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#924902 - 08/29/05 01:57 PM Teaching with bashing the poor child!
prbell Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 04/14/05
Posts: 17
Loc: Washougal, Washington
I have a six year old student...seems to be musical and is very bright. He has been taking lessons for about 3 months now. We're kinda at a plateau right now. He is very familiar with basic notes, beat patterns, dynamics. He cannot seem to remember the notes and keyboard locations for the basic notes from one week to the next. I've tried to tell him in a fun way (father sits in on the lessons) that until he learns these that we're stuck musically and go much farther until he can master these. Any suggestions? I've pulled out a "note finder" each week (move the note up/down on staffs on a string" as a little exercise. He can find a note using musical intervals (skips/steps) from a particular note .
He is just a great kid and I would hate to see him get discouraged with the whole piano thing and just give up...
Phil

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#924903 - 08/29/05 06:47 PM Re: Teaching with bashing the poor child!
Theodore Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/24/05
Posts: 346
Loc: San Antonio, Texas
I recommend John Thompsons First Grade Book. Have him learn to play each song, then the following week memorize it. All the way through the book. Then the Second Grade book. Most people in this day and age do not use John Thompson as a teaching tool, but most teachers learned from this method. Teachers sometimes sell students too many books and most of the modern day books are designed to be easy all the time. Easy does not do it on piano, either the student works or they'll never play. Memory is a constant use in music. Get rid of the note finders, don't make it any easier, teach repetition of each piece. Is your student practicing or just spending time near the piano with mom and dad?
_________________________
Theodore
Alamo Music Center
San Antonio,Texas

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#924904 - 08/31/05 10:06 PM Re: Teaching with bashing the poor child!
gilad Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/30/05
Posts: 271
Loc: south africa
gotta agree i used john thompsons first book.
actually first i had lessons for a whole year and learnt amazingly little, i couldnt play a dman thng and my teacher was giving hundreds of pages of music and level 4 and 5 method books, i never progressed though any of them.
i went to a new teacher after 4 years out and he told me to start JT's book 1. i was appalled at the idea after using harder books.
i only started to "play" the piano after i started JTs book,it got a bit boring by pg 50 so i got alfreds to supplement it and wow,yes i recommend it.

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#924905 - 09/02/05 12:40 AM Re: Teaching with bashing the poor child!
Candywoman Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/14/03
Posts: 832

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#924906 - 09/02/05 12:41 AM Re: Teaching with bashing the poor child!
Candywoman Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/14/03
Posts: 832
I believe your expectations are entirely unrealistic. In three months, I will have spent a great deal of time just naming the notes on the piano exclusive of music. I have the students spell words like cab, baa, and cabbage. Only when they know the notes on the piano do I begin the music. I start with a piece that has only right and left hand c's. Each piece is played for two to four weeks, and they learn only four pieces at a time. Then I gradually add d and b. Then e and a. It takes many months for them to recognize a note in an unfamiliar context. Intervallic reading is helpful, but only after you do exercises such as spelling the alphabet backwards from b, c, d, e,f,and g successively.

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#924907 - 09/07/05 08:05 AM Re: Teaching with bashing the poor child!
Piano*Dad Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/12/05
Posts: 10349
Loc: Williamsburg, VA
I'm not a music teacher, but I am a parent who sits in on lessons, and as a decent amateur pianist I supervise my son's practice (i.e. he gets seven lessons per week).

First question: does this six year old read? If so, at roughly what level? That information seems crucual in determining what teaching methods might work best. If the child is a fluent reader (say at least one grade level ahead of his chronological age) you can presume that his capacity to handle abstraction is relatively high. On the other hand, if he is not an advanced reader, the quasi-mathematical precision of musical notation may be something to push more slowly.

My son didn't start piano until he was eight (he needed to sit still first!). But when he did start, he exploded out of the gate. His capacity for abstraction is extremely high (reading and math skills many years ahead of his age). He picked up musical notation in a flash ....literally. We used flash cards to drill him every week and after a few weeks ...voila, he had three plus octaves memorized. By the end of his first year he was mastering (not just playing) many pieces in the first Applause book (Le Petit Negre, for instance).

