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#927956 - 01/26/07 07:45 PM A question about simplymusic.com
Masha Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/18/07
Posts: 31
Loc: HM
Somebody gave this link. I went to the website to learn more and couldn't find any information or video about the method. Any advice?
http://www.simplymusic.com/flash_intro.php

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#927957 - 01/26/07 10:59 PM Re: A question about simplymusic.com
pianobuff Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/09/06
Posts: 1580
Loc: Pacific Northwest
Click on "skip intro"
On their home page there are tabs up top. Point to one and they scroll down to different links on their web site.
Try "About Us" tab and then click on "see and hear more". There might be other vidoes too on scrolling down on other tabs.
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#927958 - 01/27/07 01:02 AM Re: A question about simplymusic.com
dumdumdiddle Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/16/06
Posts: 1250
Loc: California
Although I'm not familiar with the method itself, I do have a problem with this statement from their website:

"the Simply Music program redefines who is capable of teaching music, and as such, can be taught by piano players who are not advanced musicians, who have no formal musical qualifications, nor prior teaching experience."

I think it's the part about 'no formal musical qualifications'. :rolleyes:

The other thing I've heard (maybe someone can address it) is that reading music is not taught; students learn a bunch of songs by rote or by ear.
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#927959 - 01/27/07 11:51 AM Re: A question about simplymusic.com
AJB Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/01/05
Posts: 3655
Loc: Surrey, England
Offtopic but responding to dumdumdiddle...

Actually I dont think having formal music qualifications necessarily matters. Soem people are naturally good teachers and as long as they have the required musical skills, then qualifications are not essential. However, the absence of them may reduce the ability to attract customers.

I dont have the faintest idea what qualifications my teacher has, nor do I care. I dont need a piece of paper to recognise her excellence.

That said, how many students have ever questioned or checked the qualifications of a private music teacher?
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#927960 - 01/27/07 12:08 PM Re: A question about simplymusic.com
Piano&Flute Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/30/06
Posts: 384
Loc: Alberta, Canada
I think there is a big difference between teachers who have been very well trained musically but for some reason never got the formal pieces of paper and teachers who only ever got to an intermediate playing level and teach simply as a way to make extra money. I'm not going to speak for Dumdumdiddle, but my problem with that statement is not only the formal qualifications, but not needing to be an advanced musician to teach.

I have actually been surprised how many parents have either inquired about my qualifications and experience this year or decided to phone me because they knew I had them. As an adult student, you probably knew day one that you were dealing with a good teacher and didn't feel the need to ask. But I am willing to bet that even if they don't have the paper to prove it, they are advanced musicians. There are many topics on this forum about this subject approx one page back.
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#927961 - 01/27/07 12:09 PM Re: A question about simplymusic.com
Piano&Flute Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/30/06
Posts: 384
Loc: Alberta, Canada
Can I ask what exactly playing by rote is?
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#927962 - 01/27/07 12:19 PM Re: A question about simplymusic.com
jotur Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/16/06
Posts: 5290
Loc: Santa Fe, NM
I bought the first two Simply Music instructional videos and the one on accompaniment.

It is *not* true that students in this program don't learn to read music, tho it *is* true that that's not the way they start. "Learning by rote" has been poo-poohed in this forum several times, but for me when I first learned, that's exactly what learning to read music was. All methods can be used to teach by rote and not to allow actually making music. Much of Simply Music's method was developed from the founder's experience teaching a blind boy to play, and from the founder's own reflection on the fact that the way he learned was by ear and watching his teacher play - he faked the reading music part. He says he didn't actually learn to read music until he was an adult. At the time he developed this program he was the head of a music department at a university. The program uses much more tactile learning than other programs I've seen - actually touching the fingers of the student in the order in which they will be used to play the music - and also teaches in small "chunks" and patterns, both of which techniques could be incorporated into other programs. The teacher always demonstrates the piece that is being taught, and in the videos they are always musical and it is obvious the demonstrater (the founder) loves playing. It teaches pieces in all styles from the very beginning - blues, gospel, classical, popular - the music is raucus and fun when appropriate, and never mechanical. The program teaches reading the chords from lead sheets and using different rhythms to accompany singers or other instruments from very early in the first set of lessons. I coudn't begin here to touch on all the different things it teaches - but I picked up ways to approach memorizing music that I found helpful (tho I'd rather improvise than memorize, I have used these to learn some Baroque pieces that I like). It is also true that one of the aims of the program is to develop players who are not dependent on having sheet music in front of them every time they want to play music - whether they learn to memorize, to improvise, or to accompany, or all of the above and more.

