Piano Forum logo
November 17, 2017, 08:58:07 PM *
   Forum Home   Help Search  


Boxed Tribute to Retiring Brendel

In order to pay tribute to the great Austrian, the Brilliant Classics label has released a 35 CD box with early recordings, covering the period 1958-1970. Read more >>

Pages: [1]   Go Down
  Print  
Author Topic: John Thompson Piano Method  (Read 27619 times)
rgh55
PS Silver Member
Jr. Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 43


« on: June 15, 2010, 12:45:33 PM »

Does anyone use this method. I was taught from the John Thompson method back in 1960. I have a student whose parents insist on this method. I think there are other piano methods in 2010 that are a little more up to date.  Any thoughts on this?  thanks.
Do you find this post useful? Yes / No
Logged
honeywill
PS Gold Member
Jr. Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 44


« Reply #1 on: June 15, 2010, 12:54:14 PM »

Oh dear, this doesn't bode well for the future does it? WHY are they insisting that you use this particular method? Is it because they have a stack of books that they want to re-use?

I can't really comment on the JT method as I've never used it and am not familiar, but there are so many newer modern methods that are pedagogically sound as well as appealing to children - brightly coloured, familiar tunes etc, that it seems a shame to stick with something that is frankly, rather dated.

I think you need to explore this carefully with them, but ultimately the teacher should be able to choose the method book that they think is most suitable for the student. I'm sure you could find reasons not to use JT if you prefer another book, but you shouldn't have to be defending your choice from day 1. What happens next - are they going to start insisting on exams and teling you which pieces the child should play?

Personally I like the Piano Adventures series, and I like to supplement with other materials depending on the needs of the student. I occasionally used tutor books provided by parents when I first started out teaching, but it was seldom successful as I wasn't so familiar with the material, and there were reasons that I didn't like most of the other books. (Perhaps important to emphasise that there is no perfect tutor book just because different students will need more material in different areas.)

Good luck. Sounds like it could get tough!
Do you find this post useful? Yes / No
Logged
rgh55
PS Silver Member
Jr. Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 43


« Reply #2 on: June 15, 2010, 12:58:26 PM »

thanks for your input. the parents are tough....please read my next post.
Do you find this post useful? Yes / No
Logged
faa2010
PS Silver Member
Sr. Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 461


« Reply #3 on: June 15, 2010, 01:57:05 PM »

I am in the third grade book of John Thompson.  Since I started playing piano, I started with JT Method (Learn to play with the fingers was the first one).

I am not uncomfortable with this method, in fact, I like it (maybe because I am used to it).  The scores showed have drawings and pictures and a little of culture and history.

Nevertheless, there is a time when you want to experience new things, scores and methods, so you look for new things.  Of course, you can continue with JT method if you want, but no one has to be narrow minded to new things and no one has to quit from the old method forever, one can return if one wants.

Do you find this post useful? Yes / No
Logged
shine11
PS Silver Member
Newbie
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 23


« Reply #4 on: June 17, 2010, 08:48:08 PM »

Hi. I teach a few pupils using this method. It's okay.Yes a little dated. I only ever teach from book two onwards though and even then I rub out all numbers as there are far far too many written in. But then I find this with most beginner books. I now use a first book called Dogs and Birds which is the only one I've ever found without numbers in. With regards to parents telling you what book they want their child to learn from, If it was a book I wasn't familiar with then I would tell them that I would happily look at it and let them know whether I think it's suitable or not. I have had some pupils come to me with books that they've got from parents/grandparents and I've thought no way! and told them that from the beginning.
Do you find this post useful? Yes / No
Logged
pianowolfi
PS Gold Member
Sr. Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 5655


« Reply #5 on: June 17, 2010, 09:00:42 PM »

I have one student who got the piano of her grand parents plus a huge bunch of very dated dusty books. In every book they wrote: "From this book your grandfather already has learned to play the piano"

She was always like  Roll Eyes when she showed me one of these books.

But I was even more like  Roll Eyes

I am happy that we have somehow managed to get around these. I think she likes to play the piano and has made good progress. Unfortunately she will move.

