Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/28/12
Posts: 309
http://www.teachpianotoday.com/piano-music-for-boys/

I thought this was a very clever series with good music.

Other than that, it will really depend on speaking to the boy and discovering what he loves to play. If classical does not fit, stick to blues and jazz. If those don't do anything, find rags or pop songs or even simplified video game music.

If there were a simple answer to this question, every kid would be a musician and a good student. But unfortunately, it just takes experimenting!

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#1956152 - 09/08/12 10:26 PM Re: "boy music" help for new student [Re: missbelle]
LadyChen Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/25/12
Posts: 521
Loc: Canada
I just picked this up to try out with one of my boy students:
http://www.sheetmusicplus.com/title/5-Finger-Movie-Heroes/19120993#

It comes in a harder version as well.

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#1956157 - 09/08/12 10:44 PM Re: "boy music" help for new student [Re: missbelle]
missbelle Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/24/12
Posts: 84
Loc: USA
Thank-you, oh wise forumites!

the five finger music may be too simple, if he has been taking for six years and his parents think he is "pretty good" and "ready for challenging stuff." I will determine at the first lesson if he can recognize his notes and what music vocabulary he understands, or if he is playing by ear and memorizing without knowing what he is doing.

If he knows about key signatures, and understands the circle of 5ths, I might just swoon!

Somewhere in the middle and I think I will be ok, but either way, I am off to the music store before the first lesson, to gather a sampling in general, and then again afterwards to really buy! I have more music in boxes than would fit into a small car, but none of it is specific and current "boy" stuff, unless you count supplemental materials to regular lesson books.

Video games...shudder...well, if that is what it takes, so be it...!!
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Learning as I teach.

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#1956158 - 09/08/12 10:45 PM Re: "boy music" help for new student [Re: missbelle]
Gary D. Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 4649
Loc: South Florida
Quick thoughts:

I use basically the same materials for little kids, big kids, young adults and old adults. Music is music, and I don't see a problem. But I write my own materials, so there are no "cute pictures", and nothing is dumbed down.

The thing that seems to unify all my students is the potential to make up their own music, and my personal way of handling this at this time is to do a lot of chords.

I start out ASAP with major and minor chords in all keys, push through to other chords, and with that we are covered. The same basic chords are in church music, classical, blues, rock, pop, movie music, anime music - and on and on and on.

When I started to teach today, and adult student, who I am pushing very hard on reading basics (his weakness) was improving away on sor of 50s or 60s rock progression with a good rhythm in the LH. I didn't teach him that. I just taught him the chords and told him to use them in ANY way he wants. And what I heard was really good.

So if you mix traditional concepts, reading, major scales, all that stuff with the idea that chords are the unifying factor - or one - it gives young, talented students the message that they are not LIMITED to only what we are teaching.

That's a huge, powerful message. I wish I had started doing this a long time ago. It really makes a difference.

As for "boys' music", I liked things that were powerful, lots of emotion, but that was Beethoven one minute and ANYTHING else the next. The trick is matching the music to the emotional nature of the person.
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#1956168 - 09/08/12 11:23 PM Re: "boy music" help for new student [Re: missbelle]
Jeff Clef Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/05/08
Posts: 4394
Loc: San Jose, CA
There are songs they sing in the Scouts--- I think there could even be a merit badge for music. Well, why not--- it motivates scouts to do other things, and there seem to be more these days than when I was a boy scout (yes, it was a very long time ago). Then there's the theme music to the Superbowl and the Olympics; various sports teams have their theme songs. Movie soundtracks (and some very talented musicians working on some of them). There could be plenty of fodder to appeal to a boy of that age, especially if he finds out other kids think what he plays is relevant to their lives and interests.

In the end, I suspect Gary's approach is the soundest pedagogy, but if stuff like this keeps him going...
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#1956178 - 09/08/12 11:59 PM Re: "boy music" help for new student [Re: missbelle]
Amy B Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/23/12
Posts: 78
Loc: San Francisco Bay Area
There is a whole book of piano pieces from the video game Mario. It comes in easy and more difficult versions. Before jumping to conclusions, I believe Piano Street did a little blog about it maybe a year back and had good things to say about it! I have the more difficult version and kids love it when I play pieces from there! I have also taught them some of the easier melodies.

