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#1973067 - 10/14/12 09:07 AM still unsure with tiger cub
ten left thumbs Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/22/09
Posts: 3336
Loc: Scotland
I would appreciate more thoughts and reflections on my situation with a talented young student.

Background: seven years old, did ABRSM grade 2 a year ago with distinction, moved to the UK, just started with me. Poor at reading. We have now had 4 lessons. My original plan was to teacher her Minuet in G by rote, and work on the reading separately.

What I have discovered:

It's a lot harder to teach by rote than I thought. She insists on playing from the beginning and seems unable to follow if we try to start from the 'c' (which is understandable given she can't read the C). Our progress is very slow.

She really truly can't read and we need to start from scratch. Four lessons in we still can't easily tell a middle C from a D, and B on the bass clef is quite a mystery. Putting her hands on the piano for the start of minuet in G is a bit of a guessing game. Progress is slow.

After I had agreed the Minuet with the family, the father piped up that she had started Fur Elise, but not finished it, and could I help her with it? I replied by email she could play the first page but not the rest, then conveniently forgot about it. Last lesson, she brought out the book with Fur Elise in it, and she's been playing from the full version, not an arrangement. There are markings to the end. By markings I mean, notes written in.

Now I have a major problem with writing in note names to the more advanced sections of Fur Elise, for a student to play. I just believe it is wrong. When they are playing from My First Piano Adventures, I understand the need to occasionally write in notes. But Beethoven is for those who can already read. Or can't read on account of being blind. (Student fully sighted and no indications of dyslexia).

Communication with the parents is difficult due to language problems. I plan to dedicate 10 minutes of the next lesson to discussing progress with them. In the back of my mind I have a couple of thoughts:
- A young student playing that well needs a more experienced teacher. I have taken a student through grade 1, but no further yet.
- There are Suzuki teachers in the area who are more accustomed to teaching by rote (in other words, closer to her first teacher) than I am.

Don't get me wrong - I can teach her, and I want to. I'm just not sure I'm doing absolutely the best thing for her by doing so. I consider myself competent to teach to grade 5, I've just not actually done it yet.
_________________________
I am a competent teacher.


www.justfingers.co.uk
www.babysinging.co.uk

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#1973088 - 10/14/12 09:57 AM Re: still unsure with tiger cub [Re: ten left thumbs]
Peter K. Mose Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/06/12
Posts: 1318
Loc: Toronto, Ontario
Alongside the difficult pieces, are you also working with some sort of piano primer book? Or theory workbook? I wouldn't abandon this student after just a few lessons. You can shape her learning as you wish, but it sounds as if you're doing fine.

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#1973112 - 10/14/12 10:49 AM Re: still unsure with tiger cub [Re: ten left thumbs]
DinaP Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/31/12
Posts: 151
I’m just a lowly little adult student – but reading over what you have written here my reaction is – Why are you beating yourself up over this?? Why are you doubting your abilities?? The problem here is not you – the problem is your student and possibly her parents, though I don’t think that’s very clear.

Let me tell you another true, related story. I have a friend who had the gift of being able to play anything after hearing it. Her Dad was a musician (not piano, trumpet I think). When she was fairly young her parents signed her up for piano lessons. After about a year her Dad became a little suspicious (he worked long hours therefore only saw her practice occasionally). She played very well – but something seemed wrong to him. So he brought home a brand new popular song that she had really never heard before, put it on the music rack, and asked her to play – and it quickly became evident that she could not read a note. His reaction and the Mom’s reaction was that this child had faked out her teacher for about a year – Dad was not amused by this – he was paying the teacher to teach his child. So the young lady was enrolled with another teacher who definitely could not be fooled – and this young student went on to have a career in music education, and professional playing with French horn (which she took up when she was 15).

This student obviously has great memorization skills – at least I would think so, having passed a level 2 exam – and possibly can unconsciously read intervals – you can judge, because you know the exams, what her strengths must be to fake her way through the two levels.

But neither you nor any other teacher will be doing her any favors by letting her continue to avoid learning to read – and I think you know that – which is one reason you are so stressed.

Her parents have to be told that their daughter needs to learn to actually read the music. You can stress her obvious abilities, which have gotten her this far, but if they truly want her to be a pianist – then she must learn to read music. I’m not sure from what you have written if they understand enough about music to see what is wrong – but somebody has to tell them. You can say she needs an intensive period of reading – you can develop some kind of a plan possibly incorporating many types of aids – computer programs, flash cards, games – I don’t know, but I bet you could figure it out. I would treat this as a short term problem involving an intensive short period of time to get her up to the reading level of someone preparing for the level 3 exams (whatever that is).

