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ABRSM Publishes New Piano Syllabus

Global examination board ABRSM has published a new Piano syllabus for 2013 & 2014. ABRSM is the leading authority on musical assessment with more than 600,000 candidates, in over 90 countries, taking exams every year. Read more >>

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Author Topic: Bridging from Method Books - Please Help!!!  (Read 2187 times)
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« on: March 08, 2016, 01:25:17 AM »


I've been teaching for a few months and I have a very bored, very unmotivated student. He has finished Book 3B and started Book 4 in Faber and Faber's Piano Adventure's but he seems very disinterested in the pieces. I'm starting to transition him out of the books and into other pieces, such as Martha Muir and Dennis Alexander pieces.

I'm looking for suggestions that would be at his level and help push him, but not too much. He really enjoys fast pieces, especially pieces where the right hand plays a lot of runs while the left hand plays chords. If a piece is just a little too difficult for him, he won't practice it. I'm pretty stuck on what to do!

Please help!

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« Reply #1 on: May 18, 2016, 08:06:37 PM »


Before you read this post, bear in mind that english isn't my first language. I'm sure there are some mistakes of grammar and some words aren't well-chosen. I apologize for this. I do my best to improve my knowledge of this beautiful language.

So, we have a problem : The student loses interest in the mmusic. There may be several causes to this. In my experience, the main cause is usually that he doesn't enjoy the music he's been taught. I could be wrong though.

As always, problems can be solved, but we need some information about the student.

Do you know about his taste in music ? Does he have a favorite composer ? Does he have a favorite period ? Renaissance, baroque, classical, romantic, modern, contemporary ? Try to find out about his tastes and find pieces by composers he likes. Do you know if he enjoys non-classical music ? If he enjoys jazz or blues, show him some pieces by composers who write in a jazzy idiom (Gershwin, Scott Joplin, William Bolcom). If he enjoys latin american music, salsa, bossa nova, you could introduce him to latin composers (Villa-Lobos, Ginastera, Guastavino, Lecuona). You get the idea.

I think the most important is the student is exposed to a large variety of music. If you introduce music to music of several styles, I'm sure he will find something that captures his attention.

I'm not familiar with Faber and Faber books. I don't what kind of music is in the books and I don't know what on level are the pieces. Since I don't have information about the level of the student, I will suggest pieces of intermediate level. In the selection i have made below, I tried to choose pieces from different styles and from different composers.

Shostakovich : Merry tale


Prokofiev : Tarentelle from Musique d'enfants, opus 65 no 4


Rebikov : Chinese Figurine (here you can teach about the pentatonic scale and traditional chinese music)


Vogel : Moderato in C


Scarlatti : Sonata K454 (here you can talk about how Scarlatti uses spanish folklore in his music, mainly flamenco)


Purcell : Riggadoon in C


Brian Chapple : In the Pink (here you can talk about blues scale)


Granados : La huerfana from Cuentos de la Juventud, opus 1 no 9


Villa-Lobos : Caranguejo


Maikapar : The Moth, opus 33 no 8


Glass : Opening from Glassworks (very good if he enjoys new age music)


Mozart : Variations on "Ah, vous dirais-je, Maman" K265. The piece is a bit long so this should be for a long-term plan. But you can teach plenty of things with it about how the composer uses the material. The student may like it if he's a child.


Schumann : Erinnerung, opus 68 no 28. Written after the death of Felix Mendelssohn. You can talk about Schumann and Mendelssohn and romanticism, about how Schumann put embedded messages in his pieces.

I hope that I have been helpful. Don't hesitate to ask if you have any questions.
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« Reply #2 on: July 05, 2016, 02:49:50 AM »


Easy sonatas or sonatinas.

A few repertoire books, so it doesn't look like it's "turn the page and do the next piece this week."
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Favorite new teacher quote -- "You found the only possible wrong answer."
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