Piano Teacher Press is adding an exciting new line of teaching products called IMITATION SOLOS. IMITATION SOLOS are FOLIOS of musical selections, theory briefs, written work, performance exercises and certificates of achievement.
The basic concept of IMITATION SOLOS is to take a selection from the Classical student repertoire and arrange a well known Folk Song in the manner of the Classical selection. If the Classical piece contains alberti bass patterns the Folk Song is arranged with alberti bass patterns. If the Classical piece contains a particular syncopated motif the Folk Song is arranged with the same syncopated motif.
The reason I originally did this was to take the “mystique” out of Classical music. I remember as a grade school student in the 1960’s my friends talking about the Beatles. They were in awe of them because they did some of the same thing in their songs as Beethoven. WOW!! My friends thought if the Beatles did the same things as Beethoven they must be on a higher plane of musical composition than even Elvis.
As young music students discover the musical world they are mentally trying to figure it out. In the process they can come to some opinions that are formed without quite enough information. IMITATION SOLOS were written to help students on that journey of mental discovery. If the unknown “mystical” world of Classical music can be demystified by comparing it to something in the more familiar world of folk music then we will have facilitated that mental journey of discovery.
Most IMITATION SOLOS are going to begin with a page called Technically Speaking. Technically Speaking lays out the technically common feature(s) between the Classical Composition and the Folk Song.
Let’s take the idea of Melodic Imitation. In my private studio I’ve always used Kabalevsky’s elementary composition Chit Chat but since Kabalevsky’s compositions are still under copyright protection I composed an equivalent in a piece called Hello – Hello.
Hello – Hello is another piece of direct melodic imitation. Each measure is directly imitated in the next.
Hello – Hello is followed by treating the Folk Song – Are You Sleeping? in the same exact manner of direct melodic imitation.
But IMITATION SOLOS do not stop here. There are two more important sections designed to help the student assimilate the concept of Melodic Imitation; WRITE ON! and PLAY ON!
In WRITE ON! the student is given a little composing/copying assignment that reinforces the idea of melodic imitation through writing. The student is given another popular folk song, Three Blind Mice, and asked to complete each of the short phrases in direct imitation; just like the Classical Composition and the Folk Song.
After students do their written work they must play that work, their own creative effort, to see the result and to solidify the concept of Melodic Imitation.
When students experience Melodic Imitation in Hello – Hello and then see the same concept expressed in an arrangement of Are You Sleeping?; the “mystique” of Classical music becomes part of the common language of all music. Students begin to feel like they are an intellectual part of the long tradition of Classical music expressed through its actual creation. This is a very different feel and experience than just learning to physically “play pieces”.
After the completion of understanding the concept of Melodic Imitation through Technically Speaking, learning the Classical Composition, learning the Folk Song arrangement (with the option to memorize these pieces), doing the WRITE ON! assignment to understand the concept through the act of writing, and finally playing the PLAY ON! assignment to gain fluency in the concept the student can feel a degree of ownership in understand an important aspect of musical understanding. They can and should be justly awarded a certificate for his efforts. There are two certificates that is included in your FOLIO; one for black and white printers and one for color printers. Each certificate has “boxes” to check off the individual assignments to earn the certificate in Melodic Imitation”.
I have about 20 IMITATION SOLO FOLIOS in various stages of development. They fall in the mid elementary to the mid intermediate level of advancement. Stay tuned for future installments of IMITATION SOLOS.
Watch a YouTube Video narrated by Professor I.M. Pedantic. Click HERE or on the graphic below. (The video includes a performance of the Classical Composition and the Folk Song arrangement).
To purchase IMITATION SOLO – Melodic Imitation go to Piano Teacher Press and click HERE or on the graphic below. (The Web Site also includes a performance of the Classical Composition and the Folk Song arrangement).