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#960113 - 05/07/08 03:25 PM Anyone heard of/use the Simply Music curricula?
Morodiene Online   content
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Registered: 04/06/07
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Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
This website has been brought to my attention today, and I've never heard of it, but there are those teachers who swear by it after many years of teaching traditional piano. Does anyone know about this first hand, and what can you tell me about it?

http://www.simplymusic.com./Home
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#960114 - 05/07/08 03:31 PM Re: Anyone heard of/use the Simply Music curricula?
keyboardklutz Offline
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I sense old wine in new bottles.
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#960115 - 05/07/08 04:31 PM Re: Anyone heard of/use the Simply Music curricula?
dumdumdiddle Offline
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Registered: 09/16/06
Posts: 1264
Loc: California
Here's a sentence from their website that pretty much says it all:

"Because of this, 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."


Mmm.... no thanks.
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#960116 - 05/07/08 04:42 PM Re: Anyone heard of/use the Simply Music curricula?
Morodiene Online   content
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Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Believe me, I am skeptical about this. My reason for posting this is not to get more skeptical comments, however. I want to hear from anyone who has used it or knows of teachers who use it. Apparently there are teachers of this method who are also highly educated in the music field and have taught traditional lessons for 30+ years before switching to this program. I do not know these teachers personally and so I'm looking for some first hand information either to verify or refute their claims.
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#960117 - 05/07/08 05:49 PM Re: Anyone heard of/use the Simply Music curricula?
keystring Online   content
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Registered: 12/11/07
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Loc: Canada
Quick glance and quick thoughts: We know that there are people who "teach" music who don't know how to, can't structure, are still learning themselves or may not have been taught properly. The idea of a person like that teaching using the program is more attractive than a person like that teaching without using a program.

If you get past the hype into curriculum, there seems to be an underlying structure and principles. The "7 languages" of note reading, rhythm etc. which they want to introduce systematically. They seem to stress reading & writing of music, practice of things like rhythm.

There are practicing guidelines: length, nature, frequency, where the focus is to be. I suspect these are standards, and if they are adhered to a student will do well because he is practicing correctly (assuming he's also taught correctly). Parents must be involved, and are told how to.

Teachers using the program must be "certified" by them, which assumes some kind of training process.

If considering the hypothetical unqualified, untrained teacher winging it somehow, this would be better.

Reading the curriculum info. it may be that there is a structure that follows established traditional lines, and somebody using the program who is a teacher would know best. (which is what you were asking)

It is also a money generator. The course is to run from 6 - 10 years, and course material must be purchased on-line from the supplier. Teachers must pay a fee to get access to the material. If they are using some kind of on-line facilities, maybe there's a usage fee. Students would be paying into it to get the books, and teachers would be paying into it. Is it worth the investment.

If somebody lives in a remote area without access to a teacher can something like this which involves on-line learning work. Is there a web-cam, at least?

As a student I wouldn't go for this.

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#960118 - 05/07/08 06:13 PM Re: Anyone heard of/use the Simply Music curricula?
Garbo Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/08/08
Posts: 25
Loc: Oak Park, Ca
I started the Simply Music program last August of 07 and "simply" love it! I am 54 and have been playing for years but could never get"off the sheet music" Most of her students are kids but I would absolutely start my child with this program. I am going very quickly through the units as I am very motivated and can already play and read music pretty well...through some Chopin nocturnes, etc. Now I can play by memory 12 bar blues, improvising, feeling the rhythms naturally and even playing jazzy renditons of Fur Elise, Ode to Joy, Mozart's sonata in C. I can actually sit down and play the piano in front of real people!! This is great to kick start a bored adult player! The lessons are weekly and include materials (book, DVD, CD) It seems very simple and childish at first but it gets more complex quickly. I pay $216 a month and look forward to every week. I am so motivated now that I am also taking from a classical instructor twice a month. The combination of the two is expensive but delicious. I'm an empty nester with a "grand obssession" held back only by my aching back! Don't knock this program..it isn't for piano snobs but I think I never would have become so bored with traditonal lessons if I had had this kind of instruction. I'm live near LA. I posted awhile back to see if anyone was doing this, too. Glad to hear that it's getting around. Camille
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#960119 - 05/07/08 07:12 PM Re: Anyone heard of/use the Simply Music curricula?
keystring Online   content
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Loc: Canada
Camille, I took the liberty of looking up your original post on the subject. There is some info. on the developer of the program, who began by teaching a blind boy. I hope it's ok to post a cross-link to that thread:
cross-link

