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#960173 - 05/15/08 09:40 AM Re: Anyone heard of/use the Simply Music curricula?
CindyB - Musicmaker Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/23/06
Posts: 132
Loc: south central IL
 Quote:
Originally posted by Chris H.:


I just found the page about tuition fees. Not only are you looking at thousands of $ for training but also annual registration fees and even a charge per student per week.

Cindy, that is one heck of a leap of faith. [/b]
yep - I've never been involved with a large company like this before, but have since learned that it's quite common to pay for the right to use what the company produces - even in the music world. At the time, it felt like I was possibly going to become part of a mlm scheme, but it's not at all like that - I don't have teachers under me paying me - everyone who wants to teach, or learn, must pay for access to the materials. If a student quits, they no longer have access to the materials, no matter how much money they have. If a teacher isn't teaching, they lose their license and access to materials - it's a very fluid rather than static set up.
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Everyone is musical. No exceptions. www.PlayPianoNow.info

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#960174 - 05/15/08 09:56 AM Re: Anyone heard of/use the Simply Music curricula?
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11688
Loc: Canada
 Quote:
go to the http://www.simplymusic.com/LearnWithaTeacher
and on the left you can click a link that says hear what students play
My system won't let me install Quicktime.

Would I hear actual students playing? Does a live person (student or teacher) play this music? Is it a midi file?

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#960175 - 05/15/08 09:59 AM Re: Anyone heard of/use the Simply Music curricula?
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11688
Loc: Canada
Ok, since I can't hear it. Is Level 1 Fuer Elise the complete version with no changes?

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#960176 - 05/15/08 11:51 AM Re: Anyone heard of/use the Simply Music curricula?
CindyB - Musicmaker Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/23/06
Posts: 132
Loc: south central IL
 Quote:
Originally posted by keystring:
 Quote:
.. You don't need to see the music - the telling is in the sound
Do these examples demonstrate the playing of actual students? As a potential student I would like to hear what is inside the playing. Often you can hear what is taught. Hearing the demonstration of a teacher would also be helpful because you would hear what you are aiming toward. A midi file would not be helpful in this context. [/b]
I have no idea who performs the songs on the website, but I have several videos of my students at myspace.com. My address is http://www.myspace.com/royal_musicmaker
There are vids of my students. There is also a vid of me improvising with blues to a bunch of teachers singing lyrics to Neil Moore for his birthday. I had a bunch of links at my webpage, PlayPianoNow.info, but when Mediamax switched to the linkup, I lost everything stored there and have to upload it all again.
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Everyone is musical. No exceptions. www.PlayPianoNow.info

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#960177 - 05/15/08 11:56 AM Re: Anyone heard of/use the Simply Music curricula?
CindyB - Musicmaker Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/23/06
Posts: 132
Loc: south central IL
 Quote:
Originally posted by keystring:
Ok, since I can't hear it. Is Level 1 Fuer Elise the complete version with no changes? [/b]
No, the level 1 version of Fur Elise is not the original. I don't believe a person who has had 11 piano lessons give or take 1, can play the original, do you?
_________________________
Everyone is musical. No exceptions. www.PlayPianoNow.info

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#960178 - 05/15/08 12:05 PM Re: Anyone heard of/use the Simply Music curricula?
CindyB - Musicmaker Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/23/06
Posts: 132
Loc: south central IL
 Quote:
Originally posted by keyboardklutz:
 Quote:
Originally posted by CindyB - Musicmaker:
If the melody you are learning has 5 notes moving upwards by steps, you could illustrate that with a single arrow pointing straight up, [/b]
I believe those are called 'neumes' and are neither original, new nor costly. [/b]
I don't understand why you keep harping on originality. Simply Music obviously must use ingredients that in and of themselves are not new or original - some things that come to mind are the English language, a piano, a piece of paper, a video tape, a cd, a dvd?????

Besides, I will right now fully guarantee that very few of the symbols used by Simply Music have anything to do with Gregorian Chant.
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Everyone is musical. No exceptions. www.PlayPianoNow.info

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#960179 - 05/15/08 12:16 PM Re: Anyone heard of/use the Simply Music curricula?
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11688
Loc: Canada
Thanks for answering, Cindy. First off, how do I turn off the music that first comes on and repeats, so that I can hear your students? This will tell me something about how you, personally teach, and it may indicate something about the program, but also your skill. I'm trying to get an understanding of the program separate from the teacher.