Both she and her parents don’t have to feel she is moving backwards – you can stress her talents and skills and how much better they will make her musical advancement once this other, critical skill is added. You may find they understand that once it is explained to them. And bringing her up to speed has to be a condition for continuing to teach her.

If the worst happens and the parents disagree then they will need to find another teacher. You could advise them to tell the new teacher that they want their daughter to be taught in a different manner than normal – without learning to read. I personally would not advise you to give them the name of another teacher – you may be saddling someone you respect with the same frustrations you are experiencing.

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#1973144 - 10/14/12 11:52 AM Re: still unsure with tiger cub [Re: ten left thumbs]
ten left thumbs Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/22/09
Posts: 3336
Loc: Scotland
Peter, we're not working with a primer just now. I had suggested Helen Marlais grade 1 - now I see she would struggle even with that. But the dad was upset (or thought that the kid would be upset) to have a book marked grade 1 when she's already done grade 2. (Now, Marlais grade 1 is nowhere near ABRSM grade 1).

I have left them with a sight-reading book called 'pre-grade 1', and no one has protested yet.

And yes, I'm using a theory workbook.

The problem is precisely that they see anything other than Fur Elise as a backward step.

I appreciate what you say, Dina, but I have told them. For cultural reasons it's very hard to gauge what they understand of what I say. They are simply too polite to openly disagree or say 'no'. I have told them she needs to learn to read, but I think they either don't see it as a priority, or don't know how to help her.

And I do feel pressure, because she played real music, to get her playing something real and challenging.

Maybe I should insist on using a primer?
_________________________
I am a competent teacher.


www.justfingers.co.uk
www.babysinging.co.uk

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#1973148 - 10/14/12 12:07 PM Re: still unsure with tiger cub [Re: ten left thumbs]
rlinkt Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/08/12
Posts: 305
Loc: CA
Why not pursue two parallel tracks? Give her some popular music to play by rote, while having her focus more heavily on reading music. Instead of asking her to play beethoven, give her some blues or jazz pieces where the sound & some level of improvisation is much more important than interpreting the notation. That will give her some fun music to hone her natural skills with. It will give you some breathing room to get her to develop her reading skills. Ask her to compose a line or two, and write it down.

BTW this is coming from a lowly rock and blues guitar player :-) The skill of playing what you hear, or improvising is also pretty important.


Edited by rlinkt (10/14/12 12:14 PM)

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#1973171 - 10/14/12 12:51 PM Re: still unsure with tiger cub [Re: ten left thumbs]
DinaP Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/31/12
Posts: 151
How about doing some parallel tracks like rlinkt suggests but instead of giving her a method book that announces its level on the cover and first page – how about making up your own book just for her – I took a look at the Etude book edited by Marlais and the Repertoire book edited by Faber and Faber, my current study materials, and the inside pages just have a meaningless code at the bottom of the pages.

My Walgreens has some really neat three hole white binders about one half inch thick that open flat and you can slide in anything you want under the plastic on the front cover. Then you could take Etudes and Pieces from any books and three hole punch them and put them in her special book. Maybe???

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#1973175 - 10/14/12 01:04 PM Re: still unsure with tiger cub [Re: ten left thumbs]
DinaP Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/31/12
Posts: 151
Oh, and how about special recognition for each stage of the learning to read process as you would structure it. A special page in her special book where the date of each achievement can be listed so she sees progress and her parents see progress. Or stickers to put next to each item – or something that motivates talented kids nowadays – You can really let your imagination run wild here and check your own inner child.

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#1973181 - 10/14/12 01:27 PM Re: still unsure with tiger cub [Re: ten left thumbs]
DinaP Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/31/12
Posts: 151
One more thought – from your title it seems we are talking about someone with an Asian cultural background?? Usually, there is a great deal of respect for teachers in that culture – perhaps because of the language barrier you are unable to tap into that – so … is there anyone else in your circle who could help get through the barrier and perhaps also give you some idea of what will motivate and please the parents and the child?? Or does someone in your circle know somebody??

