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PostPosted: Fri Mar 24, 2006 11:29 pm
by Stretto
Along the lines of methods, I don't hear too much talk anymore of the John Thompson method. I have heard some mention the "Teaching Little Fingers to Play" series but not the old red books. I taught one student out of the "Teaching Little Fingers to Play" series as the student was already using that method when they switched to me but I didn't really like it. I did, however, used to play out of the red John Thompson books and I especially liked the pieces in this series. I can't remember for sure, but it seems in the course of taking lessons, I played through books 1 and 2 from my dad's old books just for review and I think I asked my teacher if I could continue using the Thompson series thereafter.

Does anyone know if many teachers still use the red John Thompson books? Does anyone have any guesses as to why it seems this method isn't used maybe as much as it used to be? Or is it still widely used?

PostPosted: Sat Mar 25, 2006 10:30 am
by minorkey
I used the red Thompson books (1-3) when I first took lessons! (-way way back in the late 60s/early 70s). My teacher supplemented these books with other individual pieces, but Thompsons were the backbone. My impression from reading other related websites is that the consensus is the Thompson series needs major updating in terms of pieces (although the early introduction of classics is appreciated).

PostPosted: Mon Mar 27, 2006 9:37 am
by 108-1121887355
I have a red second grade J T book in front of me. I haven't used it in a while, except for a few pieces. It does have some value, but I too, think it would need to be updated to be used as a 'method' book.

I like the classics and composer information, the pedal info., "Bill Grogan's Goat". It is a good start to some of the classics.

I used to have another book in the series, but gave it to a student.

I pull out "Teaching Little Fingers" sometimes - for "The Volga Boatman" or the baseball song and a few others. Most are not melodic. As my beginners have played more difficult and melodic music by rote, this can be of little interest as they begin reading.


PostPosted: Thu Mar 30, 2006 12:28 pm
by drewnchick
I use the Thompson books with some of my kids. My own two girls are learning out of the "Teaching little fingers to play", and are doing well. I also learned from this series. I think it is a good series for playing fun little pieces, but as a teacher, I have to be careful to cover the theory and technique that are not always included.

PostPosted: Thu Mar 30, 2006 1:43 pm
by Stretto


I really like the melodies in the first few levels of the red Thompson books. I think the melodies seem a little nicer sounding than some of the more modern, latest method books. I had a student who had learned the whole first book that was her dad's old book before taking lessons from me. At her first lesson, she played through every piece in the book perfectly and I could tell she really really enjoyed the pieces. So it being old or not "updated" didn't have any affect on her.

I had another student who came to me from a year in the Suzuki method and wanted to still learn some pieces in her Suzuki book. I noticed some of the pieces where the same melodies as in the John Thompson. Then another student who heard her play those pieces at a student group get-together at the next lesson excitedly asked, "I want to learn those same pieces!" Again, I just think the melodies are nice.

I'm curious as to whether kids would find the red, John Thompson as "old" or "outdated". I haven't used it just for that fact and it does appear to start out a little more challenging perhaps than some of the newest methods. I probably won't use it as a "method of choice" on a constant basis but I think the kids would enjoy learning some of the pieces. I might ask a student or two if they would like to test it for me just to get their opinion and they'd actually maybe get some extra practicing in doing so! :)

Edited By Stretto on 1143747921

PostPosted: Thu Mar 30, 2006 1:56 pm
by drewnchick
I have not had a problem with kids finding the Thompson books outdated. In fact, some of my students are attracted by the gentler pictures and pieces (maybe they need some peace in their lives!)

The only problem I've had with Thompson is that some students are overwhelmed by the pace. "Something new in every lesson" sometimes is too much! And I do have to use other books for technique and theory, since Thompson doesn't seem to cover those too well.

I have never had a student complain about the "outdatedness" or "moderness" of a book I have given them. I think that for the most part, kids accept what they're given...especially younger kids.

Besides, I believe that if a book works, we should use it...regardless of the style of pictures or language in it! :)

PostPosted: Thu Mar 30, 2006 3:00 pm
by Stretto

I really like all of what you have to say. Newer, with the latest "catchy" pictures doesn't always make it better.

I do agree that the red John Thompson books can be a little more advanced or move too fast. They are probably better suited for older kids.

Although perhaps not familiar melodies, I can't say enough how much I like the quality of the melodies.

If they were to update it, I think it would ruin it and it would become another method with "watered down" melodies.

Perhaps it's just me showing my age :D ! Only it has been around A LOT longer than I have!

PostPosted: Thu Mar 30, 2006 8:40 pm
by minorkey
I liked those books a lot and did well with them. I was relating the opinions of some teachers from a different website (who are kind of anti-method-book to begin with), not the opinions of students. Melodies- and pictures- are probably timeless to them.