 Quote:
No, the level 1 version of Fur Elise is not the original. I don't believe a person who has had 11 piano lessons give or take 1,
Cindy, I'm trying to get a sense of the program. You have indicated a selection of the music, but I cannot hear that music. The name of Fuer Elise doesn't tell me anything since it is presented at different levels. That's why I asked.

Is the presentation on the site, which I cannot hear, a presentation of actual students or a human playing it? I would like to hear "what" is being taught within the music, and not what the music itself is. I can get that from looking at the sheet music. I can only hear that through human playing. I do wish this computer would let me download the appropriate software.

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#960180 - 05/15/08 12:18 PM Re: Anyone heard of/use the Simply Music curricula?
keyboardklutz Offline
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Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 10856
Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
I think the tune I'm 'harping' is that the methods are already there - available gratis for those who wish to search.
_________________________
snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/


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#960181 - 05/15/08 12:57 PM Re: Anyone heard of/use the Simply Music curricula?
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11688
Loc: Canada
Thank you, Cindy. I managed to turn off the theme, and then I had a chance to watch and listen. They boy on the front seems to be enjoying himself. There is a teen playing Moonlight Sonata on the guitar, and there are some girls singing the Star Spangled Banner in a gymnasium before a game. Are they taught by you or under your musical influence?

The site gives an indication of your teaching, and since you base yourself on SM, it also gives some indication of the program, which is what people are wondering about. I am sure that your skills and SM go hand in hand.

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#960182 - 05/15/08 03:22 PM Re: Anyone heard of/use the Simply Music curricula?
JerryS88 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/15/06
Posts: 638
Loc: Ringwood, NJ
Cindy - did the boy playing jazz on your webpage learn with the SM program? I'd be really happy if a student of mine of comparable age was able to play with as much apparent enjoyment and facility. I say this despite obvious rhythmic challenges he still has to work on (edit: actually not so much rhythm problems as much as keeping steady tempo, which is easily forgivable considering what he is playing - his ability to play complicated jazz rhythms is actually very impressive!). What I see is a young person who is forming a relationship with the instrument and with making music as comfortable as speaking. I think that is a tremendous accomplishment - something I wish I had done in my early training. I think this type of learning would make a great adjunct to classical training. I'm just sorry becoming an SM teacher is so costly for the teacher. It may make great sense for a full-time teacher, but unfortunately it doesn't for someone like me who will only be teaching very part time. Still, I think much can be learned in terms of approach for those who wish to explore alternative ways of teaching, whether to replace or supplement traditional lessons.

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#960183 - 05/16/08 07:50 AM Re: Anyone heard of/use the Simply Music curricula?
CindyB - Musicmaker Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/23/06
Posts: 132
Loc: south central IL
 Quote:
Originally posted by JerryS88:
Cindy - did the boy playing jazz on your webpage learn with the SM program? [/b]
Sorry - I have that video because I agree with you - that's what I'm aiming at when I teach. The jazz program in Simply Music comes rather late in the curriculum, since establishing a relaxed and comfortable relationship with the keys is often quite challenging. It's worth aiming for, though.
_________________________
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#960184 - 05/16/08 07:53 AM Re: Anyone heard of/use the Simply Music curricula?
CindyB - Musicmaker Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/23/06
Posts: 132
Loc: south central IL
 Quote:
Originally posted by keystring:
Are they taught by you or under your musical influence? [/b]
sorry - my videos are under the link "my videos". The vids I have on the main page are of musicians I admire, family, and skills I'd like to nurture in my students.
_________________________
Everyone is musical. No exceptions. www.PlayPianoNow.info

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#960185 - 05/16/08 07:57 AM Re: Anyone heard of/use the Simply Music curricula?
CindyB - Musicmaker Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/23/06
Posts: 132
Loc: south central IL
 Quote:
Originally posted by keystring:
I'm trying to get an understanding of the program separate from the teacher....Cindy, I'm trying to get a sense of the program. You have indicated a selection of the music, but I cannot hear that music. ...Is the presentation on the site, which I cannot hear, a presentation of actual students or a human playing it? ... I can only hear that through human playing. [/b]
tell you what - I'll put together a little video of myself and play parts of the curriculum for all of you, esp. Fur Elise level 1 version plus subsequent versions. I'll try to post this video today on You tube and let you know.
_________________________
Everyone is musical. No exceptions. www.PlayPianoNow.info

