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#934397 - 01/06/09 05:34 PM Method book for serious students? (link to PDF file of the entire book inluded)
MA Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/27/06
Posts: 302
Loc: San Francisco Bay Area
Preface from the book:
The object of this work is to furnish young players with as easy an introduction as possible to the art of playing on the pianoforte.
It is intended for children, even of the tenderest age, and the progression has therefore been made as gradual as possible within the limits of the work. From this it will be clear that an exhaustive treat of all the difficulties, ornaments, &c., does not lie within the scope of this book, which is not meant to be more than an elementary instruction book to furnish the pupil with material for practice during his first and perhaps second year.
There is, it is believed, room for a work of this kind which may also be used by musical parents in preparing their children for the professional master.

You can download the entire book in PDF from:
web page

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#934398 - 01/06/09 06:17 PM Re: Method book for serious students? (link to PDF file of the entire book inluded)
John v.d.Brook Online   content
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7311
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
By the bottom of page 6, you'll have 100% drop out.

Should have posted this on April 1st! \:D
_________________________
"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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#934399 - 01/06/09 06:32 PM Re: Method book for serious students? (link to PDF file of the entire book inluded)
MA Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/27/06
Posts: 302
Loc: San Francisco Bay Area
I thought the meat of the book started on Page 8.

What's sepcial about April 1st?

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#934400 - 01/06/09 10:25 PM Re: Method book for serious students? (link to PDF file of the entire book inluded)
Kreisler Offline


Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13763
Loc: Iowa City, IA
While not used much anymore, the Beyer method was the "John Thompson" of Germany for many, many years.

Several of the pieces from the method live on - you'll occasionally find them in elementary anthologies here in the US.
_________________________
"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)

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#934401 - 01/06/09 11:15 PM Re: Method book for serious students? (link to PDF file of the entire book inluded)
John v.d.Brook Online   content
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7311
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
MA - you must be new here. How long have you lived in the USA?
_________________________
"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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#934402 - 01/07/09 12:13 AM Re: Method book for serious students? (link to PDF file of the entire book inluded)
MA Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/27/06
Posts: 302
Loc: San Francisco Bay Area
John, I knew April 1 is the Fool's day but didn't believe that you seriouly thought this method book was that bad. Is it because the book is deadly boring? (e.g., no colorful cartoon pictures) Or it's overly fast-paced? Or it was not well thought out and had many holes in between?

Or because we simply don't expect young children today to accomplish the book in one year?

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#934403 - 01/07/09 01:02 AM Re: Method book for serious students? (link to PDF file of the entire book inluded)
AZNpiano Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5423
Loc: Orange County, CA
Oh, that brings back memories...

I spent nearly three years going through that book. Some exercises are better than the others. I think the edition I used changed the numbering a little. I don't recall seeing those folktunes near the end. I remember liking #96 and #100 very much.

One needs to supplement that method book with more 20th century repertoire. The balanced approach is better when it comes to different tonalities and styles.
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Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member

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#934404 - 01/07/09 01:23 AM Re: Method book for serious students? (link to PDF file of the entire book inluded)
Gary D. Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 4750
Loc: South Florida
The bass clef magically appears in exercise #59. \:\)

Then suddenly in #63 both hands are in the bass clef. And BOTH hands are suddenly out of a five finger position.

All sorts of things appear out of nowhere, as in #73 where suddenly there is a chromatic passage.

Bass clef is all but neglected for so long that it is almost certain students will be weak in bass unless other materials are used to suppliment.

A lot of the music is crammed so densely into measures that it makes things even harder.

Remember, this is all supposed to be for children of the "tenderest years".

Looks more like something to torture kids with to me. \:D
_________________________
Piano Teacher

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#934405 - 01/07/09 03:25 AM Re: Method book for serious students? (link to PDF file of the entire book inluded)
Sal_ Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/06/08
Posts: 355
Loc: Lacey, WA
"The object of this work is to furnish young players with as easy an introduction as possible to the art of playing on the pianoforte."


Uh huh...

