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#27947 - 08/22/03 07:10 AM Re: Teaching Praise & Worship
Jalapeņa Offline
Star Member

Registered: 02/20/03
Posts: 1143
Loc: New Mexico
Yes, I'm blessed with perfect pitch, & I agree that it helps. \:\) However, remember that when I was asked to play choruses by ear at church, I was scared stiff. I had never played by ear before, & the song leader didn't even provide me with a lead sheet! I could play quite competently (Mozart sonatas, etc.) from notated music, for I had already taken traditional piano lessons for years; but my piano teacher had always told me not to ever play by ear (I guess because I did have a good ear & she was afraid if I played by ear I wouldn't learn to sightread fluently), so I had no earthly idea what to do. Thankfully, I'm the type of person who likes a challenge, & doesn't mind learning by just diving right in there & doing it. Besides, at the time, I was the only pianist in the church. They had no one else, so I had nothing to lose by trying. Also, I wasn't being paid. What were they going to do to me if I failed? Fire me? ROFLMREO! \:D

Arlene, listen to yourself for a moment. You say that students who are visual learners need to start with the music in front of them. Don't you think that's what I did? I had years & years of traditional piano lessons, where I learned to read & play notated music, before I started learning how to improvise & play by ear. Sure, I have a good ear, but I don't consider myself an aural learner. My ear was trained, by my teacher doing ear training exercises with me, & by my decision to listen to lots & lots of musuc & to sing in the church choir & in various vocal groups. What talent I have was developed.

Now, regarding what teachers can do to help people who just can't play without the music in front of them. If you have Finale Print Music software, here are some ideas: You can notate melody line in the treble clef with chord symbols above, & have students write in their own accompaniment (chords, alberti bass, or whatever other bass line they choose). You can do the same in reverse (put melody line in bass & have student write accompaniment in treble clef). You can also notate just the accompaniment & have the student notate the melody line. If you have a scanner (I don't, but wish I did), you don't have to notate anything; just scan the music into Print Music, then go into the file & edit the music. Also, once you have your song notated, you can have Print Music transpose it to any key you wish. This is a handy dandy feature, because you can have the student practice a praise/worship chorus in all keys.

Let's say you don't have Finale Print Music. Okay. You can do what I used to do: copy, cut & paste. I used to photocopy hymns from the hymnbook (my parents purchased a hymnal for me to use at home, so we didn't violate any copyright laws), then paste the music on staff paper, leaving room between certain measures so I could write in my own intro, runs & fills, modulations, etc.

Let's not forget that many arrangements already have chord symbols notated above the Grand Staff, so you can have your students learn an arrangement as written, then go back & play the melody with a chordal accompaniment using the notated chord symbols. This is a good way to teach chord theory to those students who don't want to learn it workbook style. It's the way I learned chords; not from a book, but from playing music that had chord symbols on it. After learning to use chord symbols, learning to play competely by ear (without a lead sheet) was a relatively easy thing to learn because I already knew chords inside & out.

Hope this helps.

Happy Arlene??? ;\) \:D

[ 08-22-2003: Message edited by: Jalapeņa ]

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#27948 - 08/22/03 09:58 AM Re: Teaching Praise & Worship
Jalapeņa Offline
Star Member

Registered: 02/20/03
Posts: 1143
Loc: New Mexico
For the record, I'm not saying that using books (such as the Alfred books Lisa recommends) is a bad idea. I don't want anyone to get the idea that I'm dissing the use of books. I'm not. I'm just trying to tell people how I learned to improvise. Those of you who already know how to improvise can create your own materials using Finale Print Music or whatever. If you don't already know how to improvise, you can most certainly start with books. No harm in doing that.

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#27949 - 08/22/03 11:16 AM Re: Teaching Praise & Worship
Lisa Kalmar Offline
Star Member

Registered: 04/10/00
Posts: 4277
Loc: KC
Arlene, on behalf of Visual Learners Everywhere I called Jala and gave her a tongue lashing and said you were Right. I hope that was OK with you. ;\) \:D

Your Internet Pal,
Battered Lisa

PS We heatedly discussed the issue in one of those vicious Circles of This-Will-Never-Be-Agreed-Upon-Really for some time and then I said I refused to discuss it anymore. She said, and I paraphrase, "OK, if you're not interested in being enlightened." She might as well've waved a red flag in front of a bull! \:o \:D

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#27950 - 08/22/03 11:24 AM Re: Teaching Praise & Worship
Susan Offline
Star Member