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#960120 - 05/07/08 08:45 PM Re: Anyone heard of/use the Simply Music curricula?
jotur Offline
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Registered: 09/16/06
Posts: 5455
Loc: Santa Fe, NM
I ordered the first set of 3 videos, even tho I already knew how to play piano. I like the philosophy behind it very much, and picked up some ideas for memorizing/ear playing etc - tho, as with anything that's being used by an enthusiastic learner, some of what I learned wasn't necessarily what was being explicitly taught at the time - just a different take on things I already knew. Because the developer got his first ideas for this course from, as keystring points out, teaching a blind boy, he found many different directions from which to get to playing - engaged many other learning styles, many of which were quite helpful for me. He taught using geometrical shapes to remember finger positions on the keyboard, and touching each finger in the sequence in which they would be used to play a tune, as well as "chunking" a piece in order to memorize it. He emphasizes building and retaining repertoire. There are probably many ideas in his teaching methods that other piano teachers use, and some that would be new to individual teachers. Eventually students learn to read music - it's just not the starting point. I passed on the videos to my niece, who was self-teaching, and I know she learned some tunes from them.

I believe at least one fairly active teacher on the ABF and this forum has taught with this, and a couple of us ABFers have at least done the intro. Like anything else it won't be for everyone, but I think for folks like me it's really good.

A search on Simply Music in the ABF and/or here would probably bring up several threads.

Cathy
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#960121 - 05/07/08 09:12 PM Re: Anyone heard of/use the Simply Music curricula?
Morodiene Online   content
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Registered: 04/06/07
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Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Camille and Cathy,
Thanks for your perspectives on it. I'm just looking into it and want to get as much info as possible. I'm not seriously considering it at this point, but if there is any way I can improve my teaching, I'm all for it. This is not something that one can decide quickly to do, so thanks for the added info.

Keystring:
I think there's the self-taught part of it, and the online things are just for teaching the teachers (that's my understanding). But the rest is geared toward one one one or group lessons in person. It sounds as thought some of the things I already do, but I'm sure it's the whole experience that makes it work. At least, that's what I understand from what little I've heard about it.
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#960122 - 05/07/08 10:02 PM Re: Anyone heard of/use the Simply Music curricula?
Late Beginner Offline
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Registered: 01/06/08
Posts: 588
Loc: West Australia
Hi Morodiene,

I have recently completed the first module of Simply Music. The first thing that I'd say is that a student's experience of it will vary widely, depending on their own style and needs, but above all on the teacher they get. It's really no different from seeking a teacher of any other method - even among traditionally accredited teachers some will be good, some pretty mediocre, and some won't suit you at all.

There were 2 Simply Music teachers in my area. One is a well qualified and experienced teacher with a lot of students. Her rates are toward the higher end of the scale and her appointment book seems to be usually full. The other is a 'self-taught' working musician in his 50s with many years playing experience. He has recently decided to branch out into teaching and charges at the low end of the scale. Both would do a good job, but some students would prefer one or the other.

The course material was reasonably priced. For $40 Australian I got two books of music, a CD of the pieces, a DVD with support videos for all the lessons, and a fold out paper 'keyboard' which I never used. The two music books had the same 10 very short pieces. Simply Music is based on the idea that kids don't learn to read before they talk, so why should we have to learn to read music before we play. So they start off using simple patterns, phrases, 'sentences' or whatever you'd like to call them.

So the first book contained various diagrams and shorthand that represented how to play the piece. The other book had exactly the same pieces but in standard notation. So notation is certainly not banned, and the course moves on to it later, but it's just not encouraged as a first step.

I wanted to try the system out, mostly because I wanted to see if it might suit my young son. But I enjoyed it enough to complete the module and learn the 10 pieces. I already read music beforehand, so I switched backwards and forwards between the two books.

