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Getting out of the 5-finger position methods? (Read 7753 times)

Offline pianodeanne

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Getting out of the 5-finger position methods?
« on: December 11, 2002, 06:46:29 PM »
:)  Merry Christmas!

I feel I have made a mistake in my teaching methods.  I thought Alfred was GREAT, but now that some of my students have progressed, they can't seem to get out of the 5-finger positions.  How can I make them understand that MOST music is not played in the 5-finger position?

If I try to show them something from any book other than Alfred, they look at it like it's a foreign language.  

I see it in my daughter, too, whose teacher used the Alfred books with her.  (Melody is at Level 2 Alfred.) I recently bought a Schaum Christmas book that seemed to be at her level, but when it came time to cross over and pay attention to fingering, she said it was too hard.

HELP!  :-[
Praise, praise, praise!!!

Offline MzrtMusic

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Re: Getting out of the 5-finger position methods?
«Reply #1 on: December 12, 2002, 02:36:53 PM »
I really think that the Alfred books are still OK. I don't know how advanced any of your students are, but I have several that are in the last two levels of Alfred, and they no longer have a problem with moving their hands or fingers. The thing that attracted me a bout Alfred was that they took things gradually, and had pleanty of time for review so that a student could really grasp the concept. I think it's the same thing with moving your hands. It just takes time before you can do that. I don't think that you need to worry about it that much until you get up to leved E-F (I use the prep courses)

Merry CHRISTmas!!!!

Sarah
My heart is full of many things...there are moments when I feel that speech is nothing after all.
-- Ludwig Van Beethoven

Offline nadia

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Re: Getting out of the 5-finger position methods?
«Reply #2 on: December 21, 2002, 07:36:16 AM »
While in training to be a teacher...my mentor and teacher had student teacher evaluate every teaching method on the market...the method that I believe gives students the best foundation for intermediate and advanced work is Frances Clark, Music Tree....The student immediately expores all 88 keys and no hang-ups about moving around, black keys, extending the hand.  Perhaps this method is a bit more mature, but after 16 years and currently I have 83 students, each of my students from 4 year old beginners to 72 year old beginners (that's my oldest) all started in Time to Begin by France Clark...Fantastic series.  Try it out...there's a teacher's manual that you can get as well on the series.

Happy Holidays!
Nadia :)
Nadia

Offline pianodeanne

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Re: Getting out of the 5-finger position methods?
«Reply #3 on: December 24, 2002, 12:44:02 AM »
Thanks for your tips on method books, however, now that the damage has been done, what can I do to show them what happens after the 5th finger?  They always wonder what they are supposed to do, since there are only 5 fingers to a hand! :-/
Praise, praise, praise!!!

Offline kateb

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Re: Getting out of the 5-finger position methods?
«Reply #4 on: January 02, 2003, 03:59:23 PM »
One suggestion for getting students out of the 5-finger position rut is to
1. play something "really cool" for them and ask them to watch how your hands move around.
2. Explain to them that they are now "way too advanced" to stick to the 5-finger method. This boosts their ego, and often they no longer would want to be caught dead playing the "Beginner" 5-finger stuff. :-)
3. Switch methods! :-)
I love Faber and Faber. And the Jazz Faber and Faber books are extremely popular with my students.

Offline Mandy

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Re: Getting out of the 5-finger position methods?
«Reply #5 on: January 06, 2003, 02:57:52 AM »
I too would recommend the Faber Piano Adventures series.  I have evaluated all of the methods in several classes, both in my undergrad and masters, and each time this one comes out on top.  I strongly disagree that the clark method has good books, their music is old, the books boring, and require alot from the teacher to make them work effectively.  I don't disagree with the Clark philosophy, just that the books and method need to be updated to kids today.

I would get the kids doing some simple cross over exercises-ex: leave RH on middle C, or any note around that, then get the LH to jump from bass C to high C-so the child plays LH bass C, RH mid. C, LH High C, RH mid. C, LH Bass C....you get the idea.  Have them do this on lots of different notes.  

There is tons of music out there where the kids aren't playing in 5 finger positions-start off slow, make one a challenge piece and then they will see how easy it is once they get going!  

Offline MusicMom

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Re: Getting out of the 5-finger position methods?
«Reply #6 on: January 09, 2003, 06:13:41 PM »
I used the Alfred Method for several years.  I was then introduced to the Piano Discoveries by Janet Voght and Leon Bates.  The whole idea is to have the student playing what happens in "Real" music.  I switched all of my students over as they completed the level they were on in Alfred.  It took about 6 months before every one was in the new books, but I noticed right away waht a difference it made.  I still have one student who struggles with the 5 finger position delima, but I think I just need to take it slower for her.  
MusicMom

Offline nadia

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Re: Getting out of the 5-finger position methods?
«Reply #7 on: January 23, 2003, 09:28:39 PM »
Frances Clark  Music Tree has been updated.  Good-looking books and good pieces and no 5-finger pattern problem.  Using the Clarke books and subsidizing with Faber and/or Alfred Solo keeps students (and teacher) happy.

