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Posts Tagged ‘piano methods’

A LITTLE BACKGROUND STORY – When I was a youngster my dad was part of the auto industry.  When my first autos needed repaired my dad would help by repairing my cars.  My first cars often needed a lot of repairs!  He would go to the auto supply store and buy the parts I needed to fix my car.  I noticed that when dad bought a part, a muffler for instance, there would be two prices in the bill.  One price was the retail price and the other was the price was the price that my dad was charged.  It was significantly lower, depending upon the item purchased.  Of course, my dad only charged me the price he paid for the item; but if I went to an auto shop I would have been charged the higher retail price.

The point is that the repair man made a significant part of his income beyond his hourly wage on the parts he need to purchase to repair the car.  When I became a piano teacher I would get a “teacher’s discount”.  The discount was not very significant; barely enough for a cup of coffee.

When I was thinking how I wanted to put together Piano Teacher Press I was reminded of the experience of the auto mechanic to the auto supply store.  I knew how hard my fellow piano teachers worked and I knew they could use means to raise their overall income.  With those thoughts in mind I designed my pricing structure to give piano teachers an opportunity not only to have unique piano teaching material that could be purchased no where else but also priced in a way that would help them financially.

HERE’S HOW IT WORKS

POINT ONE – I personally do not like to pay shipping charges.  At Piano Teacher Press there are NO SHIPPING CHARGES for sales over $15.00.

POINT TWO – At Piano Teacher Press we offer a lot of sheet music offerings.  Our retail price for a piece of sheet music in $3.50.  YOUR PRICE is $2.50.  You make a full dollar on every piece of music you purchase from Piano Teacher Press.

POINT THREE – Our Book Pricing

A book retailing at $7.95 will cost you $5.95.   YOU SAVE $2.00

A book retailing at $11.95 will cost you $8.95.  YOU SAVE $3.00

A book retailing at $14.95 will cost you $9.95.  YOU SAVE $5.00

I think you will find Piano Teacher Press a place to find well written, attractive, pedagogically sound and musically satisfying materials that will also be financially beneficial; helping you in the very hard yet rewarding work you perform every day.

When deciding on the outlets you choose for your piano teaching needs THINK Piano Teacher Press.

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Greetings!!  Welcome to this installment of Mr. Severino Presents.  I think you’ll have fun going through today’s music lesson.

Look at the picture.

What animal do you see?

The lion is known as “the King of Beasts”.  Kings and lions can be described with the word MAJESTIC.  Majestic describes things that are grand and noble or stately and dignified.

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Now what animal do you see?

Of course, we have a picture of a turtle.  Turtles do not move very fast.  In fact, because they are so slow, people may express things as being as slow as a turtle.  If you are on a trip and caught in traffic you may say a turtle is moving faster than this traffic.  We characterize turtles as being slow.  Or, maybe we could say it like this …      S___L___O___W !  !  !

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What is our next animal?

How would you describe a monkey?  Did you ever go to a zoo and observe the monkeys?  If you went to the zoo and saw the monkeys how did you react?  Did you ever see monkeys in cartoons?  Did the monkeys make you happy?  We can describe monkeys very well with the single word PLAYFUL!

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Finally, what is being described in our fourth animal card?  The butterfly!   Butterflies are a favorite part of summer.  Their beautiful colors make them very fun to watch.  A very good word to describe the butterfly is to say they are FLIGHTY.  They fly from place to place, from flower to flower. They move to each destination with grace and motion.

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We described each of our four animal creatures with a characteristic word.

Lions are MAJESTIC.

Turtles are SLOW.

Monkeys are PLAYFUL.

Butterflies are FLIGHTY.

Music also can be described with words because music also has character.

We are now going to listen to 4 examples of music that can also be said to be MAJESTIC, SLOW, PLAYFUL and FLIGHTY.  Your job is to tell me if we are listening to …

LION MUSIC (majestic)

TURTLE MUSIC (slow) 

MONKEY MUSIC (playful) or

BUTTERFLY MUSIC (flighty)

There will be two short quizzes.

QUIZ ONE will have 4 questions.  QUIZ TWO will have 4 questions.

Before beginning, print out the Character in Music QUIZ SHEET  [Click HERE]  Play each musical example.  Decide what animal creature best fits with the musical example.  Put the example number in the upper right hand corner of each creature you decide upon.  If you wish, color each animal creature on the QUIZ SHEET.

To do the second quiz print out a second copy of the Character in Music QUIZ SHEET [Click HERE]

QUIZ ONE

QUIZ ONE – EXAMPLE 1

QUIZ ONE – EXAMPLE 2

QUIZ ONE – EXAMPLE 3

QUIZ ONE – EXAMPLE 4

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QUIZ TWO

QUIZ TWO – EXAMPLE 1

QUIZ TWO – EXAMPLE 2

QUIZ TWO – EXAMPLE 3

QUIZ TWO – EXAMPLE 4

Would you like to know how you did?  Click HERE for the Character in Music ANSWER SHEET.

