\"\"
Piano Forum logo

Classical vs. Fun! (Read 2678 times)

Offline musicdenise

  • PS Silver Member
  • Newbie
  • ***
  • Posts: 6
Classical vs. Fun!
« on: February 02, 2003, 12:41:38 AM »
Hey everybody!  I've been teaching for about 5 years with one student and just recently started getting lots more students and decided to go full time with it!  Anyway, I've talked with several adults who took piano lessons when they were younger and didn't stick with it but wish now that they had (and are now bringing their children to me!).  They just didn't have any fun with it because their teacher(s) was always pushing classical music and wouldn't do anything fun.  My theory is, especially at the beginning, to just try to make it fun and then bring in the classical if they really stick with it and show an interest in it.   ;)  Is it really necessary to "make" a students do classical music?  Isn't the point of teaching to learn how to play?  What are everyone's thoughts and experiences with this?  I would appreciate ANY feedback on this subject.

Thanks,
musicdenise <><

Offline jeff

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 154
Re: Classical vs. Fun!
«Reply #1 on: February 03, 2003, 11:21:24 AM »
This is something I've been thinking about for a while now, because i'm going to start teaching some kids this year. I don't think playing piano should be for the purpose of playing classical music, more than anything else. It depends on what the student wants to play, what they want to use their piano playing skill for, etc. Of course, I'd say it's still a good thing to introduce them to different styles of classical music, and see what appeals to them at different stages of their musical development.

Offline tosca1

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 328
Re: Classical vs. Fun!
«Reply #2 on: February 04, 2003, 07:40:35 AM »
I am sceptical of the "fun" centred approach which permeates contemporary pedagogy. Quality, stimulating teaching should create interest and motivation in the learner. It is spurious to imply that "classical" is not fun.  Some of the  most elementary "classical" pieces can open a window into the enchanting musical imagination of a great composer.

Much of the popular music arranged for piano is unpianistic, and rythmically difficult for learners. Learning should grow by small, careful steps from the very easy to the difficult and certainly the "classical" repertoire provides this carefully graduated process and
at the same time,  immerses the learner in the creations of music's greatest minds.

The danger of the "fun" approach is that it provides the learner with nothing more than musical mediocrity which will ultimately disillusion the student anyway.

Offline nadia

  • PS Silver Member
  • Newbie
  • ***
  • Posts: 6
Re: Classical vs. Fun!
«Reply #3 on: February 04, 2003, 08:46:40 AM »
In my teaching, once a student reaches the Intermediate Level, I use Classical Music (in their original form only) as the "main-stay".  I subsidize with Jazz, Pop, Hymns, Rock, etc.  but frankly after an intermediate level Jazz tune or Pop, my students really want to return to Classical because it's far easier to predict the rhythm and musical line (phrase).  The early elementary students enjoy the little tunes, but once they're past elementary, they appriciate the "structure" of classical music. Of course there's always the 12 year old boy who really wants to work on Boogie and Jazz...great we do it!  But for the most part I explain to students Classical is classical because we can depend on it's structure. Then by the time they're in late intermediate and early advanced they love the Inventions and Chopin. In a recent poll of my students they shocked me when I asked each one which piece did they enjoy learning the most and evey single one of them said they loved practicing the Bach Inventions...for their parents they would play Mozart or Chopin and they loved listening to Chopin but the Inventions were the most fun to play.  

Hmmm I wonder how much the teacher's attitude influences the student's taste.

Cheers!
Nadia

Nadia

Offline tosca1

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 328
Re: Classical vs. Fun!
«Reply #4 on: February 04, 2003, 10:27:16 AM »
It is uplifting to read about Nadia's piano teaching experiences with young learners.  Certainly there is no better entry to the vast keyboard repertoire of JS Bach than with the two and three part inventions.  
Piano playing must be among the most difficult areas of human endeavour.  It is also among the most fulfilling and  enriching on many levels.  There are no short-cuts or soft options in learning to play the piano well, but the alchemy of great music and devoted teaching will motivate and inspire learners of all ages to do their best.

Offline musicdenise

  • PS Silver Member
  • Newbie
  • ***
  • Posts: 6
Re: Classical vs. Fun!
«Reply #5 on: February 05, 2003, 03:01:17 AM »
I'm so glad that this topic has sparked some interest and I've gotten a lot out of the responses so far.  Being fairly new to teaching multiple students, I value the opinion and experience of other teachers.  I certainly didn't mean to imply that it was a fact that "classical" is not fun.  On the contrary, it most certainly is not, and I enjoyed learning the 2 and 3 part inventions of Bach myself, and wouldn't be surprised if I still had one of them memorized.  I definitely agree with Nadia in saying that it should be a "main-stay" of piano teaching.  But the point is also brought out that it should be subsidized with other genres so that the student can grow and explore possible other areas of study.  I suppose it is safe to say that the majority of teachers who would reply to this forum are here because they are continuously seeking new and innovative ways to teach without changing the essence of the piano itself.  There is no "easy" way to teach piano effectively and that is not what I imply by "fun."  I try to be as neutral as I can when it comes to bringing out the student's taste in music.  Each student learns differently and we have to adjust our teaching style to that.  Same as with genres of music.  I have one student that responds more to rock while I have another student that responds more to classical and yet another that responds more to jazz and blues.  I then must adjust to that.  Just as we as teachers need have the insight to spark their learning ability, we also need to have the insight to unlock their creative ability -- with no limits.  That's what I love so much about teaching music... there are so many dimensions to it!

Thank you for your insight and experience!
Denise <><

Offline artist

  • PS Silver Member
  • Newbie
  • ***
  • Posts: 15
Re: Classical vs. Fun!
«Reply #6 on: February 21, 2003, 12:30:25 AM »
Of course we know what you're trying to say, but who says classical music can't be fun?  I think the most talented teachersmake classical music (and all music) fun at times, as well as rewarding...
I have taught only a little, but my suggestions for the most fun are duets between the student and teacher. The Music Tree series has these at the beginning levels. By the time a student reaches intermediate level,  some of the duets in the original of Schubert are suitable and students can enjoy them. It IS possible...
m

Offline princess

  • PS Silver Member
  • Jr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 31
Re: Classical vs. Fun!
«Reply #7 on: February 21, 2003, 12:27:30 PM »
don't make students learn classical stuff......put yourself in the student's spot, would you like to learn that stuff if it doesn't appeal to you? teach fun stuff first from john thompson's books then once they finish that series, start in on the technique, cuz you'll need it for both jazz piano and classical. no exceptions.