Russian School of Piano Playing

Posted by: ElK

Russian School of Piano Playing - 04/23/10 02:12 PM

Hello,

I am wondering if any other teachers have used the Russian School of Piano Playing (http://www.sheetmusicplus.com/title/4140069) books for their beginner students? I've been teaching for 5 years and have used Bastien, Piano Adventures and Leila Fletcher and have not been satisfied with the level of note reading of my students upon completion of those books. The Russian School books are translated versions of the books that are used in Russian music schools. When I first started lessons in the late 80s in Russia, that's the method book I had. You are expected to memorize note names and placements right away. Most songs are about 8 bars long, but the key difference is that there are no "positions". Each song starts in a different spot and the finger patterns are never the same. My biggest problem with Bastien, for instance, was that students would end up associating 1 with C, 2 with D, etc.. and were not able to move freely from note to note. Since starting to use this method book, I've seen amazing improvements in my students' sight reading. I now use these books exclusively for all beginners. Plus the songs are fun and have lovely melodies. At first I was concerned that because they are not familiar songs, my students wouldn't be as interested, but all the kids love this book and enjoy playing the songs. The last songs in book I are at the level of Grade 1 songs from the Royal Conservatory's Celebration Series.

Has anyone else used these books? What do you think?
Posted by: keyboardklutz

Re: Russian School of Piano Playing - 04/23/10 02:18 PM

Great if you're into Russian folk music. Is Ode to Joy, Twinkle Twinkle or Kum Bah Ya in it? What about Little Brown Jug and Skip to Ma Lou?
Posted by: ElK

Re: Russian School of Piano Playing - 04/23/10 02:47 PM

no they're not, and i don't think anyone has missed them wink
Posted by: Elissa Milne

Re: Russian School of Piano Playing - 04/23/10 03:53 PM

The music in those books is fantastic! I really love the pieces, on the whole - there is great material there.

As a method? Well, surely that's a student-by-student decision? I would think it would be seriously challenging for a 6 year old child of average intelligence and limited diligence!! And the other thing is that there would be nothing wrong with using these books alongside others.

I agree that some methods end up being C=1, and that's so tedious, apart from not assisting reading, but not every method works that way - most methods that have been released in the past 20 years go out of their way to avoid this.

Clavier Companion has been running a series comparing new methods, and that might be interesting to check out in regard to your concerns.

But the books you are talking about are filled with sensational music.
Posted by: Betty Patnude

Re: Russian School of Piano Playing - 04/23/10 04:14 PM

ElK,

I looked at the link you gave and found the pieces to be intermedaite to late intermediate level with the high price of $24.95. I would not consider a volume like this for a young student beginning lessons.

I then went to sheetmusicplus and typed in "russian piano music" for which there were 511 responses; then I typed in "russian piano method" of which there were 47 listed.

I looked over a page or two of each results and found 2 Denis Agay edited books: "Joy of Russian Music" (Yorktown Press) and "The Young Pianist Library Book 1 A" which is a composite, not all Russian. But, these are not suitable for a rank beginner or for studying a Russian Technique, either. I do like Denes Agay's editing and selection over some of the others that were listed.

There are many albums of very early classical music covering many countries and eras that would be much more suitable for elementary introduction to classics for a young musician.

I very much like the "Russian 5" of composers and I appreciate the "Russian" approach to the piano. But, I'm not sure specializing like this is a good idea for a young child, and a beginner. Things need to be presented simply and understandably first - the literature you are considering is not simple in any way and actually has many dissonant sounds and emotions and I think an older, more musically experienced and "worldly" student would most appreciate the study of a country and style of music. Someone somewhat academic and geography oriented.

My thought would be to recommend a general education including children's songs and folk songs from many countries and even Disney music from the movies enters into an exciting program for youngsters. And, there are early classics written by the piano teachers of bygone eras and those composers who wrote technique studies.

And, it's possible for you to collect your own music choices for your students from free music in the public domain here in the US. I have done that and I use selections for the first 10 lessons while we are learning to count, read the music staff and to be keyboard oriented. These kinds of simple pieces get the students off to a good start. I choose from simplicity at first and then add teaching concepts one at a time and choosing music that represents the new learning objective. Perhaps you have or know some Russian folk music that could be arranged for a beginning student?

Please tell me if I missed something in what you linked us to. I just did not see beginner music there.

Betty Patnude
Posted by: Pogorelich.

