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#26195 - 02/12/05 09:40 AM Faber Accelerated 1
Gail Offline
Resident Member

Registered: 09/04/04
Posts: 369
Loc: Alpharetta, GA
I have a 5th-grade student who started studying piano last fall (beginner, although he played trumpet for a year in the school band). I put him in PA Accelerated Book 1 and he has made pretty steady, although not spectacular progress. My problem is--I feel like PA Acc. introduces eighth notes too early. In the regular books, you don't begin them until 2A, so you have 2 full books to learn to count, feel the pulse, hold notes their full value, etc., while learning the whole note-reading "thang"!! This student doesn't read the eighth notes and quarter notes differently--if a passage starts with quarter notes, he just plays the eighth notes at the same speed, and if the passage starts with eighth notes, he plays quarter notes at the end like they are eighth notes. Even writing the counts (1t2t3t4t) under ALL the notes doesn't help him. We clapped eighth note/quarter note rhythms and he did fine, but then having to read the notes along with the rhythm just threw him WAY off! We played measures over and over with the metronome to try to get them right...And there's no telling how he played them at home this week--if he practiced! \:\( (He doesn't have a metronome at home--mom hasn't wanted to spend the money--although if he continues next year, I will insist that he has one!) I am trying to decide whether to pull him out of Accel.1 and just let him go through PA level 1 lesson book, supplement PA Accel. with lots of eighth note reading (etudes, technical studies, etc.) or what!! I have pulled out Accelerando 1 (Schultz), Etudes 1 (Guy), Sportacular Warmups (Miller), Fingerpower (Schaum), and anything else I can find to look through this weekend. Any other suggestions?

I have had a lot of students who have this problem when we begin eighth notes, but not to this extent. I don't want to frustrate him and waste his time and mine trying to drill eighth notes if he's just not ready and needs more time learning to read music and simple rhythms. Would love your input!

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#26196 - 02/12/05 10:31 AM Re: Faber Accelerated 1
shannonspiano Offline
Mainstay Member

Registered: 07/01/04
Posts: 694
Loc: WI
Have you tried skipping the pieces with the eight notes and coming back to them a bit later like when all else is done? Also with one of my students it really helps to have songs with words.. she will even write in her own, just to help with counting.
If he can get the rhythm without playing then when he's playing he might be trying to play too fast. As I tell all my students so slow that you feel like you're going to fall asleep.. and if you make a mistake then you're playing too fast. one other thing I've found is that when the play the notes they are looking at the bottom and not noticing the top.. then we highlight a few songs to help them see the eight notes..
_________________________
www.shannonspianostudio.com

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#26197 - 02/13/05 01:24 AM Re: Faber Accelerated 1
willow Offline
Contributing Member

Registered: 09/28/02
Posts: 23
Loc: PA
I have had the same problem with a few of my older students...
Yes! Put him in Faber Level 1 and use the Accel as a supplement throughout levels 1 and 2... it works!
Do you have all four books of Accel level one?
Tech, Theory, Lesson, Perf?
I don't think there is enough music in the Accel to just have him skip over the pieces with 8ths and keep moving ahead. He needs more music than that will provide to solidify his skills and concepts he is learning.
The Theory book is quite a bit more advanced also. I have had kids who have had a very tough time with the composition aspects..(though I love them!) We had skipped over the composing and come back to it at a later time. If you have found him having a hard time with the composing, ;you can always come back to it when he has more skills under his belt!

I love the Accel series...but have only had 2 students who didn't need alot of supplementing with shorter, easier pieces..

Kathy

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#26198 - 02/13/05 03:32 AM Re: Faber Accelerated 1
Gail Offline
Resident Member

Registered: 09/04/04
Posts: 369
Loc: Alpharetta, GA
Yes, I have been using all 4 books from Accel. 1 with him. I have used Accel. 1 several times and knew that almost all the pieces from here on used eighth notes, so I couldn't skip those pieces--that's why I though that using PA 1 might be good. (I actually LOVE PA level 1--I think the music couldn't be better--from the very first piece, Firefly, from Forest Drums to The Juggler, The Wild Colt, Legend of the Buffalo, The Clock Shop and Square Dance--I love them all!!) I also think he needs more practice with note reading, and PA 1 will help with that.
It's very hard to find a middle ground for this age beginner. I think PA Primer is a little too "young", but if they do not practice a lot, Accel. 1 is going to move too fast. I think this is going to be the best solution.

Then again, I have a third grader who started Accel. 1 with his old teacher last year, so when he came to me, I continued with it (even though I generally would not use Accel. 1 with a third grader). He is FLYING through it and is playing Sugar Foot Rag for Federation next month. He has only had it for two weeks and after playing it at home with the metronome, NAILED it last week at his lesson. He practices more than the other student and has a better "rhythmic sense"--but I do think that can be developed with enough time and practice.