There are some (small) advantages to starting a little later. If the intellectual capacity and interest are there, the child can be probably be pushed a little harder.

Best,

David F
_________________________
Grotrian 192 #156455

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

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#924908 - 09/08/05 02:16 PM Re: Teaching with bashing the poor child!
eastcountypiano Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/07/05
Posts: 30
Loc: California
I vote for Thompson, too or even Schaum per-A book. Also, giving him some music he knows will help. If you go to this link you will see lots of nursery type songs that he will be able to play.

http://www.pitt.edu/~deben/freebies.html

Usually the biggest problem with this age group and the beginning music is the kids will memorize the song very quickly, thus not learning the notes and when they advance further they stall, and become overwhelmed or frustrated. So, I go two ways, give them a song they know, plus their regular music and then a very short finger exercise type of music that has no tune which forces them to read the notes. Start with something simple like a,b,c,g,b,d,a,f...making it just difficult enough for them to memorize and then tell them it is for making their fingers stronger instead of telling them because they don't know their notes. You don't want to hurt any childs fragile egos. OH, and if you are using flash cards also have him play the notes as you flash them and not just recite them. You should see him turn around.
_________________________
Jerrie, Piano Teacher
http://www.eastcountymusicstudio.com

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#924909 - 09/16/05 03:31 PM Re: Teaching with bashing the poor child!
Surendipity Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/24/05
Posts: 129
Talk to the hand.

Let him play the notes and say them.
start at the low end A. let him climb all the way to the high end to C.
Let him organize his thoughts so he can see that they repeat over and over. Then he won't be overwhelmed with knowing there are only 7 of them.(white ones) You should start each and every lesson this way. (along with other methods you can create)
Then let him write out a small piece himself.
Play stupid here.. "mmmmmmm where was that B that you played?" Kids love as much as we do to be right. Everytime he plays the wrong note say "I'm not to sure about that one, I think that is a(n) __"
Then when he finds the B, "ah, that's it, yes, that's the one, good for you"
Pride of ownership is more special than authority"
It's his lesson, let him own it.

Get creative and understand that the harder the student the harder pressed is the teacher into becoming a better teacher.

Also I play a game "find that note"
I ask the student to raise his hands into the air.
Than I say "Right hand number 2 play any C"
If they are wrong, I only say "Ooops"
Nothing more. They hunt it out till I say "YOU WIN"

It helps alot in a fun way... kids love games...
love them...

They don't like mushrooms or broccoli much so put some sugar on that lesson plan.

And for the students I have who just stare and look at me funny I ask "Are you bored, are you hating this?"
They usually say "Ya.."
"What do you want to do..."
And work with that...
A song about Nintendo, playing outside, a monster song. It's not always about the writen word, or in this case the writen note.

It's about getting into that childs world, not about you bringing them into yours.

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#924910 - 09/16/05 03:50 PM Re: Teaching with bashing the poor child!
Monica K. Offline

Platinum Supporter until Dec 31 2012


Registered: 08/10/05
Posts: 17746
Loc: Lexington, Kentucky
 Quote:
Originally posted by Surendipity:

Pride of ownership is more special than authority"
It's his lesson, let him own it.

Get creative and understand that the harder the student the harder pressed is the teacher into becoming a better teacher.

It's about getting into that childs world, not about you bringing them into yours. [/b]
Great post, Serendipity! Your students are lucky to have you.
_________________________
Mason & Hamlin A -- 91997
My YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/pianomonica

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#924911 - 09/18/05 03:32 AM Re: Teaching with bashing the poor child!
Surendipity Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/24/05
Posts: 129
Thank you, I love my work.

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#924912 - 09/22/05 03:04 PM Re: Teaching with bashing the poor child!
BassMasterK Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/31/04
Posts: 78
Loc: Portland, Oregon
If the student is working on the middle C position, I have more to add for you. When I have a student who seems to be struggling like you are describing, I pull out some books that are part of the Faber series. They have a series of supplimental beginner books titled "children's", "popular", there is even a "christmas" one, and all three of them have songs that are written around the middle C position. They all contain pieces that the student will most likely be familiar with at least some, if not most of them.