Re: Russian School of Piano Playing - 04/23/10 08:56 PM

I think those method books would work only for serious and talented kids.. They're great!
Posted by: Elissa Milne

Re: Russian School of Piano Playing - 04/23/10 11:09 PM

They start off with seriously easy stuff, however - I'm not sure how you could think they were intermediate level Betty!! Five finger positions that don't move? Sounds like the second half of Book 1 of any standard method to me. I actually have these books and I can see how a teacher could use them, but I don't think they are for everyone, even though they are fabulous. Kids who don't practice would struggle, for instance!!
Posted by: ll

Re: Russian School of Piano Playing - 04/24/10 12:47 AM

A little bit of an off-topic question from a non-teacher--

Would you recommend the series as maybe something progressive slightly more advanced students can sight-read through?
Posted by: keyboardklutz

Re: Russian School of Piano Playing - 04/24/10 02:01 AM

I still don't get teaching American/English children Russian folk songs. No wonder we're nearly out of them ourselves. A few years from now it'll be an extinct genre - what the industrial revolution failed to finish, piano teachers will!
Posted by: Elissa Milne

Re: Russian School of Piano Playing - 04/24/10 02:21 AM

I don't get why anyone thinks this is a book of Russian folk songs. There are loads of different composers represented. And it's genuinely easy - like any method book.

My criticism would simply be that it's not got a lot of *genuinely* contemporary music (that is, pieces composed in the past 25 years, say) for the good reason that it dates from the years of the Soviet Union.
Posted by: keyboardklutz

Re: Russian School of Piano Playing - 04/24/10 02:27 AM

I'm going by the Amazon preview.
Posted by: Bart Kinlein

Re: Russian School of Piano Playing - 04/24/10 02:49 AM

Quote:
I'm going by the Amazon preview.


Looking, looking...
Posted by: landorrano

Re: Russian School of Piano Playing - 04/24/10 04:22 AM

Originally Posted By: ElK
Hello,

You are expected to memorize note names and placements right away.


I like it!

Are you using do-ré-mi nomenclature ?



Originally Posted By: ElK
Most songs are about 8 bars long, but the key difference is that there are no "positions". Each song starts in a different spot and the finger patterns are never the same.


I like it very much!

I do agree with Keyboardklutz, however, that it is a pity not to root your teaching in the students' musical ground.

You being Russian ( apparently ) you can surely use the Russian flavor of the music to great advantage. But for someone who is not, it is not the same story. Like with Bartok's little exercises, many teachers just don't get it.
Posted by: keyboardklutz

Re: Russian School of Piano Playing - 04/24/10 04:37 AM

Originally Posted By: landorrano
I do agree with Keyboardklutz, however, that it is a pity not to root your teaching in the students' musical ground.
Exactly. Piano lessons are a golden opportunity for children to explore their heritage, not to mention keep it alive. Again, this is what the industrial revolution did to us - took away our nature and sold it back repackaged!
Posted by: Elissa Milne

Re: Russian School of Piano Playing - 04/24/10 05:01 AM

Good Lord, pity help all the children in nations without a decent print music publishing scene - MOST children in the world learn music of a culture other than their own when they learn to play the piano - so it's really a minority in any case who play the music of their own lives. In fact, I would say it's exceptionally rare - but there's enough in that issue for a separate thread.
Posted by: keyboardklutz

Re: Russian School of Piano Playing - 04/24/10 06:15 AM

Originally Posted By: Elissa Milne
- but there's enough in that issue for a separate thread.
Yes, but quite germane to this one. What songs have children always learned first? Those from their mother's lips. What do they learn now? Those from Sesame Street. Good for society? No, ultimately it leads to alienation ('cause none of us live on Sesame Street). And now you want to add foreign music? I don't think you appreciate what we've lost.
Posted by: keystring

Re: Russian School of Piano Playing - 04/24/10 07:02 AM

Originally Posted By: keyboardklutz
I still don't get teaching American/English children Russian folk songs.

This venue is international. The asker, meanwhile, is Canadian (Ontario). Therefore songs belonging to the native heritage of this country would include Mohawk, French, and English music, listed in order of who settled in the country first. Looking at our borders, you will find Russia on the other side of the North Pole, The United States to the south, and the Orient across the pond.

Western music, which is commonly the object of music lessons, is of European heritage (British, French, German, Russian, Dutch).

Meanwhile, when I open my window to the court yard, I see children playing together, absorbing each other's mother tongues so that you will hear "wallahi!", "salut, la!" and "ciao". The kids take their radios out and dance to the music. Some of it has an almost Middle Eastern flavour even though it belongs to popular Western culture. Meanwhile last night there was a party in the court yard and the music was from Eastern Europe, in a part that was heavily populated by the Turks. You could hear a blend of Western, Slavic, and Turkish flavours.