Do you find this post useful? Yes / No
Logged
honeywill
PS Gold Member
Jr. Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 44


« Reply #6 on: June 18, 2010, 07:44:05 AM »

I have a student whose relative is a piano teacher in China and sends her a lot of books. Some are useful, but a lot are in very odd editions with masses of annotations in Chinese. I guess you could make use of Grandad's old books for sight-reading practice, maybe? People do get quite sentimentally attached to their old books - I can't throw any of mine away!
Do you find this post useful? Yes / No
Logged
pianowolfi
PS Gold Member
Sr. Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 5655


« Reply #7 on: June 18, 2010, 07:47:23 AM »

I guess you could make use of Grandad's old books for sight-reading practice, maybe?

Yes that's what we did sometimes.
Do you find this post useful? Yes / No
Logged
pjmck
PS Silver Member
Newbie
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 3


« Reply #8 on: July 15, 2010, 03:11:17 AM »

I'm a professional musician, but piano is not my primary instrument. I'm a self-taught pianist, which probably means that I have a fool for a teacher and a disadvantaged fool as a student.
I don't consider myself to be a very good pianist, but I play, read music and even improvise at the level that I play at.
The John Thompson's Modern Course For The Piano has a 1937 copyright, so whether it's a modern course might be a matter of conjecture. It is a time-honored course that has been used by generations of musicians.
The problem with the JT methods is not the author... but the teachers who use this course as a means of teaching playing technique and reading skills but skip over the theory. Consequently, many students progress into pianists who are excellent players but lack the abilities of the simplist improvisation.
Do you find this post useful? Yes / No
Logged
thalbergmad
PS Gold Member
Sr. Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 16153


« Reply #9 on: July 15, 2010, 04:22:46 PM »

I was taught from the John Thompson method back in 1960.

Me too, and if i played well i was allowed to colour in the pictures Grin

Thal
Do you find this post useful? Yes / No
Logged

Curator/Director
Concerto Preservation Society
steponme
PS Silver Member
Newbie
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 19


« Reply #10 on: July 16, 2010, 03:54:36 AM »

^ lol haha

I remember being recommended by my teacher about 2 years ago to get the John Thompson books.  I'm quite young so it was a bit bothersome for me to learn from JT after seeing how... to put it bluntly - boring, the book looked. I just couldn't find myself focusing on reading it.
Do you find this post useful? Yes / No
Logged

- Intermediate student here!
Pieces that I'm currently studying (in order of priority):
1. Debussy - Arabesque no. 1
2. Mozart - 12 Variations
3. Debussy - Clair de Lune
4. Beethoven - Moonlight
thalbergmad
PS Gold Member
Sr. Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 16153


« Reply #11 on: July 17, 2010, 08:12:07 PM »

Amazingly, when I restarted lessons at the age of 35 with a newly qualified teacher, I was given the same John Thompson book that I had when I was 6. I lasted 4 lessons and it would have been much less if she was not so pretty.

When i took the book to my first lesson with a "proper" teacher, he tore it to pieces before my eyes and threw it in the bin.

Thal
Do you find this post useful? Yes / No
Logged

Curator/Director
Concerto Preservation Society
jcabraham
PS Silver Member
Jr. Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 49


« Reply #12 on: July 18, 2010, 02:36:37 AM »

Amazingly, when I restarted lessons at the age of 35 with a newly qualified teacher, I was given the same John Thompson book that I had when I was 6. I lasted 4 lessons and it would have been much less if she was not so pretty.

When i took the book to my first lesson with a "proper" teacher, he tore it to pieces before my eyes and threw it in the bin.

Thal

What did your proper teacher have you use? Or, in general, how did he proceed?
Do you find this post useful? Yes / No
Logged
thalbergmad
PS Gold Member
Sr. Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 16153


« Reply #13 on: July 19, 2010, 05:39:35 PM »

He gave me a Beethoven bagatelle to learn, some 5 finger exercises and told me to increase my CD collection.

Thal
Do you find this post useful? Yes / No
Logged

Curator/Director
Concerto Preservation Society
gyzzzmo
PS Silver Member
Sr. Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 2210


« Reply #14 on: July 19, 2010, 07:26:11 PM »

Thompson worked fine for me. I have the idea that the effectiveness of any pianolesson for a child has alot more to do with the teacher, the child and its parents than the method itself.

