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#22173 - 01/24/03 07:24 AM Repertoire That Appeals to Boys
alidoremi Offline
Star Member

Registered: 03/11/02
Posts: 2120
Loc: California
I have a 5th grade boy student who's finishing Alfred level 3. I know he'd prefer to not take piano lessons, but his mom is insistent and his attitude is actually pretty good. It won't be long before he's ready to play some simple classical. He's already informed me that he can't stand classical music, but again, he knows he has no choice and will willingly comply.

Any recommendations as to 'additional' repertoire that might appeal to this boy? Perhaps a specific collection from another method?

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#22174 - 01/24/03 08:49 AM Re: Repertoire That Appeals to Boys
Marcia Offline
Resident Member

Registered: 11/18/00
Posts: 354
Loc: Maple Grove, MN
How about Margaret Goldston's "Simply Classic" Book 2 (Has some slightly simplified classics such as Mozart's Variations on Twinkle, Twinkle, some sonatinas, etc. I don't usually go for the simplified stuff, but this has proved to be the best way for students who "hate classical music" to "get their feet wet.") I have a student right now who is playing 14 classical pieces for Guild in May who insisted 4 years ago that she "hated classical music" until I told her she was already studying a classical piece that she really loved; it was Pachelbel's Canon in D! Other collections include the FJH Piano Literature Books - try the Early Intermediate; Encore Book 1 [Right on the cover: "Standard Literature that motivates"]; the Keith Snell [editor] series, Levels 1-10, 1 book contains Baroque & Classical, 1 book contains Romantic & 20th Century; or Favorite Classics edited by E.L. Lancaster and K. Renfrow, pub. by Alfred (2nd piano part for familiar classics like the Burgmuller Arabesque Op 100, No. 2 - written for teacher or another student. You can buy just the solo book or just the accompaniment book; in the accompaniment book the 2 piano parts are scored one above the other for easy reading); Essential Keyboard Repertoire books. The best thing I've found for these kinds of students is to put them on a "duet team" and make the duet literature at least slightly challenging - it's amazing what peer pressure can accomplish that I never could.

[ 01-24-2003: Message edited by: Marcia ]

[ 01-24-2003: Message edited by: Marcia ]

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#22175 - 01/24/03 11:10 AM Re: Repertoire That Appeals to Boys
Piano lady Offline
Resident Member

Registered: 08/19/01
Posts: 361
We're talking boys here. The male culture in school these days is: don't be too bright, it isn't cool. Classical music is girl stuff. If you're a boy and play Classical music you must be gay or a geek -- and as such bullied at school. All the friends listen to rap so to be cool you've got to do it too. Classical music won't rattle the windows in the neighborhood. I won't go into the psychological necessities for doing this since many of the descriptors won't pass the board censor.

Kids haven't been exposed to it from a young age. Parents need to expose their kids to it from the time of birth. Yet we are now dealing with one full generation from the time when school music programs got cut. It's a travesty.

Girls on the other hand, tend to be more open to classical music. I saw the Itzahk Perlman special on PBS last night and 80% of the orchestra were girls.

The good news? The record companies are really hurting. They blame MP3s and Napster clones, but it's that they've spent years promoting "lower" commercial music. Why buy a CD you're only going to listen to maybe once or twice only to take it to a used CD store?

Don't get me wrong. Being an old f*rt, I still like Bruce Springsteen and Melissa Etheridge. But I grew up on Tschaikowsky & Brahms. I also got a shot of jazz, but not the kind I like. My jazz likes are Jessica Williams and Miles Davis.

Anyway that's my opinion, and I could be wrong. Maybe I'm getting old.

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#22176 - 01/24/03 12:39 PM Re: Repertoire That Appeals to Boys
Jalapeņo Offline
Star Member

Registered: 11/04/00
Posts: 5712
It never ceases to amaze me that the very students that make a big deal about not liking classical music end up loving it once they're exposed to it... even boys! I'd take Marcia's suggestions & run with 'em. \:\) Kids don't know what they like & don't like. They just think they know what they like & don't like. They're impressionable. You, the teacher, should try to "impress" them. Mold their musical tastes. That's what the folks in the media do. If classical music were marketed like pop & rock music, it would sell. We old f*arts just haven't figured out how to market it.

[ 01-24-2003: Message edited by: Jalapeņo ]

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#22177 - 01/24/03 03:02 PM Re: Repertoire That Appeals to Boys
Piano lady Offline
Resident Member

Registered: 08/19/01
Posts: 361
Jala: I agree that most young people don't know what they like, only what the think they like.

BTW, Have you checked out the CD case of Anna Sophie Mutter's recent release of Vivaldi's Four Seasons (DG 1999)? Sex. Sex. Sex.

The recording is excellent as well. It is done with a very small chamber group (no BPO this time) and you can actually hear the harpsichord! Yet this recording gets buried in the two bins of all the different recordings of the same piece.

Bright colors on the inserts. Romantic images. Young people together having fun. TV commercials. MTV classics. Opera using modern settings with the original music.

Just tossing out ideas. We should probably convene focus groups of young people and ask them rather than trying to figure it out ourselves. Get more young people involved in the marketing rather than just us old bats.

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#22178 - 01/24/03 03:45 PM Re: Repertoire That Appeals to Boys
Jalapeņo Offline
Star Member

Registered: 11/04/00
Posts: 5712
I agree, Piano Lady. Get young people involved in helping to market classical music ... without the sex, though ... this "old bat" has majorly big problems with allowing advertising to go that far!

It would also help if piano teachers would improve their image by not wearing outdated clothing. See more of my opinions on this subject by visiting my fashion thread in the PT.com archives. ;\) As a matter of fact, I may just resurrect that topic! \:D

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#22179 - 01/24/03 06:07 PM Re: Repertoire That Appeals to Boys
Piano lady Offline
Resident Member

Registered: 08/19/01
Posts: 361
Fashion thread? I'll do it for you. ;\)

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#22180 - 01/24/03 07:20 PM Re: Repertoire That Appeals to Boys
John Offline
Star Member

Registered: 03/29/01
Posts: 2454
Loc: Bellingham, WA
Most of Hal Leonard's Level 4 and some Level 5 pieces should be fine after Alfred 3. In my studio these have been winners with boys lately:

SHEETS

Jump Around Rag ~ Boyd (Level 4)
Mission Impossible ~ arr. Kern (Level 5)


BOOKS

More Popular Piano Solos (Level 4) ~ esp. Let It Be, When I'm 64

More Popular Piano Solos (Level 5) ~ esp. Imagine, Linus and Lucy, Take 5

Keveren has an easier Beatles collection that is popular with my students.

Bill Boyd's Jazz Delights is also fun; I'd also get the 3 lower levels for sightreading/browsing (Jazz Starters I, JS II, JS III).

For "fun", have the parents spend $11.90 on a Piano Solos Book 4 and CD combo; "Latin Logic" by Boyd has appealed to many boys, and the accompaniments may provide a nice change of pace.

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