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PostPosted: Mon Nov 08, 2004 9:23 pm
by Lyndall
Whether it's using printed books or a computer program, I also am a big fan of the all-in-one concept. It's so hard to juggle all the separate books, plus a binder for loose sheets, plus a note book. I haven't seen any all-in-ones that I like yet, so Annie I'd love it if you would write one! I'd be happy to critique it for you!

As for the computer, I'm trying to imagine how it works. Would you have to have a monitor where the teacher & student can see it? Does the student play music directly off a screen? What happens when the kid goes home - do they have to have the same setup?

Love the idea of giving the kids choices & having to pass levels. I'm curious to hear more...

PostPosted: Tue Nov 09, 2004 3:37 pm
by Dr. John Zeigler - PEP Ed
Lyndall wrote:As for the computer, I'm trying to imagine how it works. Would you have to have a monitor where the teacher & student can see it? Does the student play music directly off a screen? What happens when the kid goes home - do they have to have the same setup?

Love the idea of giving the kids choices & having to pass levels. I'm curious to hear more...

Oversimplifying considerably, what I envision in talking about such a computer method is something that's kind of a cross between current learning software of the sort we've reviewed elsewhere on PEP and current method books. The disk-based method would have games and drill, like current computer learning software, but would embody all the music, graphics and information in current method books. Anytime the student needed hard copy of music to learn or a copy of any information, he could just print it. The teacher could individualize instruction to some degree by choosing options for each student in the setup of the software, but the computer wuld serve as gatekeeper and progress monitor, thereby simplifying record keeping for the teacher, and allowing the teacher to focus on those things that the computer sessions indicated needed most work.

Although I can envision both home and instructor versions of this, a computer wouldn't be required in the student's home, since he could print whatever he needed for the next week's work while at the studio for his lesson - or the teacher could do it for him, depending on the wishes of the teacher. Such an approach would require a computer lab in the studio with at least a couple computers. Ten years ago this would have been expensive, but now computer's are so cheap that they are very accessible to most teachers. Since the student wouldn't necessarily need to buy the software and would need no method books, it would save the student some money. The teacher could raise her fees for the same reason.

I have no illusions that putting together such series would be anything but a big job. But, it couldn't be any harder than actually preparing thousands of copies of corresponding printed method materials and shipping them around the world. Truthfully, in the next ten years, I expect to see more and more material published electronically anyway, so this is just a step in the direction that the world is already moving toward. :)




Edited By Dr. John Zeigler - PEP Editor on 1100036617

PostPosted: Fri Nov 26, 2004 10:51 am
by Dr. John Zeigler - PEP Ed
I'd like to see if we can come at this topic another way. If you were coming up with a new method and you wanted to put it together by combining the best parts of the approaches of other, existing, methods, what would you include? What would you change? For example, one might include the best parts of the Gurlitz-Robyn pedal exercises, the emphasis on intervalic recognition for note-reading in Pace (and others), the building-in of positive performance experiences from Suzuki, leaving out all position-playing devices, etc. I'm not necessarily offering these as examples of what should be done, but as illustrations of what I mean by these questions. By talking about what is right (and wrong) about other methods, we can begin to think about what a "perfect" method should have.

PostPosted: Fri Nov 26, 2004 8:28 pm
by 75-1095335090
I have been thinking about starting a bit of a pilot project in my studio. Currently I teach using Technics Music Academy. It's made up of songs and pieces most people know in just about any western music style you can think of, and uses both standard notation and lead-sheet style (melody + chord symbols).

I am taking lessons using Royal Conservatory of Music, which covers the four big time periods (Baroque, Classical, Romantic, and 20th Century).

I had completely forgotten about this thread when I thought of the idea of combining the two (once I'm comfortable with the RCM stuff, that is). The one thing that I was lacking in my musical studies was classical training... and no one else in the area is offering to truly cover both. (More often than not, teachers teach using the classical pieces, and sweeten the deal with the occational pop tune. What I'm talking about is a thorough study of all styles. Technics almost has it, it's missing the classical repertoire, though.)

So, I'm thinking that most (if not all) teachers are looking for the "perfect method" and tweak their methods as the years go by.

I'm wondering if anyone here can post specific examples of this sort of thing. It's one thing to talk about what we'd like to see in the perfect method, it's quite another to actually implement it... and I think that's what we're all really looking for.

PostPosted: Wed Dec 01, 2004 10:45 am
by Dr. John Zeigler - PEP Ed
Kittypalooza wrote:So, I'm thinking that most (if not all) teachers are looking for the "perfect method" and tweak their methods as the years go by.

I'm wondering if anyone here can post specific examples of this sort of thing. It's one thing to talk about what we'd like to see in the perfect method, it's quite another to actually implement it... and I think that's what we're all really looking for.

