Non-u.s. lessons - Differences and strengths

Explore a new topic relevant to piano education monthly

Moderator: Dr. John Zeigler - PEP Ed

Postby Dr. John Zeigler - PEP Ed » Thu Jan 31, 2008 9:45 am

Although it's probably fair to say that most of the members of the PEP Forums are from the United States, we have many Members and Guests who teach or have taken lessons outside the U.S. Some are teachers who live and teach in other countries or emigres who teach in the US now, but have taught and/or were trained outside the US. Many visitors to the Forums are foreign students taking lessons now in foreign countries.

Although we have briefly discussed piano lessons outside the US in other threads and forums, I think it is well past time that we had a thread where those who lived or live in foreign countries can tell us about how their experiences teaching and learning there might compare to those in the US. For teachers, this would be a good opportunity to discuss standards, curricula and business aspects of running a teaching studio abroad. Students might want to talk about what they see as the differences between how they are trained and how they feel US students are trained. If you live abroad and have experiences you would like to share about teaching and learning piano there, we would like to hear from you! You need not be a PEP Forums Member to respond to this thread. :cool:
All religions, arts and sciences are branches of the same tree. All these aspirations are directed toward ennobling man's life, lifting it from the sphere of mere physical existence and leading the individual towards freedom. - Albert Einstein
User avatar
Dr. John Zeigler - PEP Ed
Site Admin
 
Posts: 994
Joined: Sun Jun 08, 2003 6:46 pm
Location: Rio Rancho, NM USA

Postby 112-1182392787 » Thu Jan 31, 2008 12:01 pm

An interesting thought. I am curious how many participants in this forum are actually from the United States, since this is the Internet, equally accessible across the globe, with English being the international language. As a Canadian, I would see Americans as "foreign" teachers or students :;): The most frequent posters in recent times consist of four students: two Canadians, one American, and one Australian. What is the demography of this site which unites lovers of the piano under the umbrella of the universal language of music?

I suppose that we cannot really say how we feel about how people in the U.S. are trained in comparison to our own experience until we find out how they are trained. It might be interesting to be more cross-cultural, and also compare Canadian and Australian, Australian and Chinese, and various combinations. Perhaps we can learn from each other's experiences and take new ideas home with us.




Edited By pianissimo on 1201802714
User avatar
112-1182392787
 

Postby Dr. John Zeigler - PEP Ed » Thu Jan 31, 2008 1:56 pm

pianissimo wrote:An interesting thought. I am curious how many participants in this forum are actually from the United States, since this is the Internet, equally accessible across the globe, with English being the international language. As a Canadian, I would see Americans as "foreign" teachers or students :;): The most frequent posters in recent times consist of four students: two Canadians, one American, and one Australian. What is the demography of this site which unites lovers of the piano under the umbrella of the universal language of music?

Perhaps we can learn from each other's experiences and take new ideas home with us.

The way I phrased the "demography" of the site in my original post is correct, from the standpoint of visitors, Forums members and from the standpoint of those most active in posting over the time of existence of the Forums as part of PEP. If you look at the top ten posters, you'll find that 6 are U.S. residents and four come from English-speaking countries elsewhere in the world. In fact, as the co-founder, webmaster and editor of The Piano Education Page, author or co-author of the majority of its articles, and most frequent poster in the Forums section of PEP, I'd be disappointed if the Forums were entirely an American bastion. As you point out correctly, the language of music is universal, even if the Forums and wider site are written in English (save PEP en Espanol).

The fact that PEP is widely read internationally seemed to me to be a good reason to get people together and talk about what differences in piano training and teaching might exist and what we can learn from those differences that might help everybody. We've always welcomed anybody who had anything constructive to say or ask about piano, education and music generally, no matter where they are located.




Edited By Dr. John Zeigler - PEP Editor on 1201814899
All religions, arts and sciences are branches of the same tree. All these aspirations are directed toward ennobling man's life, lifting it from the sphere of mere physical existence and leading the individual towards freedom. - Albert Einstein
User avatar
Dr. John Zeigler - PEP Ed
Site Admin
 
Posts: 994
Joined: Sun Jun 08, 2003 6:46 pm
Location: Rio Rancho, NM USA

Postby 112-1182392787 » Thu Jan 31, 2008 2:26 pm

Well, of course you would know more about the posters on this site than I do. For me it was an open question, and the only thing I have to go on are the people I have conversed with over the past few months. It is very valuable to share information internationally and cross-culturally, and yours is an excellent idea.
User avatar
112-1182392787
 