What single country is actually reflected in the music heard these days?
Posted by: Nyiregyhazi

Re: Russian School of Piano Playing - 04/24/10 07:13 AM

Originally Posted By: keyboardklutz
Originally Posted By: landorrano
I do agree with Keyboardklutz, however, that it is a pity not to root your teaching in the students' musical ground.
Exactly. Piano lessons are a golden opportunity for children to explore their heritage, not to mention keep it alive. Again, this is what the industrial revolution did to us - took away our nature and sold it back repackaged!


Personally, I'd be more inclined to pity the kind of kids who have morris dancers for parents. Folk music can be enjoyable, but I don't see learning piano as being the place to push folk music on kids. If the tradition ought to be kept up, it ought to be done by mouth. That's more in the nature of real folk music. Perhaps it's a shame that it's dying out, but I don't think piano lessons are the place to revive that culture. It's just a case of using material which either interests them and benefits them or doesn't. If it serves good purposes, personally I don't care whether it's an English folk song, a traditional folk song from Kazhakstan or some newly discovered waltz by Mussolini.
Posted by: keyboardklutz

Re: Russian School of Piano Playing - 04/24/10 07:21 AM

Originally Posted By: keystring
What single country is actually reflected in the music heard these days?
And that's OK? It isn't in most communities. Like I keep saying we (English) had our music taken away so - just fill the gap with any(old)body's? Don't tell me the French Canadians aren't still steeped in and propagate French Canadian music. Culture is not arbitrary and should not be left to kids in the street. I'm with Plato on this one.
Posted by: Nyiregyhazi

Re: Russian School of Piano Playing - 04/24/10 07:48 AM

Who took it?
Posted by: keyboardklutz

Re: Russian School of Piano Playing - 04/24/10 07:59 AM

Not who, what - the industrial revolution. It ripped apart our communities. If you want to study English folk music you go to the Appalachian Mountains.
Posted by: Nyiregyhazi

Re: Russian School of Piano Playing - 04/24/10 08:05 AM

I don't think that 'took' anything. It just fell out of interest.
Posted by: keyboardklutz

Re: Russian School of Piano Playing - 04/24/10 08:07 AM

Same.
Posted by: Elissa Milne

Re: Russian School of Piano Playing - 04/24/10 08:26 AM

This still misses the point that the content of the books under discussion is no less appropriate than the content of any other book currently available for this 'method book' purpose. And since we can't undo the Industrial Revolution at this point what do you suggest we do (as piano teachers) to right this terrible wrong, keyboardklutz? I find this a particularly interesting question as there was no culture of teaching the piano prior to the Industrial Revolution, so there's a bit of an internal consistency issue with a piano teacher even wanting the Industrial Revolution undone......
Posted by: keyboardklutz

Re: Russian School of Piano Playing - 04/24/10 09:29 AM

Originally Posted By: Elissa Milne
I find this a particularly interesting question as there was no culture of teaching the piano prior to the Industrial Revolution, so there's a bit of an internal consistency issue with a piano teacher even wanting the Industrial Revolution undone......
Funny you should say that. The industrial revolution created a middleclass who demanded affordable pianos for their newly acquired pasttimes. One could easily write a book on the industrialization of piano pedagogy - it's not without scientific interest. But back to the point - do piano teachers have a responsibility to the culture they find themselves in? And yes, I am very much a Luddite.
Posted by: Elissa Milne

Re: Russian School of Piano Playing - 04/24/10 09:49 AM

Originally Posted By: keyboardklutz
Originally Posted By: Elissa Milne
I find this a particularly interesting question as there was no culture of teaching the piano prior to the Industrial Revolution, so there's a bit of an internal consistency issue with a piano teacher even wanting the Industrial Revolution undone......
Funny you should say that. The industrial revolution created a middleclass who demanded affordable pianos for their newly acquired pasttimes. One could easily write a book on the industrialization of piano pedagogy - it's not without scientific interest. But back to the point - do piano teachers have a responsibility to the culture they find themselves in? And yes, I am very much a Luddite.
Ah, now there already are books about exactly that (piano pedagogy as an outgrowth and reflection of industrialisation) as well as books about the social function (as compared to the musical function) of piano pedagogy..... (love that kind of stuff).

And I'm with you that piano teachers find themselves with a responsibility to the culture they find themselves in (as much as one can have a responsibility to an abstraction of lived experience), but one doesn't need to reduce the possible musical influences on a child to those of the child's ethnicity in order to do that: here in Australia ALL culture is grafted, so the culture I have a responsibility to is a culture of melange and blend and beyond that needs to be determined on a student by student basis, and there are no books in all the world that fit that bill. So one uses excellent material and builds a cultural experience relevant to the student/child from the resources at hand.