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#1973249 - 10/14/12 06:03 PM Re: still unsure with tiger cub [Re: ten left thumbs]
DadAgain Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/09/09
Posts: 365
Loc: Brisbane, QLD
Ok -

Only helping half the problem - but perhaps try giving something that can be done away from the piano. Have you tried suggested the child learns some theory?

I've found that daughters sight reading has dramatically improved with her theory (lots of practice of looking at a stave and writing out notes, thinking about which ones are which etc etc). Getting her thinking about music without the aural feedback from playing really helps build some mental pathways to the manuscript - skills that *do* help when she finally looks up from the keyboard and tries to decode the music!

For a bit of fun consider "Staff Wars" from here (kind of a 'note identification' tetris-like challenge): http://www.themusicinteractive.com/TMI/Downloads

Kids love it - and their natural competitive nature and desire for a 'high score' means they'll play it over and over again and really learn!

Of course - there's a huge gap between knowing a dot on the page is a "G" and knowing where and when to play in on the keyboard - but its a great step in the right direction.
_________________________
Parent....
Orchestral Viola player (stictly amateur)....
Hack Pianist.... (faded skills from glory days 20 yrs ago)
Vague Guitar & Bass player.... (former minor income stream 15 yrs ago)
Former conductor... (been a long time since I was set loose with a magic wand!)

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#1973251 - 10/14/12 06:08 PM Re: still unsure with tiger cub [Re: ten left thumbs]
ten left thumbs Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/22/09
Posts: 3336
Loc: Scotland
rlinkt - There's lots we can learn from the guitar traditions, you are quite right. But this little girl's needs are much more basic. I am already working on two fronts (Bach/Petzold and reading) and I certainly don't want to open a 3rd one just now. I am even considering whether I should suspend the Minuet in G until such time as her reading is better. That would be one way of getting the family's attention.

Reading music is not essential for some guitar genres, but it is for classical piano, and that is what this kid is playing.

Dina, you are spot on, Asian background, and no I don't know anyone who can 'tap in' - neither do I especially want to involve someone else. I can provide her with some of my own materials, but somehow I don't feel like writing my own method book, just to spare them the effort of buying their own. That may sound harsh.

Ok, so what I'm wondering is, should I backtrack at this point at stop teaching the Minuet? Just teach reading. Get them to focus on this? I can easily say that when I agreed to teach her the Minuet I didn't realise the reading situation was as bad as it is (true) and that progress with both has been slow (also true). Then if they want to get a new teacher because they hate me, they can go ahead, but at least I'll have done what seemed reasonable.

I just hate the thought of that kid not learning new material. Anything she will be able to read will be so beginner-ish.
_________________________
I am a competent teacher.


www.justfingers.co.uk
www.babysinging.co.uk

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#1973257 - 10/14/12 06:16 PM Re: still unsure with tiger cub [Re: ten left thumbs]
ten left thumbs Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/22/09
Posts: 3336
Loc: Scotland
Dadagain, yes we do some of that stuff, but I think probably not nearly enough. I asked the dad to get her doing some online games (I couldn't get the staffwars to work, but there are others) but I haven't actually checked they are doing them.

Ok, here's the deal. Basically I've let myself be intimidated by the dad. Will make sure we have computer access for next lesson.

It is so frustrating. What is holding her back is note recognition.
_________________________
I am a competent teacher.


www.justfingers.co.uk
www.babysinging.co.uk

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#1973259 - 10/14/12 06:19 PM Re: still unsure with tiger cub [Re: ten left thumbs]
rlinkt Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/08/12
Posts: 305
Loc: CA
Originally Posted By: ten left thumbs

I just hate the thought of that kid not learning new material. Anything she will be able to read will be so beginner-ish.

This is exactly why I was suggesting giving her playing material where the ear is an important component, while focusing on learning to read. I completely agree with you that reading skills must precede learning classical piano.

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#1973260 - 10/14/12 06:20 PM Re: still unsure with tiger cub [Re: ten left thumbs]
DadAgain Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/09/09
Posts: 365
Loc: Brisbane, QLD
FWIW - I'd be hugely surprised if Fur Elise wasnt far too advanced (Grade 2 a year ago means she'd be at best grade 4 now?).

There's no way someone playing grade 4 pieces (and not reading) can do a decent job of Fur Elise. Yes they can play the first page - but the middle section is tough. Better to work on something she can complete than play bits of something! (It'd be like playing the first 16 bars of Rach II concerto and then saying - "oh yeah - and then there's the bit I havent learnt yet").

