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#2097723 - 06/07/13 09:36 AM Re: Why learn scales? [Re: malkin]
TimR Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/04
Posts: 3243
Loc: Virginia, USA
Originally Posted By: malkin
I'm waiting for the video of the dogs playing their scales!


Wrong species.

Fish have scales, dogs have fur.
_________________________
gotta go practice

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#2097746 - 06/07/13 10:26 AM Re: Why learn scales? [Re: Jeff Clef]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11810
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: Jeff Clef
"...I told her that when she learned her major scales, could play them in tempo and with correct fingering, she'd get a trip to the water park..."

As the sages say. You can catch more flies with sugar...

The very same technique works like a charm when training my dogs, who will do just about anything for half a weenie.

The same works for groups of kids in the classroom. They stop being curious in the subject and wanting to learn, and go after the rewards and feel like failures if they can't reach the bar. Reversing that is a monumental task. People aren't dogs.

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#2098103 - 06/07/13 07:49 PM Re: Why learn scales? [Re: keystring]
Gary D. Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 4814
Loc: South Florida
Originally Posted By: keystring
Originally Posted By: Jeff Clef
"...I told her that when she learned her major scales, could play them in tempo and with correct fingering, she'd get a trip to the water park..."

As the sages say. You can catch more flies with sugar...

The very same technique works like a charm when training my dogs, who will do just about anything for half a weenie.

The same works for groups of kids in the classroom. They stop being curious in the subject and wanting to learn, and go after the rewards and feel like failures if they can't reach the bar. Reversing that is a monumental task. People aren't dogs.

The kids I work with do not make progress for long unless the reward for the time they put in enables them to play music that makes them feel proud of themselves.

I think delayed gratification is over-rated. There are rare individuals who will set a nearly impossible goal then work to accomplish - even if it takes years - but in my experience that is rather unusual.
_________________________
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#2098625 - 06/08/13 01:42 PM Re: Why learn scales? [Re: montunoman]
Jeff Clef Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/05/08
Posts: 4437
Loc: San Jose, CA
"...They stop being curious in the subject and wanting to learn, and go after the rewards and feel like failures if they can't reach the bar..."

They are failures--- what is your point?

No doubt, any one motivational technique has its limitations, and it would be a very poor teacher who gave up after half a weenie. Food rewards only help overcome inertia, and establish momentum (with dogs). It is a big step toward learning good habits, but hardly the journey of a thousand miles--- it takes a teacher and an exemplar to get as far as that.

Anyway, even in this meager example, there are many elaborations, found to be effective in experiments by behavioral scientists. Well, grad students. I'll tell you one thing, though: you can house-train a basenji puppy in three days this way. Three days. Of course, one also has to anticipate their needs by taking them out sufficiently, praise their success and smartness, never strike or yell at them (never!), and associate the reward with something that will always happen, and that they love: going for a walk. And remember that they will never do anything that is contrary to their nature.

A cracker once in a while will get the sleepiest or laziest dog to the door, and it's good for their teeth. But even dogs get bored, and the same thing does not work forever. Anyway, I am not saying to feed dog crackers to piano students.

Stimulus/reward is like falling through a trapdoor. Once one falls through by learning the task, the task is learned and there's no falling back up. Yes, it is a trap, but I'm not above it.

Feel free to interrupt anywhere you find that the above is not applicable to the way a kid behaves. Those who still scoff would do well to consider the slot machine.


PS:
"...I noticed that Jonathan Baker offered an advice to promptly dismiss colleagues who have a different teaching method. I also noticed that nobody objected. Does it mean everybody here agree with Jonathan?"

Yes, completely. His last post was completely agreeable to my personal experience, the discussion was complete, and it was beautifully stated. I think there are quite a few who would do well to take it to heart. Since you asked.


Edited by Jeff Clef (06/08/13 01:49 PM)
_________________________
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#2098645 - 06/08/13 02:37 PM Re: Why learn scales? [Re: Jeff Clef]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11810
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: Jeff Clef
"...They stop being curious in the subject and wanting to learn, and go after the rewards and feel like failures if they can't reach the bar..."

They are failures--- what is your point?