But taking this further: the rhythms, the pitch patterns in method books - any method books - creates a cultural divide between the piano student's pianistic music-making experience and the music they are immersed in throughout their 21st century days. And I believe even more firmly that unless piano teachers start addressing this immense cultural gap we will find ourselves marginalised in the creative process of our culture..... (As I said, probably now bordering on getting waay off-topic!).
Posted by: keyboardklutz

Re: Russian School of Piano Playing - 04/24/10 10:09 AM

Bartok did it for Hungary. Kabalevsky for USSR.
Posted by: DragonPianoPlayer

Re: Russian School of Piano Playing - 04/24/10 11:07 AM

Is Christopher Norton doing it for America / modern popular music (American Popular Piano Series or Connections)?
Posted by: keyboardklutz

Re: Russian School of Piano Playing - 04/24/10 11:14 AM

No. Maybe for Birdland.
Posted by: jotur

Re: Russian School of Piano Playing - 04/24/10 11:47 AM

Originally Posted By: Nyiregyhazi
Personally, I'd be more inclined to pity the kind of kids who have morris dancers for parents. Folk music can be enjoyable, but I don't see learning piano as being the place to push folk music on kids. If the tradition ought to be kept up, it ought to be done by mouth. That's more in the nature of real folk music. Perhaps it's a shame that it's dying out, but I don't think piano lessons are the place to revive that culture.


The kids I know whose parents are Morris dancers are pretty cool smile And I do know some. I know kids whose parents danced Scandinavian dances, as well as dances from all over the world, who went to college to study folk dance and music. All great kids.

But piano *is* a harder instrument to learn about it on in some ways. I have pointed out many times, as Elissa has, that music is much much broader than what can be reproduced on a piano, and, for me, it's pretty ignorant narrow to not at least acknowledge that in piano lessons, and to not acknowledge that piano isn't the be-all and end-all, much less the beginning-all laugh , of music or music theory.

That said, I sure have nothing against Russian folk music - I've danced a lot to that, too. And I play old English tunes, both for old English dancing and as Appalachian music, often. But folk music isn't everyone's cup of tea. I might bemoan the fact that people have lost their sense of where their music has roots (and our modern music *is* rooted in traditional music) but I don't know the roots of every subject, either. Life seems to move on.

Cathy
Posted by: Nyiregyhazi

Re: Russian School of Piano Playing - 04/24/10 11:51 AM

I didn't say "screw other music- it's all about the piano". I said that piano teachers do not have any 'duty' to resuscitate folk music.
Posted by: jotur

Re: Russian School of Piano Playing - 04/24/10 12:02 PM

Originally Posted By: Nyiregyhazi
I didn't say "screw other music- it's all about the piano". I said that piano teachers do not have any 'duty' to resuscitate folk music.


The thread, and my post, is not all about you smile I am not, however, inclined to pity kids whose parents are Morris dancers - just my point of view, of course.

Cathy
Posted by: Nyiregyhazi

Re: Russian School of Piano Playing - 04/24/10 12:25 PM

You specifically quoted my post and responded to it. However, whether it was directed at me or not, I have no idea why the idea of not involving folk music would lead you to state that some people are too 'ignorant' to involve things beyond the piano. Where do you draw the line between ignorance and realising that you are a piano teacher and cannot educate on every single form of music? To be complete do we have to teach minimalism, prepared piano music, Indian Ragas, whale song and William Shatner's unique stylings in the field of "sprechgesang", perhaps? Why should any of those very specific areas be any more or less important than folk music? I'm a classical teacher. I don't take a narrow view, but neither do I feel obliged to do my bit against the impact of the industrial revolution.
Posted by: Betty Patnude

Re: Russian School of Piano Playing - 04/24/10 12:59 PM

Originally Posted By: Elissa Milne
They start off with seriously easy stuff, however - I'm not sure how you could think they were intermediate level Betty!! Five finger positions that don't move? Sounds like the second half of Book 1 of any standard method to me. I actually have these books and I can see how a teacher could use them, but I don't think they are for everyone, even though they are fabulous. Kids who don't practice would struggle, for instance!!


Elissa,

I wanted to respond about your 5 finger position comment of Book 1. I used "sheetmusicplus" here on the forum for my search and actually looked at Book 1, Part 1, then Book 1, Part 2, and Book 2 and I was using them in my mind as a complete method book series and that is why I called in intermediate but I I almost said late intermediate. This series moves ahead very, very quickly.

In Book 1 there is such a minor key influence, yes, it sound like Russian Music, what does one expect? It's better to start with a major scale sound for beginning students. But, there are no "instructions or explanations going on in the example of music given in any of the 3 books. So, I see it as supplemental and not a method for teaching.

