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#952769 - 03/31/05 09:09 AM diploma thesis: differences between US and German piano instructions
nelli Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 03/19/05
Posts: 4
Loc: Germany
Hi you all,

I'm a german piano student and also a piano teacher. Soon I'm going to write my diploma thesis about the topic "differences between US and German piano instructions".
Could you give me the titles of the latest American piano instructions (books)?
That would be really great! \:\)
Thank you very much in anticipation!
nelli

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#952770 - 03/31/05 10:41 AM Re: diploma thesis: differences between US and German piano instructions
princessclara2005 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/02/05
Posts: 429
Loc: Dallas, Texas
 Quote:
Originally posted by nelli:
Hi you all,

I'm a german piano student and also a piano teacher. Soon I'm going to write my diploma thesis about the topic "differences between US and German piano instructions".
Could you give me the titles of the latest American piano instructions (books)?
That would be really great! \:\)
Thank you very much in anticipation!
nelli [/b]
Well, the most popular method books on US market in the past 5 years

Piano Adventures by Faber and Faber Level 1-5
Adult Piano Adventures by Faber and Faber, Book 1 and 2, Both by FJH Music Publisher

Aflred Piano Library
Prep Course A-E
Level 1-6
Alfred Adult Courses 1-4 (maybe)

Celebration Series Level 1-12 (original pieces from late elementary - college freshman level, more like a classical supplment series)

Neil Kjos Classical, Romantic and Contempory originall piece selections, level 1-10

Hal-Leonard Piano Course 1-6 (maybe)

All of the above has the technic book, lesson book, theory book, and recital/performance book at some point.

Faber and Hal-Leonard focus on middle C approach pretty much, starts with 5-note scale, then scale, primary chords/progression

Alfred also starts with 5-note scale, then moves around from C, middle C, G, then sclaes, primary chords/progression

Celebration/Kjos are more repertoire-like, they don't do much on theory, but has some etude/scale books for technic development

All adult series pretty much follows the same path from 5-note scale, to scale to primary chords/progressions

Maybe that will help u a bit? you can check their website, they all have something online.

I would like to know something about German method books.[/b] . I personally think all method books on US market all have a little disadventages here and there.

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#952771 - 04/01/05 06:11 AM Re: diploma thesis: differences between US and German piano instructions
nelli Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 03/19/05
Posts: 4
Loc: Germany
hi princessclara!

thank you for your answer! \:\)

In Germany there are different methods that are used in piano instructions. Most of them start with songs for kids or with 5-note scale. The very beginning of all of them is playing without printed music and mostly on black keys.
Many piano instructions also contain improvisation.
For example russian teachers in Germany teach in a cognitive style. We're used to teach the children (aged 4 to 8) in a playful way and so the piano instruction books are designed.
My favorite book is "1-2-3 Klavier" ("1-2-3 piano") by Claudia Ehrenpreis and Ulrike Wohlwender (at Edition Breitkopf).
Also you can often find commentaries for the teachers in a separate book to give information about the methods and the way you can proceed.
Is there something like that for american instructions also?

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#952772 - 04/02/05 07:26 AM Re: diploma thesis: differences between US and German piano instructions
princessclara2005 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/02/05
Posts: 429
Loc: Dallas, Texas
The 5-note scale approach is also used in America, but the improvisation really is depends on teacher.

Most books start to introduce note reading pretty fast, even if you start at age 4, after 6 weeks, you will be introduced to first note on staff.

There are some ear-training designed into books, but also largly relying on knowing intervals - melodic and harmonic.

Class time varies from either 30 minutes - 45 minutes for student who are under 15. It usually involves coloring, some sight-reading/ear-training, and play and suggestions, and theory paper work.

Playful way? what do you mean by that, is that a lot of activities involved rather than spending time on the bench or with books?