That being said - sometimes its nice to have an ambitious 'target piece' that you have a go at from time to time. I tend to sit and hack away at 1st Movement of the Pathetique sonata quite regularly - but I do recognise it is beyond my current capabilities and always make sure there's something of a more appropriate level I'm working on too.
_________________________
Parent....
Orchestral Viola player (stictly amateur)....
Hack Pianist.... (faded skills from glory days 20 yrs ago)
Vague Guitar & Bass player.... (former minor income stream 15 yrs ago)
Former conductor... (been a long time since I was set loose with a magic wand!)

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#1973265 - 10/14/12 06:24 PM Re: still unsure with tiger cub [Re: ten left thumbs]
Ann in Kentucky Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2647
Loc: Kentucky
Originally Posted By: ten left thumbs


Ok, here's the deal. Basically I've let myself be intimidated by the dad.


This is the real issue. I'd say you know exactly what this child needs to make progress. But you're questioning how much to let the tail wag the dog.

My suggestion is to plan an approach that you know will be suitable, and deal with parent complaints if/when they occur.
_________________________
piano teacher

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

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#1973282 - 10/14/12 07:03 PM Re: still unsure with tiger cub [Re: ten left thumbs]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11586
Loc: Canada
I've read numerous times in this forum about a particular kind of teaching. Here, the student is choreographed to the hilt for a number of pieces, doing all the actions the way the teacher drills into her, for a relatively small number of pieces. The student plays those pieces impressively, and may also have rather good technique. The students of such a teacher probably impress through their playing at recitals and maybe competitions and such, which makes the teacher looks good, and the parents proud. But while this is going on, the student isn't being taught other skills of musicianship: how to read music, note names, theory, how to basically approach even a simple piece on their own. You get a student who has to be spoon fed all the actions, and has no idea that other sides of making music exist.

If the student gets another teacher, then that teacher has to give what the first one neglected to give, and of course the work of learning to read and such is not glamorous. The ability to read is a hidden ability, so there is nothing to impress the parents who are used to these brilliant instant results. In fact, on the outside it looks like regression. Nor does the student see any reason for it, since what she did before "worked fine" and let her play so impressively.

Btw, this is one reason why the advice of attending recitals for choosing in teacher seems to have a bug in it. What if the students play brilliantly, but there is this kind of background behind it?

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#1973309 - 10/14/12 08:16 PM Re: still unsure with tiger cub [Re: DadAgain]
Theme&Variations Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/19/10
Posts: 135
Loc: Melbourne, Australia
Originally Posted By: DadAgain
For a bit of fun consider "Staff Wars" from here (kind of a 'note identification' tetris-like challenge): http://www.themusicinteractive.com/TMI/Downloads

Kids love it - and their natural competitive nature and desire for a 'high score' means they'll play it over and over again and really learn!


Thanks for this rec - I have some students who are going to loooove this. And I'm going to use it (and my own competitive nature) to improve my alto clef reading! laugh
_________________________
Private piano teacher since 2003
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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#1973431 - 10/15/12 03:36 AM Re: still unsure with tiger cub [Re: keystring]
AZNpiano Online   sleepy
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5423
Loc: Orange County, CA
Originally Posted By: keystring
Btw, this is one reason why the advice of attending recitals for choosing in teacher seems to have a bug in it. What if the students play brilliantly, but there is this kind of background behind it?

I'd rather send my kids to a teacher whose students all play brilliantly than a teacher whose students are all horrible players. That part is a given.

The overly-choreographed part of the problem will surface later down the road, and by then a teacher-change is in order.
_________________________
Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member

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#1973467 - 10/15/12 06:08 AM Re: still unsure with tiger cub [Re: Ann in Kentucky]
ten left thumbs Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/22/09
Posts: 3336
Loc: Scotland
Originally Posted By: Ann in Kentucky
Originally Posted By: ten left thumbs


Ok, here's the deal. Basically I've let myself be intimidated by the dad.


This is the real issue. I'd say you know exactly what this child needs to make progress. But you're questioning how much to let the tail wag the dog.

My suggestion is to plan an approach that you know will be suitable, and deal with parent complaints if/when they occur.