I'll tell the student that they are doing great and to celibrate their learning the middle C position, and before we go on to fill in notes up to treble C and bass C, we are going to play fun songs for a while. I will start them in one of the books and frequently drop them out of all other materials. They always seem to eat these books up. Most of the time I will assign a few pieces only to have them come the next week with many extra ones learned as well. After the first one I give them, I can tell if they need another to really cement the names and locations of the notes. It has turned students who felt frustrated into great readers ready to move on to bigger and better things all under the disguise of them 'getting a vacation' from the regular books to celibrate all they have learned by playing 'fun' pieces. It has worked like a charm for me.

Good luck with your student!

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#924913 - 09/23/05 02:00 PM Re: Teaching with bashing the poor child!
pianomad Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/08/05
Posts: 309
Loc: USA
After seeing all the recommendations for John Thompson, I want to add my personal experience.

I was brought up on JT. I don't know if it's been revised since I learned from it over 30 years ago, but I seemed to trick my teachers I was recognizing notes when in reality I was playing by numbers, just reading the fingerings. All the pieces in the earliest volumes were littered with fingerings on every note. As the music got harder and the fingerings started to thin out, I hit a major roadblock. I was too ashamed to admit I couldn't actually read the music, and my teacher was confused why her star pupil suddenly seemed to lose motivation.
_________________________
www.elclandestinomusic.com

"Moralists have no place in an art gallery" ---Han Suyin

"Paint's not really a great thing to bring into a museum" ---Adam Sorenson, The Shape of Things

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#924914 - 09/23/05 08:50 PM Re: Teaching with bashing the poor child!
cranky woman Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/06/04
Posts: 282
Loc: Phoenix, AZ
I've kept quiet, so as not to offend...but, the John Thompson series and the Schaum series are so old and outdated. Learning from those series is like watching TV on a 12 inch black and white, instead of a big screen color plasma. Sure, you can learn that way, but there are so many better options that don't teach everything in middle c position or make the students completely rely on finger numbers.

Students need to learn in a multiple key method, which gets them familiar with the entire keyboard and playing in all keys from the beginning.
_________________________
www.tcwresources.com

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#924915 - 09/26/05 02:28 PM Re: Teaching with bashing the poor child!
prbell Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 04/14/05
Posts: 17
Loc: Washougal, Washington
Thanks to all for some great advice. Actually...I have done what BassMaster suggested. I picked up the "Popular" Book of the Primer Faber series. My student seemed to enjoy working out of that and is doing better. I've learned that six year olds sometimes take longer and patience is a virtue!
Phil

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#924916 - 09/27/05 02:19 AM Re: Teaching with bashing the poor child!
eastcountypiano Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/07/05
Posts: 30
Loc: California
I do not think that Thompson or Schaum are outdated at all. I have students that are all excellent readers. Very young children feel comfortable and not overwhelmed to be able to stay in the c position for awhile. At their young age there is no need to rush them to be all over the keyboard. Also, Schaum starts out in the c position but does not stay there. Please don't make comments about something you do not know about, which is evident if you think that Schaum only teaches in the C position.
_________________________
Jerrie, Piano Teacher
http://www.eastcountymusicstudio.com

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#924917 - 09/28/05 10:01 PM Re: Teaching with bashing the poor child!
cranky woman Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/06/04
Posts: 282
Loc: Phoenix, AZ
well, Jerrie,

I learned from JT and studied both methods extensively in my pedagogy courses in college. My comments referred to Middle C position, not C position, which are entirely different.

Your comments directed to me, imply that I am not familiar with either method. This is not true. I just believe that there are much better options on the market today. I've had much more success with multiple key methods, and my students have enjoyed them as well.

By the way, I've been teaching for twenty years, fourteen of which I was on the faculty of a University Preparatory program. I believe my comments are valid. We obviously don't agree. Please refrain from the personal attacks in the future.

charlene
_________________________
www.tcwresources.com

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