If he's into Mario, he would love it.
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#1956308 - 09/09/12 10:08 AM Re: "boy music" help for new student [Re: missbelle]
Mrs. Akers Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/03/12
Posts: 42
Loc: Kansas
You might like to check out Tim Topham's website (timtopham.com), "Connections" by Christoper Norton (christophernortonconnections.com), and Jerald Simon's website (musicmotivation.com). All have good quality pieces specifically targeted for boys, and you'll find a good variety of skill levels among them.

I'm guessing his mother is going to be very supportive. You might suggest to her that she invest in some good CDs and listen to lots of excellent music in their home and car. Also, to attend live concerts. Those efforts might contribute to cultivating the boy's musical tastes.

I have an 18-year-old son -- weight lifter, loves bull riding, masculine in every possible way. He is an accomplished violinist, practices four hours a day, plays in a community orchestra and two symphony orchestras, teaches piano and violin, and can't get enough of classical music. When our children were small, we immersed them in classical music and went to every live performance we could.

I have an article on why the study of music is essential, not optional for Christian children. If it's kosher to share your address with me here, I'd be happy to send it to you.

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#1956487 - 09/09/12 03:33 PM Re: "boy music" help for new student [Re: Mrs. Akers]
Gary D. Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 4649
Loc: South Florida
Originally Posted By: Mrs. Akers

I have an article on why the study of music is essential, not optional for Christian children. If it's kosher to share your address with me here, I'd be happy to send it to you.

Why specifically for Christian children? smile

Why not essential for all children?
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#1956545 - 09/09/12 05:44 PM Re: "boy music" help for new student [Re: missbelle]
Jeff Clef Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/05/08
Posts: 4394
Loc: San Jose, CA
If you've ever heard members of a congregation heartily mangling a hymn tune, you'll know why Mrs. Akers recommends a little training. Besides, it's very common for a young singer to injure the voice through a bad technique, when only a little understanding would help so much.

But I agree, this would be good for all kids. Music helps the brain, as well as the spirit; it does not recognize denominational affiliation. And who knows, some will discover a talent or a love which they might otherwise have neglected.

Our local weatherman once remarked that he wished he could sing. "Guys that can sing always get the girls," he remarked. And what does that have to do with the weather report, I wondered. Anyway, one more thing for the OP's son to register in thought. He may be a little young now, but one day it could come to the surface.
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#1956550 - 09/09/12 05:54 PM Re: "boy music" help for new student [Re: Gary D.]
Mrs. Akers Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/03/12
Posts: 42
Loc: Kansas
Very good question! And I agree, that music should not be considered an extra-curricular, or elective subject, as it so often is. But this particular article speaks of the many exhortations in Scripture to use music, especially in worship, thus emphasizing that music is vital in the life of a person who is seeking to fully honor God. Since the original post included a desire on the part of the mother to fully cultivate the child's God-given gift, it seemed appropriate to mention it. Non-believers might not be interested in those specific reasons to encourage children to pursue music.

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#1956568 - 09/09/12 06:55 PM Re: "boy music" help for new student [Re: missbelle]
ymapazagain Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/15/11
Posts: 65
Loc: Hobart, Australia
I second the Mario book - I have both the easy and advanced version and there are some great tunes, the first in the book being the most popular and most fun!

I also second Christopher Norton, he has so many great driving jazz/rock pieces that boys love.
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#1956572 - 09/09/12 06:57 PM Re: "boy music" help for new student [Re: missbelle]
LadyChen Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/25/12
Posts: 521
Loc: Canada
Our own Nicolas Sideris has an intermediate collection that I think would be appealing to boys.

http://www.musica-ferrum.com/catalog/viewitem.php?show=4

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#1956579 - 09/09/12 07:30 PM Re: "boy music" help for new student [Re: missbelle]
Theme&Variations Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/19/10
Posts: 135
Loc: Melbourne, Australia
Where can one find this book of computer game music? smile
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Member:
ASME (Australian Society for Music Education),
ANZCA (Australian and New Zealand Cultural Arts),
KMEIA (Kodály Music Education Institute of Australia).