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#934406 - 01/07/09 09:41 AM Re: Method book for serious students? (link to PDF file of the entire book inluded)
John v.d.Brook Online   content
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7311
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
MA - Gary & Sal nicely summarized the obvious.

For example, the student isn't introduced to G major until #70, which is at least a year into the program. Probably more. Three-fourths of the way through the book, we finally get to F major. Of course, students have learned triplets, dotted rhythms, etc. In other words, they will have major problems ever playing out of the key of C major.

This isn't good pedagogy. I don't think I'd recommend this, even for a beginning student at the tender age of 10 or more.
_________________________
"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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#934407 - 01/07/09 11:47 AM Re: Method book for serious students? (link to PDF file of the entire book inluded)
AZNpiano Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5423
Loc: Orange County, CA
John:

Unfortunately, Beyer is huge in Asia--they still come up with newer and newer editions that incorporate more and more 20th-century repertoire to replace the German(?) folksongs. I have a colorful edition (full of cute pictures and well-spaced pages) sitting on my shelf. They divided the Beyer book into three parts (thus three different books) and then added a lot of newer pieces. And the editors even added written instruction!

In the early 20th century, there was a Japanese teacher who compiled a series of pieces (in two books) that correlated to Beyer by number! I think highly of this compilation; thus I still use it with my beginner students. My first piano teacher used that Japanese series, along with John Thompson, Schaum, Glover, and a book of Asian folksongs to supplement Beyer. I was easily playing 6-7 pieces per week. But the problem was I didn't get to play even a sonatina until well into my 3rd year of piano. There are definitely drawbacks.

Argument could be made that, "Well, some good pianists grew up using Beyer, so Beyer must be good!" But nowadays I see more and more brilliant young pianists who did _not_ grow up using Beyer, and they are even more impressive than folks from my generation. Thus, my argument would be "Modern method book series must be better than Beyer because more kids are playing advanced music at a younger age than generations before!"
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Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member

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#934408 - 01/07/09 12:42 PM Re: Method book for serious students? (link to PDF file of the entire book inluded)
MA Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/27/06
Posts: 302
Loc: San Francisco Bay Area
Interesting comments, some of which are surprising to me.

I created the topic because I found the free download online after my son had been trained with this method for a few months. His teacher is experienced in teaching children from 5 years old to pre-college, and doesn't use any children method book (except this one). He was assigned a few exercises (plus repertoire not from this book) every week. He is near the end of the 2nd stage after 3-4 months. (He has weekly 1-hour lessons but skipped a few lessons due to holidays and illness.) He will be trained with repertoire (and repertoire only) this sememster. (Sonatina, enssemble music, etc.)

Although I know this method is very old and not suitable for every teacher/child, I wish my daughter had been trained with it. Her first teacher started her with RCM repertoire plus Frances Clark technique/etude books, and a little bit of Suzuki and Faber. The latter were nearly useless for her.

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#934409 - 01/07/09 12:59 PM Re: Method book for serious students? (link to PDF file of the entire book inluded)
Boira Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/09/07
Posts: 472
Loc: Barcelona
Beyer is still quite frequent in Spain. Used both with children and with adults who want to follow the classical route.

I started with it. Then, my teacher combined it with Czerny op 599.

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#934410 - 01/07/09 01:55 PM Re: Method book for serious students? (link to PDF file of the entire book inluded)
MA Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/27/06
Posts: 302
Loc: San Francisco Bay Area
 Quote:
Originally posted by Gary D.:
The bass clef magically appears in exercise #59. \:\) [/b]
Bass clef is introduced on Page 4, and grand staff on Page 7. The bass clef reappears on Page 40 between #50 and #51. Then "magically" near the end of #54.

 Quote:

Then suddenly in #63 both hands are in the bass clef. And BOTH hands are suddenly out of a five finger position.

All sorts of things appear out of nowhere, as in #73 where suddenly there is a chromatic passage.

Bass clef is all but neglected for so long that it is almost certain students will be weak in bass unless other materials are used to suppliment.

A lot of the music is crammed so densely into measures that it makes things even harder.

Remember, this is all supposed to be for children of the "tenderest years".