These would be great books for serious students and for piano teachers to own and use, but I think they get difficult very quickly. There were a lot of "touches" required on that first page of "5 Finger" music. Legato playing comes before staccato (3 types) and accents so I "disqualified it in my mind as a beginning method and gave it an intermediate reading since it was so "diacritical", if that word applies here. Maybe "articulation" is a better word.

I also see that each can be purchased for less then full retail ($24) at around $14, so the price is much better for those who will buy it.

Betty
Posted by: Betty Patnude

Re: Russian School of Piano Playing - 04/24/10 01:10 PM

Could I suggest that anyone looking at the Russian book go to sheetmusicplus here on the forum on the left of this screen and do a search "russian music". You will find 3 books in this series there. They are labeled Book 1, part 1; Book 1, part 2, and then Book 2. I think it's important to look at all 3 to see where they will lead as a total.

Someone had asked a question about "are they sight reading material?" I would think an advanced adult at the late intermediate level who was an experienced and accurate sight reader would enjoy them - but that is one whole lot of Russian music and it's usually best to recommend variety in our music selections.

I think these 3 volumes apply to the lover of Russian culture from the small picture we have seen.

Elissa, having these on hand in her studio, is much more aware of the contents of composers these books contain. I didn't see anything that made me think it contained a mix of composers in different nationalities and eras from around the international world of music.
Posted by: keyboardklutz

Re: Russian School of Piano Playing - 04/24/10 01:10 PM

Originally Posted By: Nyiregyhazi
Perhaps it's a shame that it's dying out, but I don't think piano lessons are the place to revive that culture.
Single handedly it can't but utilizing the colloquial music language rather than Russian or another arbitrarily chosen culture just seems like good practice. Unless students are familiar with English, Russian isn't going to sound Russian anyway.
Posted by: Teodor

Re: Russian School of Piano Playing - 04/24/10 01:16 PM

My country was under Russian influence for a long time, the beginner method book I'm studying from is just like the one you described.
Posted by: keyboardklutz

Re: Russian School of Piano Playing - 04/24/10 01:33 PM

And we all know why that is.
Posted by: Smallpiano

Re: Russian School of Piano Playing - 04/24/10 01:44 PM

I think the OP main concern is about a position playing that most of the current American method books provide. For example, some student thinks that F is finger 4 and D is finger 2 of the right hand and later is hard for them to change it.
I took a glance on only one page of this Russian Method that provided by Amazon, I saw "plentiful" of finger numbers on the music notes. I think even provided this Russian Method to students, they will start to depend on the finger number provided.
What do you think?

Humbly,
Small Piano
Posted by: landorrano

Re: Russian School of Piano Playing - 04/24/10 01:58 PM

Originally Posted By: keyboardklutz
What songs have children always learned first? Those from their mother's lips. What do they learn now? Those from Sesame Street.


Your English mums don't sing to their kids? Are you so sure?

And Sesame Street is real nice music ... or was.
Posted by: Elissa Milne

Re: Russian School of Piano Playing - 04/24/10 04:50 PM

Yes, landorrano, as the mother of a three-year-old I'd like to concur: Sesame St has the best music for toddlers in the media, imo. Far, far better than any other alternative I can get, I can access pretty much anything and everything that's in the mainstream as well as a fair bit that's not.

On the topic of the contents - these books definitely have a mix of styles and composers - they are not all about Russian Folk Music for goodness sake!! BUT they were devised some many decades ago, so they are not *contemporary* sounding to children born in the 21st century.

On the other hand, in the mid-twentieth century Soviet composers absolutely dominated the educational piano music field, with few brilliant composers turning their mind to writing "children's" music in the West. So these books are an excellent summary of some great composing from that mid-twentieth century period, as well as including all kinds of classic teaching repertoire.

Betty, I do agree - the books move super fast, but probably a lot more slowly than the method my mum learned from in the 1950s in New Zealand where on her first lesson she was taught to read crotchets (quarter notes), minims (half notes), semibreves (whole notes), quavers (eighth notes) AND semiquavers (sixteenth notes) as well as learning to play the C Major Scale!!!!!!!!! At the time, this could well have been the best method out there by a LONG shot.

