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#21252 - 04/15/04 07:53 AM Promotion to Next Level
Kristin's Studio Offline
New Member

Registered: 03/28/04
Posts: 9
Loc: USA
I have several questions for piano teacher's out there...

1. Primer level student not ready for Level 1. Should I supplement with the Performance / Repertoire books as a "bridge" before she moves on to Level 1?
2. Students in HL: Once they complete book 1 (equivalent to Primer in PA) should I supplement, or move them on to Level 1 - in PA? Of course, it depends on each student, but as a general "rule" what would you do?
3. Student with ADHD, currently in HL 1, I'm feeling like this child is not going to be ready for Book 2 in HL or Level 1 in PA. So, I was thinking of letting this kid go through at least half of the PA Primer. Any ideas?
Thanks so much for your help! I appreciate it!

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#21253 - 04/15/04 10:01 AM Re: Promotion to Next Level
Elbe Offline
Resident Member

Registered: 07/16/03
Posts: 323
Loc: The Great Northwest
To supplement with the PA Primer books may well be the answer to all three questions. The PA Pretime books are good supplements and provide the student with some variety. My students seem to like the Jazz book as it provides those neat minor sounds. Other books are Classics, Rock 'n Roll, Popular, Favorites, Hymns etc. Looking at your second question, it really DOES depend on the student. My rule of thumb is; if in doubt, begin down a level. If the progress is swift, you can always skip some pieces and place the student in level 1.

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#21254 - 04/17/04 06:52 AM Re: Promotion to Next Level
Lyndall Offline
Regular Member

Registered: 01/18/03
Posts: 99
Loc: Idaho Falls
 Quote:
RE: Primer level student not ready for Level 1. Should I supplement with the Performance / Repertoire books as a "bridge" before she moves on to Level 1?


I agree with not letting the kid go on until they're ready. I have a 6 yr old girl in PA Primer who plays by ear so well that after she's heard a song once she pretty well knows it so she no longer really reads the notes (I don't play them first for this reason, but she gets the drift after sight reading them once with my help, saying the notes aloud slowly).

This means she moves fairly quickly through the book mastering each song at home every week & is always ready for more. The problem is, PA introduces more notes when she's really not ready for them. She's ready for more music, but not really advancing music. So, I supplement with songs using the same few notes & insist she names them aloud while playing to try to reinforce the notes before moving on to more notes.

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#21255 - 04/17/04 08:09 AM Re: Promotion to Next Level
Vivace' Offline
Star Member

Registered: 05/25/01
Posts: 1717
Loc: USA
Supplement with your method books and you will be reinforcing concepts as the student progresses. With proper reinforcement, the students should be ready to progress to the next level when the lesson book is completed.

Also......sightreading should be included in every lesson. This is one of the valuable skills we need to be teaching every student.
_________________________
Then let us all do what is right, strive with all our might toward the unattainable, develop as fully as we can the gifts God has given us,and never stop learning." ~ Ludwig van Beethoven

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#21256 - 04/17/04 08:59 PM Re: Promotion to Next Level
Christine/Pelirroja Offline
Resident Member

Registered: 08/23/03
Posts: 245
Loc: CA, USA
Just a quick reminder on the equivalency of HL to PA Primer: The one difference going from HL to PA is that PA teaches Bass C Position, whereas HL only goes down to reading guide F. I usually supplement HL Level 1 with sheet music, or a method book I have on hand with songs in C position to reinforce C, D, E (they already know F, G well) before moving on to PA Level 1.

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#21257 - 04/18/04 07:46 AM Re: Promotion to Next Level
Lyndall Offline
Regular Member

Registered: 01/18/03
Posts: 99
Loc: Idaho Falls
Has anyone used Alfred Prep Course Lvl A? It also introduces Bass C early on but I find it goes way too fast, starting with Bass F & going down to Bass C all in one song. In my experience it's too much for kids to grasp at once.

PA's Primer sequence is better, although when treble D, E, F are introduced all at once I even find that some kids can't figure out what's going on. Anyone else find this?