Looks more like something to torture kids with to me. \:D [/b]
I like to watch my son being "tortured" during the lesson, e.g., when the clef sign changed in the middle of the music, or when he had to play 2-octave G and F. His teacher has made it more "torturous" by letting him figure out these things on the spot by himself, and my son actually enjoyed it.

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#934411 - 01/07/09 02:05 PM Re: Method book for serious students? (link to PDF file of the entire book inluded)
MA Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/27/06
Posts: 302
Loc: San Francisco Bay Area
 Quote:
Originally posted by John v.d.Brook:
MA - Gary & Sal nicely summarized the obvious.

For example, the student isn't introduced to G major until #70, which is at least a year into the program. Probably more. Three-fourths of the way through the book, we finally get to F major. Of course, students have learned triplets, dotted rhythms, etc. In other words, they will have major problems ever playing out of the key of C major.

This isn't good pedagogy. I don't think I'd recommend this, even for a beginning student at the tender age of 10 or more. [/b]
I suppose this method book is more like a technique/exercise book. You definitely need to supplement with repertoire. For example, my son was assigned Minuet in G by Pezold (or Petzold) and other repertoire pieces.

Clearly, this is not an independent study book. The child needs the guidance of a teacher and perhaps the help of a musical parent to plug the "holes" in the book.

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#934412 - 01/07/09 05:02 PM Re: Method book for serious students? (link to PDF file of the entire book inluded)
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
I don't think the book is a good selection for any beginner as it is not visually easily readable by any age.

I admit I did not look at all 88 pages, but pages 1-6 were plenty for my estimation.

This might serve as a good review book but the scope of it goes far beyond elementary skills and reading ability for the average student.

I have liked using Ferdinand Beyer music as eaches, but in one single book as a method book, I dont' think this is successfully doable without losing the student's interest.

If I were familiar with every page and the sequence of it, I could defend it's usefulness, but on a brief summary of a few pages, I wouldn't start where it starts, nor sequence it the way it is.

Would anyone care to profile a successful student and a successful teacher of this volumne? I am reading that there are other countries where this is an established method.

It gets my curiosity, but alas, no extra time at the present to get into it at the piano and follow along on the merits and critiques of this.

There are "holes" I'm sure - and a well written book will attempt to remove and allow "no holes".

Interesting subject!

Betty

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#934413 - 01/07/09 06:10 PM Re: Method book for serious students? (link to PDF file of the entire book inluded)
John v.d.Brook Online   content
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7311
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Yes, there are some good elementary pieces which have been incorporated into other series, but Betty, you're right on, IMHO.
_________________________
"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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#934414 - 01/07/09 06:37 PM Re: Method book for serious students? (link to PDF file of the entire book inluded)
Gary D. Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 4750
Loc: South Florida
I have to agree with both of you. There are things in the book that certainly could be useful, but the way concepts are presented would require a ton of "hole-filling".

My biggest concern would be that reading would not happen. Since the number one problem I run into as a teacher is trying to teach students, coming to me from other teachers, how to read bass clef (or read at all), the way the bass clef is introduced and the amount of time spent with both hands in the treble sets off alarms in my mind.
_________________________
Piano Teacher

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#934415 - 01/07/09 06:47 PM Re: Method book for serious students? (link to PDF file of the entire book inluded)
MA Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/27/06
Posts: 302
Loc: San Francisco Bay Area
Most of the exercises from this book are not in any of the first/second year books of the contemporary/popular methods I have seen.

Take #44 for example. It introduces 8th notes. It also reviews what the student has learned, i.e., whole, half, dotted half, and quarter notes. The student gets to see the complete picture. Played with the teacher part, it sounds melodic.

#86 is another example. It introduces 8th-note triplets and 16th notes in a similar way.

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#934416 - 01/07/09 07:07 PM Re: Method book for serious students? (link to PDF file of the entire book inluded)
MA Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/27/06
Posts: 302
Loc: San Francisco Bay Area
 Quote:
Originally posted by Gary D.:
I have to agree with both of you. There are things in the book that certainly could be useful, but the way concepts are presented would require a ton of "hole-filling".