Postby Tranquillo » Fri Feb 01, 2008 5:14 am

As an Australian myself, I think one particular area of learning is the use of terms. From my understanding in America music education, students often learn note values by: half note, whole note, quarter notes,etc. Whereas in Australia (and in England from my understanding) semibreve, minum, crotchet, etc.
The schooling system is a bit different here. Music is compulsory in grade 7 and 8. From year 9-12 it is picked as an elective subject. Is this the same elsewhere?
I suppose that we cannot really say how we feel about how people in the U.S. are trained in comparison to our own experience until we find out how they are trained. It might be interesting to be more cross-cultural, and also compare Canadian and Australian, Australian and Chinese, and various combinations. Perhaps we can learn from each other's experiences and take new ideas home with us.

Yes it is very interesting to know this comparision and understand differing cultures. Music is an international language, something that unites the world. Something, that all the world has in common.
Music is organised sound
User avatar
Tranquillo
 
Posts: 465
Joined: Wed Sep 05, 2007 11:43 pm

Postby Dr. John Zeigler - PEP Ed » Fri Feb 01, 2008 8:23 am

If it helps those who may not know much about teaching and learning outside their own countries, let me suggest that a good way to approach this topic might be to indicate what you think are the strengths and weaknesses (if any) of the learning process in your country. This would provide a vehicle whereby differences could be noted and discussed.

One notable difference in current teaching and learning practice is the use of a well-structured set of standards and levels for learning in Great Britain (ABRSM) and Australia (AMEB), for example. Although some efforts are being made to implement similar standards in the U.S. through RACE, that program seems not to have gained much traction yet.
All religions, arts and sciences are branches of the same tree. All these aspirations are directed toward ennobling man's life, lifting it from the sphere of mere physical existence and leading the individual towards freedom. - Albert Einstein
User avatar
Dr. John Zeigler - PEP Ed
Site Admin
 
Posts: 994
Joined: Sun Jun 08, 2003 6:46 pm
Location: Rio Rancho, NM USA

Postby Tarnia » Fri Feb 01, 2008 10:32 am

I am embarrassed to admit I don't know much about music education in other countries...except from Becibu's posts of course;)

Having said that, I would agree Dr. Zeigler that one big difference is the use of the RCM system here in Canada. I will use piano, as that is my primary instrument. This is a system whereby there are 10 grades (1-10) and if following the system, a student will take an examination before moving on to the next grade. They will play one piece from each applicable time period (List A-baroque, List B-classical, List C-romantic etc etc). A greater variety of time periods are added as grades increase in difficulty (i.e. I believe grade 1 has List A, B and C and a study whereas grade 10 had A,B,C,D,E and two studies). The examinee will also be required to perform a random selection from the technical requirements for that grade-e.g. a scale, arpeggio, triads/chords, etc-again these increase in difficulty throughout the grades (by gr. 10 expected to have all keys down pat, broken and solid chords, scales, scales separated by a 3rd/6th (major only), formula patters (major and harmonic minor), arpeggios...well you get the idea). Finally, an examinee will also be tested on their sight reading (given a passage to sight read) and on their aural skills (intervals, melody playback, chord identification, etc). In addition, a grade might have theory requirements associated with it (e.g. preliminary rudiments is equivalent to grade 1 piano, gr. 2 theory with gr. 3 practical, gr. 3 harmony with gr. 9 practical and so on). To achieve recognition of passing a grade, the theory requirements must also be met-this is a separate examination from the practical exam. You DO NOT need to take each grade consecutively-you can skip grades up until gr. 10, which you must take if you want to go on for your ARCT (teacher's certification).

The strengths of this system IMHO are that it covers a VERY wide basis of musical skills, including that of musical theory, which I often see ignored-indeed I myself am very behind in my theory requirements. I also had no aural training before I started with a teacher that followed the RCM system-I couldn't even sing a note in tune when played when I started :p It also requires a certain level of performance skill, since you are playing in front of an unknown examiner.

