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#26117 - 08/26/04 01:14 PM Randall Faber Workshop Notes
Lisa Kalmar Offline
Star Member

Registered: 04/10/00
Posts: 4277
Loc: KC
These are some notes from one of Randy's workshops I attended in Wichita a couple o' weeks ago. I will post a little now and more later as I have time. Enjoy!

MOTIVATION
Ideal goal: student come to lessons bright and eager. Teacher becomes his/her role model to capture dreams.

1. Motivation is not controllable, but we can influence & get in synche with what drives the student

Our first job as teachers is to figure out the student's agenda - what path are they on? Find that out and lead from there - Do not lead assuming they are on the same path we are.

2. Motivation derives from student motivation - what drives them, and AGE determines a bundle of it

4-6 year olds - FUN must be a driving component of lessons and it's up to the adults to provide it. (Research is lacking on this, but hey, if you've worked with this age you know it's true. That last part was from moi!)

7-10 - Self-esteem and how they relate to the rest of the world. Our service to them is to make them feel confident. We must deliver the skill-set necessary for them to be musicians & help them feel confident.

Adolescent - They still have competency-based issues, but they also have identity issues. This age group tends to GLOBALIZE and PERSONALIZE problems. EX: If they don't get something the first time they can immediately classify it as a personal failure.

A giant goal for this age group is to help them take on piano as part of their identity.

Unlike 7 year olds, teens ARE introspective about skill. When an adolescent makes a mistake, they attribute it to lack of ability when it's really a lack of effort. Our goal is to help them understand that a perceived lack of ability s really a lack of effort.

Adults - Want immediate enrichment. They've been music consumers, now they want to be musicmakers. They are interested in the NOW, not all the endless gobbletygook we teachers like to throw out that leads to eventual musicmaking. Adult materials need to reflect this and give immediate rewards.

I will stop here. But next he segues into Accelerated PA and how, knowing the above, the approach to it is essentially more psychological than perfectly pedagogical in attitude.

Go ahead. Speak amongst yourselves. I know you're DYING to. But first let me know if you want more..... \:D

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#26118 - 08/26/04 01:47 PM Re: Randall Faber Workshop Notes
pianoc Offline
Star Member

Registered: 08/14/03
Posts: 1088
Loc: Goshen, Indiana
I want more - and am VERY interested in the psychological aspects of teaching.

Thanks!

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#26119 - 08/26/04 01:53 PM Re: Randall Faber Workshop Notes
Carole Offline
Star Member

Registered: 06/08/00
Posts: 2229
Loc: southern California
More, more, more..................... \:\)

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#26120 - 08/26/04 03:59 PM Re: Randall Faber Workshop Notes
Lisa Kalmar Offline
Star Member

Registered: 04/10/00
Posts: 4277
Loc: KC
More? Ask and you shall receive! \:D

Accelerated PA
Accelerated PA is tailored completely differently than Classic PA. They almost called it PA for Teens or middle school or something, but decided they needed to leave it more open than that. It might still be appropriate for some younger students.

Aside: I have to paraphrase now, and you know Randy is not the delicate, soft-spoken flower that I am... ;\) But basically he said, "Teachers, shut your big yaps when teaching this age child. And enough with the constant chin music already!"

The point is that one "helpful" comment from us will shut down an adolescent because they are so introspectively ego-centric. Especially so with transfers. If this age child senses that we need to "fix" them then we have lost 'em. It is better to talk less and do more physical demonstration.

Example from his DVD: He showed himself working with a little gum snapper who had rigidity in the wrists. Rather than launch into a discourse on the relevance and need for flexible wrists as many of us are so wont to do, \:o he did a quick demonstration with little verbiage. "Try this with the wrist there." (One of his little tricks for this common technical problem is to get them to play a little pattern that moves up an octave. The move forces a natural release that is way easier to experience and "get" vs. attempting to do it while stationary, which is more like beating a dead horse.)

If you want more, next I can go into a page by page (not all of them, of course) description of things he highlighted....

[ 08-26-2004: Message edited by: Lisa Kalmar ]

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#26121 - 08/26/04 04:11 PM Re: Randall Faber Workshop Notes
Carole Offline
Star Member

Registered: 06/08/00
Posts: 2229
Loc: southern California
That is so true! I made that mistake recently with a long time teenage student. She was working on one of these Pop arrangments that has tricky rhythm, and I realized that her counting was not as grounded as it should be (my mistake). I was really thinking outloud and mentioned we probably should do some additional work on rhythm through our sightreading materials. She said not a word, but stiffened up slightly and in this case, action spoke volumes. She was proud that she had worked through this arr. and I had unwittingly shot her down. Could've bitten off my tongue .

[ 08-26-2004: Message edited by: Carole ]

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#26122 - 08/26/04 06:46 PM Re: Randall Faber Workshop Notes
Lisa Kalmar Offline
Star Member

Registered: 04/10/00
Posts: 4277
Loc: KC
Page 4 - Don't skip this. Use it to establish a TWO way dialogue.

5 - Also not to be glossed over. Goal is to establish a command of the keyboard, the lack of which is at the root of most technical problems. With the wrist at the correct height, the fingers naturally curve.

The more a student FEELS what is correct, the better the technique.

6 - Nail comment meant to be serious. As teachers, we need to uphold standards for our studios. Ditto stuff like digital piano vs. keyboard, etc.