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#1956608 - 09/09/12 08:24 PM Re: "boy music" help for new student [Re: missbelle]
LadyChen Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/25/12
Posts: 521
Loc: Canada

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#1956629 - 09/09/12 09:22 PM Re: "boy music" help for new student [Re: missbelle]
ymapazagain Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/15/11
Posts: 65
Loc: Hobart, Australia
They've done The Legend of Zelda too! Nice! I know some students who are going to go nuts for Ocarina of Time.
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Private Piano and Vocal Teacher.

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#1956661 - 09/09/12 10:21 PM Re: "boy music" help for new student [Re: missbelle]
Jeff Clef Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/05/08
Posts: 4394
Loc: San Jose, CA
There is no denying that, if the boy's family are churchgoers, opportunities are there for musical development. So it has been throughout history. Well, not the Puritans (one of those guys bought a church organ--- so they could throw the sinful instrument into Boston Harbor)! But, think of what it might have been like to have played or sung in the church were Bach was music master. Singing the chorales in choir was how I found out there was a Bach.

There are secular choruses, if a church setting does not suit. These days, the organ--- king of instruments, according to Mozart--- is no longer considered an agent of sin. And who harbors more of them than churches--- we have to give them their due.

Our choir's accompanist was my first piano teacher.
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Clef


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#1957201 - 09/10/12 11:34 PM Re: "boy music" help for new student [Re: ymapazagain]
Barb860 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/11/09
Posts: 1644
Loc: northern California
Originally Posted By: ymapazagain
I second the Mario book - I have both the easy and advanced version and there are some great tunes, the first in the book being the most popular and most fun!

I also second Christopher Norton, he has so many great driving jazz/rock pieces that boys love.


Yes! "Night Train" is great fun. Recommended by Ann in Kentucky....thanks Ann!
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#1957210 - 09/11/12 12:07 AM Re: "boy music" help for new student [Re: LadyChen]
Nikolas Online   content
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 4994
Loc: Europe
Originally Posted By: LadyChen
Our own Nicolas Sideris has an intermediate collection that I think would be appealing to boys.

http://www.musica-ferrum.com/catalog/viewitem.php?show=4
Thank you for mentioning Sketch Music, LadyChen!

There's a lovely review, by Luke Bartolomeo, which can be found here: http://www.repertoirereview.com/cms2/nod...tm_medium=email

And it includes a performance of 4 of the works.

For some previewing and pre-listening there are also a couple of videos available.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DeTFz-6G-SY

and

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_tMBOVFIMx8

Again thank you for mentioning me, LadyChen. I appreciate it!
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#1957264 - 09/11/12 03:40 AM Re: "boy music" help for new student [Re: missbelle]
ezpiano.org Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/10/11
Posts: 958
Loc: Irvine, CA
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#1957474 - 09/11/12 02:24 PM Re: "boy music" help for new student [Re: missbelle]
missbelle Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/24/12
Posts: 84
Loc: USA
OP here-

I meet the student tomorrow (Wednesday) so I will find out then what he can do and expects to get out of lessons.

I have visited several of the sites and series mentioned here, and feel more confident that I can find music he would enjoy. THANK-YOU for helping me!!

Now, if he is DONE with piano, and mom is just dragging him, that is going to be my own struggle. I have worked with kids for over 20 years (choir, preschool, general music, sub K-12, church volunteer, own kids, etc...) so I can try different approaches. I just had no idea what "boy music" path to take!

Most of my piano students are just a few years in or beginners or girls, or motivated, and this may be my first "I am DONE" student.

Well, I had one before, but he was struggling with naming notes and never practiced, and could not play by ear, so I just turned lessons into the one time a week he worked at a piano. I got paid to guide a once a week for 30 minutes practice session. His mom claimed they were too busy to practice, "what can ya'do?"

Hopefully I can re-motivate this "new" old student.

I will let you know what happens!
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Learning as I teach.

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#1959771 - 09/16/12 05:00 PM Re: "boy music" help for new student [Re: missbelle]
missbelle Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/24/12
Posts: 84
Loc: USA
UPDATE:

He is a sweet boy and can play rather well and was excited to be beginning again!

He has memorized past songs well, and kind of knows what the musical notations are, but has had NO theory.
So he can sight read to a point, but does not know why he is doing something, or what it is called.

I am going to start him in a theory book a level under his playing ability, to build his confidence. If all goes as planned, once he gets the words to what his fingers are already doing, he should evening out his abilities with his aptitude.