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#960186 - 05/16/08 08:07 AM Re: Anyone heard of/use the Simply Music curricula?
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11688
Loc: Canada
Cindy, thank you - that's very kind of you.
KS

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#960187 - 05/16/08 09:05 AM Re: Anyone heard of/use the Simply Music curricula?
Morodiene Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 11935
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Without knowing how exactly the Simply Music program works, it does sound very similar to what I've been doing with my students as of late. I tell them that their brain needs to understand what they are supposed to play before playing it, and so we discuss in depth exactly what is going on in the music. We look for patterns, and if there is none, we simply break down the notes into measures or phrases that make sense and describe it either verbally, or sometimes I have them draw some sort of map for it. This is all before they even hear how it should sound. Then we try playing through a little bit at a time, reviewing the patterns we identified. We play through the whole piece and I let them know that before they practice it at home, they need to remind themselves of the patterns. I think it gives them a much stronger basis rather than having them sightread it. Sight reading is an important skill, but I feel if they can identify patterns well, their sight reading will also improve.

I also do some improv, though not as much as I would like, admittedly, but I always encourage that, and many students of mine compose as well. This sounds to me like this lines up pretty well with what SM does, except perhaps a bit more structured than I do.

As far as cost, I understand there's a $2 per student per lesson fee, if I have it right. This is similar to when I rented space from a music store, and it's not that big of a deal, imo. However, do you buy books and other materials from SM as well? If so, what's the average cost of these items, and is there something else they get, like CDs?
_________________________
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www.valeoconservatory.com
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#960188 - 05/16/08 04:31 PM Re: Anyone heard of/use the Simply Music curricula?
CindyB - Musicmaker Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/23/06
Posts: 132
Loc: south central IL
Morodiene - there are extensive teacher training dvd's and cd's that a teacher has to invest in, and so far, I've needed to constantly refer back to them, even the level one materials, to see how Neil does it with a person at the piano. There is no average cost since some of the materials are foundation materials and some are for the supplemental projects that run alongside the foundation.
_________________________
Everyone is musical. No exceptions. www.PlayPianoNow.info

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#960189 - 05/16/08 04:33 PM Re: Anyone heard of/use the Simply Music curricula?
CindyB - Musicmaker Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/23/06
Posts: 132
Loc: south central IL
I have posted a video to youtube. search word pianoworld. That's the only tag I put on it. I just tried to search for it and it didn't come up, but perhaps it takes an hour or so to actually show up - I just spent an hour uploading the darn thing!!
_________________________
Everyone is musical. No exceptions. www.PlayPianoNow.info

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#960190 - 05/16/08 06:44 PM Re: Anyone heard of/use the Simply Music curricula?
CindyB - Musicmaker Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/23/06
Posts: 132
Loc: south central IL
I checked and the video's up, but for some reason when you search "pianoworld" it doesn't come up. My username is RoyalMusicmaker, so I think that if you search for me you'll see all 2 of the videos I've put on Youtube.

Now I'm sorry I didn't at least comb my hair. sigh.
_________________________
Everyone is musical. No exceptions. www.PlayPianoNow.info

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#960191 - 05/16/08 08:17 PM Re: Anyone heard of/use the Simply Music curricula?
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11688
Loc: Canada
Cindy, you went through so much trouble. Here is a direct link that everyone can access RoyalMuskmaker (Cindy)
(I first got a link to some cute puppies when I searhced Royalmusicmaker)

KS

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#960192 - 05/16/08 10:21 PM Re: Anyone heard of/use the Simply Music curricula?
Late Beginner Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/06/08
Posts: 588
Loc: West Australia
Hi,

Thanks for posting the link Keystring (and the puppies were cute too. \:\) )


Cindy,

Thank you so much for posting that video. It gave me a great view of the track ahead. I have temporarily suspended any progress along the SM curriculum, because my teacher is currently touring in the support band for The Drifters (one of several groups around the world who claim membership links to the original Drifters). He's also had a bunch of home and relationship relocation issues to sort out. So I've had to try and decide whether to look for another method or teacher, go it alone with Alfred's or similar books, or just wait a little longer.