Beyond grade 10 their is a teacher's degree, which to be eligible for you must meet a certain standard in your gr. 10 exam. I believe the relative benefits of certified vs. uncertified have been discussed elsewhere, so I won't go there except to say that it theoretically provides a skills standard in teachers-again IMO good

Weaknesses? It is a demanding, and therefore arguably limiting, system. You pick ONE piece from each time period in classical music. You CAN pick more, but you will perform only one, so most people concentrate on one. I know very little about other genres, such as jazz. To be fair, this is being addressed and the RCM puts out an 'accepted popular list' that contains a selection of pieces from other genres (e.g. from movies, pop music, jazz...) that they deem to be at a certain grade level. You can substitute ONE piece for I think your 'modern' selection. However it is still IMHO limiting-one piece out of all baroque music. In 10 grades you will have done 10 baroque pieces. You get my drift. Of course you can do more in your free time-and believe me, I do! However you don't have a lot of free time if you are focusing exclusively on the RCM method.

That is the main weakness I can come up with...and this is already a very long post:p I will return later...
User avatar
Tarnia
 
Posts: 39
Joined: Sat Dec 02, 2006 1:40 pm
Location: Toronto

Postby 112-1182392787 » Fri Feb 01, 2008 2:07 pm

I just noticed with astonishment that the home page of RACE is identical to the RCM's home page - same little girl playing the piano. Then I checked my RCM rudiments examination papers. On the back there is a stamp "Royal American Conservatory Assocation - RACE". I do know the RCM is international, because when you register for an exam, they stress that dates and times are the same across the world.
User avatar
112-1182392787
 

Postby Tarnia » Fri Feb 01, 2008 2:30 pm

Indeed Pianissimo, you are right. I too just had a look and found that the entire website was set up in a similar fashion. Upon exploring i found this:

"The Certificate Program

The high standards of The Royal Conservatory of Music curriculum are made available to American students through the National Music Certificate Program Examinations Certificate Program.


So perhaps the existence of a certification board in Canada is not so different after all! ;)
User avatar
Tarnia
 
Posts: 39
Joined: Sat Dec 02, 2006 1:40 pm
Location: Toronto

Postby 112-1182392787 » Fri Feb 01, 2008 9:31 pm

For comparing the two sites, here is the RCM version: http://www.rcmexaminations.org/ (sorry, hyperlink isn't working for me).

About the limits of pieces, we still are allowed to learn other pieces with our teachers. It's just that those three are chosen for the exam. Btw, now you don't just see your grade on-line, if it's a theory exam paper you can download an actual scan once it's available.

What I find interesting is to see students taking the same exam, who come from all kinds of teachers using all kinds of methods, from Suzuki to traditional, all being examined toward the same standards.

In the Canadian system, passing certain grades of both the practical and theoretical exam will also count as one high school credit in music. Does this exist in the U.S. with RACE?

What is happening in the public school system in the U.S., and also how is the interaction with private teachers, if any? My education was almost 40 years ago, and the system has changed a lot since then (fortunately). I'm the most familiar with the arts magnet program, since this is what my son attended,and of course much more would be taught. Do these school exist in the U.S.?

The arts magnet is a regular public school, which means that kids don't have to be rich like in private school, to get in. They must be recommended by their private teacher, and they have to audition. There are limited spots and they come from a wide geographic area, possible as far as a 100 mile radius in some cases. The students basically have to have a private teacher. Performances tend to be orchestral and ensemble, and a student may need his private teacher's help with some of the material and technique. Then, too, the student has an examination once per semester of a study and a piece, which the private teacher then prepares with the student.
User avatar
112-1182392787
 

Postby Dr. John Zeigler - PEP Ed » Sat Feb 02, 2008 10:45 am

Some time ago, I interviewed for PEP the head of the RACE program, Dr. Scott McBride Smith. Just as with the web site, he unabashedly admits that the RACE program is patterned after the RCM program. The link takes you directly to his interview.

Since the RACE program is relatively new in the U.S., it hasn't yet had much impact here on teaching or on the schools, as far as I can tell, though Dr. Smith is working hard advocating it. Schools here are generally funded and administered locally, with varying degrees of state and Federal oversight (read, interference :D). There may well be some connections between completion of the RACE curriculum and public school credit, but I'm not aware of them. Private music training here tends to be just that.

Magnet schools exist all over the U.S. in all kinds of fields, including music. We have them here in the Albuquerque/Rio Rancho area, just as do most other large school districts. Although educators often tour other magnet schools to gain ideas, each district tends to set them up to satisfy their own needs. Another factor in the U.S. now is "charter schools". These are schools which are administered privately, but receive money and standards from the local public district's allocations. Many of these are configured as magnet schools, as well. Again, there is a great deal of flexibility in how these are run, although students must meet general standards for academic achievement.