Also, he had no technique/drills/warm-ups/artistry books, mostly just performance books.

I am going to re-open his little used lesson book and reinforce what he has been doing in the coordinated performance book. I am going to add daily technique/drills/warm-ups/artistry practice.

It seems the past teacher really pushed him to "enjoy" playing, but now he needs the fundamentals.

Just because you can read (insert writer's name) does not mean you understand it. And it helps to discuss it, study it, read it again, and review it to know what the purpose is of the writing.

So, I will be taking a child that can read, and hopefully turn him into an reader!

I did find some fun music-he thought it was funny when the first piece he pulled out to play for me was a piece I had in my reserve bag for him. I made an educated guess, and so far, so good!

Thanks, everyone! I printed out some of the books/series suggestions for future use.
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Learning as I teach.

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#1960929 - 09/18/12 11:37 PM Re: "boy music" help for new student [Re: Mrs. Akers]
timtopham Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/07/10
Posts: 110
Loc: Brunswick, VIC
Originally Posted By: Mrs. Akers
You might like to check out Tim Topham's website (timtopham.com), "Connections" by Christoper Norton (christophernortonconnections.com), and Jerald Simon's website (musicmotivation.com). All have good quality pieces specifically targeted for boys, and you'll find a good variety of skill levels among them.


Thanks for the referral Mrs Akers, and great to hear things have been going well so far with your new student. I've written a number of blog posts about good music for boys which you might like to check out. A number of the suggestions have been mentioned, but there's plenty more great music out there. Also get on youtube as much as you can - it's a great place to get new ideas smile
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www.timtopham.com
Piano teacher, accompanist, presenter
Melbourne Australia

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#1960997 - 09/19/12 05:22 AM Re: "boy music" help for new student [Re: missbelle]
Bobpickle Offline

Gold Supporter until July 10  2014


Registered: 05/24/12
Posts: 1370
Loc: Cameron Park, California
Originally Posted By: missbelle
Video games...shudder...well, if that is what it takes, so be it...!!




I don't know about "boys" his age, but if his generation is anything like mine (early 90's child), then there's likely a long list of video game music pieces he could jot out that he likes. Fortunately enough, we now live in a time where transcriptions of most, if not all, of the more popular pieces exist in one format, if not several, often easily downloadable moments after searching on google.

As for your shuddering, surely you can find some musical value in these examples of mere "video game pieces"



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#1961091 - 09/19/12 12:03 PM Re: "boy music" help for new student [Re: missbelle]
dumdumdiddle Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/16/06
Posts: 1250
Loc: California
I just gave an 'easy piano' book of "The Legend of Zelda" published by Alfred to two boys. They love it.

Also, I copied a list of 'boy music' from another piano site for my reference. Here it is:

Midnight Chase by Christopher Goldston (FJH)
Agent X by Melody Bober (FJH)
Gypsy Earrings (Adams/Belwin)
Flaming Tambourines/Noona
Hopak/Nevin
Night Train/C. Goldston/Alfred,
Prelude No. 2 Miller/FJH,
Wild West/Brown/FJH
Russian Soldiers Story/Brown/FJH
The High Point Toccata (Robert Vandall) Myklas Press
White Heat (Robert Vandall) Myklas Press
FJH Piano Literature Books - try the Early Intermediate; Encore Book 1
Jump Around Rag ~ Boyd (Level 4)
Bill Boyd's Jazz Delights
Perpetual Motion (Vandall)
Eye of the Storm (Vandall)
Timeline Adventure (Vandall)
Jump Around Rag ~ Boyd (Level 4) Hal Leonard
Mission Impossible ~ arr. Kern (Level 5) Hal Leonard

Some of these I've used but most I haven't.

I would also suggest books by Dennis Alexander.
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#1961403 - 09/20/12 04:40 AM Re: "boy music" help for new student [Re: missbelle]
Theme&Variations Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/19/10
Posts: 135
Loc: Melbourne, Australia
These all sound great for boys *and* for girls!
[/woman who loved playing 'boy' music as a kid]
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Member:
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ANZCA (Australian and New Zealand Cultural Arts),
KMEIA (Kodály Music Education Institute of Australia).

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