7 - Opportunity for arm weight and rainbow arcs. The Fabers, like Suzuki teachers, use the imagery of a rainbow for moves

8 - Exploration with 3rds. Also have them pick a bass note to hold down while playing 3rds. With Teen Units, aim for exploration at the same time you are introducing something. An exercise like this gives them something fun to mess with while practicing

10 - Rhythm Flag - Teacher play the bass line on 11 while they play. They could also do this with a 3rd for fun.

He zips through the pre-reading in 1 lesson.

14 - Point out 3rds line to line, space to space on the staff part

15 - Braced 3rd is a takeoff of the Pecking Hen & Rooster. If you don't know how important "the brace" is to the method, go back and read his synergy article in the PA Teacher magazine

16 - Fingers varied so notes not equated with numbers.

The secret of good music reading is a marriage of knowing note names + interval + pattern recognition (particularly via incorporating elements of KVA - the kinesthetic, visual and aural.) The KEY to making it work is the sequencing of it all. Aside from moi: THIS is where people who skip the early levels in this method miss the boat!

24-25 - "wrist lift" at the end of each slur. Note how the preparatory exercise repeats with a move, forcing a natural lift so they can experience it before affecting it in the piece.

37 - French Minuet - Throws in a little challenge as a check to make sure they are where we want them to be; checks to see if they are reading by contour "step-ping down up skip"

50 - FACE For preparation he has his students write FACE several times the regular way, then stacked, then the diagonal

The artist's (judge's) perception is usually not where the student is at nor necessarily where he's capable of going. As teachers, we need to temper our lofty expectations and be willing to get the students there in increments. In other words, be happy with points B,C & D before Z.

If you want more let me know. Next is the T&A Accelerated.....

[ 08-26-2004: Message edited by: Lisa Kalmar ]

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#26123 - 08/26/04 07:48 PM Re: Randall Faber Workshop Notes
Syndi Offline
Resident Member

Registered: 04/20/04
Posts: 134
Loc: Louisville, Ky
This is WONDERFUL!! More please!

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#26124 - 08/26/04 08:57 PM Re: Randall Faber Workshop Notes
Lisa Kalmar Offline
Star Member

Registered: 04/10/00
Posts: 4277
Loc: KC
Accelerated T&A 1
It's hot off the press. The secrets show the GESTURES and serve as warm-ups.

He showed a video of himself teaching Heavy Wet Ropes. His verbiage was, "Our arms are very heavy and iwe need to learn how to release that weight into the keys. Sit tall, back straight, arms hang by sides, wiggle fingertips, DROP into lap." Needs to be a true drop, easier said than done or taught.

Thumb Perch - Prevention for wrist problems; allows arm weight to go thru the bridge of the hand into the fingers

THIS NEXT PART IS SOMETHING I DON'T THINK I UNDERSTOOD EXACTLY BEFORE!!! \:o When Thumb Perch is done correctly, just the side tip of the thumbnail is in contact with the keys. This in turn automatically tilts the hand and the fingers naturally curl. Voila!

Wrist Float-Off - Goal is to un-tense the wrist. A forward roll is the secret to executing this properly. Aside: He talks about this in one of the PA Teacher magazines.

The Perch establishes the height; the Float establishes the range of motion.

Finger Talk - a little ripple in the arm is AOK at this point

Woodpecker Taps - the point of this one is to engage the wrist but do not feel you need to entirely isolate it. Ripple is good. For those further along, you can use arm staccato at the beginning to get gesture.

Light as a Feather - Goal is to achieve balance between the hands, i.e. avoid heavy LH accompaniment syndrome

Also, this one will eradicate "thumb bumps" in scales

***This is the thumb's ability to swing wide with a light sound. In the DVD he uses the term "wide swing" when demonstrating to the students

At this point a BHB tried to nail him on rotation with a steely glint in her eyes. Watching him handle her was a Truly Beautiful Thang. \:D He nimbly sidestepped her trap and explained they do not teach rotation initially because he does not want the arm weight going into the thumb. Rotation comes in Level 3A with Door Knobs btw. She wasn't satisfied, but she left him alone... \:D

Just a leetle more left to do tomorrow....

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#26125 - 08/26/04 10:42 PM Re: Randall Faber Workshop Notes
Susan Offline
Star Member

Registered: 01/03/01
Posts: 2168
Loc: Texas
This is great, Lisa. Thank you for you time. Can you explain a little more how Acc is different from regular PA? I must be missing something.

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#26126 - 08/27/04 05:28 AM Re: Randall Faber Workshop Notes
pianoc Offline
Star Member

Registered: 08/14/03
Posts: 1088
Loc: Goshen, Indiana
Lisa, I am SO-O-O glad for this post. I am starting a 7th grader in 2 weeks. She has never had lessons, but her family is very musical. I know her Mom from High School. (long way back).

When I have started older students I have tended to stick with whatever method books I always use and just move faster through many of the steps. It's worked OK, but this really makes me want to look more at these books. I've already got the new technique book through the New Release.

I also really like your comments on how to handle the student. I think too often we are concerned with being "good" teachers and forget there is a person sitting on that bench. Teenagers are a special group all on their own.

I hope as you think more you keep posting more tidbits - even if it's several days or weeks later.

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