So I think there is much that is useful in the first three videos that I bought. I can't speak for anything beyond that, but I suspect that it would be a mistake to think that the program as a whole doesn't go beyond the first three videos. Since the videos I have are strictly beginning videos, they are limited in what they teach - they don't teach how to voice a chord differently, for instance - they teach one way to voice a 7 chord. But what beginner within the first couple of months is taught everything there is to learn?

Currently my 16-year-old niece is teaching herself to play, and I loaned her all my old books, many books that I bought when I started playing again 10 years ago, and these videos, so I'm curious to know what she thinks of them (aside from the fact that we both crack up at the instructor's singing - but you know, anyone should be able to sing, not just those who are going to be opera singers \:\) ).

There are many things I like about the philosophy of the founder of this program, one of which is that many more people can learn to enoy playing an instrument, in this case the piano, than do, and that the way many of us, including me, were taught stands in the way. While it is not possible to characterize *all* piano teachers and methods, and it seems to me there are a wider variety of teachers and philosophies available now than there were when I first took piano lessons, here's what I was taught: only reading notes. only classical or classical related literature. only curved fingers. only repetoire the teacher chose. recitals with only pieces the teacher chose. an emphasis that the only way to learn music, much less piano, was like this. A friend of mine who was a piano performance major told me no one was allowed to play jazz in the program he was in. I was 15 - 45 years ago \:\)

Rightly or wrongly, the perception of many of us who quit playing piano was that this "classical" method of teaching was wide-spread, and promoted itself as the "only" way for everyone - much the same attitude that has been seen here as softmozart's atitude, and railed against. To me, because of my background, the bias I feel here much of the time against "those with no formal music background" still evokes the way I was taught, and I'm not very sympathetic with it for that reason \:\) .

Hence, some programs are not only "for" the way they teach, but "anti" the way me, and apparently many others, were taught - a backlash of sorts.

There is a whole world of "traditional", "ethnic", "non-classical" music and musicians, who have "not" learned by taking lessons from people with formal training (tho many of them have), who play by ear, who pick up techniques from other musicians, who love music, and are joyously playing it throughout their lives. Are they on the classical concert stage? No, they aren't. They're playing in contra dance bands, Irish music sessions at their local pubs,
singing with barbershop quartets and community choruses, and making music, including piano (I'm one of the contra dance musicians) part of their daily lives.

I understand that this is the Piano Teachers Forum, and I do indeed see much more openness to other methods of teaching than the one that was used on me, and perhaps a bias towards formally trained teachers and classical music to some extent is to be expected. But there is really a big musical world out there, and while I for one would not use Simply Music, or any other method, if doing so required me to use no other method (and I do not know whether it requires that of its teachers) - like a couple of teachers here, it would drive me nuts - there is a lot of teaching music going on outside of the formal training world, and I think it's wonderful.

I love the Adult Beginners Forum because there is such a wide variety of learners, learning styles, learning methods, music idioms, and teachers who are compatible with them - so as I say, it does appear to me that piano teaching is not the way I perceived it 45 years ago. Simply Music is not the "only" way to teach, but it's philosophy about making music is wonderful, and I couldn't agree more about not being dependent on sheet music *all* the time for many of us.

So I thought the 3 videos I bought were worth the money I spent.

Sorry if I was overly ranty -

Cathy
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#927963 - 01/27/07 12:30 PM Re: A question about simplymusic.com
jotur Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/16/06
Posts: 5290
Loc: Santa Fe, NM
LOL - several posts in between my reading and my posting! - I do think teaching has changed considerably since I first was learning -

Cathy
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#927964 - 01/27/07 02:05 PM Re: A question about simplymusic.com
Piano&Flute Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/30/06
Posts: 384
Loc: Alberta, Canada
Teaching has definitely changed since I took lessons growing up. 20 years ago there were about 2 standard methods I can recall and they were very unflexible with how and what students were expected to learn. I cringe at the number of parents my age or older who come in with horror stories of their own piano lessons growing up. I cringe even worse at the teachers I know in our area who use the same exact books that they learned from 20-30 years ago!