I have had MANY other students who have had trouble adjusting to the differences in rhythm between eighth notes and quarter notes (I always tell them when we start that the hardest part of eighth notes is that adjustment), but after we write the counts under the notes and play those measures through a few times, they usually do fine (at least for that piece--I repeat the process innumerable times for each new piece). In my experience, it does take a long time to "internalize" the pulse of moving between eighths and quarter notes. One student FINALLY seemed to make the connection this year (she's a fifth year student in fifth grade who has moved VERY slowly because she has never practiced a lot, but has kept at it) when she started band--it's like she finally realized that you have to pay very close attention to the rhythm or the band has already moved on without you! \:\) And suddenly she is reading eighth and quarter note rhythms much more accurately! YEAH!!

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#26199 - 02/14/05 09:15 AM Re: Faber Accelerated 1
Ginger Offline
Resident Member

Registered: 06/08/04
Posts: 277
Loc: Indianapolis, Indiana
One thing that I've tried with learning eighth notes is changing the way I count. There are a few different ways:
1.similar to shannonspiano-is to say "eighth-note" every time there is a pair. For every quarter note say "quarter". Since they are both 2 syllables it may work.
3.Have them sing the song with you playing.(This will only work if it has words of course! Or make up your own if it doesn't have words.) Then maybe have them sing while they play....they'll have to play slowly.
3.Change how you count. Give up using 1+2+3+4+ for about 3 or 4 weeks. Instead give each eighth note 1 beat, each quarter note 2 beats, half note gets 4 beats, a dotted half gets 6, and a whole note gets 8. For example, if a measure with 4 beats has a pair of eighth notes followed by 3 quarters then you would count "1,1,1-2,1-2,1-2". After they are used to how this sounds (after 3 or 4 weeks) then you can try counting 1+2+ etc again.

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#26200 - 02/14/05 10:45 AM Re: Faber Accelerated 1
pianoannie Offline
Mainstay Member

Registered: 07/20/01
Posts: 946
Loc: midwest USA
Gail,
I have a student in 2A, and he was really struggling with eighth notes also. I tried everything I could think of!
Within the past 2-3 weeks, I am finally seeing a breakthrough!! One thing I tried is a game called "Switch" (someone on another forum suggested this). Have the metronome ticking about 80, have him clap the quarters and count 1,2,3,4 a few times, then stop and show him how to clap eighth notes to the same metronome beat 1&2&3&4& a few times. Then stop, and tell him that when the met starts again, he'll clap quarters, but when you say "Switch!" he is to change to eighths, and you will keep switching back and forth every few "measures".
BTW, I didn't think this idea sounded particularly brilliant or helpful when this other teacher suggested it, but this student LOVED doing this and it truly helped. So you might give it a try.

Also, I decided to let my student come up with his own "counting vocabulary." He is a football fanatic, so I challenged him to think of words for various rhythms. Here's what he came up with:
quarter note = guard
2 8th notes = Eagles (his favorite team)
8th 8th quarter = runningback
quarter 8th 8th = team huddle
4 8ths = wide receiver
half note = sco-ore
(for whole notes he just counts 1-2-3-4, because he couldn't think of a good word, and he never has problems counting whole notes anyway).
He loved saying all these football words as we practiced them in rhythm, as preparation for a new piece. He never enjoyed counting with numbers, but now, when he gets bogged down in a section, he'll stop, and on his own and try to figure it out, like "guard, guard, wide receiver." It's so cute!

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#26201 - 02/14/05 02:36 PM Re: Faber Accelerated 1
Gail Offline
Resident Member

Registered: 09/04/04
Posts: 369
Loc: Alpharetta, GA
Pianoannie,
I LOVE IT!!! \:D What a great idea!! Like you said, because he came up with the names himself, he can use them to figure out a section he is having trouble with--and isn't that part of what we are trying to achieve--independent problem solving?! AND I love the metronome game--CUTE, CUTE--I can see why kids would like it! I have several kids I can use it with! This student comes for his lesson tomorrow--can't wait to try these ideas out!!

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#26202 - 02/15/05 08:26 AM Re: Faber Accelerated 1
Ginger Offline
Resident Member

Registered: 06/08/04
Posts: 277
Loc: Indianapolis, Indiana
The metronome game is fantastic! I think that kids love anything that you call a "game"!!