As Keyboardklutz put it, in many ways it's "Old wine in new bottles" rather than a radically different approach to music as such. But I think that it would certainly appeal to many people. I had a great time with the teacher, who I got on very well with. He's currently away on tour, but we're hoping to resume some kind of lessons later. I'm unlikely to continue with just the SM courses alone, but that's because I like to mix a range of things anyway. I'm not really a 'course' person.

Good luck choosing the right teacher/method for you. There seem to be lots of methods to choose from, but the bottom line seems to be finding the one that most motivates the individual student. There's no way round putting in a large amount of time if you want to develop reasonably high levels of skill, so it boils down to finding a method that the student is most likely to enjoy, and least likely to feel bored or pressured by. That will vary from person to person.

Chris
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#960123 - 05/08/08 01:29 AM Re: Anyone heard of/use the Simply Music curricula?
keyboardklutz Offline
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Music is a bit of a tart - it'll flirt with anyone's fancy. As Chris says, what ever motivates you.
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#960124 - 05/08/08 10:35 AM Re: Anyone heard of/use the Simply Music curricula?
Monica K. Offline

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Registered: 08/10/05
Posts: 17749
Loc: Lexington, Kentucky
A year or two ago there was a forum member active here who was a very enthusiastic advocate of Simply Music: CindyB - Musicmaker. Haven't "seen" her around lately, but you might want to try searching for some of her posts/threads.
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#960125 - 05/08/08 12:51 PM Re: Anyone heard of/use the Simply Music curricula?
Musictuary Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/19/05
Posts: 169
Loc: Aurora, Illinois, USA
Morodiene,

In addition to Cindy B mentioned in the previous post there was another teacher who used to post regularly on the forums awhile back - Piano Teacher Kim (I think) - who also uses the Simply Music curriculum.

Try searching for her old posts. She also has a website where she explained her reasoning for using the Simply Music curriculum.

Musictuary

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#960126 - 05/09/08 02:12 PM Re: Anyone heard of/use the Simply Music curricula?
Dianna Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 05/08/08
Posts: 4
I'm a rather new Simply Music Teacher, so maybe I don't have the best answers for some of the points brought up here, but I truly love the program and am willing to try. :-)

Keystring brought up some great points; I'll address some of them from my perspective as a teacher.

Regarding our training and qualification to teach:

No one is licensed to teach Simply Music who hasn't gone through the training program - which includes interaction via telephone with Neil Moore, the founder and director. Now, every piano teacher (or teacher of anything) has made mistakes in the beginning - "are still learning themselves". After all, they say you can't truly know something for yourself until you've taught it. But Simply Music does hold it's teachers to a standard of excellence. The training program has been thoroughly thought out and covers all the basics to help ensure that the beginning teacher is as successful as he/she can be. They have a great teacher support system where teachers can ask for others' expertise , and Neil has made himself personally available as well.


Does the overall structure follow traditional lines? Or is it "old wine in new bottles"?

When I first uncovered SM, I was turned off by its untraditional approach. After getting to understand it a little better though, that is part of what's attractive to me. Think about it this way: Music is a language, right? Like speaking: Parents teach their kids to talk, and they do a great job! Similarly, music educators are responsible to enable their students to be musically self-expressed. Just how successful have we been? I know that there are some great teachers out there - I have had several - but the stereotype of struggling through piano lessons only to totally give up later stems from an all-too-common source: true-life experiences of dissatisfaction and perceived failure in piano lessons. SM's goal isn't to find the students with a special talent and dicipline for music and to turn them into acclomplished classical artists. Rather, our goal is for everyone, everywhere, to develop their own musicality... whether they "just" play for relaxation after work, for fun with friends, for congregational singing in church, or professionally in a concert hall. Music for everyone. I don't think Simply Music follows a traditional pattern - otherwise it wouldn't achieve its untraditional results.


What if there's no teacher in the area?

There is a learn-at-home program, which can be read about at the website. I'm not familiar with it, so I won't say anything more about it, other than, from what I've seen, I'm sure that it works excellently. :-)


Keystring wrote: "It is also a money generator. The course is to run from 6 - 10 years, and course material must be purchased on-line from the supplier. Teachers must pay a fee to get access to the material. If they are using some kind of on-line facilities, maybe there's a usage fee. Students would be paying into it to get the books, and teachers would be paying into it. Is it worth the investment."