My biggest concern would be that reading would not happen. Since the number one problem I run into as a teacher is trying to teach students, coming to me from other teachers, how to read bass clef (or read at all), the way the bass clef is introduced and the amount of time spent with both hands in the treble sets off alarms in my mind. [/b]
Most beginning students would assume that the bottom clef is bass and top one is treble. After playing so many exercises from this book, my son still made the mistake in his last lesson when asked to sight read a new exercise that is written in both treble clefs. A careless mistake he fixed by himself right away.

If you go through the exercises in this book, you will know how much reading is required. My son has become a very good sight reader partially because of this book.

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#934417 - 01/07/09 07:13 PM Re: Method book for serious students? (link to PDF file of the entire book inluded)
Gary D. Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 4750
Loc: South Florida
 Quote:
Originally posted by MA:
Take #44 for example. It introduces 8th notes.
Both hands play the same notes, in octaves. And both in the treble clef. Five-finger position.

I fail to see anything unsual here. Used as a suppliment, it might work well for some children. As a stand-alone method there are serious holes. At best you well get excellent counters with well-trained fingers.
 Quote:

It also reviews what the student has learned, i.e., whole, half, dotted half, and quarter notes. The student gets to see the complete picture. Played with the teacher part, it sounds melodic.
There are many other ways of getting students to understand note values. I understand what the method is trying to teach. I just think there are better ways to do it.
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#934418 - 01/07/09 07:50 PM Re: Method book for serious students? (link to PDF file of the entire book inluded)
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11586
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#934419 - 01/08/09 11:50 AM Re: Method book for serious students? (link to PDF file of the entire book inluded)
John v.d.Brook Online   content
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7311
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
MA - what you're hearing from the teachers on this forum is that this book is that bad! Fine teachers, over the past 150 years, have made extensive investigations on how to teach, how to teach piano, how students learn, how students learn piano, and the results of these efforts are found in modern texts. And not to forget that the modern piano was just forming at the time of Beyer's demise.

All of which is not to say that there are not some useful tunes contained in it. But I would certainly take a hard, critical look at a teacher who is not aware of 150 years progress.
_________________________
"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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#934420 - 01/08/09 12:40 PM Re: Method book for serious students? (link to PDF file of the entire book inluded)
MA Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/27/06
Posts: 302
Loc: San Francisco Bay Area
John, if this book is really as bad as you think, why is it still popular in some Asian countries and used in Spain?

A teacher who is still using this book today is not necessarily unaware of all other method books out there. He may think it's the best choice for his students and he's experienced enough to avoid the "pitfalls" and plug the holes. He may think the merits of the book outweigh its weaknesses. He probably teaches the contents of the book out of sequence and supplement it with repertoire. He may often use a bottom-up approach (induction) with his young students to foster independent thinking.

On the other hand, I have seen young children taught mainly with today's popular method books (Faber, Suzuki, Alfred, etc.) for 0.5-1.5 years... Well, I don't want to sound bashing and offend anyone.

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#934421 - 01/08/09 02:23 PM Re: Method book for serious students? (link to PDF file of the entire book inluded)
Dorrie Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/09/05
Posts: 438
MA -

I am a parent and student. I think the consensus among the teachers who post here is that some of the contemporary piano methods (Faber, Snell, Hal Leondard) do a better job at getting students launched than some of the older methods.

Any method can get good results with the right teacher. Some excellent teachers use no standard method at all, but guide students through pieces they have arranged, or through selections from the educational literature.

Good teachers supplement and adapt their main method to meet the needs of a variety of student goals and learning styles.

The proof is in the playing. I would ask how well a specific teacher's students play, not how students using methods A,B, or C play.

