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#26506 - 07/17/02 04:52 PM Re: Music Makers: At The Keyboard
Eric Offline
Star Member

Registered: 04/04/00
Posts: 2325
Loc: New York, NY
 Quote:
Originally posted by Jalapeņo:
It just seems, well, unAmerican!


Jala,

That's the beauty of having a private studio; you can think for yourself and tailor your instruction to the individual. The group-think dogma of other music programs have good intentions, but mainly attract teachers who aren't as interested in developing their own pedagogy.

I refer all interested students under the age of seven to Kindermusic or Musikgarten. Ironically, I see no difference in the supposed "readiness" (I hate that jargon!) of students who attended these programs and those that didn't. In theory, students who experience these music-readiness programs should have an advantage on those that don't ~ but that is not my experience. Maybe there's some studies that prove otherwise.

One mother called me about lessons for her six-year old daughter....and when I mentioned Musikgarten, she said "Been there, done that....we want real music lessons for her, not supervised games like follow the leader." I asked what she meant, and she went on to say that her experience of Musikgarten was mostly supervised play-time and demanded nothing of the students.

I still recommend it, though, as I don't know what else to say to those parents interested in starting early. Any other suggestions? Is Dalcroze better....or more of the same?

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#26507 - 07/17/02 05:39 PM Re: Music Makers: At The Keyboard
alidoremi Offline
Star Member

Registered: 03/11/02
Posts: 2120
Loc: California
 Quote:
By Eric:
The group-think dogma of other music programs have good intentions, but mainly attract teachers who aren't as interested in developing their own pedagogy.


Have you ever even taught group classes for any measureable length of time? I don't mean small group theory/playtime/rhythmtime, but actually group piano class? I've taught both the Harmony Road group curriculum and my own private lessons since 1982 (private lessons alone since 1977). I can definitely tell the difference between the two and for the young beginning student, I believe the group experience is far better. The activities and teaching techniques that are used in my program cannot be done on a one-to-one basis. By the same token, you can't take a method or philosophy that's developed for a private lesson structure and use it for a group class successfully.

Even though I follow a set curriculum and lesson plans, I have the freedom to add or delete certain aspects, to focus on what I think is important that might not be addressed in the method. And do you really think all private piano teachers are 'interested in developing their own pedagogy'? Maybe the ones who frequent this board, but I think many more pick up a Bastien, Alfred, Faber, or 'whatever' and go with it as is.

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#26508 - 07/17/02 05:55 PM Re: Music Makers: At The Keyboard
bethann Offline
Resident Member

Registered: 10/12/00
Posts: 359
Loc: Nebraska
John,

I was so interested to hear your experiences with the MMK workshop! I would love to attend one someday - they just need to come a little closer to my home! (Right now, the closest is about 10 hours away.) But thanks so much for all the info - I may just have to save up and buy the MMK materials to see what all the fuss is about!

Jala, I've been doing a little research on the differences between Kindermusik and Musikgarten - in fact - see the thread "Kindermusik Questions" because someone there gave the whole history of the two groups. Anyway, you do not have to be a licensed Musikgarten teacher to buy their materials - so you could incorporate them into your own program as you saw fit. I don't think they are nearly as strict as Kindermusik. In their newsletters, teachers talk about new ideas they tried in their classes that were obviously not in the curriculum.

Thanks again John - feel free to tell us MORE!

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#26509 - 07/17/02 07:59 PM Re: Music Makers: At The Keyboard
Jalapeņo Offline
Star Member

Registered: 11/04/00
Posts: 5712
Guess what I get to start doing next week? I get to teach bilingual piano lessons to a 4.5-year-old boy. I agreed to it because I have experience teaching bilingual piano lessons, & because the mother is very involved in her son's education & seems willing to work with him extensively at home. However, I'm not yet sure which materials I'll decide to use. Any suggestions would be very much appreciated. MG seems a little expensive for me right now, as I'm not sure how many young children I'll end up teaching (this boy may be the only one for a while). I have MFLM & Bastien PP (Piano Party), neither of which I'm wild about.

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#26510 - 07/17/02 08:28 PM Re: Music Makers: At The Keyboard
John Offline
Star Member

Registered: 03/29/01
Posts: 2454
Loc: Bellingham, WA
I forgot about these links. You can go to Keyboard Companion's page to hear files from the Practice CD. I should mention that there is a LISTENING CD that students listen to "as often as possible", and a PRACTICE CD that is used either at the piano while practicing or while playing rhythmic and melodic notation games. This article was published in the latest issue of Keyboard Companion.
http://www.francesclarkcenter.org/kbc/

Go to this link and click on Ellen Johansen's letter in the article:

"What can you accomplish with your students using a new technology that you could not accomplish previously?"

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#26511 - 07/17/02 09:56 PM Re: Music Makers: At The Keyboard
Eric Offline
Star Member

Registered: 04/04/00
Posts: 2325
Loc: New York, NY
 Quote:
Originally posted by alidoremi:
Have you ever even taught group classes for any measureable length of time?


alidoremi,
No, I am a piano teacher. My youngest students are second-graders and enjoy occasional group settings to supplement their private instruction.