The website is open to the public, with the exception of the teachers' sections. That is used as part of our training, as well as a resource for teachers' studios, for the business aspect of it all, and as a way to get questions answered. There isn't an extra fee to use the site.

Simply Music materials are not available in public retail - it helps maintains SM's standards for teachers. For example, a year ago I was nominally teaching a few beginner students using the same curriculumn that I had learned to play with; I was untrained and probably not the best representative of what that method had to offer. Because SM materials are only available through the organization directly, only those who have been trained to understand the program and its goals will be presenting it.

There is an over-all licensing fee for all teachers, as well as some student fees (the latter are such that the teacher with 5 students won't be paying as much as the teacher with 70 - makes sense to me). We also continue to buy the materials for training in subsequent levels. As far as the comment about it being a "money-generator", I don't think that because SM makes teaching for a living a more viable option it should be looked at askance. If a teacher can do what he/she loves and feel conpensated for it, they'll work harder and do a better job (free-enterprise :-). I think it's great that it offers new opportunity not just for the students but for the teachers too. Now, you need to understand that teachers set their own fees. They are licensed by the organization, but their studio is just that - their own personal business. It's not a chain like McD's or Old Navy; it's individual teachers running their own business in their own way who use the SM curriculumn. I myself have been skeptical at various points of the program, but Neil and the rest of the SM team have always risen to the occasion. I have complete confidence in them and truly believe them when they say that they are working for the best possible outcome for them as an organization, for us as teachers, and for those who are students - a win-win-win all around. :-)

This has been a great thread with a lot of good questions asked. I love talking about Simply Music and hope that my post can help make it better understood.

Sorry this got so long.
Dianna
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#960127 - 05/09/08 10:11 PM Re: Anyone heard of/use the Simply Music curricula?
Musictuary Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/19/05
Posts: 169
Loc: Aurora, Illinois, USA
Dianna,

Welcome to the forums!

Could you explain the difference between a teacher who is accredited to teach SM vs. a teacher who is licensed to teach SM?

Also what age can a child start with this program?

Although I am an adult piano student taking "traditional" lessons, my interest in SM is mostly from the perspective of a parent of two young children who are currently enrolled in Musikgarten but may be too young for individual piano instruction.

Musictuary

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#960128 - 05/10/08 01:27 AM Re: Anyone heard of/use the Simply Music curricula?
Dianna Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 05/08/08
Posts: 4
Thanks Musictuary. :-)

When you're training, you're called a teacher. When training is complete and you're ready to start teaching, you're licensed. You then have a year to complete a couple requirements in order to become accredited - you can't just stay at the licensed stage. There are a couple other levels as a person teaches with the organization longer.

SM is not really a program for the lil' folks - there are some super music programs out there for young children. But it's mostly the teacher's call. Personally right now, I say that I'd like them to be seven, but there's the maturity factor to be considered.

It sounds like you have some younger kids, so I would probably consider SM for later on down the road for them. But you're the one who knows your children. Also, if you are seriously considering it, I would recommend getting in touch with a teacher in your area to see what they would have to say.

The best in whatever you decide. :-)
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#960129 - 05/10/08 09:50 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 Monica K.:
A year or two ago there was a forum member active here who was a very enthusiastic advocate of Simply Music: CindyB - Musicmaker. ... [/b]
Here I am! Actually, I stopped being a regular at PWF. The number of students I'm teaching has reached the upper 30's with a few more waiting in the wings, so I don't have as much free time for posting.

I was a traditional teacher, and as I've said before, I switched to Simply Music and have zero regrets. My students are achieving more with this method than any of my students ever achieved in the traditional methods. They learn to play very well, they learn to read, write, compose, arrange, improvise, arrange etc. (I'VE learned more about teaching, plus things like reading complicated chord symbols, since I switched also) Anyone completing the Simply Music curriculum is better prepared for a career in music, be it performance or education, than any traditionally trained piano student. Someone mentioned the time it takes - it takes half if not less of what a reading based approach requires. I have students who will be done with Piano lessons by the time they're in High School. I have 6 students in their 70's, all of whom are enjoying the experience and are learning not only how to make their fingers do what they command, but they're also learning how to remember songs without the music.