And yes, for 35 year old males just make sure you have a pretty woman teaching.
She can even learn a corpulous hairy cycler how to play the banjo, with Thompson!
Do you find this post useful? Yes / No
Logged

1+1=11
thalbergmad
PS Gold Member
Sr. Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 16153


« Reply #15 on: July 19, 2010, 07:31:43 PM »

I have the idea that the effectiveness of any pianolesson for a child has alot more to do with the teacher, the child and its parents than the method itself.


Hear Hear sir.

Thal
Do you find this post useful? Yes / No
Logged

Curator/Director
Concerto Preservation Society
bengoodwin
PS Silver Member
Newbie
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 7


« Reply #16 on: December 21, 2011, 06:05:50 PM »

Hi I saw your post about John Thompson's method and thought I would comment. I use the John Thompson method for the students who are very adept and ahead of the curve. It offers "true classical" experience, complete with the metronomic indications in Italian and develops concepts like theme and variation, use of the comparable level's theory expectation in practice, and grants experience in many different forms of music, 4 part chorale included.

The theory contained in thew book is kind of wanky. I teach theory like my student is a jazz student regardless of their interests and we have a blues or jazz study as well as a classical piece going most of the time. The only drawback to the john thompson books as an EXCLUSIVE lesson book, is that some of the scores are incomplete or simplified, which works well for liebestrame but is not favorable for such pieces as JS Bach's ,minuet (which is better taught out of anna magdelena's notebook) and sonatina in C (which i use an easy classics to moderns book for all 3 parts)

these milestone classical pieces are important to be taught complete with all of the notation included such as mordents and appogiaturas. In short, i don't think anyone learns exclusively from one set of books. There are other books I use for people of different ages, but the JT books are great for a student who is ahead of the curve.
Do you find this post useful? Yes / No
Logged
pianoplayjl
PS Silver Member
Sr. Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 2071


« Reply #17 on: December 22, 2011, 12:49:50 AM »

I used the John Thompsons books for the preliminary grade, where I used 1,2, and a bit of 3 before my teacher decided I was good enough to go to 1st grade. I ceased using Thompson books after that. The thing I liked most about JT's books are that they contain diagrams, instructions as well as worksheets after every few lessons providing a revision.

JL
Do you find this post useful? Yes / No
Logged

Funny? How? How am I funny?
pianonow
PS Silver Member
Newbie
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 9


« Reply #18 on: December 22, 2011, 06:49:36 PM »

Seems classical music is dated as well, using the rationale that the John Thompson method is date because it is old.  After all, classical music is more than 300 years old.  Likewise methods and techniques for playing the modern grand piano have been well developed for more than a hundred years. 

May be we should get those grandfather/grandmother type senior piano professor teachers in our conservatories to get with the modern times by upgrading their teaching methods, instead of boasting about their piano training lineage?

I like the John Thompson method.  But there have been valid criticisms of the John Thompson method as well.  For one, it stays with the five finger position for too long.  I use other methods too, especially the ones that give me free copies. 

But then, there are shortcomings in the other more 'up-to-date' methods as well.  After all, there are one method after another being promoted and sold just about every week.  If we find the perfect method, the publishers and authors would not be able to sell their 'new and improved' methods.

BTW, I believe the John Thompson method is still in print.  Perhaps there is a reason.
Do you find this post useful? Yes / No
Logged
nyiregyhazi
PS Silver Member
Sr. Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 4267


« Reply #19 on: December 22, 2011, 06:58:27 PM »

Seems classical music is dated as well, using the rationale that the John Thompson method is date because it is old.  After all, classical music is more than 300 years old.  

This doesn't make great sense as basis for judgement. Teaching methods are judged on how well they aid development of students. Classical music is judged on whether it is artistically good or not. Nobody writes off a Beethoven sonata, simply because there might be works by Czerny that provide a more comprehensive survey of how to deal with a certain technique. They judge it in on the music. Obviously, good teaching methods ought to contain interesting pieces, but artistic merit alone does not determine how effective they are as teaching materials. Sometimes less interesting pieces can even be the most effective for developing skills, at certain stages.

Anyway, while nobody would suggest that we've come to know better than Beethoven about how best to compose, it's reasonable to think that modern teaching methods ought to be getting better. The fact that teaching approaches can become dated does not imply that classical music also goes out of date.
Do you find this post useful? Yes / No
Logged

pianonow
PS Silver Member
Newbie
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 9


« Reply #20 on: December 22, 2011, 08:16:03 PM »

Actually classical music are considered outdated and old by many people in America.  In my opinion, it is old, but it is good, and is not out dated.