Of course, it's a little difficult to post examples of the "perfect method" since nobody seems to think the perfect method has been developed yet. That's the whole point of this thread - to give teachers the chance to talk about what they would like to see in a method, for their own benefit and the benefit of those who might be contemplating writing or updating method materials.

Given my scientific background, I couldn't agree more wholeheartedly that we need people to carry through in developing better method materials. However, most of us rarely get the opportunity to have an impact on that process. I know that people who have developed methods read this Board. Perhaps we can also help inspire somebody else. Failing that, we can at least let other teachers know what we think the strengths and weaknesses of various existing methods are. :)

PostPosted: Thu Apr 27, 2006 8:42 am
by Dr. John Zeigler - PEP Ed
A couple of recent threads, including one on "Revolutionary" piano in Topic of Note inspired me to re-animate this one a little. I would think a "perfect" method would also incorporate options for the teacher to teach on digital keyboards, as well as acoustic piano. This might take the form of a "dual-track" approach with specific lessons designed to take advantage of and teach the specifics of both digital and acoustic piano. For example, lessons for those with digital pianos would include explanations and uses of MIDI patch maps, finger strengthening exercises to allow the student to be ready for acoustic piano and so forth. The acoustic piano lessons would provide a brief introduction to the digital piano, pointing out the differences and the similarities to acoustic piano. There is a lot more that could be said about this, but, given that digital pianos already outsell acoustic pianos by a large margin in the U.S., I think any method would have to recognize that fact.

PostPosted: Sat Apr 29, 2006 9:56 am
by Stretto
Dr. John Zeigler - PEP Editor wrote:A couple of recent threads, including one on "Revolutionary" piano in Topic of Note inspired me to re-animate this one a little. I would think a "perfect" method would also incorporate options for the teacher to teach on digital keyboards, as well as acoustic piano. This might take the form of a "dual-track" approach with specific lessons designed to take advantage of and teach the specifics of both digital and acoustic piano. For example, lessons for those with digital pianos would include explanations and uses of MIDI patch maps, finger strengthening exercises to allow the student to be ready for acoustic piano and so forth. The acoustic piano lessons would provide a brief introduction to the digital piano, pointing out the differences and the similarities to acoustic piano. There is a lot more that could be said about this, but, given that digital pianos already outsell acoustic pianos by a large margin in the U.S., I think any method would have to recognize that fact.

I think such a method should include a detailed guide, classes, or seminars for teachers in how to teach students to use a digital to its fullest potential. Right now I would guess most students taking beginning lessons with a keyboard are only learning to play the keys and not taking advantage of all the other "bells and whistles" that are included with the keyboard nor learning what one can do with one when hooked up to a computer. Also, I would guess most teachers teaching piano don't know anything about all of what digitals are capable of. Plus although I haven't looked at all the different keyboards and digital pianos available, don't they have such a wide range of differences that a teacher couldn't possibly keep up with all the things each individual one was capable of? Could a method to teach digitals be written in such a way to cover the basics of digitals or are there too many differences between types?

As a teacher knowing very little about how to teach someone with a keyboard or digital piano other than how to play the keys, if I were to choose to learn the in's and out's of these instruments so I could better teach people who own them, I would feel really overwhelmed trying to learn all the capabilities of digitals because there seems so much one can do with one beyond just playing the keys. In order for someone like me to teach people who own digitals to use their instrument fully, to me it would be like learning an entirely new instrument. I feel it would take me a few years at least of learning what can be done with them myself before I could teach anyone else. If all I was to do was teach a student to play the keys on a digital, I would be cheating them out of teaching them to use their instrument to it's fullest potential. They would be better off going to someone who knows how to play and use all the "bells and whistles" of these instruments already, someone who has proficiency in playing on keyboards and digitals.

As far as methods goes, is there any methods that already exist that give a graded step by step approach to learning to use all the capabilities of digitals (other than the video or manual that comes with the instrument)? At any rate, I feel a method like you mentioned, Dr. Zeigler, with a dual approach to both acoustics and digitals would really need to include training for teachers most desirably, I think, would be in the way of seminars and classes where teachers could learn to use digitals themselves and learn how to teach digital keyboards and digital pianos. Otherwise some of those who own them most likely have them sitting around their homes only knowing how to play the keys and not ever learning or experimenting with the rest of their capabilities.

Perhaps an ideal teaching approach in the growing trend of those owning digital keyboards and digital pianos would be for them to be able to choose a teacher who specifically teaches students to play digital keyboards and digital pianos to their fullest potential rather than the existing choice most of them make of going to a teacher who teaches specifically how to play acoustic pianos and knows nothing about digitals. Unless of course a person owns both, then a dual approach might make sense but also would be more costly for the lessons since they'd be basically learning two different instruments simultaneously :) .