This method is deinitely NOT old wine in new bottles. Simply Music is redefining music in our culture - and envisions a world where everyone who wants to play the piano, CAN!! There are no more labels - this person isn't musical, that person is rhythmically challenged, this person hasn't got a musical bone in his body - Everyone is musical, because everyone is human.
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#960130 - 05/10/08 01:56 PM Re: Anyone heard of/use the Simply Music curricula?
Musictuary Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/19/05
Posts: 169
Loc: Aurora, Illinois, USA
Dianna,

Thanks very much for your reply. It sounds as if my children would be too young for this program based on your suggestion. The nearest teachers to me that were listed on the website were quite some distance away from where I live. Maybe that could change in the future. I may look into the learn at home DVDs to get a better feel for the program.

Cindy B.
Welcome back again!

I'm happy to know your studio is doing well. You were one of the two teachers listed for Illinois but I think you may be some distance away from Aurora.

Thanks once again for your replies.

Musictuary

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#960131 - 05/10/08 07:25 PM Re: Anyone heard of/use the Simply Music curricula?
Morodiene Online   content
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Registered: 04/06/07
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CindyB:
How can someone be "done" with Piano Lessons in your opinion? Is there a limit to what level a person can do Simply Music training, after which they would proceed to a more traditional lesson?

I am not hostile at all to the idea, please understand. I'm trying to research it.
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#960132 - 05/10/08 08:23 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
 Quote:
Originally posted by CindyB - Musicmaker:

This method is deinitely NOT old wine in new bottles. [/b]
I think that depends on what you think is the wine and what you see as the bottle. \:\)

When I agreed that it could be seen as "old wine in new bottles" I was seeing the music as the wine and the different teaching method as the new bottle. I still see it that way. I take the phrase to refer to the practice of taking something that's been around for a while and is 'old' or familiar and repackaging it. It doesn't have to mean that it's a bad thing to do.

Aged wine can be seen as something of quality that is to be treasured (at least, that's how I see the stuff that I drink... ;\) ), and I think that Simply Music has done a good job of keeping what's good about the "old wine". For example SM is not a major departure from how music is played or composed - it doesn't reject standard notation, nor does it seek to redefine the end result of what you play. The music isn't weirdly different, unusually fingered or gutted. It's not about synthesizers, or atonal music, or any of an number of radically different ways of going about the business of making music.

It's basically a different approach to the way that familar and traditional styles of music are taught. At least that's the way it seems to me.

And it's not even so different that it is unrecognisable as a method. It does indeed vary a lot from the way other formal course might be run, especially at the start, but I felt immediately comfortable with the idea of breaking the music down into patterns and short 'sentences'. Because it's pretty much the same method that I'd come across many times before when one friend informally shows another how to play something - "Look mate, just start with that finger, go 3 steps to the left, then do the same things again. After that move to..." etc.

I look at the ten pieces in my very first SM book. These are short exercises, not entire works. But three of them - Jackson Blues, Bishop Street Blues and Alma Mater Blues are simple tunes in a standard blues format. Then there's Ode to Joy, Fur Elise, and Amazing Grace! If that's not Old Wine then I don't know what is! \:D

However you describe it, Simply Music has been well thought out and will suit many students right down to the ground. No method suits everybody, but I don't see this as either a cheap gimmick or as something that will necessarily replace other styles. But if it's another way of bringing the joy of playing music to a wider audience, then I'm all for it.

Cheers,

Chris
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#960133 - 05/10/08 10:14 PM Re: Anyone heard of/use the Simply Music curricula?
Kreisler Offline


Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13764
Loc: Iowa City, IA
There hasn't been new wine in quite a while, but there are always new combinations.

Simply Music, like MFYC, Edwin Gordon's approach, Kindermusik, and other "alternatives" to traditional instruction all borrow heavily from practices that have been fairly common in general music curricula for awhile. They owe a strong debt to Orff/Schulwerk, Kodaly, Suzuki, and Dalcroze.