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#21258 - 04/18/04 08:21 AM Re: Promotion to Next Level
Lisa Kalmar Offline
Star Member

Registered: 04/10/00
Posts: 4277
Loc: KC
The secret to the way PA Primer introduces D-E-F, as in D-E-F March, is to understand that they are NOT supposed to recognize & identify the notes at this point.

If the teacher has been properly preparing them for steps (i.e. reading 2nds) in advance, the pieces in unit 5 will almost be a breeze. The emphasis here needs to be on reading by step or repeat and direction, not the notes. LOTS of time at the lesson needs to be spent rehearsing them on the thought process for this.

They also need to be carefully "prepared" to PAY ATTENTION to which finger number goes on which note with which hand when starting a piece. If this hasn't been a meaningful part of lessons before unit 5 things can fall apart really quickly.

If attention is paid to the above stuff they pretty much automatically learn D-E-F, especially if reinforced with flashcards. Reading by direction, first steps then skips in unit 7, is a definite hump, but getting them to think in this way makes Level 1 a total breeze for them in a few short weeks.

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#21259 - 04/18/04 04:53 PM Re: Promotion to Next Level
Lyndall Offline
Regular Member

Registered: 01/18/03
Posts: 99
Loc: Idaho Falls
I wondered about that Lisa, but then got worried that students might only read directionally & not try to learn individual notes (except, hopefully for the guide notes).

With your flashcards, do you show individual notes & ask students to name them, or do you show a sequence from one of the guide notes & have them play it/name notes? Do you really focus on those guide notes above all & make sure only these ones are learned, then everything else in between you have students read steps up/down/repeats?

Thanks for your insight.

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#21260 - 04/18/04 08:32 PM Re: Promotion to Next Level
Lisa Kalmar Offline
Star Member

Registered: 04/10/00
Posts: 4277
Loc: KC
I introduce the grand staff and the 3 guidenotes (not all at the same time) several weeks before they get to that unit - just a short reinforcement at each lesson with a floor puzzle staff, finding them on the keyboard, and a theory page. By the time we get to the grand staff unit, they already know them and those pieces are a breeze.

I start them on the PA flashcards when we start the grand staff unit and then pass out the cards one at a time as the new notes are introduced. I rarely "test" them with flashcards at the lesson - the theory pages and reinforcing pieces seem to be enough. But they know they will have a "jury" test at the end of the level in order to move on to level one that includes a flashcard test. I haven't had any trouble at all getting them to recognize the notes and read positionally at the same time. (That said, some kids need at least a year working with flashcards before they have a "comfortable" instant recognition. So if they're slow, I wouldn't be alarmed - it's just normal. But if they can't read directionally you might as well fuggedaboutit!)

When I first started teaching PA I thought of the D-E-F chapter completely differently and didn't understand the emphasis should NOT be on them recognizing those notes right away. Then I heard Randall Faber explain it as I paraphrased (badly, probably, compared to how he says it \:o ) above and voila, lightbulb moment, and it's never been the same with students having that problem. (Incidentally, I used to think PA primer and level 1 were too C oriented, but making that perceptional change has completely changed my mind. He has some interesting comments in an article in the PA Teacher zine directed at teachers who say he's too "positional". Be sure to check it out if you haven't seen it! )

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#21261 - 04/19/04 08:21 AM Re: Promotion to Next Level
Lyndall Offline
Regular Member

Registered: 01/18/03
Posts: 99
Loc: Idaho Falls
Lisa, thanks for clarifying. I never seem to get organized enough to introduce concepts BEFORE they're encountered in the lesson book, but I've read a lot about why you should. Must try harder!

I don't think PA is too positional - but, some students are used to trad. middle C position fingering so that when there's a position change, e.g. 3 on middle C, the kids find it hard to adapt cause they will assume that 5th finger will play treble G. If they don't look down, how can the little ones remember which notes their fingers are currently on??? Do you know what I mean?

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