You have successfully re-enthused my interest in SM. So I'm off downstairs right now to play through all those pieces in Level 1. Now that I know more about where they're going I have more incentive to keep them fresh. Plus, of course, they are actually fun to play. \:D I still play the Blues pieces every day, with my own improvised additions, so I need to make sure I keep the others on the front burner too. (And maybe I need to start playing the Fur Elise snippet a bit straighter as well, instead of using the basic 'hook' and jazzing it up into what I think of as "Furry Liza"...)

Thanks again, \:\)

Chris
_________________________
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#960193 - 05/16/08 11:51 PM Re: Anyone heard of/use the Simply Music curricula?
JerryS88 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/15/06
Posts: 638
Loc: Ringwood, NJ
Cindy - great job with your video overview - thank you so much for taking the time to make it and post it. Very clever teaching device to teach a simple song and gradually add new concepts to it as time goes on. Lots of great stuff here (although I must say, being the Beethoven fanatic that I am, I'm not sure I love the jazz chord version of Fur Elise! But I do recognize and appreciate its pedagogic value).

I admire what SM does. I am curious about its approach and success at teaching reading as well, but I think for achieving the goal of getting people up and playing, comfortable at the instrument, and enjoying making music, it is very well thought out and executed. Can you comment a little about your experience teaching your SM students to read music? Do they start by learning to read music they've already learned to play? I know some teachers warn that beginning students in a rote method leads to reading difficulty and resistance. Can you give us an idea of when the students are introduced to traditional notation and how they respond?

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#960194 - 05/17/08 12:41 AM Re: Anyone heard of/use the Simply Music curricula?
keyboardklutz Offline
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Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 10856
Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
Thanks for the video clip. I found it entertaining. Please excuse me if I sound a bit surly but this is a general music curriculum not a piano course. It would be a poor start for an aspiring piano student and who would take that from them?
_________________________
snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/


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#960195 - 05/17/08 06:22 AM Re: Anyone heard of/use the Simply Music curricula?
Chris H. Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/05
Posts: 2911
Loc: UK.
Cindy, your video clip gives a good idea of how the method works and what one could expect to learn. It's very brave of you to put yourself on the line like that. I would imagine that SM is very effective for you and your students as you obviously believe in it and are passionate about it.

I can see benefits to teaching in this way and I would agree with a lot of the philosophy behind it. Improvisation, composition, arranging and an ability to play by ear and from memory are all important skills for any musician to develop. However I can see some drawbacks as well which is why I would not use it myself. If you choose to use one system alone then you have to believe in it 100%.

One or two things really put me off. I don't like the way that traditional methods are dismissed. Statements like 'playing based' as apposed to 'reading based' are meaningless marketing speak. Saying that reading music is like teaching a child to read before they can talk (which the website mentions a lot) is IMO incorrect because we do not learn the language of music in the same way as we learn our native tongue. I have encountered so many students and pianists who play by ear and would like to learn to read notation in order to further their playing. They find it very frustrating because you have to go back to square one. A good traditional teacher will develop essential reading skills from the start along with ear training, technique, memorisation, improvisation based on solid understanding. Claiming that traditional methods don't work because you end up relying on the printed music is rubbish. This will only happen if you have a bad teacher.

I know that the thought of playing recognisable songs in only a few weeks might be attractive to some. It's what happens further down the line that I worry about. Cindy did say that SM will prepare a student for music college far better than traditional methods. However I doubt it. This sounds like a phrase used a lot in the marketing of the system. In the video clip Cindy does say that none of her students have progressed beyond a certain level so far and so I find this claim a bit hard to take seriously. If you audition for a conservatoire then arrangements of Fur Elise and 12 bar blues are not going to cut it. How exacty do you teach a Bach Partita or Chopin Ballade by rote or ear or by demonstration? Most students who apply for top colleges will read fluently and play to an advanced standard. The audition requirements are usually to play from memory which means that they do not need the printed music in front of them. They often have to sit exams on counterpoint and 4 part harmony which require a thorough and detailed knowledge of music theory. All of this is covered by a (good) traditional teacher.