I'm writing from my teaching experience, both in the classroom and privately. A lot of these kids actually mastered the subject but had been persuaded otherwise because of that system. You have written a lot about dogs. Can you share what you have found in teaching - whether privately or publicly, in music or outside music is immaterial.

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#2099069 - 06/09/13 12:27 AM Re: Why learn scales? [Re: montunoman]
balalaika Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/19/06
Posts: 84
Loc: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Originally Posted By: Jonathan Baker
balalaika -

Regarding scales: my goal with younger piano students (I am referring to the 5 - 11 year old category) is to develop, lesson-by-lesson, easy familiarity with key signatures and their corresponding scales and the simple triads built on those scales.
Good for you! But the reason we are discussing this topic here, as I understand it, is not because the OP's daughter was deprived of opportunity to get familiar with basic rudiments and to flip some triads. We are talking scales because 9 year old student needs to study all major scales to play fluently and hands together on short notice. Unless the student is a little genius I doubt that 5-10 minutes a lesson would make it.

I learned from my experience that nobody is perfect including of course myself. The best of us are wrong as often as 40% of the time. Good example, probably, would be forecasts of our famous economists. Because of the above I would shy away from the advice given by overconfident, self-righteous, know-it-all people. It is not that they know everything. They are simply unaware about their own limitations.

The teacher after all is not all that bad as some self proclaimed gurus are suggesting.
Originally Posted By: montunoman
Anyways, besides the issue with scales, I'm quite happy with her regular teacher. She has her students very active in recitals, competitions, and festivals. Many of her students (including my daughter) received "All State" and the outstanding rating. Many of the judges are recognized names in piano education some of them are composers of music that a lot the teachers here use in their programs. she was a good personal friend of the author of "a Dozen a Day"- a book she does use. In short, her teacher is well respected and known in this area.
So, if I was the original poster, I would give the teacher the benefit of doubt.

The cavalier attitude in suggesting to dismiss the teacher based on mere short post, without getting sufficient information and solely based on teacher's approach to studying scales I, as a teacher myself and as a colleague of the teacher of OP's daughter, consider as completely inappropriate, unprofessional and unethical. I would be ashamed to offer such a superficial and ill-thought-out advice.

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#2099130 - 06/09/13 05:10 AM Re: Why learn scales? [Re: montunoman]
btb Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 4263
Loc: Pretoria South Africa
Come on chaps ... we play up scales to

find the most dextrous THUMB FOLD
in negotiating 7 white and 5 black keys.

RH scale playing (dot for thumb fold)

C major
1 2 3.1 2 3 4 5

C#major
1 2 3 4.1 2 3 4 (quite a stretch)

etc.

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#2099137 - 06/09/13 05:50 AM Re: Why learn scales? [Re: btb]
currawong Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/15/07
Posts: 5966
Loc: Down Under
Originally Posted By: btb
RH scale playing (dot for thumb fold)

C#major
1 2 3 4.1 2 3 4 (quite a stretch)

etc.
Whaat? Is that really the fingering you use for C#? No wonder you find it a stretch.
_________________________
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#2099173 - 06/09/13 08:34 AM Re: Why learn scales? [Re: balalaika]
Jonathan Baker Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/09/09
Posts: 459
Loc: New York City!
balalaika -

How do you expect a student to become familiar with a variety of Seventh chords if they do not have an easy and handy familiarity with common scales? How could anyone begin to get a grip on even a tiny slice of the vast panorama of jazz at the piano (in this case) without a familiarity with both? I do not think you can, or want, to address such practical skill-building.

There are many ways of being a musician-pianist. Not everyone spends all their days wallowing in the voluptuous hallucinations of a Skryabin Vers la flame. Some may be working with an orchestra, whether classical or broadway, or they may work in a church or synagogue, or they may be a collaborative pianist with singers and instrumentalists, or work in a nightclub, and so forth. I cannot know for certain which roads my students will ultimately travel, but I do require of myself that I give them the foundation of practical skills that will allow them to move with relative ease into any of these avenues.

I cannot recommend a piano teacher who is dismissive of practical skills such as scales / that lead into chords / that lead into harmonic progressions, much less recommend a teacher who is in a burlesque rage against them. I did not say such teachers should be publicly executed (LOL) nor would I publicly name them, but I will silently skip over them and recommend someone else when consulted on the matter.