Unfortunately, other people (other than those who love classical music like us) go for pop, rock, blues, country, and all the latest styles of music.  I am afraid not too many Americans have heard a Beethoven Sonata or be willing to sit through even two minutes of it.  Why?  Because they consider classical music to be out dated, or old, and therefore not suitable for them.

That is my point.  We should not judge a piano method book bad because it is out dated or old.  We judge the method book based on whether it will help the students to learn.  And different students learn differently.  That is why we have private piano lessons.
Do you find this post useful? Yes / No
Logged
nyiregyhazi
PS Silver Member
Sr. Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 4267


« Reply #21 on: December 22, 2011, 08:29:54 PM »

Actually classical music are considered outdated and old by many people in America.  In my opinion, it is old, but it is good, and is not out dated.

Unfortunately, other people (other than those who love classical music like us) go for pop, rock, blues, country, and all the latest styles of music.  I am afraid not too many Americans have heard a Beethoven Sonata or be willing to sit through even two minutes of it.  Why?  Because they consider classical music to be out dated, or old, and therefore not suitable for them.

That is my point.  We should not judge a piano method book bad because it is out dated or old.  We judge the method book based on whether it will help the students to learn.  And different students learn differently.  That is why we have private piano lessons.

I see your point- but you seem to have two contradictory chains of logic. If someone wants to learn to play pop jazz and blues etc. it IS dated! They'd be far better off with appropriate modern books, to teach that style. Conversely, if someone wants to learn classical piano (which is the assumption I was going under) age doesn't necessarily matter. However, it's arguably the case that more modern approaches will likely have improved at preparing for classical repertoire, not just pop repertoire. It would be sad to think that methodology has gone nowhere in the intervening years. That classical music is older does not imply that older methodologies are better.
Do you find this post useful? Yes / No
Logged

pianonow
PS Silver Member
Newbie
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 9


« Reply #22 on: December 22, 2011, 11:27:39 PM »

Good points.  With science and engineering text books, the latest methods, books and editions would seem the most current and best, accurate, etc.  However, in the area of classical music, we are talking about faithfully interpreting music written one, two, three hundred years ago.  The technique to play classical piano on the modern grand piano has been well established a hundred years ago.

In other words, we are talking about mature technology here, in engineering terms.  That is why the best conservatories are staffed with teachers with lineage to old schools of classical music playing/teaching.  Do people consider the current teachers and their methods of teaching better than that of, for example, Beethoven, Liszt, or Chopin, etc? 

I would not say that we don't have great classical music teachers now.  But to say, just because, some one/thing is from an older era, therefore it is out dated and bad?  I don't think so, at least not for classical music, and incidentally, morality.

As for students who wish to learn Jazz, blues, pop, etc, I say many of the current method books are not the best direct teaching methods for that.  I believe what most private piano teachers do for beginners is to give the students a firm foundation in music, based on the classical music.  Then the students can explore the other idioms later, on their own, or with another teacher specialized in those idioms.

I believe what private teachers find the current method books attractive is for the purpose of the retention of students.  A few beginner blues-like, or Jazz-like songs might hold that student that hates classical music (out dated), and wishes to quit.  But are these students being taught blues, Jazz and the like by these beginner method books?  I don't think so.  For that reason, current method books do serve an additional purpose for private piano teachers, from a business perspective. 
Do you find this post useful? Yes / No
Logged
nyiregyhazi
PS Silver Member
Sr. Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 4267


« Reply #23 on: December 23, 2011, 01:10:28 AM »

Quote
Good points.  With science and engineering text books, the latest methods, books and editions would seem the most current and best, accurate, etc.  However, in the area of classical music, we are talking about faithfully interpreting music written one, two, three hundred years ago.  The technique to play classical piano on the modern grand piano has been well established a hundred years ago.

I don't think there's anything close to agreement still. Also, method books are not necessarily about specific issues of technique but just about the pieces used to progress through.

Quote
In other words, we are talking about mature technology here, in engineering terms.  That is why the best conservatories are staffed with teachers with lineage to old schools of classical music playing/teaching.  Do people consider the current teachers and their methods of teaching better than that of, for example, Beethoven, Liszt, or Chopin, etc? 