They can be very effective, though. But as always, their effectiveness ultimately lies in the hands of the teacher.
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#960134 - 05/11/08 11:45 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 Morodiene:
CindyB:
How can someone be "done" with Piano Lessons in your opinion? Is there a limit to what level a person can do Simply Music training, after which they would proceed to a more traditional lesson?
[/b]
Most people sign up for piano lessons in order to learn how to play the piano. So it's simple. Most people are done with lessons when they can play the piano! That's the simple answer. OF COURSE - everyone has different goals as pertains to the piano!

Playing the piano in its basics is a set of specific skills that a person wants to acquire - just like carpentry, science, landscaping. I know and teach all of the specific skills that are involved in playing the piano. The student has to learn the techniques and skills specific to that field in order to be a piano player, or a carpenter etc.
The rest is basically up to the student. The carpenter who spends a lot of time time time "practicing" begins to develop his own flair and ability - his work becomes recognizable as something set apart and he doesn't need a teacher anymore.

In Simply Music, every skill involved in playing the piano, reading music, writing music, improvising, transposing, composing, reading chord symbols- is taught. It doesn't have to be taught and retaught for years. My level 4 students are already able to read all the major and minor chord symbols, plus split chords, suspended, and are beginning the process of learning how to transpose a song into any key. From there - it's up to them. By level 6 they're well into the reading program and by level 7 they've learned the basics of comp/improv and are delving much deeper into the process.

If a student wants to become a fluent sight reader - that's up to him. The only way for that to happen is to read and play a zillion pieces of music regularly and often If a student wants to be in a rock band - they'll know what they need to know after 10 or so years of lessons, but being good at it is up to them, as is finding opportunities to get into the band scene. If a student wants to be a piano teacher, they're ready any time they want to. If a student wants to be George Winston, they'll be ready after 10 or so years of lessons, but obviously - they have to do all the homework. If a student wants to go to Carnegie Hall, after 12 or so years of SM lessons - they're better prepared than most, if not all of their peers going into the piano performance field in college.

Why do people believe that if they want to be good - they'll have to take lessons indefinitely? Because when their playing ability is determined by their reading ability, they CAN'T make any kind of decent progress and it drags on indefinitely. Are you going to insist that a child learns to read before he can speak? Of course not! So why teach the language of music backwards, with reading coming before playing?

We wouldn't tolerate a math teacher whose students don't know how to add. We wouldn't tolerate for long a reading teacher whose students can't read.

People don't pay me to teach piano if they're not going to "get there". I don't want them to be dependent on me any more than is necessary.
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#960135 - 05/11/08 11:58 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:
 Quote:
Originally posted by CindyB - Musicmaker:

This method is deinitely NOT old wine in new bottles. [/b]
When I agreed that it could be seen as "old wine in new bottles" I was seeing the music as the wine and the different teaching method as the new bottle.

Chris [/b]
What Simply Music does that no other method on the face of the planet does is this...we teach every student how to express himself musically, in a way that is individual and unique. You will never be stuck with the songs that have already been written unless you want to be, and then you'll be able to absorb that music right down to the bone and make it yours, leaving the printed page in the bench. A comparison might be learning a new language, let's say Vietnamese. If I, the language teacher, teach you how to fluently read and say phrases in Vietnamese, does that mean I've taught you to speak Vietnamese? No - you still have to go out among Vietnamese speaking people and learn how to improvise - putting together words and sentences in order to communicate - you simply cannot go out with a script and expect that script to meet all of you communication needs.

Simply Music wants to be able to equip people to speak the language of music at the piano, communicating without the script. So in essence the wine becomes new, and so does the bottle.
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#960136 - 05/11/08 12:04 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 Kreisler:
There hasn't been new wine in quite a while, but there are always new combinations.