Interaction between schools and private teachers is a large topic. It depends a great deal upon the individuals involved and the district. In cases with which I'm familiar, private teachers sometimes teach in the public schools to augment income. In other cases, there is essentially no interaction. For example, only occasionally are school music teachers members of local teacher groups. It is probably fair to say that it is relatively rare to find any formal, codified interactions between public and private teachers of music, although informal connections are common.

Another question that arises when one thinks about differences between the U.S. and abroad, is that of how teachers are trained and qualified. In the U.S., teachers of music are not required to have any particular credentials, abilities or degrees, although some teacher organizations offer "certifications" to those willing to submit background information and pay a fee. It's pretty much a caveat emptor mode here for the student looking for a teacher. That's one of the reasons that we've given students lots of information on PEP about how to find and evaluate teachers. How is that situation different outside the U.S.?
All religions, arts and sciences are branches of the same tree. All these aspirations are directed toward ennobling man's life, lifting it from the sphere of mere physical existence and leading the individual towards freedom. - Albert Einstein
User avatar
Dr. John Zeigler - PEP Ed
Site Admin
 
Posts: 994
Joined: Sun Jun 08, 2003 6:46 pm
Location: Rio Rancho, NM USA

Postby Tranquillo » Sat Feb 02, 2008 7:47 pm

I am embarrassed to admit I don't know much about music education in other countries...except from Becibu's posts of course;)

Having said that, I would agree Dr. Zeigler that one big difference is the use of the RCM system here in Canada. I will use piano, as that is my primary instrument. This is a system whereby there are 10 grades (1-10) and if following the system, a student will take an examination before moving on to the next grade. They will play one piece from each applicable time period (List A-baroque, List B-classical, List C-romantic etc etc). A greater variety of time periods are added as grades increase in difficulty (i.e. I believe grade 1 has List A, B and C and a study whereas grade 10 had A,B,C,D,E and two studies). The examinee will also be required to perform a random selection from the technical requirements for that grade-e.g. a scale, arpeggio, triads/chords, etc-again these increase in difficulty throughout the grades (by gr. 10 expected to have all keys down pat, broken and solid chords, scales, scales separated by a 3rd/6th (major only), formula patters (major and harmonic minor), arpeggios...well you get the idea). Finally, an examinee will also be tested on their sight reading (given a passage to sight read) and on their aural skills (intervals, melody playback, chord identification, etc). In addition, a grade might have theory requirements associated with it (e.g. preliminary rudiments is equivalent to grade 1 piano, gr. 2 theory with gr. 3 practical, gr. 3 harmony with gr. 9 practical and so on). To achieve recognition of passing a grade, the theory requirements must also be met-this is a separate examination from the practical exam. You DO NOT need to take each grade consecutively-you can skip grades up until gr. 10, which you must take if you want to go on for your ARCT (teacher's certification).


This is very similar to the AMEB system in Australia. In Australia the exams set have Lists A, B, C and for later grades D. Also there are pieces called 'extention pieces' they could be any piece as long as it is the level of the grade. There is musical skill such as reading, aural and technical work. AMEB also has general knowledge requirements the candidate is to know something about the composer and the music of the composer. With AMEB the grades go up to 8 then there are the diploma certificates: Associate Music Australia and Lieticiate Music Australia. Then there are teachers certificates and many other courses.

Most of the time is leveling or grades is what is taught in private lessons. In Australia ABRSM and TCL as well as ANZCA are other exam boards available.
I personally think that with exam boards, any exam boards ... there is often a limit to what repertoire is taught. The candidate must pick his/her pieces from a few lists. Hence, they don't get taught to 'use' repertoire. Often the repertoire is limited. Although they are of differing of style, students dont get enough exposure of other styles. There is not much taught of Jazz or Blues or Rock or Pop. Along with that, the piano is a very solo instrument. There is not any ensemble work required for examination.
Thats what I'll have to say for now. I guess no teacher should fall into the trap of just teaching according to the exam syllabus simply because it does not create a well rounded piano student. The student will only have exam piece in his/her own repertoire, wont know of different styles and dont get enough exposure.




Edited By Dr. John Zeigler - PEP Editor on 1202077238
Music is organised sound
User avatar
Tranquillo
 
Posts: 465
Joined: Wed Sep 05, 2007 11:43 pm

Postby Tarnia » Sun Feb 03, 2008 3:10 pm

Dr. John Zeigler - PEP Editor wrote:Another question that arises when one thinks about differences between the U.S. and abroad, is that of how teachers are trained and qualified. In the U.S., teachers of music are not required to have any particular credentials, abilities or degrees, although some teacher organizations offer "certifications" to those willing to submit background information and pay a fee. It's pretty much a caveat emptor mode here for the student looking for a teacher. That's one of the reasons that we've given students lots of information on PEP about how to find and evaluate teachers. How is that situation different outside the U.S.?