Registered: 01/03/01
Posts: 2168
Loc: Texas
Thanks, Jalapeņa, for some very good, practical ideas.
For the record, I can play from lead sheets. I learned when I was in high school. I had already taught myself how to play guitar and I bought some Beatles music that was in fake book form. So started fooling around on the piano, playing the chords in a broken manner, and singing the melody. Like you say, it gets easier the more you do. It came so easy to me I had no idea others found it hard until I started teaching it. Not that I sound very good, but I can keep it going and it impresses anyone who doesn't know anything about piano!! I still do it when no one is home to hear me singing.
\:D When I get popular sheet music, it's a lot easier for me to fake it than play what's written. --Susan

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#27951 - 08/22/03 12:43 PM Re: Teaching Praise & Worship
Jalapeņa Offline
Star Member

Registered: 02/20/03
Posts: 1143
Loc: New Mexico
 Quote:
Originally posted by Lisa Kalmar:
Arlene, on behalf of Visual Learners Everywhere I called Jala and gave her a tongue lashing and said you were Right. I hope that was OK with you. ;\) \:D

Your Internet Pal,
Battered Lisa

PS We heatedly discussed the issue in one of those vicious Circles of This-Will-Never-Be-Agreed-Upon-Really for some time and then I said I refused to discuss it anymore. She said, and I paraphrase, "OK, if you're not interested in being enlightened." She might as well've waved a red flag in front of a bull! \:o \:D


Lisa, verbose Lisa, is this your way of saying I had it coming? \:o ;\) For the record... oh, never mind! :rolleyes: \:D

The problem I have with most books is that the arrangements are so simplified that I might as well play them by ear 'cuz I can play them better by ear than the way they're notated on the page--not because I'm so great at improvising, only that the arrangements are so bad. Really! Why waste the money on those books? Better to buy a recording, listen to it, then do my own thang. Can anyone who improvises relate to what I'm saying? (I don't expect Arlene & Lisa to understand; they can skip this question)

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#27952 - 08/22/03 01:38 PM Re: Teaching Praise & Worship
Lisa Kalmar Offline
Star Member

Registered: 04/10/00
Posts: 4277
Loc: KC
\:D \:D \:D \:D \:D \:D \:D \:D

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#27953 - 08/22/03 02:33 PM Re: Teaching Praise & Worship
Jason Offline
Star Member

Registered: 05/14/00
Posts: 2019
Loc: Iowa City, IA
I'm gonna side with Jala on this one. Part because I agree with her, and part because I want to annoy Lisa. \:\)

That being said, I will add that there is something about improvisation that cannot really be taught. You can teach the theory part and give a student a few ideas of what to do, but there is no set of instructions or recipe for developing the skill completely. Part of improvisation is, after all, being able to come up with something when you do not know what to do. \:D
_________________________
"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)


www.pianoped.com

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#27954 - 08/22/03 03:43 PM Re: Teaching Praise & Worship
Lisa Kalmar Offline
Star Member

Registered: 04/10/00
Posts: 4277
Loc: KC
For the record, I agree with Jason, but not Jalapeno all the way. And only partially with Arlene. \:D

Part of the problem is one of semantics: No one here is really talking about the same thing/same results/same type of playing. And you would need only one extended phone conversation with Jalapeno about her history with music to understand this. I think... ;\)

And because everyone's definition of what we're talking about is different, not to mention misunderstood, Jason only thinks he disagrees with moi. Just as it should be between a Man and a Woman. Right, Jalapeno? \:D

Lisa, who thinks Jason may need a Patch Treatment, hehe \:o \:D

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#27955 - 08/22/03 04:11 PM Re: Teaching Praise & Worship
NancyK Offline
Mainstay Member

Registered: 03/27/03
Posts: 644
Loc: North Dakota
I agree with Jason. It cannot fully be taught. Too much comes from within the person. With improv the possibilities are endless.

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#27956 - 08/22/03 04:24 PM Re: Teaching Praise & Worship
pianoc Offline
Star Member

Registered: 08/14/03
Posts: 1088
Loc: Goshen, Indiana
I do relate with you. I don't buy many books because they are so simplified. I play with lead sheets - and I play by turning on a recording and going along with it. I don't tend to think of this as playing by ear because I 'translate' what I'm hearing into theory terms. But when I try to teach somebody what I do - that's where my problem has been. If all I have to do is do a little demonstrating and explain how to apply all the theory that they've learned - then I may have opened up a new world of music to them - but I haven't really taught them much. It may be fun - and it may make me feel good - but there's not much teaching there.

So for the students that need more...I have really enjoyed reading everyone's comments and suggestions. I feel like I have a few books to go buy and try out. I feel better about what I've been doing - and now have more to try. That's what I was after!

Thanks much!

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