Page 2 of 2

PostPosted: Sun Dec 11, 2005 3:26 am
by mirjam
Hi Stretto

I did the opposite: I've been teaching for fifteen years and never used a method. I always chose repertoire pieces fitting the needs of the student. I started using a method a year ago, because I noticed for some students it's difficult to see why they are working on a specific piece, and what they learn by practising it, although I always tell them that! Over a longer period of time it seemed difficult for some students to see what their progress was, especially with the somewhat slower students. Another thing is: choosing piece after piece makes it easy to look for appealing pieces on a certain subject, but after a few years they expect me to choose fun pieces all the time. Since using a method book they play (almost) all the pieces in the book. They understand better they are learning and progressing all the time.

I still do repertoire books and pieces beside it, because I want them to play different styles and don't want them to depend on a method. I noticed the less talented students benefit the most from the method, because they feel a lot safer using it. They can see the overall plan and notice what they learn in this book. At the end of the book they see what they are now able of and this is a lot clearer to them in a method book compared to a repertoire book, especially for the students that progress not so fast.

PostPosted: Mon Dec 12, 2005 8:32 pm
by 108-1121887355
Yes, I do believe that method books may be better for the slower student
If the ear is not tuned in and reading is hard, you can go at a slow and steady pace. In order to keep from boredom, though, I still add extras!
i imagine you have a variety of music you have used for 15 yrs. and can pull out a certain piece as needed.
Keep it up!
Do you ever use rote teaching?

PostPosted: Sat Dec 17, 2005 10:11 am
by mirjam
I do, especially with the little ones (5 and 6 years old) I do it a lot. And with beginning students, to have some technical challenging pieces when they're able to do so; everyone can play the 'flea march' too (how do you call this piece?), so I guess they can play lots of 'difficult' pieces before being able to read them. With advanced students I do rote teaching with small parts of their pieces, to tackle a difficult part sometimes.

PostPosted: Sat Dec 17, 2005 10:38 am
by 108-1121887355
What is the "Flea March"?
I find rote keeps some students going and interested when young or reading is hard. As I mentioned I even have an adult I switched to rote for now, as she was getting frustrated trying to read.

Have you found some books or have you devised your own plan?

I have found in teaching rote, that I have learned alot. I never fully used my ear and listened for intervals or even learned to read, noting them. It was just notes. I never composed a piece, at least not one that anyone wrote down. I can find songs by ear now that I never tried before. "Fooling around" at the piano was not considered practicing. What a shame! AND I took leassons from MANY teachers as we moved around, from age 5 to age 21 yrs. One change in teachers came because my hand was getting hit with a ruler when I made a mistake. My Mom stopped that as soon as she found out - seeing my red eyes as I left a lesson. I know that was "the old days" - I hope it doesn't ever happen now. I persevered, however, and glad I did. Music is the main interest and joy in my life now.

PostPosted: Thu Jan 19, 2006 3:18 pm
by Stretto
Just an update:

I haven't been using method books now for about 8 months. It was a little rough in the beginning for a couple students who just finished "level 1" because as I mentioned previously, all of the sudden they were confronted with several new concepts in one piece rather than adding one new idea per piece of music. It was a little easier to make the switch with my intermediate level students. It seems to "free" them all up a little more to pick and choose pieces they will really enjoy. I really can't explain it, maybe someone can help me "explain myself" :laugh: . The method books seemed confining in a lot of respects and both I and students as I said feel a little more "freed up". My students have been sometimes learning music a little easier than the level they would be at and sometimes learning music that is a little more difficult than most of their music. I think the main problem I was having is students coming to lesson time after time only having practiced lesson book music while ignoring the supplemental music just to advance more rapidly. Only somehow this was doing them more harm than good for progress I feel. I think if a student was stagnating and not progressing, I would put them back on lesson books in a method and also probably use the lesson book some at the very beginning. Again as has been said on this forum several times over by all of us, one has to tailor the learning experience to the individual so I probably won't take a die hard approach to not using method books. Some students may need the gradual, step by step approach.

Mirjam, I appreciate you're response. You make a lot of excellent points which I really agree with. I can see there are advantages and disadvantages to either way.

Edited By Stretto on 1137705736

PostPosted: Mon Jan 23, 2006 3:40 pm
by mirjam
Hi Stretto

isn't it nice to try something completely new and different now and then? Im using method books for 1,5 year now. The most important change in my teenage students is that they realize they're in a long term process of learning. I always looked for appealing repertoire that fitted their needs, but to them it seemed like I just looked for appealing pieces. Some of them just wandered around in their books, feeling happy with it, of course, but without realizing there is so much more beautiful music. The method books got them back on track. I try to use them 'freed up' to, changing the order, skipping pieces. I sometimes do a completely different book between two levels, and always some other repertoire books. So now I'm trying to get the best things of both worlds.

PostPosted: Tue Feb 21, 2006 11:36 am
by montana
Just started teaching a 6 week Adult Ed class. I am teaching Rock and Roll piano and am writting the material from week to week. Students are learning the styles of the R&R masters and there isn't and note reading involved. I just finished the 3rd week last night and it is going real well with the student excited about what they are playing. Hopefully they will still be excited and motivated at the end of the six weeks.