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beguining pieces are too short! (Read 1641 times)

Offline todias

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beguining pieces are too short!
« on: December 13, 2017, 10:40:24 PM »
Hello!

I've been thinking about this for a long time but now i decided it's time to change the type of repertoire I give to my beguiners..

I'm starting to feel that the pieces are too short, even when they get chalenging like the part IV of thompson or other methods I use. Altought it is good for the students 'motivation, the public presentations aren't interesting at all. They play 3 or 4 small pieces but one feels that they start and they end right after.

Do you know any method or pieces that are easy but long? I'm also an accompanist and I see that other instruments have lots of easy pieces which takcle few notes/skills but have a narrative and are pleasant to hear.

Do you also feel this?

Thank you!
Todias
Portugal

Offline klavieronin

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Re: beguining pieces are too short!
«Reply #1 on: December 14, 2017, 05:54:20 AM »
Erik Satie wrote some really great beginner pieces (1-3 pages). You might find something in the Classics to Moderns series although I'm not how they compare in difficulty to the piece in the methods you are using.

I definitely think there is a real lack of variety when it comes to beginner piano pieces. Especially for more mature beginners. I've used about half a dozen or more different method books and they so often contain the same music and basic structure - even when you compare so called adult methods and the ones marketed toward younger players. It's actually something I'm working to reconcile ;).

Offline keypeg

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Re: beguining pieces are too short!
«Reply #2 on: December 14, 2017, 09:56:06 AM »
I'm starting to feel that the pieces are too short, even when they get chalenging like the part IV of thompson or other methods I use. Altought it is good for the students 'motivation, the public presentations aren't interesting at all. They play 3 or 4 small pieces but one feels that they start and they end right after.
If the students like the music they are given, why is it a problem.  Aren't beginner lessons for learning, and not for public presentations?  The first recitals are for students to get used to playing for others, and not to entertain.  Do your beginners themselves ask for longer pieces?

Offline klavieronin

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Re: beguining pieces are too short!
«Reply #3 on: December 14, 2017, 11:30:46 AM »
If the students like the music they are given, why is it a problem.  Aren't beginner lessons for learning, and not for public presentations?  The first recitals are for students to get used to playing for others, and not to entertain.  Do your beginners themselves ask for longer pieces?

I think there is some pedagogical value to learning a variety of music (including pieces of different length) so I wouldn't immediately poo-poo the idea.

For starters, a longer piece intrinsically requires a longer time to work on. If the student only works on pieces for 3-5 weeks max then they are missing out on some real advantages gained when spending a longer period of time on a single piece, like the opportunity to polish easy sections while working on the more difficult ones, and solidify the neurological changes that occur in the brain from around the 10 week mark onward.

Of course you could achieve this in other ways, like making them stick to shorter pieces for longer, but why impose such a seemingly arbitrary stricture (from a young student's point of view) on them when the music you choose can make it intuitively understandable?

It's also helpful, I think, for students to understand what they will be encountering later down the line. The little taste patience and delayed gratification that comes from learning longer pieces won't hurt either.

Anyway, I think it's about having the right mix and being open to possible options.

Offline keypeg

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Re: beguining pieces are too short!
«Reply #4 on: December 14, 2017, 09:14:50 PM »
Since the title says "beginning", I've assumed that we are talking about beginners.  I'm looking at this from a personal dual perspective.  I started a new instrument as an adult, and we went through the beginner material awful fast.  I have restarted that instrument, from scratch, even though my last grade was grade 7.  Meanwhile I went back to piano after decades, having self-taught as a child, and here, too, I need to get the proper technique going, and rework many things.  In these ways I am in a sense artificially in "beginner mode".  (I'm also a trained teacher for the formative years.)