Listening for character in music asks us to use our imagination in ways that most of our school work does not.  Yet, this is the daily work of composers and musicians.  YOUR JOB, as a music student, is to use your imagination to best express the character that is found in every composition you perform.

Thanks for participating in Mr. Severino Presents.  ‘TILL NEXT TIMEKEEP PRACTICING!!

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Middle C Repertoire is a piano method for teaching beginning piano students.

It is also a great supplement for using with other methods as the book is simply an anthology of pieces in a progressive order.

The Middle C Repertoire Series of books grows out of my pre-school piano method — Keyboard Kids.  This pre-school method centers on the concept of teaching the student to read music as steps and skips and combines it with more traditional methods of note memorization.

In Middle C Repertoire I’ve purposely introduced musical vocabulary that immediately gives students the tools to learn to think musically about their piano studies.  After introducing several compositions using    2-4     3-4     and    4-4    time signatures we have a simple song called THEME.

With the introduction of the composition THEME a conversation can begin with your student about  themes and how composers use them to build their compositions.  As a note of interest it is at this point that I introduce my students to examples of art compositions for students to grasp on to the various musical concepts that are evoked in the titles of the compositions in the Middle C Repertoire Series.  The example I use for THEME is Peter’s Theme from Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf.  I thought it to be an excellent way to introduce students to the concept of theme.  Whenever Prokofiev has Peter featured in his musical story we hear Peter’s Theme.

Maybe with a recording of Peter’s Theme you could better grasp the effectiveness of using musical examples to make a teaching point.

Another departure that Middle C repertoiree Book 1 uses is that everything is in the English language.  Tempo’s are marked as Moderate Speed or Fast Speed, not Moderato or Allegro.  Loud is marked with an “L” and soft is marked with an “S”, not “f” or “p”D.C. al Fine is marked F.B. to End (from the beginning to the end).  In Middle C Repertoire Book 2 the traditional Italian language is used.  But, in this first volume students, who are often at the most elementary levels in their reading skills, are first introduced to these common markings in English.

Middle C Repertoire does not create lyrics for every composition.  Occasionally it does.  When the concept of song is introduced, then lyrics are essential.  This is another occasion when a music example is most appropriate.  Keeping with the humorous nature of I Forgot My Brain Today I introduce students to Aaron Copland’s arrangement of I Bought Me A Cat.

Since the concept of theme was introduced early in the book we can explore how these themes can be manipulated by composers.  The Theme and Variation can now be logically introduced, expanding the student’s concept of theme.  Not only does the simple piece study Theme and Variation form it also explores Time Signatures.  Each variation is based on in different key signature.  I point out to the student that the FIRST NOTE of EACH VARIATION plays the THEME TONE.  When students see this they all seem to have a “light bulb moment”.  They begin to see that music is not so mysterious and is something they can truly understand.

To finish the lesson on Theme and Variation I play Mozart’s Theme and Variations on Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.  I only play the very beginning of each variation.  I stop the recording at the end of each variation and ask the student if they can hear Mozart’s disguise of the THEME.  Most students do very well; but there are some variations that are difficult for students to follow.  I use this as a lesson that music is something that must be studied and if they put forth their best effort they will be able to understand the music of these great geniuses even better.

The composition MARCH! introduces students to eighth notes.  I have found that it’s best to introduce eighth notes as repeated notes until the rhythmic impulse is neurologically understood.  I also introduce the eighth note as a rhythmic group of THREE notes — the two eighth notes and the succeeding note.  The three note groups are marked in blue in the graphic.  Our ear naturally organizes these sounds into three notes so I think the best way to introduce the eighth note rhythm to students is in three note groups.  After the student has neurologically mastered the rhythm then the student can slowly be introduced into playing this rhythm with more complex step and skip patterns.

Middle C Repertoire also gives the student several opportunities to play the same composition in different keys.  Again, I feel this is very important because composers will often take their themes and reintroduce them in various keys.  It is important to get exposure in transposition early on because if it is delayed it becomes a bit of a struggle to learn the same music in a different key.

While students learn their compositions in Middle C Repertoire they are also learning all of the white key hand positions (five-finger scales) and chords.  They are thoroughly given exposure to various techniques they will encounter as composers manipulate their themes.

I have  been working on Middle C Repertoire for about 20 years and have been very pleased with the results.  I’ve dedicated a major part of my teaching career to the teaching of the very young student so this method is tailor-made for young students.  Most of my students playing Middle C Repertoire are in kindergarten or first grade.  The progression of materials best fit this age of student.  Through the summer of 2011 I will be making the Middle C Repertoire Method Books and accompanying Middle C Repertoire Theory Books  available for sale on at http://www.pianoteacherpress.com/


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