 Quote:
I created the topic because I found the free download online after my son had been trained with this method for a few months. His teacher is experienced in teaching children from 5 years old to pre-college, and doesn't use any children method book (except this one). He was assigned a few exercises (plus repertoire not from this book) every week. He is near the end of the 2nd stage after 3-4 months. (He has weekly 1-hour lessons but skipped a few lessons due to holidays and illness.) He will be trained with repertoire (and repertoire only) this sememster. (Sonatina, enssemble music, etc.)
I assume your son loves piano and piano lessons. I also assume he is progressing well if he plowed through this book and into the sonatina literature in just a few months! That's quite an accomplishment. It look me a few years to do that, but at 50 with a bunch of my own kids and a full time job, I admit to being slower than most children.

I personally would have found the method frustrating. I guess the method works for your son and your teacher's students. And if the teacher gets most of his students into the literature that quickly, maybe the method doesn't matter.

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#934422 - 01/08/09 03:26 PM Re: Method book for serious students? (link to PDF file of the entire book inluded)
MA Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/27/06
Posts: 302
Loc: San Francisco Bay Area
Dorrie,

Well said!

Yes, my son loves piano and piano lessons, but he also loves too many other distractions: TV, video games, toys, reading, chess, sports - anything that's fun. His teacher has pushed him really hard, and this book is one tool to do so. With a different teacher and one of the contempory method books, he would probably be still playing simple chidren's songs now.

Other students of his age (5-7 years old) will usually finish this book within a year and start with sanatinas, one movement first, then two, and finally all three movements.

This book certainly looks itimidating and no doubt would require more work from the teacher and the parent. Not everything is spelled out nicely or in a logical order. I am not advocating this book. Just want to share it with the wonderful teachers on this forum.

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#934423 - 01/08/09 04:23 PM Re: Method book for serious students? (link to PDF file of the entire book inluded)
C.Y. Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/30/08
Posts: 391
Beyer is very popular in Taiwan and China. After a couple of months lesson with beginners, most teachers (I would say more than 90%) will start to use Beyer (the two-book version mentioned by AZNpiano) as technique book. After Beyer, then it's Czerny 599, 849, 299 and 740. Bach is introduced along with Czerny 599. Sonatina will wait till the latter part of Czerny 599 when the student's technique is ready and hands are large enough to reach 8th.

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#934424 - 01/08/09 04:32 PM Re: Method book for serious students? (link to PDF file of the entire book inluded)
Gary D. Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 4750
Loc: South Florida
Let me go back to this:
 Quote:
Originally posted by MA:
Although I know this method is very old and not suitable for every teacher/child, I wish my daughter had been trained with it. Her first teacher started her with RCM repertoire plus Frances Clark technique/etude books, and a little bit of Suzuki and Faber. The latter were nearly useless for her.
I don't like Clark, and I don't particularly like Faber, but please don't make the mistake of assuming that these books or other methods are the reason why some teachers are good and others are not.

It's what is done with the methods that is important. I would suggest that it is not the book itself that produces the success but the creativity, experience and hard work of the teacher in combination with students that are willing to quality work.
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Piano Teacher

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#934425 - 01/08/09 04:54 PM Re: Method book for serious students? (link to PDF file of the entire book inluded)
MA Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/27/06
Posts: 302
Loc: San Francisco Bay Area
I agree.

I just want to clarify that I wasn't criticising my daughter's first teacher. She did a good job. Probably she was not aware of Beyer or thought it would be too demanding for my daughter. From a hindsight, my daughter would have progressed much faster if her first teacher had supplemented RCM and Clark with Beyer instead of Suzuki and Faber.

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#934426 - 01/08/09 10:12 PM Re: Method book for serious students? (link to PDF file of the entire book inluded)
Minaku Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/26/07
Posts: 1226
Loc: Atlanta
It depends on what the child does at home. What kind of discipline do you think the children in Taiwan and China experience versus the discipline here in the United States? If I showed this book to any of my students they'd flatly refuse to do it. Build the same exercise into a song, that'd be different.

Not to mention that in Taiwan and China there is a serious love affair with the Baroque and Classical. As AZNpiano has said, there needs to be more 20th century, as well as post-Romantic, Impressionist, and contemporary.
_________________________
Pianist and teacher with a 5'8" Baldwin R and Clavi CLP-230 at home.

New website up: http://www.studioplumpiano.com. Also on Twitter @QQitsMina

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