Having read old fashioned treatises on technique, there is very little to be learned that is not stated at least as well in more modern writings. Chopin was likely a good teacher, but his writings do not convey all that much that hasn't been better explained and more fully fleshed out since. While I suspect that many great teachers of the past had an eye for how to help a student, not many came up with terribly informative specifics. Most older writings are very general and only offer hints as to what they really did.
Do you find this post useful? Yes / No
Logged

pianonow
PS Silver Member
Newbie
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 9


« Reply #24 on: December 23, 2011, 02:02:22 AM »

You are entitled to your opinion.  My only point is that just because something or some one is old, that they are not necessarily bad or outdated. 

You gave the example of Beethoven.  I suppose, Beethoven is old fashioned because he is old, and all that modern classical music is of course much greater than Beethoven.  If so, then don't play Beethoven.  There are newer and better music nowadays that are not outdated.

In this day of classical music fading to oblivion (notice the demise of the piano recitals), seems if one wants to argue that new is better, then the pop and rock music people are playing and enjoying in America, prove you right.  There is a reason a majority of people in America have rejected classical music.  They use your rationale.
Do you find this post useful? Yes / No
Logged
nyiregyhazi
PS Silver Member
Sr. Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 4267


« Reply #25 on: December 23, 2011, 02:10:26 AM »

You gave the example of Beethoven.  I suppose, Beethoven is old fashioned because he is old, and all that modern classical music is of course much greater than Beethoven.  If so, then don't play Beethoven.  There are newer and better music nowadays that are not outdated.

In this day of classical music fading to oblivion (notice the demise of the piano recitals), seems if one wants to argue that new is better, then the pop and rock music people are playing and enjoying in America, prove you right.  There is a reason a majority of people in America have rejected classical music.  They use your rationale.

That is not my rationale at all. Did you read what I actually wrote about Beethoven- stating precisely the opposite of the opinion you attributed to me there?

"Anyway, while nobody would suggest that we've come to know better than Beethoven about how best to compose, it's reasonable to think that modern teaching methods ought to be getting better. The fact that teaching approaches can become dated does not imply that classical music also goes out of date."

I was pointing out how the example of a teaching approach and the example of an artistic work are completely different instances. The fact that music has not is not "better" since Beethoven does not mean that teaching methods cannot improve. They are totally different cases. Just because one thing works one way, it does not mean by analogy that completely different issues must follow the same logic.
Do you find this post useful? Yes / No
Logged

pianonow
PS Silver Member
Newbie
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 9


« Reply #26 on: December 23, 2011, 02:43:16 AM »

One cannot be half pregnant.  Don't you think there are more varied harmonies, and rhythmic techniques in modern classical music nowadays?  So shouldn't classical music nowadays be better than Beethoven's, according to your logic?

Why can't you accept that classical music is outdated in the eyes of most of the public?  And if current music teachers and method books are that much better than before, why the high drop out rate of private lessons?  Like I said, these one a week method series are attempts to hold on to students.  Do they really teach pop, blues, and rock?

Perhaps your insisting that composers are different from teachers in classical music history because you look down on music teachers.  For you, they are like technicians grinding out students following method books of expert authors/teachers dutifully. 

For you these current so called expert authors/teachers are preeminent compared to those in music history.  I disagree.  Read some writings regarding what it means to be a good music teacher.  Of course, I am talking about those who really work for students to retain and use their musical skills as adults in order to enjoy hands on classical music. 
Do you find this post useful? Yes / No
Logged
nyiregyhazi
PS Silver Member
Sr. Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 4267


« Reply #27 on: December 23, 2011, 02:58:57 AM »

One cannot be half pregnant.  Don't you think there are more varied harmonies, and rhythmic techniques in modern classical music nowadays?  So shouldn't classical music nowadays be better than Beethoven's, according to your logic?


No. Because no logic (and certainly not mine) states that either older or newer is always better- particularly not in artworks such as music compositions. However, in the case of teaching methods, things evolve. Teaching methods progress. The best teachers learn both from past and present and the best methods are based on a wide-range of knowledge. Art is not necessarily progressive, but knowledge is. Many older premises have been refined and improved upon and will continue to be.