Part I Book 2 starts with pieces that would be considered Initial in the Trinity College London exam system, or Pre-Preliminary here in Australia, or Pre-Grade 1 in the ABRSM system. In method book terms this Book 2 starts at about the place students are somewhere in the third book of any standard American method (it's at about the start of Alfred Premier Lesson Book 2A, for instance). But of course, it moves more rapidly overall. Many teachers think methods move too slowly, however, so this could actually be a plus!
Posted by: keyboardklutz

Re: Russian School of Piano Playing - 04/25/10 01:49 AM

So maybe this is your answer girls:

Any good?
Posted by: Elissa Milne

Re: Russian School of Piano Playing - 04/25/10 02:12 AM

Um, no, that's a sad travesty. As is the Elmo's Monster Maker iPhone app, btw. The actual content of the Sesame St tv program is great, but the merchandising? hmmmmm......
Posted by: keyboardklutz

Re: Russian School of Piano Playing - 04/25/10 02:32 AM

I still wonder about the merits of composed vs anon for children. There's something so much more powerful about a piece that just exists - the timelessness. Beethoven knew that well.
Posted by: AZNpiano

Re: Russian School of Piano Playing - 04/25/10 02:42 AM

Originally Posted By: keyboardklutz
So maybe this is your answer girls:

Any good?



Wow!
Posted by: Elissa Milne

Re: Russian School of Piano Playing - 04/25/10 03:28 AM

Originally Posted By: keyboardklutz
I still wonder about the merits of composed vs anon for children. There's something so much more powerful about a piece that just exists - the timelessness. Beethoven knew that well.
hahaha - yes, because the stuff that just exists is somehow more pure having not come from humans but rather descending from on high holus-bolus for the purpose of communicating greater wisdom than is possible through the music conceived by mortals.
Posted by: keyboardklutz

Re: Russian School of Piano Playing - 04/25/10 03:39 AM

Originally Posted By: Elissa Milne
hahaha - yes, because the stuff that just exists is somehow more pure having not come from humans but rather descending from on high holus-bolus for the purpose of communicating greater wisdom than is possible through the music conceived by mortals.
Yes! Yes! Though more likely the purity lies in it having been shaped by countless mortals. Anything else'd be worn out and grubby! What a weird substance.
Posted by: Elissa Milne

Re: Russian School of Piano Playing - 04/25/10 03:50 AM

Originally Posted By: keyboardklutz
Originally Posted By: Elissa Milne
hahaha - yes, because the stuff that just exists is somehow more pure having not come from humans but rather descending from on high holus-bolus for the purpose of communicating greater wisdom than is possible through the music conceived by mortals.
Yes! Yes! Though more likely the purity lies in it having been shaped by countless mortals. Anything else'd be worn out and grubby! What a weird substance.
And unsullied by writing, that's a quality not to be sneered at.
Posted by: keyboardklutz

Re: Russian School of Piano Playing - 04/25/10 04:15 AM

Originally Posted By: Elissa Milne
And unsullied by writing, that's a quality not to be sneered at.
Ah yes, but expertly tweaked.
Posted by: Elissa Milne

Re: Russian School of Piano Playing - 04/25/10 04:29 AM

keyboardklutz, do you like/use the European Piano Method? Or is the inclusion of folk songs from most of Western Europe too multicultural? I would think it is the closest thing to your ideal, even though it does include specially written material as well....
Posted by: Elissa Milne

Re: Russian School of Piano Playing - 04/25/10 04:31 AM

And Betty, I'd be interested to know what you thought of the pacing in the European Piano Method - it's also much faster than say the methods from Alfreds, Piano Adventures, Hal Leonard and so forth. But now I'm diverging very far from the topic....
Posted by: keyboardklutz

Re: Russian School of Piano Playing - 04/25/10 05:39 AM

Originally Posted By: Elissa Milne
keyboardklutz, do you like/use the European Piano Method? Or is the inclusion of folk songs from most of Western Europe too multicultural?
I've got it or seen it somewhere. I found it too multicultural. As I said earlier the student needs a grounding in their own culture first otherwise the other cultures don't even sound other!
Posted by: Elissa Milne

Re: Russian School of Piano Playing - 04/25/10 07:23 AM

Originally Posted By: keyboardklutz
Originally Posted By: Elissa Milne
keyboardklutz, do you like/use the European Piano Method? Or is the inclusion of folk songs from most of Western Europe too multicultural?
I've got it or seen it somewhere. I found it too multicultural. As I said earlier the student needs a grounding in their own culture first otherwise the other cultures don't even sound other!
soooo funny - it seems intensely parochial from the perspective of Australia, but I suspected you would find it cast its net too wide!! I honestly think that for countries where no culture is native (bar the indigenous cultures which are quarantined for all intents and purposes from the everyday life of most citizens) your perspective is all but incomprehensible. Here we drink cappuccinos, or green tea as the moment demands, eat laksas, kebabs and couscous in more or less equal measure, train to row dragon boats and dance capoeira, and somewhere between the drink and the food and the community events you would think we would find ourselves singing the songs of each other, and yet this country is significant for its lack of public song........ All the music we teach feels no more native than a youtube clip....
Posted by: keyboardklutz