Would like to know more details on that. Thanks... \:\)

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#952773 - 04/03/05 10:51 AM Re: diploma thesis: differences between US and German piano instructions
nelli Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 03/19/05
Posts: 4
Loc: Germany
For example in "1-2-3 Klavier" you first have to teach the students the songs without printed music. This is the regular way at the beginning.
Learning to read notes is easier for the students if they already know how to play the music.
This only counts for beginners age 4 to 7. Because at this age children don`t learn in a cognitive way.
Thatīs why we teach them in a playful way. That means - as you already suggested - spending not all the time on the bench, being active (especially if you teach rhythm-pattern -> clapping hands and doing movements beyond the piano), singing and making music with "orff"-instruments such as triangle, tamborine, drums etc.
We make the lessons in an easier way for the students so they have fun learning and training to play the piano.
We also do ear-training and theory work - but not in the classical explanatory way. we let the students experience and discover music.
I like this way of teaching very much and itīs fun for the student and for the teacher also. Good for both sides. \:\)

So, do you know something about commentaries for teachers supporting the students instructional books in US?

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#952774 - 04/04/05 06:02 PM Re: diploma thesis: differences between US and German piano instructions
princessclara2005 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/02/05
Posts: 429
Loc: Dallas, Texas
 Quote:
Originally posted by nelli:
Learning to read notes is easier for the students if they already know how to play the music.
This only counts for beginners age 4 to 7. Because at this age children don`t learn in a cognitive way.
So, do you know something about commentaries for teachers supporting the students instructional books in US? [/b]
For student that's 4-7 can't learn in a more cognitive way, I believe that's so true, however, there are a lot of parents out there doesn't believe that, they always hoped for more for their children, thinking them as little Mozarts, sometimes their demands make me caught in the middle, really hard to deal with.

When you said reading music is easier for those who already know how to play, what do you mean by that? they have to start somewhere, don't they? So I guess once they pass 7, they will have to start note reading anyhow....teaching them by ear at first is good, however, I do think it gets them too relied on that, it sometimes cause them to think that they can hear the tune, but they can't read fast enough to play it, so they keep on delying note reading, which is not so great in a long run.

Commentaries for teachers supporting the students? erm, I don't quite get what you are asking for...more details?

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#952775 - 04/18/05 11:53 PM Re: diploma thesis: differences between US and German piano instructions
nelli Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 03/19/05
Posts: 4
Loc: Germany
Yes, I know about such parents. Sometimes it's not very easy to deal with that. But you always have to tell them again that it's the right way how to teach their children. At last you are the one who studied this subject and you are the one who is informed about latest discoveries on this item. If the parents don't believe you, then they should probably teach their children by themselves. That's not your problem.

"When you said reading music is easier for those who already know how to play, what do you mean by that?"
I teach the students (4-7) first without written music. We play songs and after that we look at the written music of the song we just played. Then the student already knows on which key the song starts and reading the following notes is easier. At least I made this experience.
Of course the students have to know the notes.
"it sometimes cause them to think that they can hear the tune, but they can't read fast enough to play it, so they keep on delying note reading, which is not so great in a long run."
You should never do only one thing - playing without written music or playing only with written music. Connect these two methods. First withoutm, then with written music. It works.

"Commentaries for teachers supporting the students?"
I meant a "teacher guide" that gives advice which methods you can use for by teaching with a piano method.

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#952776 - 04/20/05 03:30 PM Re: diploma thesis: differences between US and German piano instructions
princessclara2005 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/02/05
Posts: 429
Loc: Dallas, Texas
cool...some real life experiences out there, glad to know.

I am starting to try combining both method, reading, listening, reading, listening, copying, then listen more and read more, I never had experience of my own that I can't read fast enough, so it takes me a while to figure out that people have different stands on that.

I think your advice here is pretty good, I usually keep the commentaires just as a minor part of information resouce, becuase no matter how and who is analysis the situtation, there never will be an identical situtation in the real word, and there never will be text-book student, so 90% of the time, you have to play by ear, but knowing there is something out there is good.

Celebration Series by Harris publisher has a teacher's handbook to give teachers a general guildline on how to use the method, and so is Music for Little Mozart series by Alfred, they also have a teacher's handbook for teaching that particular method.

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