Who said I don't accept that classical music is not viewed as dated in the eyes of the public? I am talking about methods for those wishing to learn classical piano. The validity of classical music is already inherent in the premise and those who are not interested in it are not relevant to discussion of this area.

Also, no, I don't look down on music teachers. I am one. It's all very well playing devil's advocate, but could you find a way of doing it that doesn't involve attributing opinions to me that I do not hold (especially when what you state that I supposedly believe is not even logically consistent with itself)?

Do you find this post useful? Yes / No
Logged

pianonow
PS Silver Member
Newbie
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 9


« Reply #28 on: December 23, 2011, 04:49:57 AM »

You have just imply that composers deal with art, while music teachers are technicians.  If music teachers have genuinely absorbed all the knowledge of the past, then they don't need all these method books, do they?  More likely, I say, they are automatons following dutifully some authors/teachers who publish these one a week method books in order to make a living.

But here comes the bottom line.  If these music teachers using method books, volume after volume, are that good, why are there high dropout rates in private music instruction?  And what is the rate of retention of musical skills for these students, once they stop taking lessons?

BTW, I only use method books, including John Thompson, for the absolute beginners.  I get them to play 'real' music, like those of classical composers, ASAP.  I teach them techniques (the right way to play), and I teach them musical expressions of 'real' classical compositions. 

There you have it.  A music teacher who has absorbed the knowledge of teaching in the past does not need to follow slavishly method books, one volume after another.  Just ask any teacher with regular competition winners how they teach their winners.
Do you find this post useful? Yes / No
Logged
nyiregyhazi
PS Silver Member
Sr. Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 4267


« Reply #29 on: December 23, 2011, 03:25:44 PM »

Quote
You have just imply that composers deal with art, while music teachers are technicians.  If music teachers have genuinely absorbed all the knowledge of the past, then they don't need all these method books, do they?  More likely, I say, they are automatons following dutifully some authors/teachers who publish these one a week method books in order to make a living.

I made no such implications. This thread is ABOUT method books. Older ones are not necessarily the best, because teaching methods evolve. People are constantly learning about learning. Look at things like the Suzuki method. While it has negatives, it produces students with a fine ear. Where nobody could say that art will get better over time, it should be the case that teaching methods and books will advance over time- unless something is going badly wrong. As knowledge of how learning works progresses, so should the quality of method books.

Quote
But here comes the bottom line.  If these music teachers using method books, volume after volume, are that good, why are there high dropout rates in private music instruction?  And what is the rate of retention of musical skills for these students, once they stop taking lessons?


Guitar hero. Regardless, why the implied correlation with method books? What is this founded upon? Are you implying there is evidence that more students drop out if their teachers use a method book than if they don't? If so, I'd be interested to know more.

Quote
BTW, I only use method books, including John Thompson, for the absolute beginners.  I get them to play 'real' music, like those of classical composers, ASAP.  I teach them techniques (the right way to play), and I teach them musical expressions of 'real' classical compositions.  

There you have it.  A music teacher who has absorbed the knowledge of teaching in the past does not need to follow slavishly method books, one volume after another.  Just ask any teacher with regular competition winners how they teach their winners.

Nobody implied that they do. You seem to have no shortage of strawmen to argue against. However, with no method book what do you do to begin? Make an illegal photocopy of various pieces? Notate pieces by hand? This is why (contrary to what you wrote in your first paragraph) method books are important. I'm not particularly happy with any of the method books I have yet come across, but they continue to serve an important role. Once a student reaches grade 1, I'm done with them. However, I'm still hoping to find something more up to date than John Thompson- which is reasonable enough but far from optimal. The fact that that classical music is old does not mean that John Thompson cannot be improved upon.
Do you find this post useful? Yes / No
Logged

pianonow
PS Silver Member
Newbie
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 9


« Reply #30 on: December 23, 2011, 04:11:14 PM »

Talking about evading the subject.  My original comment was: just because some one/something is old does not make it automatically outdated and bad.  How about getting back to that?

I have already told you that I do use method books, including John Thompson, for absolute beginners.  As soon as possible, I use original classical pieces.  And yes, I am well aware of patent laws.  The students buy their own books of original classical music.  But unlike method book series, their books last for a long time, some, for example, the Beethoven Sonatas, a lifetime.