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#26203 - 02/15/05 03:07 PM Re: Faber Accelerated 1
Gail Offline
Resident Member

Registered: 09/04/04
Posts: 369
Loc: Alpharetta, GA
I-yi-yi-yi-yi!!!!! I played the metronome game with my aforementioned student this afternoon--what a disaster!!! He could clap quarter notes, although he had a hard time keeping them right with the metronome, and then he clapped some eighth notes okay, but when we played "Switch", he couldn't get either quarter OR eighth notes with the metronome--he was clapping too fast for the eighth notes and clapping quarter notes IN BETWEEN the beats most of the time. I even tried clapping along with him, and he couldn't match MY beat! That was quite the eyeopener!!! If I had any doubts about drilling eighth notes with him, as opposed to pulling out of Accel. 1, they are GONE!! It's now VERY clear to me that he needs LOTS more rhythm practice (and just clapping with the metronome). There's no point in worrying about mom not buying a metronome, because at this point, it wouldn't do any good--not until he can clap with it and "feel" the beat. \:\( Okay, I'm off to do my lesson plans for his next lesson! :rolleyes:

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#26204 - 02/15/05 03:37 PM Re: Faber Accelerated 1
pianoannie Offline
Mainstay Member

Registered: 07/20/01
Posts: 946
Loc: midwest USA
Ohhhh I'm sorry the metronome game was such a disaster for you! But at least you learned more about how deep the problem is.
Here's something else that has worked with some of my rhythmically-challenged students in the past:
Do various activities using the word "pie" for quarters and "apple" for 2 eighths. You can try marching on the beats, saying "pie pie pie apple pie pie pie apple" etc. Maybe having a predictable rhythm will be easier for him than the Switch Game. Or if he's one of those students that can't march a steady beat (oh yeh, I've had those), you can just have him sit on the piano bench and just kinda bob his head left and right to the beat (hopefully!) while you say the pie thing as above. Another way is to clap every beat and say the pie thing (you can decide if he should clap twice for apple or just clap the beat). I've had students that did real well with their pieces when we sang all the way through with the apple pie system.

With my one student, who just *totally* struggled with 8ths, I had to make sure he had NO opportunity to learn a piece wrong. I had a couple of pieces that we worked on ONLY at lesson (because I knew if he took them home he'd go back to playing everything as quarter notes).
So we'd say his football words (described in a post earlier in this thread) for just one phrase, several times, with him pointing to each note. Then we would play the "Echo Game" (who said earlier that everything's better if you call it a game?!) which just means I would play the phrase correctly, saying the football words, then he'd echo it back to me, several times. We'd spend quite a bit of time at lesson this way, but as I said, he would NOT get to take that piece home.
A couple weeks of this at lessons seemed to get him over his problem for the most part (his at home practice didn't involve 8th notes while we worked out the problem). It was just last month that we were really working hard on 8ths, so it's not perfect yet, but at least he now seems to "feel" when he isn't playing the 8ths correctly (and that's when he'll stop and say his football words to figure it out).

Hope I haven't rambled too much--I just know that with this student I was begging for advice from everyone!! You may have to try numerous things before something clicks. Keep us posted.

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#26205 - 02/15/05 05:52 PM Re: Faber Accelerated 1
Lisa Kalmar Offline
Star Member

Registered: 04/10/00
Posts: 4277
Loc: KC
Gail, go to www.wendyspianostudio.com and check out her rhythm worksheets for the Kansas Music Progressions. There's a level one on there that might be helpful.

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#26206 - 02/16/05 11:33 AM Re: Faber Accelerated 1
Elbe Offline
Resident Member

Registered: 07/16/03
Posts: 323
Loc: The Great Northwest
Sometimes, when I'm teaching a rhythm challenged student, as I have them clap, I notice that they are trying to "outsmart" the metronome. At that point the clapping does no good because they aren't truly listening to the beat, they are simply guessing and the clapping is loud and interferes with listening. A quieter approach may help such as drawing two quarter size dots about 4" apart on a sheet of paper. First, have the student just listen to the beat. Then have him point to each dot back and forth as the metronome ticks away. Once he has the rhythm down he can tap his whole hand on each dot. After that, hopefully he will be able to clap with it. For eighth notes, draw a dime size dot half way between the two dots and proceed the same way keeping the metronome at the same setting.

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#26207 - 02/16/05 02:58 PM Re: Faber Accelerated 1
pianoannie Offline
Mainstay Member

Registered: 07/20/01
Posts: 946
Loc: midwest USA
 Quote:
Originally posted by elbe:
A quieter approach may help such as drawing two quarter size dots about 4" apart on a sheet of paper. First, have the student just listen to the beat. Then have him point to each dot back and forth as the metronome ticks away. Once he has the rhythm down he can tap his whole hand on each dot. After that, hopefully he will be able to clap with it. For eighth notes, draw a dime size dot half way between the two dots and proceed the same way keeping the metronome at the same setting.
Ooh, I like the "quiet approach." For the dime size dot, is it just one of these, between the 2 larger dots, to represent the eighth notes? So his tapping would be like left middle right middle etc?

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#26208 - 02/17/05 03:19 PM Re: Faber Accelerated 1
Elbe Offline
Resident Member

Registered: 07/16/03
Posts: 323
Loc: The Great Northwest
Yes, That's the idea. After awhile you can alternate between the two rhythms by saying "quarter" or "eighth".

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