My focus is on providing a thorough music education for students, not personal 'job protection' for lazy teachers.

Your tumultuous frustration bordering on hysteria, and volcanic rage, have little or nothing to do with what I have written. I wish you the best of luck, and I will leave you to yourself. Ciao.

JB




_________________________
Jonathan Baker
http://www.BakerPianoLessons.com/index.htm

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#2099285 - 06/09/13 12:35 PM Re: Why learn scales? [Re: Jonathan Baker]
balalaika Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/19/06
Posts: 84
Loc: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Originally Posted By: Jonathan Baker
balalaika -

Your tumultuous frustration bordering on hysteria, and volcanic rage, have little or nothing to do with what I have written. I wish you the best of luck, and I will leave you to yourself. Ciao.
JB

Wow! Tumultuous frustration... Hysteria... volcanic rage...
Sounds a bit impolite... Thank you for your kindness though.

This is really has nothing to do with what I have written.

Is this how you show your respect to your colleagues?
Having nothing to say about the message then let's say something kind about the messenger! That is a well known strategy...
I am not wishing you luck.
Bye, smartie.

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#2099526 - 06/09/13 05:37 PM Re: Why learn scales? [Re: Jonathan Baker]
TimR Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/04
Posts: 3243
Loc: Virginia, USA
Originally Posted By: Jonathan Baker

I cannot recommend a piano teacher who is dismissive of practical skills such as scales / that lead into chords / that lead into harmonic progressions, much less recommend a teacher who is in a burlesque rage against them.


The student is however nine years old. The teacher who knows her well may be making decisions based on what she thinks a very young student needs at this point in her development. She may be right or wrong, but she isn't necessarily incompetent.
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#2099662 - 06/09/13 06:39 PM Re: Why learn scales? [Re: TimR]
Jonathan Baker Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/09/09
Posts: 459
Loc: New York City!
Originally Posted By: TimR
The student is however nine years old. The teacher who knows her well may be making decisions based on what she thinks a very young student needs at this point in her development. She may be right or wrong, but she isn't necessarily incompetent.


Hello Tim,

In the first post the teacher in question opined that familiarity with scales, regardless of age, was a "waste of time" and "did not understand why" such an "odd" request was made.

When improvising, it is exceedingly handy, to put it mildly, to have working knowledge of the circle fifths if, for instance, one wishes to create a sequence as a bridge to another section. That common musical device is an invaluable skill endlessly exploited by great improvisors from Bach to Chopin to Brubeck.

I think it is reasonable and very much within the ability of any piano teacher to have sufficient breadth of culture to grasp that simple fact. If the goal is nothing much more than the one trillionth recitation of Fur Elise, then the current teacher is fine.
_________________________
Jonathan Baker
http://www.BakerPianoLessons.com/index.htm

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#2099711 - 06/09/13 07:15 PM Re: Why learn scales? [Re: Jonathan Baker]
Overexposed Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2649
Originally Posted By: Jonathan Baker
nothing much more than the one trillionth recitation of Fur Elise


Classics get played. Some say too much. But I never hear anyone suggest taking "To Kill a Mockingbird" off school reading lists (yet perhaps teachers tire of this one too).


Edited by Ann in Kentucky (06/09/13 07:16 PM)

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#2099738 - 06/09/13 07:49 PM Re: Why learn scales? [Re: Overexposed]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11810
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: Ann in Kentucky

Classics get played. Some say too much. But I never hear anyone suggest taking "To Kill a Mockingbird" off school reading lists (yet perhaps teachers tire of this one too).


I hate to say this but:
"Why was 'To Kill a Mockingbird' banned from schools?"

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#2099744 - 06/09/13 07:53 PM Re: Why learn scales? [Re: Overexposed]
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7410
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Elise's Fur, now there's an interesting side bar. I had a student perform this for Auditions this year, with the caveat that she could only play it if she actually mastered it and played it reasonably correctly. Then I apologized to the judge for allowing her to play it on the program, only to be told by the judge that this was the first time in decades that she'd actually heard it played correctly, and it was actually a pleasure hearing it. It's actually an amazing Bagatelle if played correctly.
_________________________
"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA

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#2099762 - 06/09/13 08:09 PM Re: Why learn scales? [Re: montunoman]
balalaika Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/19/06
Posts: 84
Loc: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
I've just noticed that Mr. Baker after submitting his post, saying his Ciao and receiving my reply promptly went back and edited his post. The note that his post was edited he conveniently removed though.
Now my reply on his post looks kind of irrelevant. Mr. Baker's original post is fully quoted within my reply.

