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Need ideas / thoughts on teaching the piano playing first then writing. (Read 949 times)

Offline elizasays

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Am experimenting with teaching classical piano the wrong way around, and am looking for links, ideas and any reading material, that I can study, to approach my classical teaching differently.

...Teaching my students to play a phrase or a 2 bar section by watching me play, then play if in different keys or play it in the same key, in sequences at differing pitches. And then write it out.

This is the first year that I'm trying something like this out. Initial trials on some students were a great success, and my students got very very excited about their pieces. I'm also going to try this out with an adult beginner, so the first lesson is a lot more exciting than following a method book.

Looking for ideas, advice, or anything you have to say about the pros or cons of this method, as against the 'reading first' approach.

Thanks in advance.
Anitaelise

Offline themeandvariation

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I would imagine you would at first get very positive response from the students.  They would much rather watch you and copy, than read.  And although, this method could get the fingers moving, and sounding like music (more identifiably) faster,  it can easily become like a sugar fix that is difficult to pull away from.  Like any symbolic language, it is at first a complexity of abstraction, that one must become familiar with (through toil) , before it becomes natural and a streamed lined process.  After they copy you, i would posit, that although you write out the notes afterwards, they are disinclined to truly follow the written note.  Once they have it memorized, they are really not reading - even if they are looking at the score.
With young ones, and just beginners i can see its effectiveness…But after a few months, i would definitely start the process of becoming  literate, which we know leads to empowerment.  To reduce these approaches  somewhat, one leaves the student utterly dependent on the teacher, the other, leads to liberation and non dependence. And,  Isn't that what we wish for our students,…. eventually?
This method you are espousing is good however for noticing and focusing on technique, - fingers, wrist, arm, torso, posture, etc.  Also the fact that you transpose whatever pattern is a good thing as well, which brings in the idea of theory…
Mostly i would be careful with this method, because they quickly become addicted to the youtube method (and Suzuki) to copy and play.  And as you know, this can only go so far. Once  the material becomes complex and longer in length, it becomes too cumbersome, and the other method of reading first ends up being much quicker.
Just some thoughts from one who has taught for quite some time..
I do from time to time get students who have been weened on this method, and having hit a brick wall, they come to me to fix things.. I shake my head, as i find their previous teacher irresponsible for shying away from literacy, probably because they find the process of teaching this uncomfortable, sensing the difficulty of the student.. But a good teacher knows how to mitigate the difficulty rather quickly, and make it (reading) fun as well.
If you plan on teaching them for some years, at some point you must cross that bridge, and the longer you wait, the harder it is.  Usually, as i mentioned, they just end up hitting a brick wall.
All that i have mentioned, is in the context of classical music, -- not folk or rock, where this method is more pervasive and effective, and being 'literate', is not necessary.
4'33"

Offline elizasays

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Thanks, for your thoughts. I think I did not write clearly - a clarification here.

I'm not the one doing the writing. I'm teaching my students pitch and note values and THEY are doing the writing. I see them focusing very well on theory with this method and find the level of focus and excitement about music theory - both note values, pitch and other things related very high.

Am looking for some ideas which I can use to make this method of teaching more systematic. I'm finding sight-reading improving vastly, with this method.

Also, I need to clarify : I usually work with 3 books at any given time with each student. One of them uses the above method. And we continue regular lessons with the others. It means that I have to cover a lot in one class, so I'm really working at lesson planning.

I really appreciate you taking the time to read and reply.
Anitaelise

Offline themeandvariation

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Oh…. that is very different.. having Them write it.  Very good!   (So then my rant does not pertain to your method).  I think your method is a very good one :)
I'll think on this more -  to see if i can contribute something towards your question.
Thanks for posting.  Interesting.  
T.

off the top of my head, it would seem systematic to gradually make your way thru all the key signatures, and varying time signatures, ( and not proceeded until the present scale is well understood… i do this by exploring the chords/inversions, then applying a rhythmic motif, to which the RH improvises.. but one could also just apply a new piece of 'formal music' to each new key signature..) Also, to increase the rhythmical complexity - as one moves to the 'next' scale..
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Online lostinidlewonder

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It's good as it helps them to learn reading and writing music, to play by ear, key theory etc etc. I'd not make it the main focus of a developing beginner though they should be learning many pieces with their both hands and solve many coordination issues. If everything is written out by hand it's going to slow down their rate of learning pieces perhaps? I find learning the basic finger movements and coordinations thoroughly before focusing on reading helps more students than not. It is almost like how we learned to read words, most of us had a grasp of using words in speech for years before attempting to read them.
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Offline fleetfingers

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I think it sounds great. As the previous poster mentioned, though, just be sure you are introducing note-reading, as well. And it sounds like you are. Keep us updated on how it goes...I might want to try it out!