They can be very effective, though. But as always, their effectiveness ultimately lies in the hands of the teacher. [/b]
How many piano students do you know who are able to play their own music, spontaneously drawn from within them and laid out on the keys in an individual and one of a kind way? A while back I remember reading posts from some adult students who resented being unable to acquire George Winston's music in print - they just couldn't understand that he never does the same thing twice - he speaks piano language, and doesn't read from a script. Once it's in print, it loses what makes it so special. In today's culture, nearly everyone is settling for the traditional as if it's the original, but it isn't.
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#960137 - 05/12/08 01:33 AM Re: Anyone heard of/use the Simply Music curricula?
keyboardklutz Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 10856
Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
 Quote:
Originally posted by CindyB - Musicmaker:
How many piano students do you know who are able to play their own music, spontaneously drawn from within them and laid out on the keys in an individual and one of a kind way? [/b]
I used to teach class music and the pupils could and did do this. It was called a music curriculum and I was trained to write it.
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#960138 - 05/12/08 08:36 AM Re: Anyone heard of/use the Simply Music curricula?
Kreisler Offline


Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13764
Loc: Iowa City, IA
 Quote:
Originally posted by CindyB - Musicmaker:
How many piano students do you know who are able to play their own music, spontaneously drawn from within them and laid out on the keys in an individual and one of a kind way? [/b]
I know a few dozen. And there are a lot of materials out there that help with improvisation, chord symbols, composing, etc...

I'm not saying that Simply Music isn't good. I'm just saying that it's not new and revolutionary. Even the things about learning a language mentioned earlier in this thread come straight out of Suzuki philosophy.
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#960139 - 05/12/08 09:06 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 keyboardklutz:
I used to teach class music and the pupils could and did do this. It was called a music curriculum and I was trained to write it. [/QB][/QUOTE]

So you're saying that all of your students were able to sit down at any piano, any time, and play without the printed page? If so, I wish I had met you years ago!
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#960140 - 05/12/08 09:41 AM Re: Anyone heard of/use the Simply Music curricula?
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11590
Loc: Canada
Cindy, is it clear what kbk means by "writing music curriculum" or the concept of "curriculum" in this context? I suspect you're missing each other.

In formal teacher training of a certain kind for teaching any subject we are taught to do this. You begin with a set of skills and knowledge that you want a student to acquire in the long term and/or for a given year (still longterm).

The things that you have listed, which kbk says his students did, are such a "set of skills and knowledge", "being able to ..... " etc.

After defining what you want the student to learn, you figure out HOW he would learn it. You analyze everything involved, available material etc. You divide things into themes, concepts, plan what should be taught to support what else, what interrelates etc.

You then end up with a large scale plan like a map. We called it a matrix. This turns into a series of units, and on the smallest level it can be an individual lesson plan for this particular day. The sum total is what kbk calls a "curriculum". Simply Music is such a curriculum in that sense.

If you want students to be able to do the things you have listed then you have to find a path that will get them there. Some teachers will create that path in the manner that kbk has indicated. There is such a thing as curriculum programs, and that idea is not new. Such programs use existing pedagogical devices, whatever is available, such as the "language approach" in order to reach the goals they want to reach with their students. Simply Music seems to be such a program, and a good one.

But that doesn't preclude that another teacher may have created their own program aiming toward similar goals. Plus I understand that in the field of music it is incredibly hard work to create such a program from scratch.

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#960141 - 05/12/08 10:00 AM Re: Anyone heard of/use the Simply Music curricula?
keyboardklutz Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 10856
Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
 Quote:
Originally posted by CindyB - Musicmaker:
So you're saying that all of your students were able to sit down at any piano, any time, and play without the printed page? If so, I wish I had met you years ago! [/b]
Yeh, we used to call it composing. And keystring's right. My guess would be Simply Music is someone's curriculum. In those days you had to write your own. Australia's music program was quite similar to the UK's. In the US it was different - all that high school band stuff. Check out British Columbia's music curriculum - it's online. I remember my tutor going over there to help them write it.
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#960142 - 05/12/08 10:12 AM Re: Anyone heard of/use the Simply Music curricula?
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11590
Loc: Canada
 Quote:
In the US it was different - all that high school band stuff. Check out British Columbia's music curriculum -...
That being Canada, however. ;\) The rule of thumb among homeschoolers used to be that the further West you went, the more progressive and open-minded the school system became. No idea if it's true. Our system is province-governed.

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