Re: Russian School of Piano Playing - 04/25/10 07:37 AM

Originally Posted By: Elissa Milne
Here we drink cappuccinos, or green tea as the moment demands, eat laksas, kebabs and couscous in more or less equal measure, train to row dragon boats and dance capoeira, and somewhere between the drink and the food and the community events you would think we would find ourselves singing the songs of each other, and yet this country is significant for its lack of public song........
You're right. Public song is all but gone!
Posted by: Minaku

Re: Russian School of Piano Playing - 04/25/10 11:03 AM

I'm going to pop in really quick and say that I do like the Russian Piano School, but I am not sure I'd use it exclusively with my kids. I like pulling from all sorts of sources and Music Tree does get boring after a while, so supplementary material is always welcome (I've given Mikrokosmos to some students and definitely plan on using it with my son whenever he's big enough). I will note that I've used pieces in the Russian Piano School part 1 as sightreading examples for my piano 1 students at university.

I like the folk music style and the pieces are memorable, and isn't that what we want? We want the children to know the music and love the music so that they'll be motivated to play?
Posted by: Betty Patnude

Re: Russian School of Piano Playing - 04/25/10 12:46 PM

Originally Posted By: Elissa Milne
And Betty, I'd be interested to know what you thought of the pacing in the European Piano Method - it's also much faster than say the methods from Alfreds, Piano Adventures, Hal Leonard and so forth. But now I'm diverging very far from the topic....


Elissa,

I again went to sheetmusicplus and looked up all 3 volumes. There was only one music example in two of the volumes, and no example in one of the volumes, neither were there a table of contents.

In reading the editors intentions there were several pedogogy points that I can agree with, this appeared in Volume 1, but overall I can't get an impression about it. Obviously it has been around for a while.

If I have time, I will google the author/editor and Shotts Music just out of interest.

One big disadvantage to using music from other countries, to me, would be lacking the capacity to read the titles of the music.

I really wouldn't be able to make intelligent musical comment on these books without having hands on experience with the entire set of books.

Betty
Posted by: Andromaque

Re: Russian School of Piano Playing - 04/25/10 09:13 PM

I have studied in Book 2 which is the third of the series. It is divided into 3 parts: "Pieces", which are about 1-2 pages by a variety of composers; many but not all are Russian (Gliere, Grechaninov, Kabalevsky, Dvarionas but also Bach and Haydn). The second part consists of movements from sonatinas and here it is standard fare (Beethoven, Clementi..). The third part consists of Etudes (Czerny, Goedike, Gurlitt, Schytte, LeCouppey..
At the end of the book, there are 6 highly condensed pages of all the scales (incl. harmonic and melodic) and their corresponding triads and arpeggios, all with fingerings.
If one goes by the "russian' method (at least as I was introduced to it; perhaps it is not a standard method), you would get assigned a scale, an etude and a "piece" and you would play them in that order at the lesson. You would also work on a longer piece (eg sonatina) over time..
The collection has a definitive advantage in that the music is very interesting and diverse. But it can be intense if the above regimen is followed. The book is not illustrated and the pieces are crammed one after the other. It may not appeal to the younger students..
Following this, I was placed on a regular regimen of Bach, Etudes and repertoire (and scales / arpeggios continue to rotate with exquisitely torturous variations...)
Posted by: Piano_Dream

Re: Russian School of Piano Playing - 10/11/12 04:18 PM

As a Russian person, who had my beginning musical education in Russia since the age of 4, I can confidently say that these books are the best.
Yes, they may not be as fancy or "fun" like some of the American method books, but these books are not dumbed down and encoarage students to work harder.
It is true that they may be a bit difficult for complete beginners, so I would encoarage to start with pre-reading notations. There are wonderful method books available in Canada, you can find them on www.vittapiano.com, written by a Russian piano teacher who resides in Canada and has her own successful piano studio.
Her method books are geared towards young beginners, using stories and imaginative pictures and exercises to help build the technique. Then you can start using the Boosey and Hawk's Russian Piano Method books.
Posted by: MaggieGirl

Re: Russian School of Piano Playing - 10/11/12 05:28 PM

"If one goes by the "russian' method (at least as I was introduced to it; perhaps it is not a standard method), you would get assigned a scale, an etude and a "piece" and you would play them in that order at the lesson. You would also work on a longer piece (eg sonatina) over time.. "

Isn't that how every piano lesson goes?
Posted by: AZNpiano

Re: Russian School of Piano Playing - 10/11/12 09:48 PM

Originally Posted By: Piano_Dream
Yes, they may not be as fancy or "fun" like some of the American method books, but these books are not dumbed down and encoarage students to work harder.