As Becibu has said, it sounds like Australia and Canada have similar systems. Both of us briefly mentioned our 'diploma' programs in our previous posts. In Canada, the Royal Conservatory of Music (RCM) has a degree/diploma/certificate program. To be an 'accredited' music teacher, recognized by them (if you contact the RCM for a teacher, they will only provide you with names that have been accredited) you MUST pass their program. It is NOT simply a 'pay your fee and submit background info' as you say exists in the U.S. Dr. Zeigler. Perhaps that will change as RACE develops?

At any rate, the RCM runs it very much as a musical degree. You MUST complete gr. 10 practical in your instrument to a certain standard (70% in each section or 75% overall) with the theory corequisites for starters. From there, you can choose one of two programs: 'teachers' or 'performers'. Contrary to the name, I have observed that 'performer's' is considered easier and is the one taken by most people that just want to teach, whereas 'teacher's' is quite a bit heavier, and is taken by people that want to have a serious performance career. (For those interested, the detail are on the RCM site I believe or you could contact them for more info.) Part of either diploma is completing a pedagogy (learn to teach) course. So it is objectively evaluated and does require some skill at teaching, not just playing. While it is not by any means 'illegal' to teach piano without accreditation, I would imagine it is somewhat harder to gain pupils as many people find teachers by contacting the governing board-the RCM-and the RCM only considers you a teacher if you are certified.

I will sign off here and let someone else have their 2 cents :)
User avatar
Tarnia
 
Posts: 39
Joined: Sat Dec 02, 2006 1:40 pm
Location: Toronto

Postby Tranquillo » Mon Feb 04, 2008 1:12 am

Another question that arises when one thinks about differences between the U.S. and abroad, is that of how teachers are trained and qualified. In the U.S., teachers of music are not required to have any particular credentials, abilities or degrees, although some teacher organizations offer "certifications" to those willing to submit background information and pay a fee. It's pretty much a caveat emptor mode here for the student looking for a teacher. That's one of the reasons that we've given students lots of information on PEP about how to find and evaluate teachers. How is that situation different outside the U.S.?


Well, come to think of it ... when I look for a teacher (in Australia) its often very automatic that teachers do teach according to the exam syllabus(most likely AMEB). Many teachers prepare students for exams although there are some students that choose not to do exams. I think what the difference would be in the U.S would be that teachers would be maybe more flexible to what is taught. Here in Australia and I'm sure other countries with a grading system the syllabus is quite rigid. I can draw in it more ..
Music is organised sound
User avatar
Tranquillo
 
Posts: 465
Joined: Wed Sep 05, 2007 11:43 pm

Postby Dr. John Zeigler - PEP Ed » Mon Feb 04, 2008 8:28 am

Becibu wrote:Well, come to think of it ... when I look for a teacher (in Australia) its often very automatic that teachers do teach according to the exam syllabus(most likely AMEB). Many teachers prepare students for exams although there are some students that choose not to do exams. I think what the difference would be in the U.S would be that teachers would be maybe more flexible to what is taught. Here in Australia and I'm sure other countries with a grading system the syllabus is quite rigid. I can draw in it more ..

Your comment about rigidity in curriculum brings to mind the original purpose of this thread - differences in the way that lessons might be taught in the U.S. vs. that elsewhere in the world. What "methods" predominate overseas vs. in the U.S.? What is the most common lesson length abroad?

For example, in Japan, where the Suzuki "method" originated, students are taught rather differently than in most American studios, even though they still learn to play the piano. Of course, there are many dedicated "Suzuki method" teachers in the U.S., but they are a minority. I'm sure there are a number of overlaps, as method materials are readily available worldwide, but I suspect there are substantial differences in emphasis and approach.




Edited By Dr. John Zeigler - PEP Editor on 1203008744
All religions, arts and sciences are branches of the same tree. All these aspirations are directed toward ennobling man's life, lifting it from the sphere of mere physical existence and leading the individual towards freedom. - Albert Einstein
User avatar
Dr. John Zeigler - PEP Ed
Site Admin
 
Posts: 994
Joined: Sun Jun 08, 2003 6:46 pm
Location: Rio Rancho, NM USA

Next

Return to Topic of Note

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests

cron