SM might work well for some students and teachers and if anyone wants to learn or teach this way then that's fine. It is hard for me to accept that just one method or program is suitable for everyone. That is why I use a variety of methods and materials to suit the individual. You can cover all the aspects of musicianship if (as kbk said) you are prepared to do the research and continue to improve your own playing and teaching skills. One size does not fit all.
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#960196 - 05/17/08 08:49 AM Re: Anyone heard of/use the Simply Music curricula?
CindyB - Musicmaker Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/23/06
Posts: 132
Loc: south central IL
 Quote:
Originally posted by Late Beginner:
I have temporarily suspended any progress along the SM curriculum, because my teacher is currently touring in the support band for The Drifters ... You have successfully re-enthused my interest in SM. So I'm off downstairs right now to play through all those pieces in Level 1...[/b]
Good for you! I will be glad to post video answers that will help you maintain your enthusiasm. I know it's esp. hard to keep practicing the same things to keep them fresh, but it sounds like your teacher got you well started on arranging and reinterpreting - I would be thrilled if all my students had as much initiative.
_________________________
Everyone is musical. No exceptions. www.PlayPianoNow.info

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#960197 - 05/17/08 08:54 AM Re: Anyone heard of/use the Simply Music curricula?
CindyB - Musicmaker Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/23/06
Posts: 132
Loc: south central IL
 Quote:
Originally posted by JerryS88:
Can you comment a little about your experience teaching your SM students to read music? Do they start by learning to read music they've already learned to play? I know some teachers warn that beginning students in a rote method leads to reading difficulty and resistance. Can you give us an idea of when the students are introduced to traditional notation and how they respond? [/b]
There's a progression in the administration of reading just as there is in playing, and at first it always uses the music they can already play, just as children in kindergarten learn how to recognize the letters in the alphabet and the simple words they've been saying. We begin, as I said before, in level 1 with following a chord progression that's on the printed page. Teaching the hand to respond to what the eye sees in its most basic form. Fake music follows, and we encourage students to bring in favorite music from outside the curriculum. Then rhythm is introduced, and within 6 months or so, a students rhythm reading ability is very well developed, including ties, dots, rests, and 16th notes. Then we introduce reading, using an interval approach.
_________________________
Everyone is musical. No exceptions. www.PlayPianoNow.info

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#960198 - 05/17/08 08:55 AM Re: Anyone heard of/use the Simply Music curricula?
JerryS88 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/15/06
Posts: 638
Loc: Ringwood, NJ
Chris - you make some excellent points. I see the value of SM as either an adjunct to, or preliminary or introductory phase before moving on to traditional (reading-based) learning, or, perhaps, as an alternative way to learn to play for those who are not interested in becoming serious classical pianists. [edit - this may not be fair, as we have only seen the beginning phases of the program]

You sound like a great teacher, Chris - thorough and well-rounded. I do think, though, that you may be overestimating the well-roundedness of typical classical piano education. In my experience classically trained pianists are limited to only being able to learn and play fully scored music (whether they go on to memorize it or not). Music theory is usually taught in isolation and only sporadically and superficially related to the pieces the students are actually learning to play. In contrast to this, those who learn to "fake" lead sheets and improvise by definition are learning to put music theory into PRACTICE. Ask the typical classically-trained pianist to read a lead sheet, or even to play happy birthday without music and I'm willing to bet you'd get a lot of blank stares.

In the end, though, I agree that there needs to be a balance. There is no reason why students shouldn't be taught both good reading and creative keyboard skills. Learning to read, and learning to read early is crucial to opening up the student to the vast world of magnificent piano literature. I also think KK made a good point that a well-prepared, motivated teacher should be able to draw on existing resources as well as their own creativity to create their own curriculum similar at SM, but it would be a heck of a lot easier not to have to do it from scratch on one's own.

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#960199 - 05/17/08 09:15 AM Re: Anyone heard of/use the Simply Music curricula?
CindyB - Musicmaker Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/23/06
Posts: 132
Loc: south central IL
 Quote:
Originally posted by Chris H.:
Saying that reading music is like teaching a child to read before they can talk (which the website mentions a lot) is IMO incorrect because we do not learn the language of music in the same way as we learn our native tongue. [/b]
you're right - no one in the world is learning music this way, other than the relatively few Simply Music students.