Good. Thanks. I mean I knew it, but sometimes it helps to be told the obvious. smile
_________________________
I am a competent teacher.


www.justfingers.co.uk
www.babysinging.co.uk

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#1973468 - 10/15/12 06:11 AM Re: still unsure with tiger cub [Re: keystring]
ten left thumbs Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/22/09
Posts: 3336
Loc: Scotland
Originally Posted By: keystring
I've read numerous times in this forum about a particular kind of teaching. Here, the student is choreographed to the hilt for a number of pieces, doing all the actions the way the teacher drills into her, for a relatively small number of pieces. ...


This is exactly what I feel has happened, and I am trying to pick up the pieces. One thing I realise now is I'm struggling not to be openly disrespectful of the previous teacher, in front of the family. But really, Fur Elise? With note names written in? mad OK, I'll go stick pins in a doll and get this off my chest.


Edited by ten left thumbs (10/15/12 06:12 AM)
Edit Reason: Change of emoticon.
_________________________
I am a competent teacher.


www.justfingers.co.uk
www.babysinging.co.uk

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#1973469 - 10/15/12 06:18 AM Re: still unsure with tiger cub [Re: rlinkt]
ten left thumbs Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/22/09
Posts: 3336
Loc: Scotland
Originally Posted By: rlinkt
Originally Posted By: ten left thumbs

I just hate the thought of that kid not learning new material. Anything she will be able to read will be so beginner-ish.

This is exactly why I was suggesting giving her playing material where the ear is an important component, while focusing on learning to read. I completely agree with you that reading skills must precede learning classical piano.


Nice try. Anything she improvises will sound equally beginner-ish. No, really, anything that distracts her from the job of getting to grips with lines and spaces just now is just a distraction.

I do agree with you about aural skills, but right now it's just not a priority for her.

If you heard and saw her play tunes she knows, you'd understand. Just type 'precocious Asian child pianist' into youtube and you'll get the idea.
_________________________
I am a competent teacher.


www.justfingers.co.uk
www.babysinging.co.uk

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#1973483 - 10/15/12 07:58 AM Re: still unsure with tiger cub [Re: ten left thumbs]
Chris H. Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/05
Posts: 2846
Loc: UK.
I've seen this kind of thing a lot over the years. Having taught several students from Asian backgrounds in the uk I have to say that it's quite common. I hope that doesn't sound like a generalisation, it's not meant to be. They often have a much better work ethic than uk kids and will strive to play difficult pieces early on through repetition and rote. Success is cool for them and you can work with that.

I would structure your lessons to cover what you know the child needs. Theory work, scales and exercises and then dedicate time to sight reading before listening to pieces. Explain to the parents that these skills are important and I'm sure they will understand, mine always do. In fact it's often much more difficult to get kids from the uk to actually work on sight reading, they hate it!

Use material which doesn't mention grades. There are plenty of workbooks out there that don't.

Sound at sight by trinity is quite good, there are three books which cover all grades. I also use right at sight and more recently have had success with joining the dots although that is graded. The Paul Harris books improve your sight reading work as well but are a bit dry. They will do the trick though.

Most importantly try not to make a really big deal about it or make them feel like its something they can't do. It's an important skill but something that develops at different rates from one student to the next. It's not the be all and end all and the child has talent so everything will be fine in the long run.

As for pieces I would let her have a go at the minuet if she likes or even fur Elise. Insist that her practice routine follows the same format as the lessons though. She must practice scales, sight reading and theory work before playing the pieces. You don't have to teach the pieces by rote. Leave the note learning with her and see how it goes, after all she seems to have found ways of learning notes so far. If the music comes back with letter names then so be it. It's not ideal and she will eventually grow out of it as her reading improves. I have a chinese student who has only just stopped writing letters in now she is studying for grade 8 even though I've been persuading her to stop doing it for the last couple of years!
_________________________
Pianist and piano teacher.

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#1973497 - 10/15/12 08:53 AM Re: still unsure with tiger cub [Re: DadAgain]
ten left thumbs Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/22/09
Posts: 3336
Loc: Scotland
Originally Posted By: DadAgain
Ok -

For a bit of fun consider "Staff Wars" from here (kind of a 'note identification' tetris-like challenge): http://www.themusicinteractive.com/TMI/Downloads


Question for DadAgain, or anyone else who uses this game. I downloaded StaffWars 2. I got it to play. There are notes coming toward my treble clef, they run into it and I lose a life. How do I get the game to work? Typing the correct letter on the keyboard (seems obvious) has no effect, tried with and without caps.