I am not against method books per se.  I use them.  I am against the notion that current one a week new method book series are automatically better, just because method books like John Thompson books are old.  I am also against using method book series as a clutch for too long, delaying introduction of the students to original classical pieces.

That is about all I have to say on this subject.  Feel free not to be misunderstood or misquoted.
Do you find this post useful? Yes / No
Logged
nyiregyhazi
PS Silver Member
Sr. Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 4267


« Reply #31 on: December 23, 2011, 04:21:52 PM »

Quote
Talking about evading the subject.  My original comment was: just because some one/something is old does not make it automatically outdated and bad.  How about getting back to that?

You missed this?

"Where nobody could say that art will get better over time, it should be the case that teaching methods and books will advance over time- unless something is going badly wrong. As knowledge of how learning works progresses, so should the quality of method books."




Quote
I have already told you that I do use method books, including John Thompson, for absolute beginners.  As soon as possible, I use original classical pieces.

Indeed, so why this, in your last post?
 
"If music teachers have genuinely absorbed all the knowledge of the past, then they don't need all these method books, do they?"

A devil's advocate stance doesn't exempt you from consistency. Or was that just another strawman argument that you were intending to falsely portray as supposedly being my own opinion (based on an illogical and unjustifiable leap that is not in any way implied by what I DID say)? The point is that using knowledge of both current advances and of past approaches should make it possible for current authors to produce superior method books to those of old. The fact that art does not age does not mean that teaching methods do not age either. Teaching methods are not art but learning systems that are open to improvement. John Thompson is good enough to have lasted but it has many flaws.

Quote
I am not against method books per se.  I use them.  I am against the notion that current one a week new method book series are automatically better, just because method books like John Thompson books are old.


Nobody said they are automatically better. I said that the fact that classical music is old does not mean that older approaches are more pertinent to it or that newer approaches cannot supercede them (by taking the best points of older methods but finding alternatives to their weaker points). You are arguing against invented points that are totally irrational, not any that I have ever made.
Do you find this post useful? Yes / No
Logged

pianonow
PS Silver Member
Newbie
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 9


« Reply #32 on: December 23, 2011, 04:42:58 PM »

I am tired of your continuing arguing for argument sake.  I have already said in my many posts that method books serve a purpose.  However, over reliance on method books shows that the music teacher really has not learned how to teach.  In other words using cook book continuously is not high quality teaching.

But we have gone in circles long enough.  Let's agree to disagree and call it quits.
Do you find this post useful? Yes / No
Logged
nyiregyhazi
PS Silver Member
Sr. Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 4267


« Reply #33 on: December 23, 2011, 04:48:01 PM »

I am tired of your continuing arguing for argument sake.  I have already said in my many posts that method books serve a purpose.  However, over reliance on method books shows that the music teacher really has not learned how to teach.  In other words using cook book continuously is not high quality teaching.


Indeed. I never made one single argument against either of those views- both of which I share with you. If you feel I did, I am bemused as to what you have been reading and arguing against. I'd be glad if you were to quote anything that in any way suggested disagreement on those issues.

What I argued against was your attempt to apply the same logic to art (which is timeless) and teaching books (which are very much open to progress and improvement over time). My point was quite simply that you cannot apply the logic of one to the other- because it does not accurately apply. The success of art is subjective. The success of a means by which to learn, however, can objectively be tested in practice and improved upon. That people should not just follow old methods blindly (without striving to use more modern knowledge) is my very point.
Do you find this post useful? Yes / No
Logged

pianonow
PS Silver Member
Newbie
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 9


« Reply #34 on: December 23, 2011, 05:45:46 PM »

One last stab at it.  In my original post, I talked about an erroneous logic:  anything or any one who is old must be outdated and bad.  I certainly do not agree with that logic.  Beethoven is super great.  So are all those other classical composers.

As for the issue of the progress of methodology in music teaching, we may or may not have an disagreement.  I readily acknowledge that there are current teachers and method book authors that are good and well learned. 

But I object to the idea that just because a method series like John Thompson is old, it is automatically outdated and bad.  However, I did point out the short comings of the series. 

I do not accept the idea that all current method book series, just because they are published recently, are automatically good, or better than the John Thompson series. 

I am not saying that these two ideas are your opinions.