 Quote:
alidoremi:I can definitely tell the difference between the two and for the young beginning student, I believe the group experience is far better.


alidoremi: That sure makes sense to me, which is why I refer young beginners to the women who teach in those settings. As I said, I don't see a big difference between graduates of these programs, and those that just wait until they are ready for piano study....But I continue to recommend them since, if nothing else, the children seem to enjoy them.

I am not aware of the whole background as to Kindermusik vs. Musikgarten....but am very interested in learning about another alternative. There are some SCARY things at the MG site that are steering me away from recommending it without major warning labels attached.

Anyone out there have other recommendations? (Not for me to teach....but for me to send young children to for early musical instruction.) Alidoremi, what is Harmony Road?

[ July 17, 2002: Message edited by: Eric ]

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#26512 - 07/17/02 10:57 PM Re: Music Makers: At The Keyboard
alidoremi Offline
Star Member

Registered: 03/11/02
Posts: 2120
Loc: California
Eric,

Harmony Road is a music course with curriculum from 18m-12 years. Similar to the Yamaha method, but fills in many of the gaps that I (and other teachers) felt were in Yamaha. About 120 schools across the U.S. I think I posted extensively about it in another thread under Early Childhood heading. It consists of music/movement classes (similar to MG/Kindermusik) for ages 18m-4 1/2, but with introductory keyboard activities included; the piano/keyboard program begins at 4 1/2, but still retains the group activities of singing, movement, rhythm/keyboard ensembles, ear training, note reading, etc... Classes and curriculum divided by age (PreK-K; 1st-2nd graders, 3rd-6th graders). After 4 years in core piano program they move on to private lessons.

Now I'm going to try and create a link....
http://www.harmonyroadmusic.com/

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#26513 - 07/18/02 07:50 AM Re: Music Makers: At The Keyboard
John Offline
Star Member

Registered: 03/29/01
Posts: 2454
Loc: Bellingham, WA
OFF-TOPIC ~ Alidoremi's first link ever is above! Brava! Brava! (Ali, I can relate to your newfound computer accomplishments....I just learned how to do this last year!)

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#26514 - 07/18/02 07:54 AM Re: Music Makers: At The Keyboard
Lilla Offline
Star Member

Registered: 10/30/00
Posts: 1573
Loc: Chicago
Jala, check out the Sing and Play series. I think what works best for those of us not wiling/ready to go the formal group class routine, is to take a method like Sing and Play and customize/coordinate to suit your needs. Sing and PLay is pretty neat because it includes all kinds of rhythm activities, dancing, even cutting and pasting pictures - as well as traditional note learning and technique. I combined it with PA Primer but if I had it to do again - I would use more Sing and Play and less PA. The PA moved too fast and asked for skills unaccessible by small 4-5 yr. olds (fifths). MHO LIlla

 Quote:
Originally posted by Jalapeņo:
Guess what I get to start doing next week? I get to teach bilingual piano lessons to a 4.5-year-old boy. I agreed to it because I have experience teaching bilingual piano lessons, & because the mother is very involved in her son's education & seems willing to work with him extensively at home. However, I'm not yet sure which materials I'll decide to use. Any suggestions would be very much appreciated. MG seems a little expensive for me right now, as I'm not sure how many young children I'll end up teaching (this boy may be the only one for a while). I have MFLM & Bastien PP (Piano Party), neither of which I'm wild about.

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#26515 - 07/18/02 08:34 AM Re: Music Makers: At The Keyboard
Jalapeņo Offline
Star Member

Registered: 11/04/00
Posts: 5712
 Quote:
Originally posted by Lilla:
Jala, check out the Sing and Play series. I think what works best for those of us not wiling/ready to go the formal group class routine, is to take a method like Sing and Play and customize/coordinate to suit your needs. Sing and Play is pretty neat because it includes all kinds of rhythm activities, dancing, even cutting and pasting pictures - as well as traditional note learning and technique. I combined it with PA Primer but if I had it to do again - I would use more Sing and Play and less PA. The PA moved too fast and asked for skills unaccessible by small 4-5 yr. olds (fifths). MHO LIlla


Thanks, Lilla. You're the 3rd teacher today who has recommended Sing & Play to me. It must be good.

What concerns me the most is that I'm going to be working with a 4.5-year-old boy. From what I've been told, very young boys have more problems (than girls) when learning to play piano because their small muscles don't develop as soon. Therefore, even if this boy is bright & talented, I'm most likely going to be dealing with some developmental issues that are going to slow his progress somewhat. For this reason, I want to incorporate as many non-piano musical activities as possible.

I thought about incorporating an early childhood curriculum such as MFLM into PA primer, but know that this strategy might not be that effective. And like you, Lilla, I'm concerned about such things as 5ths for very young children.

The Sing & Play books are not that expensive, & I hear that the teacher's manual has a lot of great ideas. There are no CDs, but I can always use my MFLM CDs during the boy's weekly lesson time. I might not use the entire MFLM curriculum, but MFLM definitely has some creative activities, etc. that I like. The finger # song, for example, is great. I also have Midisaurus software that I think will come in handy.

The boy's mother wants me to incorporate Spanish vocabulary words into the lessons. I'm thinking of coming up with Spanish "blue jello" rhythm words, teaching him some Latin American folk songs that my kids learned in Costa Rica (you won't find them in any book), & getting some bongo drums for rhythm work [Desi Arnaz style, ;)].

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