I will decide later whether I should or should not reply.

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#2099891 - 06/09/13 09:02 PM Re: Why learn scales? [Re: keystring]
Overexposed Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2649
Originally Posted By: keystring
Originally Posted By: Ann in Kentucky

Classics get played. Some say too much. But I never hear anyone suggest taking "To Kill a Mockingbird" off school reading lists (yet perhaps teachers tire of this one too).


I hate to say this but:
"Why was 'To Kill a Mockingbird' banned from schools?"


Hi Keystring,

I definitely picked the wrong example. It is disappointing to see this book has been banned.

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#2099913 - 06/09/13 09:19 PM Re: Why learn scales? [Re: Overexposed]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11810
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: Ann in Kentucky
Originally Posted By: keystring
Originally Posted By: Ann in Kentucky

Classics get played. Some say too much. But I never hear anyone suggest taking "To Kill a Mockingbird" off school reading lists (yet perhaps teachers tire of this one too).


I hate to say this but:
"Why was 'To Kill a Mockingbird' banned from schools?"


Hi Keystring,

I definitely picked the wrong example. It is disappointing to see this book has been banned.

Yes, in a kind of backward way, the fact of its banning also makes your point. smile

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#2099921 - 06/09/13 09:32 PM Re: Why learn scales? [Re: John v.d.Brook]
Jonathan Baker Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/09/09
Posts: 459
Loc: New York City!
Originally Posted By: John v.d.Brook
It's actually an amazing Bagatelle if played correctly.


I must confess that it was only through teaching Fur Elise that I really came to admire it. In fact, the Bagatelles now astonish me. The man knew how to write.
_________________________
Jonathan Baker
http://www.BakerPianoLessons.com/index.htm

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#2100041 - 06/10/13 01:42 AM Re: Why learn scales? [Re: Jonathan Baker]
balalaika Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/19/06
Posts: 84
Loc: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
I decided to address the part of the post that Mr. Baker sneaked in after receiving my reply.
Originally Posted By: Jonathan Baker
balalaika -

How do you expect a student to become familiar with a variety of Seventh chords if they do not have an easy and handy familiarity with common scales? How could anyone begin to get a grip on even a tiny slice of the vast panorama of jazz at the piano (in this case) without a familiarity with both? I do not think you can, or want, to address such practical skill-building...


Need to study chords, sequences, modulations and circle of keys - good course of keyboard harmony will make it for you. All that has very little to do with the subject of studying scales as we know it.
Originally Posted By: Jonathan Baker

There are many ways of being a musician-pianist. Not everyone spends all their days wallowing in the voluptuous hallucinations of a Skryabin Vers la flame. Some may be working with an orchestra, whether classical or broadway, or they may work in a church or synagogue, or they may be a collaborative pianist with singers and instrumentalists, or work in a nightclub, and so forth. I cannot know for certain which roads my students will ultimately travel, but I do require of myself that I give them the foundation of practical skills that will allow them to move with relative ease into any of these avenues.

I cannot recommend a piano teacher who is dismissive of practical skills such as scales / that lead into chords / that lead into harmonic progressions, much less recommend a teacher who is in a burlesque rage against them. I did not say such teachers should be publicly executed (LOL) nor would I publicly name them, but I will silently skip over them and recommend someone else when consulted on the matter.

My focus is on providing a thorough music education for students, not personal 'job protection' for lazy teachers.

Your tumultuous frustration bordering on hysteria, and volcanic rage, have little or nothing to do with what I have written. I wish you the best of luck, and I will leave you to yourself. Ciao.

JB

It is all just smoke and mirrors - a voluminous idle talk away from the subject of the discussion combined with furious personal attacks on those who dare to disagree.

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#2100043 - 06/10/13 01:49 AM Re: Why learn scales? [Re: balalaika]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11810
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: balalaika

Need to study chords, sequences, modulations and circle of keys - good course of keyboard harmony will make it for you.

