Celebration series: the piano odyssey

Discuss the pros and cons of various "methods" with other teachers

Postby drewnchick » Wed Jun 07, 2006 12:17 pm

I am considering using the Royal Conservatory of Music guidelines and books, and wondered if anyone has used it and what they think about it? It seems pretty stringent and advanced.
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Postby LK123 » Thu Jun 08, 2006 7:04 pm

I am currently using the RCM books, working on my Gr 9. In fact I have only ever used the RCM series except when I was very little, which was a VERY LONG TIME AGO!!! I had a long break from the piano and when I started back up again in September I started right back with RCM. There have been a lot of changes in the series, but the most noticable change is in the technical requirements. There are huge jumps in expectations between certain grades - the one I am most concerned about is the jump between Gr 9 and 10. All in all I really enjoy the series, it gives exposure to Baroque, Classical, Romantic and 20th century compositions, and they also include some Canadian composers which is nice.

I have bought the "Celebrate Piano" series to start off my five year old. Haven't examined it in super great detail but it seems like it is quite appealing to young children. It is bright and colorful, with lots of activities and games that do not have to be done at the piano bench. I do not know anyone else who has used this particular series for young children but I thought I would give it a try.
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Postby 108-1121887355 » Thu Jun 08, 2006 7:57 pm

I am not familiar with the book, but I would start a 5 year old with rote.
Have him find the notes on the keyboard and get comfortable there first, with some simple songs.
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Postby Beckywy » Thu Jun 08, 2006 11:44 pm

I've been teaching Celebrate piano to beginners for the last 2 years, and it's great.
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Postby mirjam » Fri Jun 09, 2006 12:23 am

Celebrate Piano is not known here in The Netherlands. Could someone tell me more about it? Is it a method, repertoire books or both?
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Postby Beckywy » Fri Jun 09, 2006 11:58 am

It is a series of 6 books for the 1st year of lessons. - method books which incorporates many aspects of musicianship including intervals and related singing exercises, rhythm exercises and games, technique, transposition, major triads,...
"The real purpose of studying music-to unite ourselves with our special gifts in such a way that one would add strength to the other" Seymour Bernstein
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Postby pianoannie » Sat Jun 10, 2006 2:16 pm

Beckywy wrote:It is a series of 6 books for the 1st year of lessons. - method books which incorporates many aspects of musicianship including intervals and related singing exercises, rhythm exercises and games, technique, transposition, major triads,...

Becky,
What are you referring to when you say it is 6 books for the 1st year? I am trying Celebrate Piano for the first time, and he has the 1A Lesson & Musicianship Book and Solos Book. I don't know of any other books at that level. There is also 1B, 2A, 2B, 3, and 4 (so a total of 6 levels) but you don't mean that students are expected to get through all 6 levels in one year do you?
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Postby Beckywy » Sat Jun 10, 2006 10:58 pm

Depends on the student. I have students who are taking longer to complete all 6, and I also have students who take to the concepts very quickly and finish all 6 books within a year.

Once the students understand the TIPPS, it's pretty easy to get through the pieces: T - Tap or ta the notes; I - say the interval direction and size (up 2 or down 2...etc), P - find the phrase and repeated patterns, PS - play and say the note names, intervals and words.
Of course, we do this with each and every piece.
"The real purpose of studying music-to unite ourselves with our special gifts in such a way that one would add strength to the other" Seymour Bernstein
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Postby drewnchick » Sun Jun 11, 2006 12:01 am

How do the levels correlate to, say, the Faber levels? Or any other method book?

I don't think any of my beginner kids, even the super duper quick ones, could complete levels 1 - 6 of the Faber books in one year.
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Postby pianoannie » Sun Jun 11, 2006 7:20 am

Beckywy wrote:Depends on the student. I have students who are taking longer to complete all 6, and I also have students who take to the concepts very quickly and finish all 6 books within a year.

Once the students understand the TIPPS, it's pretty easy to get through the pieces: T - Tap or ta the notes; I - say the interval direction and size (up 2 or down 2...etc), P - find the phrase and repeated patterns, PS - play and say the note names, intervals and words.
Of course, we do this with each and every piece.

Becky, I'm going to pick your brain a little more about CP, because I feel like I'm on a different planet than you or something! I must be moving really slowly with my student.

Keep in mind this is my first student to use CP. He's only 5, but he's VERY bright and talented, his mom sits in on every lesson, and works with him at every home practice. This is every piano teacher's dream family, I'm tellin' ya!

And I even teach 45 minute lessons. But I'm finding it takes a LONG time to get through everything in the teacher's guide!! (Do you use that?) Since this is my first CP student, I don't want to skip many activities, as I want to give the "entire system" a chance, although occassionally I do skip just a little.

Quoting from the teacher's guide p 11: "The unit may be taught in one week or as suggested below in a two-week sequence." Well, this unit (book 1A unit 1) has 17 activities/pieces, and I can't fathom how any teacher could cover all this in one or two weeks. Especially using the TIPPS process, which means spending several minutes per piece going through the several steps.

I have been spending, on average, 4 weeks per unit with this boy. He comes to lessons well-prepared (except once when they'd been on vacation and the mom was SO apologetic). I don't normally get too hung up on whether a student is moving too slowly, because I try to cover as much as I can fit and the student can grasp each week.

But I am very curious as to how the CP authors expect (and you apparently accomplish) an entire unit in a week or two. I think I would need 2 hour lessons to do that! Can you give me some insight as to what your typical lesson would include, timewise?

Thanks!!
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Postby Beckywy » Sun Jun 11, 2006 3:47 pm

We whip through the pieces pretty quickly. In the beginning, the students have already learned the quarter notes are a "ta" and half notes are "ta-ah". For Units 1a and 1b - we sing the songs first - the "This is sound of middle C", "Busy Bee (major 2)", "Cuckoo bird (Major 3)", "Kangaroo (Perfect 4th)" and "Hello"(Perfect 5) . Depending where they are in the books. These songs they have to do in their practice everyday no matter what.

I listen to their homework first..and then we go on. Pieces, we do the "ta's" together of the new piece. Then we say which hand or both is used for each note (in time with the piece), then we say the intervals - I point and say from this note to this - and the student would say up or down and what the interval is (depending where in the book they are).
Then I ask where the fingers should be for this particular piece- What the starting note is, and what each note is for the piece. Then I tell them to go ahead and play it.

New ideas - that have written homework - I explain and we do the work together. I then photocopy the same page and give them as homework to do. ie - explaining line notes from space notes doesn't take a long time to do.
After which, we do the clapbacks - I clap a short sequence, and the student claps it back, then we do the melody playback. THat's it. 30 mins.

Songs - 1-2 mins.
Homework - 3-4 mins
new pieces - 20 mins
clapbacks and melody playbacks - 2-3 mins
written homework - 2-3 mins.
"The real purpose of studying music-to unite ourselves with our special gifts in such a way that one would add strength to the other" Seymour Bernstein
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Postby drewnchick » Mon Jun 12, 2006 6:56 am

Becky,
These Celebrate Piano books are part of the RCM curriculum? And are method books suitable for beginners? Just looking around online, I didn't notice any beginner methods from RCM. What exactly are the six books entitled, so I could find them?

Thanks!
Heather
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Postby Beckywy » Tue Jun 13, 2006 1:00 am

The Celebrate Piano Series was introduced to me by my teacher at the RCM. You can find the books at:
Frederick Harris Music
"The real purpose of studying music-to unite ourselves with our special gifts in such a way that one would add strength to the other" Seymour Bernstein
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