I am glad things keep moving in a more open direction. There are many "traditional" methods to choose from, although I do not agree they should all be lumped into the same category. Not to mention all of the new options. The different types of lessons definitely have a much wider appeal and I think will continue to go in that direction.

I think the days of the super strict little old lady teaching down the street who herself was ever only an intermediate player are gone. More is and should be expected from teachers nowadays. I will always contend that proper music training is important (like proper training in any job), but also now it is more recognized that there are many different learning styles, personalities and goals that each student has and new methods coming out very often. There is a lot to keep up on. Also the type of music that is being recognized as "valid" for music lessons is much wider. The RCM syllabus for instance is constantly increasing their new, Canadian music content and allowing for more "popular" options, and so are the other two canadian conservatories. Also there are more teachers who specialize in jazz around my area.....with very good jazz training. I would be totally unqualified to teach such music myself. It provides so many more opportunities for students to have the choice and respect for their learning style and musical interests.

I also think that many of the people who come to this board and argue the benefit of proper qualifications many times just pass us off as snobs. I hope that is the case rather than the age old idea that teaching piano lessons is a super easy job that anyone can do. That really gets me going. Being qualified doesn't mean sitting on a degree earned a decade ago. Many people don't seem to understand the time and effort that continues to go into being a good teacher. Besides having and maintaining a good level of performance, pedagogy courses, music conferences, research into the latest books and methods, learning how to handle student problems either learning or behaviour wise. Most of us spend a great deal of time outside of teaching learning how to do our jobs better. This is why some of the past threads from people who took basic piano in high school and want to teach because it seems an easy way to make money gets the response it does.

My last comment is that more is expected out of good music lessons now. Thank goodness it is no longer enough to drill note names into students for hours on end or on the opposite end only teach to play by ear. Teachers know how important it is to teach well-rounded lessons where the students, in whatever) genre they choose are exposed to every aspect of music...sight reading, ear training, theory, musicianship, etc.

I realize this post is long and off the original topic, but I wanted to respond. Sorry Masha
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#927965 - 01/27/07 03:32 PM Re: A question about simplymusic.com
jotur Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/16/06
Posts: 5290
Loc: Santa Fe, NM
from StephanieF:

"I also think that many of the people who come to this board and argue the benefit of proper qualifications many times just pass us off as snobs."

I guess I did come off ranty \:D Apologies.

"I cringe at the number of parents my age or older who come in with horror stories of their own piano lessons growing up."

I feel the same way about some students in catch-up math classes - and thankfully the pedagogy there has changed considerably, too. And I do appreciate the fact that my undergraduate degree in math gives me a perspective in teaching adding, subtracting, multiplying, dividing, and doing percentages that someone without it doesn't have - much like being an "advanced musician" will give you in teaching music. And I wouldn't hang up my shingle as a piano teacher for the general public without considerably more skill in both piano and piano teaching ideas than I have or am likely to have. But, like you, I don't think having formal credentials is the bottom line in teaching well.

I also think there are many ways of teaching and learning informally, which is an issue I conflated with having formal training to teach, that don't require either formal music training or advanced musicianship. I think that is true in math as much as in music. But that really is a separate issue from the one being discussed, which I was not clear about.

So more power to those who are continually learning, both as musicians and teachers. Someone on this board has a quote in their signature to the effect that in order to teach one must continue to learn - I agree.

Cathy
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#927966 - 01/29/07 10:11 AM Re: A question about simplymusic.com
ochy_cherniye Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/15/07
Posts: 44
Loc: Houston
 Quote:
Originally posted by dumdumdiddle:
Although I'm not familiar with the method itself, I do have a problem with this statement from their website:

"the Simply Music program redefines who is capable of teaching music, and as such, can be taught by piano players who are not advanced musicians, who have no formal musical qualifications, nor prior teaching experience."

I think it's the part about 'no formal musical qualifications'.[/b]
I'd have to say it's the 'no advanced musicians,' given my own experience. How can a person have the confidence to even teach if they aren't confident in their own musical skill?
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