 Quote:

I have encountered so many students and pianists who play by ear and would like to learn to read notation in order to further their playing. They find it very frustrating because you have to go back to square one. A good traditional teacher will develop essential reading skills from the start along with ear training, technique, memorisation, improvisation based on solid understanding. Claiming that traditional methods don't work because you end up relying on the printed music is rubbish. This will only happen if you have a bad teacher.[/b]
If a student is already highly skilled at playing the piano by ear, and only needs to learn how to read, the Simply Music approach can do that and wouldn't require him to start at square one. Let's be realistic. The majority of people wanting piano lessons are NOT highly skilled adults who can play by ear.

I was highly skilled at playing the piano, and had very high quality teachers from 2nd grade on, in several different states as we moved often being an Air Force family. I began with a great beginner traditional teacher and because I advanced quite well in my lessons, I was soon auditioning for high level teachers with performance and/or college professor careers. I went on to college, majoring in performance first, and switching to teaching when I realized how much my life would have to be set aside for practicing to be a really good performer. What I'm saying is that I had better than average teachers and never was taught how to express myself musically, but I could express Beethoven, Bach, Mozart, Kodaly, etc magnificently. THAT is what the aim of the traditional reading based approach is. If you want to start arguing the isolated exceptions, it's a waste of time.

 Quote:
I know that the thought of playing recognisable songs in only a few weeks might be attractive to some. [/b]
It's attractive to a lot more people than you seem to realize. I've never had a student sign up for lessons who DIDN'T want to be able to play real music right away.


 Quote:
It's what happens further down the line that I worry about. Cindy did say that SM will prepare a student for music college far better than traditional methods. However I doubt it. This sounds like a phrase used a lot in the marketing of the system. In the video clip Cindy does say that none of her students have progressed beyond a certain level so far and so I find this claim a bit hard to take seriously. [/b]
I have backed up what I'm claiming with links, videos, the Simply Music website with its testimonies and sound files... and you haven't backed up anything you've said. You're welcome to doubt, but please don't insinuate that I'm uninformed, or that I'm believing and selling a lie.
Do you want more testimony, from real people with advanced musical background?

Robin Keehn – Sequim, WA - Bachelor’s Degree from Westmont College, and Master of Public Affairs from University of Washington.
Robin Keehn has been an avid musician all of her life and has played piano for over 30 years. She has been a licensed Kindermusik Educator since 1995 and currently has 70 families in her Kindermusick program. Simply Music is the piano method she has been dreaming of for years and she is thrilled with the amazing results students experience.

Cheryl Goresko – Grove, PA – Music University of Pittsburgh graduate, Music Teachers National Association Certified, ten years teaching traditional piano.
What initially captured my attention with Simply Music was the possibility of developing a repertoire of high quality songs. I also liked the fact that we keep adding songs, unlike traditional lessons where we go from one song to another, dropping old songs as we go. I liked the generative aspect of Simply Music, and the fact that students would learn to write as well as to read music. I liked the diversity of styles, because they’re fun and because most piano students want to play in these styles. One of the big bonuses of Simply Music is the accompaniment program in which students learn to play simple accompaniments to many popular songs using major, minor, suspended, augmented, 7th, 9th, 13th, and many other chords. Even though Simply Music calls itself an entry level program, students learn so much more, so much sooner, than they would ever learn in traditional lessons where you are only able to play what you can read. The way that students go about learning the songs in this program from the very beginning sets an excellent foundation for learning more complicated and challenging songs in the future. Students will quickly be able to read music in keys with many flats and sharps and with more rhythmic complexity, because of the way the entire program is unfolded. I find that even my own practicing and playing has improved.

Laura Cheung – Hercules, CA – UC Berkeley double B.A. in Music and Molecular Cell Biology, formal piano, flute and voice training.
Learning my own repertoire using the Simply Music tools has created a completely different affect in my playing and confidence at the piano. Everything is now possible. A broad array of styles including jazz, blues, improvisation, accompaniment, and composition are now within easy reach whereas before I considered those styles not within my ability. All the facets of Simply Music are so simple, make incredible sense, and are extremely effective. I am so thankful that Simply Music has crossed my path, and that I was open to embrace this opportunity which has definitely changed my life for the better.