I'd like to understand better what you mean by this. Do you mean "study" in the sense of music theory that is done on paper? I'm familiar with harmony, but less familiar with keyboard harmony.

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#2100069 - 06/10/13 02:37 AM Re: Why learn scales? [Re: keystring]
balalaika Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/19/06
Posts: 84
Loc: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Originally Posted By: keystring

I'd like to understand better what you mean by this. Do you mean "study" in the sense of music theory that is done on paper? I'm familiar with harmony, but less familiar with keyboard harmony.

Sorry for my late hour typo. I meant to write "take" a course of keyboard harmony. One has to take it with a private teacher. Usually it is one-on-one instruction. You study how to play chord progressions in all keys that include all kind of chords, sequences and modulations.

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#2100086 - 06/10/13 04:11 AM Re: Why learn scales? [Re: balalaika]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11810
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: balalaika
Originally Posted By: keystring

I'd like to understand better what you mean by this. Do you mean "study" in the sense of music theory that is done on paper? I'm familiar with harmony, but less familiar with keyboard harmony.

Sorry for my late hour typo. I meant to write "take" a course of keyboard harmony. One has to take it with a private teacher. Usually it is one-on-one instruction. You study how to play chord progressions in all keys that include all kind of chords, sequences and modulations.

I see what you mean now. It strikes me that this is not dissimilar to playing scales. In both cases you are doing something outside of music or pieces, in order to get a handle on theoretical things which also have a physical component, which you will use inside pieces. I see as either having a place, and also that teachers will have different angles and choices toward either.

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#2100097 - 06/10/13 04:50 AM Re: Why learn scales? [Re: montunoman]
btb Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 4263
Loc: Pretoria South Africa
The early currawong bird catches the worm (me) ...
sorry you don’t like my C# major fingering ...
with my big hands any stretch is a doddle ...
do tell how you handle C# major (with small hands)

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#2100111 - 06/10/13 05:59 AM Re: Why learn scales? [Re: btb]
currawong Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/15/07
Posts: 5966
Loc: Down Under
Originally Posted By: btb
The early currawong bird catches the worm (me) ...
sorry you don’t like my C# major fingering ...
with my big hands any stretch is a doddle ...
do tell how you handle C# major (with small hands)
The standard fingering is 2312341 (RH), 3214321 (LH). The thumb plays the white keys, 23 on the 2 black keys, 234 on the 3 black keys. Similarly with F# major and B major.

Of course, a scale passage in an actual piece may require a different fingering according to the context, but that's the standard fingering.
_________________________
Du holde Kunst...

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#2100159 - 06/10/13 08:47 AM Re: Why learn scales? [Re: keystring]
balalaika Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/19/06
Posts: 84
Loc: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Originally Posted By: keystring

I see what you mean now. It strikes me that this is not dissimilar to playing scales. In both cases you are doing something outside of music or pieces, in order to get a handle on theoretical things which also have a physical component, which you will use inside pieces. I see as either having a place, and also that teachers will have different angles and choices toward either.

Keyboard harmony is an exploratory and creative method of studying harmony. Yes, one does it on the piano. But that's where the similarity to scales ends. Logical step to prepare a student to learn harmony is through studying basic rudiments.

Oranges and apples are round in shape and both are fruit but they are not the same thing.

Exploratory activity in playing scales is minimal. The purpose of practicing scales, how people usually perceive it, is to build someone's technique and there are IMHO better ways to do it.
The keyboard harmony is a part of Royal Conservatory of Music curriculum. In my opinion, it is a much better way to study harmony than doing it on paper.

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#2100264 - 06/10/13 11:46 AM Re: Why learn scales? [Re: Jeff Clef]
balalaika Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/19/06
Posts: 84
Loc: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Originally Posted By: Jeff Clef
PS:
"...I noticed that Jonathan Baker offered an advice to promptly dismiss colleagues who have a different teaching method. I also noticed that nobody objected. Does it mean everybody here agree with Jonathan?"

Yes, completely. His last post was completely agreeable to my personal experience, the discussion was complete, and it was beautifully stated. I think there are quite a few who would do well to take it to heart. Since you asked.

Yah! Basta! End of discussion! Hasta la vista baby!
I cannot argue with JC. If JC said the discussing is complete than it is. JC knows better... I know my little place in the darker corner of this Universe...