If you disagree with what I just said.  Then let's agree to disagree.  Either way let us move on to other issues of interest.
Do you find this post useful? Yes / No
Logged
nyiregyhazi
PS Silver Member
Sr. Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 4267


« Reply #35 on: December 23, 2011, 05:55:30 PM »

One last stab at it.  In my original post, I talked about an erroneous logic:  anything or any one who is old must be outdated and bad.  I certainly do not agree with that logic.  Beethoven is super great.  So are all those other classical composers.


Indeed. I didn't disagree. I pointed out that whether time is inclined to be progressive is based on circumstance. I then explained why a work of art would not necessarily either age or be improved on with time (and is hence a very dubious analogy) but why a teaching method feasibly CAN. I didn't say they MUST get better or all that all modern approaches will necessarily improve on older ones. I would never make such a silly argument. I pointed out that modern approaches CAN learn from those of old and continue to develop upon foundations of the past. If we assume that John Thompson is less than perfect, it would be sad reflection upon modern teaching methods if not a single method has progressed since then.
Do you find this post useful? Yes / No
Logged

keypeg
PS Silver Member
Sr. Member
***
Online Online

Posts: 2879


« Reply #36 on: December 23, 2011, 06:56:25 PM »

There is also the factor of marketing.  If something effective is unpopular and modern people are not expected to be willing to do it, then something less effective but more sellable might be produced.  Look at the "adult methods" with their shortcuts and formulas that got toward popular well-liked pieces, fast ways of getting at them, so that the student can "progress" as fast as possible and be done with it.  There is a market for it, so it is produced for that market.  What Czerny expected the young student to do in his published letters is probably not something most students these days would do, so regardless of how effective, it won't be put into books.  It won't sell.
Do you find this post useful? Yes / No
Logged
chrism823
PS Gold Member
Newbie
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1


« Reply #37 on: May 09, 2012, 12:26:43 PM »

Having been taught from the Thompson series by the Sisters of St. Joseph in elementary school, I wrongly associated these old-time red books with 'old ladies.'

As a teacher, I have used Alfred's, Bastien's, Faber's and several others, and found them lacking in the area of technique. These 'modern' books also, IMHO, tend to dumb down the learning of music.

I rediscovered the Thompson system and have come to believe in its emphasis on proper technique. My students tend to 'sound good,' and their ability seems to increase at a faster rate than for instance, students who come to me from another teacher, and whose parents insists that we stick with one of the other methods (a topic for another discussion).

Sometimes there is an adjustment period for the student in terms of the old fashioned imagery on the pages of this venerable series. Notice every last picture is from the pre-electric days. I try to sell that as part of the attraction.

BTW, many of the classical composers wrote for students of the piano; they addressed established technical concerns in their pieces. This wealth of graded material is included in the Thompson series because it's 'good for you.' Use it, don't shy away from it.

Pop music, much as I love listening to it, is not written as a teaching tool. It's also much more difficult to render as a piano soloist than most of my students (and their parents) realize.
Do you find this post useful? Yes / No
Logged
pianoworthy
PS Silver Member
Jr. Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 57


« Reply #38 on: July 20, 2017, 01:00:24 AM »

Having tried just about every method, I still think John Thompson is one of the best overall. It's missing a lot on theory, and it doesn't branch out into other genres outside of classical, so other books are good to fill in the gaps. But overall, it's fantastic in its approach and pacing in my opinion. I wouldn't use it for a slower learning student though, it's a lot better for students who are faster learners and absorb the material well. Even though people say it's outdated, I feel like as a method it's still relevant and useful regardless of how long ago it was written.
Do you find this post useful? Yes / No
Logged
virtuoso80
PS Silver Member
Full Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 207


« Reply #39 on: August 22, 2017, 03:39:10 AM »

I sometimes use Thompson. Thompson is the 'old school' method. It's has tons of Waltzes and old-style music, very little impressionistic/modern work, has the air of snobbery, and it increases difficulty faster than many students are comfortable with. For younger students, Faber & Faber is almost always better and more enjoyable for them, but for teens sometimes I'll do Thompson, because it gets 'serious' more quickly.
Do you find this post useful? Yes / No
Logged
Pages: [1]   Go Up
  Print  


Need more info or help?


Search pianostreet.com - the web's largest resource of information about piano playing:



 
Jump to:  


Most popular classical piano composers:
Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.21 | SMF © 2006-2007, Simple Machines Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!

o