Jy Gronner – Corte Madera, CA – UCLA and San Fransisco Conservatory of Music graduate, advanced education in piano and conducting.
I knew my former beginning students had the ability to play much more than the standard beginning pieces in the traditional repertoire, but having to learn how to read WHILE learning how to play produced delayed results and resistance. Then I learned of an entirely different and MUCH quicker way to learn to play the piano! The unprecedented results have spoken for themselves: I have built a studio of about 150 students almost entirely by word-of-mouth referrals. My students enjoy a success with playing, and now with reading, that I never experienced with students in all my years of teaching traditional piano lessons. Everything makes SENSE to them – from the lead sheets and the theory and structure, to the varied, fun, and super-creative repertoire offered in the curriculum.

Carrie Lozier – Rochester Hills, MI – Grace College Music Ed. Degree, Wayne State University degree in Piano Performance, 7 yrs. teaching traditional piano lessons.
I found that throughout my musical education in college, I did not have a broad spectrum of musical education. I studied a very limited number of classical pieces, learned scales, and theory. I also found that when I was asked to play music, I would have either 1 – 2 pieces that I had memorized through an arduous process, or I would have to have music. The mother of one of my traditional students told my about Simply Music and I looked into it. What I’ve found is that the students love playing the songs, they are prepared with contemporary chords and different styles of music to play anywhere at any time, and within one year are composing and reading music at a level that would take years to accomplish in reading based programs.

Caroline Blumer – Western Australia – tonal harmony and music history studies at University of Western Australia, Associate Diploma of Music, ten years public and private teaching experience.
I feel that Simply Music fills a wide gap in the traditional classical music pedagogy. It allows students to specifically acquire skills in order for them to self generate, in other words to create their own music and their own style. When my 10 year old daughter wanted to learn the piano I found out about Simply Music and was intrigued by the method. Now my daughter plays constantly, any time she has a spare moment. In a matter of months she has learnt 12 pieces of music but she also is making her own music using the pieces as take-off points. The philosophy of Simply Music’s teaching is a great way to keep people motivated in learning the piano and promotes the idea that music is fun and to be enjoyed. The time is ripe for changes in music teaching and I like what Simply Music has to offer. My students are having a great time.


Marilyn Van Roekel – Tucson, AZ – Simpson College in Indianola, IA graduate, Music Therapy Degree from University of Iowa, 20 years teaching experience.
I have been teaching Simply Music for two years now and am astounded at the results. Students who are free to create great-sounding music for the first year of their study, without the complexity of reading notes, find the task of reverse engineering that knowledge to music notation to be simple and non-intimidating. Because they are already very comfortable playing in a variety of keys, using complex chords and rhythmic patterns, they very naturally “see” it on the page. The Simply Music method equips me AND my students to be well-rounded musicians. A practical, hands-on relationship with the keyboard frees us to pursue improvisation, arrangement, and composition. Simply Music earns my STRONG seal of approval!

Nancy Denz – Kamuela, HI – University of Wisconsin – 1- years classical piano instruction, 8 years of amateur vocal performance, 4 years children’s musical theatre, 8 years teaching Mary Ann Hall’s Music for Children.
Recently the father of one of my students attended a piano lesson specifically to see “what Simply Music was all about”. He came because his daugher, studying the Simply Music method, never had to be asked to practice and in fact loved performing for her friends and family. This was all in stark contrast to his older daughter who had been taking traditional piano lessons for over two years. The older child had to be begged and cajoled to practice and even then only did it under duress. And, most remarkable to him was that his younger child, after just six months of Simply Music lessons was playing at or above the level of his older child. His words after the lesson, “this is just wonderful”.

Joanne Jones – Perth, Australia – 8th Grade AMEB, sat for Associate of Music in 1977, 40 years experience accompanying soloists, choirs, and musicals, brief experience teaching traditional piano lessons.
Having found Simply Music I have begun to uncover those supposed mysteries beneath my hands. I just can’t believe, for instance, how complex chords, in all keys, can be taught so simply and found so easily. I relish the joy with which I play now. I am no longer on ‘slippery ground’ with the pieces I have applied the Simply Music approach to, and the Blues and Jazz programs are taking me to musical places I never dared hope to discover! In teaching Simply Music I am constantly learning and growing. The more I learn about the program the more convinced I become that we are witnessing an historical moment in the teaching of music.
_________________________
Everyone is musical. No exceptions. www.PlayPianoNow.info