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#2100265 - 06/10/13 11:47 AM Re: Why learn scales? [Re: balalaika]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11810
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: balalaika

Keyboard harmony is an exploratory and creative method of studying harmony. Yes, one does it on the piano. But that's where the similarity to scales ends. Logical step to prepare a student to learn harmony is through studying basic rudiments.

Oranges and apples are round in shape and both are fruit but they are not the same thing.

Exploratory activity in playing scales is minimal. The purpose of practicing scales, how people usually perceive it, is to build someone's technique and there are IMHO better ways to do it.
The keyboard harmony is a part of Royal Conservatory of Music curriculum. In my opinion, it is a much better way to study harmony than doing it on paper.

I'd like to explore what you have written here from another angle.

There are the skills we want to have for playing music at the piano: facility in chords and scales, a quick gut level feel for chords and progressions so that we can anticipate them in written music and also use them in improvising. Then there is the student: what his natural strengths and weaknesses are as well as where they are because of the point in his studies. Then there is the way to transmit these skills. This is where it gets varied, even if the skills are always the same.

Teachers will have different approaches, and this can be a long term process in stages. Maybe one draws it out of music, turns that into technical exercises, and inserts the theory later (if ever). Another may begin with technical exercises, be overt about theory, and link it to music. Then there are method books, exam systems like the RCM with its suggested books which experienced teachers may use in a variety of ways. The nature of a particular student may suggest one approach or another.

What I've seen you do a couple of times now is to describe a particular approach. In one it was what your teacher did in college. Here we have an "exploratory and creative way of studying harmony" vis-a-vis scales for building technique. In other words, very particular ways of doing each, which I suspect is how you experienced them yourself. In this kind of forum we must leave room for imagining the many ways others may be approaching these things, in ways we have not experienced or known them. That is not an easy thing to do.

I suspect - in fact I'm almost sure of it - that a few of the teachers here are approaching both scales, and keyboard harmony, in rich and very different ways. I suspect that the scales are being approached in a manner similar to how you describe the harmony, by one or two individuals here.

Time and again I see arguments that shouldn't be, because it is so hard to imagine something being said from an unfamiliar viewpoint. The arguments shouldn't be, but they persist for that reason.

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#2100272 - 06/10/13 11:57 AM Re: Why learn scales? [Re: balalaika]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11810
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: balalaika

The keyboard harmony is a part of Royal Conservatory of Music curriculum. In my opinion, it is a much better way to study harmony than doing it on paper.

You mean part of the exam syllabus, so that in order to pass this part of the exams, you need to do these kinds of studies? (Someone whose compositions are featured in such exams once straightened me out on that. smile )

I have some definite thoughts about music theory, and I have taught the three levels of RCM rudiments at one time. Here goes. Music theory (written) is a codification of the patterns that we have in music, the V7-I cadence being a simple and obvious one. It is to music what grammar and syntax are to language. We listen and speak before we learn grammar, and that way we also have a feel for the exceptions and what "feels right". There is also the idea that physical experience precedes abstract theory: that's why kids use counting blocks and then learn arithmetic - skip that and you have problems with algebra later. .... And then the theory has to be tied in with music, integrated with it. The danger is that people get (written theory), they get music, and maybe they get exercises, and each is a separate thing.

So I do want written theory. But I want it after having rich experiences at the instrument, so that the theory relates and completes it. Theory has its place, because you can sketch out things that are in front of your eyes. But it becomes a cross between geometry and algebra if you haven't experienced the music end of it first. I'd also say that when music itself (pieces) is taught, theory gradually gets inserted. If a student plays a cadence, maybe the fact gets mentioned?

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#2100282 - 06/10/13 12:19 PM Re: Why learn scales? [Re: keystring]
balalaika Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/19/06
Posts: 84
Loc: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
keystring - Thank you for your reply.

Originally Posted By: keystring
Here we have an "exploratory and creative way of studying harmony" vis-a-vis scales for building technique.

This comment sounds confusing to me. Exploring harmony on the piano and building piano technique (like dexterity and evenness of playing runs, double notes and octaves) are quite different things. I do not understand why are you trying to join them together? If we mix different concepts up and give them a good shake then we will never be able to come up with any clear conclusion. Let's keep the ideas clear.

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