With more people buying digitals, teachers who own only acoustic pianos and only teach from acoustic pianos possibly down the road may be "left in the dust" having a harder time finding students to fill their studio slots. But that's a choice each individual teacher has to make. I think their will be enough people around still wanting to learn the acoustic piano that this won't be a problem. Only time will tell. Does anyone know whether their has been a slowdown or increase in the demand and manufacturing of acoustic pianos?

For myself, I would like to learn all the in's and out's of digital keyboards and digital pianos especially in conjunction with what can be done with them hooked up to a computer but more so for myself than to teach it. If I were to learn that myself enough to be proficient at it and teach it, I would offer separate lessons. Individuals could either take digital keyboard lessons or they could take acoustic piano lessons. If they wanted to learn both, they would have to take a separate lesson for each instrument.

As far as methods again, most valuable to me would be a systematic or step by step method that taught individuals how to use all the capabilities of digitals including how to play the keys. Then also a method that trained me as a teacher how to use digitals to their fullest potential and how to teach others as well. There you go Dr. Zeigler, how about developing such a method and giving classes and seminars to piano teachers. Let me know where I can sign up - :) !




Edited By Stretto on 1146327038

PostPosted: Sat Apr 29, 2006 11:14 am
by Dr. John Zeigler - PEP Ed
Stretto wrote:Does anyone know whether their has been a slowdown or increase in the demand and manufacturing of acoustic pianos?

For myself, I would like to learn all the in's and out's of digital keyboards and digital pianos especially in conjunction with what can be done with them hooked up to a computer but more so for myself than to teach it. If I were to learn that myself enough to be proficient at it and teach it, I would offer separate lessons. Individuals could either take digital keyboard lessons or they could take acoustic piano lessons. If they wanted to learn both, they would have to take a separate lesson for each instrument.

As far as methods again, most valuable to me would be a systematic or step by step method that taught individuals how to use all the capabilities of digitals including how to play the keys. Then also a method that trained me as a teacher how to use digitals to their fullest potential and how to teach others as well. There you go Dr. Zeigler, how about developing such a method and giving classes and seminars to piano teachers. Let me know where I can sign up - :) !

Below I've copied a few sentences from the market report I linked earlier in the "pitfalls of digital pianos" thread:

"Major Trends & Factors Influencing the Market

Traditional Pianos Face Challenge from Digital
Electronic Pianos Pose Major Threat to Traditional Pianos
Price Sensitivity Axes the Spirits of the Industry
Creating an Artificial Urgency: An Emerging Business Model

Piano Plays Mesmerizing Notes with the Young
Pianos Play Rhythm on the Net
Computer Technology: An Enormous Help for Fine Tuning
Virtual Acoustics - A Software Marvel for Musical Instruments
Factors Influencing the Market
Non-Musical Instrument Alternatives On the Rise"

A brief perusal of this indicates (as do other sections of the report) that digital pianos sales are growing faster than acoustic piano sales and are largely driving the market. This doesn't mean that digitals are "better", but it does suggest a trend for teachers that they can ignore only at their long-term peril. Of course, this trend is even more concerning when one considers that most digital pianos are shipped with teaching software of some sort, which many buyers might think obviate the need for a good teacher.

Nobody who teaches piano learned to do so in a day or on their own. They took lessons, practiced, read books, performed and generally, gave some devotion to the endeavor over a period of years or they would never have been successful. Most of piano training carries over fairly directly. Nobody should expect to become expert in the digital piano's additional capabilities in twenty minutes, anymore than they can learn to "play in a day" the acoustic piano. It takes a little effort, but anybody can learn to use the digital piano.

Part of the problem I have in designing PEP's technology articles is that there is so much variance right now in the capabilities of digital pianos and keyboards. There is no one standard. Perhaps in a twenty years there will be (it took the acoustic piano a couple hundred years), but, right now, a high end digital piano is like a cross between a good acoustic piano and a decent computer, while an entry-level one is definitely no-frills, though most have basic capabilities defined by the MIDI specifications. Thus, an article for a general audience must be written to the things which all such devices share. I'm hoping to find someone who will write for PEP on teaching digital piano from the standpoint of a teacher.

In the end, though, the teacher must take some responsibility for teaching themselves what they need to know, if they wish to participate in the opportunities brought about by the electronics revolution. It's hard to believe, though true, that the "planar method" for manufacturing computer (and other) chips was only invented and patented by Fairchild Semiconductor in 1974. Yet, it has changed our world completely, and promises to change it more in the future.




Edited By Dr. John Zeigler - PEP Editor on 1146332689