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#960200 - 05/17/08 10:54 AM Re: Anyone heard of/use the Simply Music curricula?
A2mom Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/28/07
Posts: 103
Loc: Northern California
CindyB - Enjoying the discussion. Many thanks for the video clip. Looking on the website, there are "associate" and "senior" associate teachers. How do these relate to "accredited" instructors? What is the highest "level" of instruction and what is the student playing when they reach the highest current level of SimplyMusic instruction currently published? If you ever get the inclination for more video posts, I'd love to see further explication on video and understand/see more about the approach. Suzukimom
_________________________
A2mom
Northern California
Shigeru Kawai SK3, Clavinova CVP207

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#960201 - 05/17/08 11:12 AM Re: Anyone heard of/use the Simply Music curricula?
Late Beginner Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/06/08
Posts: 588
Loc: West Australia
Hi,

There is more to piano that wanting to be a professional classical soloist. The majority of music beginners are more likely to want to join the wider musical family and fulfil a general desire to make music. Piano used to fill a very large role in music making, but over the last few decades it has lost most of that ground. Anybody who hasn't spotted that needs to get out more. ;\) Beginners today are more likely to want to take up other instruments such as guitar or perhaps digital keyboards. I play guitar regularly in a local music shop. We play all sorts of styles from folk and rock to classical and anybody can join in on any instrument in the shop. We've had all manner join in - from percussion to cello and double bass, but not a single keyboard player. That would have been unthinkable when I was a kid - piano was No 1. It's not now.

If piano teaching wishes to join harpsichords and claviers on the sidelines then that's fine too. But I think that if it wants to keep some sort of stake in the musical future then it needs to embrace a variety of approaches. Of the dozens of people that I know who took traditional piano lessons as children only 4 now have a piano in the house, and only one still plays it. And he's in his mid 70s, and recently lost much of the use of his left hand.

I see nothing in Simply Music that will ruin somebody's chances of going all the way to a professional music career if they so choose. But I do see an opportunity to get a lot of people playing piano, who might not have done so otherwise, and then keeping them. That seems good to me. I don't see it replacing all the other methods available, but I don't see the necessity to run it down either, particularly on such slender acquantance. It may not work for everybody, but it's certainly working for many.

Chris
_________________________
Who needs feet of clay? I can get into enough trouble with feet made of regular foot stuff...

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#960202 - 05/17/08 12:05 PM Re: Anyone heard of/use the Simply Music curricula?
Chris H. Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/05
Posts: 2911
Loc: UK.
Cindy, you are getting upset when you needn't be. It is quite right that you should defend the method you use. Also I will fully admit that I don't know enough about SM to judge its credibilty. You have testimonials from a lot of highly qualified people so it must be a worthwhile program. What I am saying is that SM is not the only way to learn musicianship skills like improvisation, composition and accompanying. The SM website really does put down 'traditional' teaching methods. The trouble is nobody seems quite sure about what 'traditional' teaching is. If traditional teaching is following a dry tutor book to the letter then I agree it is not much good. To me though, traditional teaching should encompass all of these skills using a variety of methods appropriate to the individual student. I can't post video clips explaining what I teach because to be honest it depends on who I have sat in front of me. I can't provide the same testimonials because the way I teach is (I hope) constantly changing and evolving along with the materials I use.

Late beginner, you make excellent points about why people are motivated to learn piano today. Music is a very social activity. However you learn it is important for your musical development to actually make music with others. This is where your skills will develop most and where you will get the most pleasure from it. Any method which involves sitting alone in a practice room for hours on end with no real reason to play is likely to fail. I can understand that SM promotes getting involved by teaching accompaniment patterns and chord playing. That is one of things I do like about it. You will find these things in other books and methods though. It is true that you have to move with the times and thankfully many tutor books have done this.

I didn't say that SM will ruin somebody's chance of a professional music career. I'm just not sure that it better prepares them than any other teaching methods. If you take a tour of the music conservatoires and ask how many of the students followed the SM program I would guess you wouldn't find many. That's not to say it is no good but it shows that there are other ways of getting there. Most people will never get that far and probably have no intention of doing so. There is nothing wrong with that. Very few of my students go off to university to study music. Most of them are regular people who want to play the piano for enjoyment and personal satisfaction and/or to get involved in making music with others. There are a lot of teachers who are able to provide that without using SM. Each to their own.
_________________________
Pianist and piano teacher.

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