The Music Tree does depend on the teacher to "teach" but that's what I'm paid for.  

The method book as my "outline" I fill in the blanks and the blanks are different for every student.  The best thing about the Music Tree is the teacher can modify as needed and not have to explain an instruction on the page that will be limiting when a student begins playing Bach.

Differences and discussion helps me re-evaluate.  Thank you.

Nadia

Nadia

Offline ilovechopin

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Re: Getting out of the 5-finger position methods?
«Reply #8 on: February 10, 2003, 05:18:31 PM »
Hi, Deanne!!!  (Laurie here)  We have completely lost touch!  Need to reconnect.
I agree with the Clark Music Tree method.  It's what I've been using, and there is no 5-finger position to be found in it.  It teaches reading by intervals, which is how we "experienced" pianists read music.  The workbooks are excellent for reinforcing the concepts taught.  
As far as "undoing" the rut they're in, how about finding some music that doesn't jump around too much (to start), and show them how to "lift and shift" their hand where necessary.  I have some transfer students who were in the 5-finger-position rut, and I would even write "shift" in their music right before the hand position moved as a visual cue.  Also they need to start learning the concept of looking ahead in the music while they are playing.   Perhaps on a measure where they have to shift, have them start the measure before and play SLOWLY, and concentrate on what's coming up in the next measure.  Breaking it down into very small practice sections may  help them get used to moving their hands around without it seeming overwhelming.

Good luck, and it's good to "talk" to you again!
Laurie ;D
"Music alone speaks to the imagination, the mind, the heart and the senses..."  Hector Berlioz

Offline nadia

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Re: Getting out of the 5-finger position methods?
«Reply #9 on: February 11, 2003, 01:06:51 AM »
Hello again,

One more thought on 5-finger pattern reading/teaching/books.  Although I use Frances Clark books I subsidize with Faber and Alfred and whatever else I need to keep a student's interest---I have no qualms about Xing out explanations that I don't like and using my own....5-finger pattern material may be just perfect for a child, but don't use the "middle C" approach---explain the steps up or steps down/skips up, skips down.  Don't feel handcuffed by the "printed" methodology, come up with your own explanation that isn't limiting.

Fun dialogue.

Cheers
Nadia
Nadia

Offline rach17

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Re: Getting out of the 5-finger position methods?
«Reply #10 on: February 18, 2003, 05:54:05 AM »
I agree with the several above me who suggested the Faber books.  They do an excellent job of moving around from the beginning.  I have seen my younger siblings and my several students use Faber and never be shocked by suddenly having to move.

Faber also has very good song selections that my students just love!

Offline princess

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Re: Getting out of the 5-finger position methods?
«Reply #11 on: February 21, 2003, 12:31:36 PM »
JOHN THOMPSON!!!! that's the series i've used myself and passed down onto my students.  they have no problem getting out of the 5-finger position and can even cross hands....all this is taught in the "Teaching little fingers to play" by thompson.  great series

Offline glamfolk

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Re: Getting out of the 5-finger position methods?
«Reply #12 on: February 26, 2003, 04:22:57 AM »
I like Thompson.  It pays almost no attention to 5-finger position stuff at all.  I find a great way to get out of the 5-finger rut is to get away from reading completely and start improvising.  I start from single-note solos (over my accompaniment on piano or guitar) and move to major scales and blues scales.  Start very simply with lots of restrictions on notes.  The student will begin to explore  rhythmic differences with fewer notes to worry about.  Eventually work your way up to more complex scales and chromatics, over differing accompaniments.

Another way is to play the I-IV-I-V-I cadence chords for each key they're playing in.  The 6th-wide IV and V chords might get them in shape for moving the pinkies and thumbs out.

I avoid Alfred for this reason.  Also Bastien.  The kids I have using Faber, Thompson, and Fletcher progress much faster than the "Alfred" ones.  I think kids get bored with a method that's too gradual.  

Offline Lyndall

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Re: Getting out of the 5-finger position methods?
«Reply #13 on: March 30, 2003, 07:10:43 PM »
I found the first Teaching Little Fingers to Play book teaches kids to be far too reliant on fingering at the expense of reading the notes.  EVERY SINGLE note in the whole book has the fingering written in.  I have one student who came to me most of the way through this book & I can hear her saying the fingering to herself as she plays, even when I ask her to say the note names - she just can't help it!

I'm moving her to Piano Adventures ASAP.