I don't like the implications of this statement. frown
Posted by: rocket88

Re: Russian School of Piano Playing - 10/11/12 09:51 PM

Zombie Thread arises!
Posted by: DameMyra

Re: Russian School of Piano Playing - 10/12/12 05:27 PM

Originally Posted By: rocket88
Zombie Thread arises!


I agree, HOWEVER, I do love and teach from Book I.
Posted by: keystring

Re: Russian School of Piano Playing - 10/12/12 07:35 PM

Originally Posted By: MaggieGirl
"If one goes by the "russian' method (at least as I was introduced to it; perhaps it is not a standard method), you would get assigned a scale, an etude and a "piece" and you would play them in that order at the lesson. You would also work on a longer piece (eg sonatina) over time.. "

Isn't that how every piano lesson goes?

Why do you think that this is how every lesson goes with every teacher? Also, you have outlined three items - scale, etude, piece - but the items are not the teaching, or what is taught within those items. Something is missing here.
Posted by: MaggieGirl

Re: Russian School of Piano Playing - 10/12/12 08:21 PM

She talks to my daughter about the pieces. She goes home knowing what to do. I just figured that is how pretty much every piano lesson went. She also goes over the theory pages.
Posted by: kayvee

Re: Russian School of Piano Playing - 10/12/12 08:39 PM

MaggieGirl,

You are mostly correct, but I think the issue is the simplification.

A piano lesson will result in a combination of: theory, repertoire, technique, and skills. Not every lesson will cover each component and not every student will even be doing all of the above. But, in essence, those are the large 'groups' of assignments for piano students.

At my classical lesson today, we went over scales/arpeggio technique and one piece. Theory happened through both of these. Didn't even come close to discussing skills.

At my jazz lesson right after that, we went over skills (accompanying patterns and chords), which included theory, and also went through a couple of standards. Didn't talk about technique.

It all depends on what the goals and focuses are. For a beginner/early-on student, scale+repertoire+theory is usually a typical assignment and progression.
Posted by: MaggieGirl

Re: Russian School of Piano Playing - 10/12/12 11:29 PM

Yes, I am amazed at what is covered in a lesson. It seems the backbone is reviewing work and discussing it. I think that is why effort outside of class by the student matters so much, if they don't practice, they seem (from just observing) to be on a hamster wheel with progress. It appears to me you can't "cram" or "fake" a lesson. And how disappointing for a teacher to prepare a lesson only to have a student show up who did almost nothing during the week and have to quickly reconfigure expectations.
Posted by: John v.d.Brook

Re: Russian School of Piano Playing - 10/12/12 11:57 PM

Wow, out of the graveyard of forgotten favorites, a two and a half year old thread! Out of no where, even. But it is fun seeing some of the old names of posters who we haven't seen for long, long, time. I wonder if some of them are still lurking????
Posted by: Darima Nimaeva

Re: Russian School of Piano Playing - 03/28/14 08:00 PM

I know that is the old post, but still if you dear Elk are still interested then my post will be helpful. I am from Russia too and i tried the Bastien and other methods. The Russian School for piano playing i find the best. My students play scales, arpeggios, chords, Czerny, Hanon. Only students with an aptitude for music and strong and determined parents, or serious adults stay with my program, but it really works and students appreciate. And I decided i don't need those who can not commit him/herself to piano.
Posted by: Jonathan Baker

Re: Russian School of Piano Playing - 03/29/14 12:58 AM

In the first place, what is so Russian about these books? What is the Russian school? Czerny and Hanon were not Russian, and scales, arpeggios, etc. are not the invention of the so-called Russian school. The notion is absurd.

The so-called Russian school is academically descended from the German school. Liszt might be said to have been the originator of the Russian school given the impact his tour of Russia had, and that Anton Rubinstein openly acknowledged Liszt as "the father of us all." The history of the great Russian teachers is too extensive to recount in one post. Broadly speaking, the best Russian pianists were known for virtuosic technique and a singing tone. Not all of them lived up to that description, but the best did (Anton Rubinstein, Rachmaninoff, Lhevinne, etc.)

How is the Russian school distinctly different from the requirements of the Berlin or Paris conservatories? No difference. There really is nothing particularly Russian in any meaningful way about this books series, and I regard the title as flatly fraudulent. At this point in time, there is only one international school - the so-called national schools have effectively disappeared. Using the magical incantation of "Russian" is both antiquated and an exploitation of those ignorant enough to fall for such a shallow line.

I find this book series staggeringly boring and unimaginative, and I will not inflict them on my students. Any teacher who relies on one particular book series cannot remain flexible to the individual needs of students whose progress is in no way enhanced by obedience to someone else's marketing gimmick.