Can anyone help?
_________________________
I am a competent teacher.


www.justfingers.co.uk
www.babysinging.co.uk

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#1973500 - 10/15/12 09:00 AM Re: still unsure with tiger cub [Re: ten left thumbs]
ten left thumbs Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/22/09
Posts: 3336
Loc: Scotland
Thankyou for posting Chris, I have committed every word of your wisdom to memory!

Nice to see a fellow Brit on the forum! smile
_________________________
I am a competent teacher.


www.justfingers.co.uk
www.babysinging.co.uk

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#1973501 - 10/15/12 09:02 AM Re: still unsure with tiger cub [Re: ten left thumbs]
Theme&Variations Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/19/10
Posts: 135
Loc: Melbourne, Australia
When I played it there as a row of the letters of the music alphabet below the staff and I had to click on them to stop the notes crashing into the staff.
_________________________
Private piano teacher since 2003
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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#1973630 - 10/15/12 02:44 PM Re: still unsure with tiger cub [Re: Theme&Variations]
ten left thumbs Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/22/09
Posts: 3336
Loc: Scotland
Originally Posted By: Theme&Variations
When I played it there as a row of the letters of the music alphabet below the staff and I had to click on them to stop the notes crashing into the staff.


Ah, that would make it a lot more satisfying. smile No doubt rows of letters are banned in Scotland.
_________________________
I am a competent teacher.


www.justfingers.co.uk
www.babysinging.co.uk

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#1973715 - 10/15/12 06:02 PM Re: still unsure with tiger cub [Re: Theme&Variations]
DadAgain Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/09/09
Posts: 365
Loc: Brisbane, QLD
Originally Posted By: Theme&Variations
When I played it there as a row of the letters of the music alphabet below the staff and I had to click on them to stop the notes crashing into the staff.


Yep - thats it. The whole thing becomes a frustrating exercise in mouse dexterity more than note reading after a while.

I only had a go once, set a new high score (mid 60ish?) in Bass clef for my daughter attempt to beat in both treble and bass and then left her to it...
_________________________
Parent....
Orchestral Viola player (stictly amateur)....
Hack Pianist.... (faded skills from glory days 20 yrs ago)
Vague Guitar & Bass player.... (former minor income stream 15 yrs ago)
Former conductor... (been a long time since I was set loose with a magic wand!)

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#1973992 - 10/16/12 09:36 AM Re: still unsure with tiger cub [Re: ten left thumbs]
piano2 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/26/11
Posts: 79
If she is learning the Minuet by ear, perhaps you can provide a recording that she can listen to, so that she doesn't have to learn it just by rote.
For Suzuki teaching, the kids mostly learn the pieces by themselves, using their ear, because they have listened to them so many times.

You can also use little games to help her remember her starting hand positions:
1. Getting the hands back into ready position after waving arms on the air, patting her head, walking or running around the room. Kids like this game - can they find their spot again????
2. She needs to be able to start at different points of the piece - you can break the piece up onto sections, or just use the lines on the page. There are games using a deck of cards: on the music designate a suit to the first four lines, then the child picks a card and plays the line that matches that suit. (suit means hearts, diamonds, spades and clubs)
3. She should be able to play hands separately too, so that you could play one hand and she play the other.

For her to learn these challenging songs, she needs to listen to them and get them inside her ear and brain.

In the meantime, you can keep going with the reading book. There's a book that a lot of Suzuki teachers use for reading - called Methode Rose. Children work sequentially through it, while also playing pieces by ear. This book is very effective at helping children read intervallically. It is an expensive book, but lasts quite some time for the student.

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#1975807 - 10/19/12 03:55 PM Re: still unsure with tiger cub [Re: ten left thumbs]
ten left thumbs Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/22/09
Posts: 3336
Loc: Scotland
Hi Piano2, thankyou for you post (sorry not replying such a long time, I seem to have overlooked it).

Methode Rose looks good, though expensive.

I had a lesson with the girl today, it went extremely well. First, I think some of the drilling we did last week helped, because she was much hotter on lines and spaces and notes generally.

I went in with a plan of being much more specific and directive about exactly what I want her to do. She loved it and was so excited about all the theory activities I gave her, she couldn't wait to start them for herself as I was leaving. I await progress.

It is wonderful to be able to tap into the collective wisdom here, thankyou all for your help.
_________________________
I am a competent teacher.


www.justfingers.co.uk
www.babysinging.co.uk

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