So what I find in "beginner mode" is that you need to concentrate on lots of new things which an advanced player takes for granted and does automatically.  If you have too much to do, you'll start flubbing it, or be scattered among "too much".  The focus is on the essential things, and a piece is the practice ground for it.  The student might be concentrating on reading/matching notes one time, moving evenly and with ease another time, doing dynamics effectively another time etc.  This is better done with shorter pieces, because more time is spent on a line and more effort must be put into it.  Someone who is already a musician won't be aware of this.  A teacher might lose sight of it.

I would ask who this is for?  The "public presentations" is a start.  So it's for the audience, to entertain them?  Why?  Aren't recitals for the student, to teach the student things?  If it's for the audience, there is a mix-up of priorities.  If parents are not impressed, and want to be impressed by "nice sounding impressive music", then the teacher has to educate and guide the parents.  If the teacher is tired of teaching boring beginner pieces, either he should stuff it up, or not teach beginners maybe.  The decisions have to be for the sake of the learner.  That is not what I am seeing in the opening post, when public presentations being interesting --- especially when the student is motivated, but that doesn't seem to be enough.

Offline klavieronin

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Re: beguining pieces are too short!
«Reply #5 on: December 14, 2017, 11:24:30 PM »
The decisions have to be for the sake of the learner.  That is not what I am seeing in the opening post, when public presentations being interesting --- especially when the student is motivated, but that doesn't seem to be enough.

Yes, I see your point. I think I must have skimmed over that part of the OP. I have to admit, on the whole I do prefer shorter pieces but can also see the value in learning the occasional longer piece. However, you are right, it needs to be for the sake of the student - whether its motivational or pedagogical - and to please an audience probably isn't the best reason.

Offline keypeg

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Re: beguining pieces are too short!
«Reply #6 on: December 15, 2017, 06:38:22 AM »
:)

Offline sucom

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Re: beguining pieces are too short!
«Reply #7 on: December 19, 2017, 02:26:52 PM »
Hello!

I've been thinking about this for a long time but now i decided it's time to change the type of repertoire I give to my beguiners..

I'm starting to feel that the pieces are too short, even when they get chalenging like the part IV of thompson or other methods I use. Altought it is good for the students 'motivation, the public presentations aren't interesting at all. They play 3 or 4 small pieces but one feels that they start and they end right after.

Do you know any method or pieces that are easy but long? I'm also an accompanist and I see that other instruments have lots of easy pieces which takcle few notes/skills but have a narrative and are pleasant to hear.

Do you also feel this?

Thank you!
Todias
Portugal

Hi Todias,

While many beginner pieces are designed to be short enough to teach the student some new element in the playing, I tend to agree with you that, for presentations or any kind of performance, many beginner pieces in method books are a little too short resulting in students having to play two or more unrelated short pieces.  As a result, performances may comprise of more walking to and from the piano (and adjusting the piano stool) than actual piano playing! 

A slightly longer piece would possibly give an audience more time to 'hear' the melody or take in and absorb any technical challenge the student might be facing and thus enjoy and appreciate a piece (and the player) a little more.  Many audiences consist of parents who are paying for the beginner's piano lessons and a little inspiration for both player and the player's parents is not likely to go amiss! 


Offline todias

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Re: beguining pieces are too short!
«Reply #8 on: December 21, 2017, 10:56:43 PM »
Thank you for all your feedback!

Sorry for taking so long to answer, this season is chaotic!

I understand what you say when you talk about the public presentations being more important to the student than for the audience: but here in Portugal we have a serious problem with the interest in classical music; especially in small cities like mine. The music schools have a major role in creating and educating audiences. Plus, at least in here, when the parents aren't truly interested and engaged, you know that most of the children won't practice at all.

Believe me that I thought about all this questions and some more. Of course that the happiness and the motivation of the children is more important, but even when they start to develop (1 or 2 years of piano lessons - 7 or 8 yo) I can't find bigger pieces. This small pieces lack narrative and thus lack the potential of being something artistic or communicative.

I again appreciate your feedback, do you know any pieces like the ones I am looking for?

Thank you klavieronin for your advice. I can't find the Satie pieces you told me, has anyone knows the name of these pieces?

Thank you!
Todias