Language, cultural differences and expense are common downsides, but there are opportunities to learn new techniques, work in diverse settings and polish confidence. Career Feature 13 May Open science can lead to greater collaboration, increased confidence in findings and goodwill between researchers. Career Feature 07 May Be prepared for delays to start dates, unexpected fees — and even visa refusals — when moving abroad for career opportunities. Career Feature 30 April Without a national paid family-leave policy, some researchers are struggling at crucial career phases. Career Feature 23 April Opportunities for moving between academia and business are expanding for scientists as companies step up recruitment.
Career Feature 08 April Career Feature 03 April Career Feature 26 March Career Feature 05 March University careers advisory services can connect PhD students with employers and guide them to the right role. Career Feature 27 February Offering support to female colleagues can trigger a culture change that makes science and engineering more equitable for all.
Career Feature 19 February Six female researchers discuss how they overcame social and financial obstacles in science and engineering. Career Feature 13 February Career Feature 05 February Why some scientists choose to forgo promising careers abroad to return to their countries of birth. Career Feature 29 January Career Feature 22 January Career Feature 15 January Researchers are creating their own podcasts on topics ranging from exoplanets to graduate-student finances.
Career Feature 08 January Career Feature 19 December Career Feature 11 December Scientists in the food industry find diverse roles from mediating public-health scares to perfecting meatless burgers. Career Feature 03 December Career Feature 27 November Career Feature 20 November Becoming a leader in a field you are passionate about can teach you crucial management skills and offer a support network outside of the lab. Career Feature 14 November Career Feature 07 November Career Feature 24 October Career Feature 16 October Certain fields draw frequent attacks on social media and other digital platforms.
Three scientists explain how they navigate the minefields. Career Feature 10 October Researchers who enjoy globe-trotting may find satisfaction in helping tourists and travellers to connect with science. Career Feature 01 October Career Feature 26 September Career Feature 18 September Career Feature 11 September Lots of things can and will go wrong in the field, but there are ways to rescue the work and learn from your mishaps.
Career Feature 04 September Career Feature 28 August Career Feature 23 August Speakers inadvertently prepare presentations for themselves rather than their audiences. A few mental exercises can help presenters to avoid this pitfall. Career Feature 21 August Career Feature 14 August Four researchers explain how working with colleagues overseas has helped them to produce stronger science.
Career Feature 10 August Career Feature 07 August Career Feature 24 July Scientists in areas that lack basic provisions — including dependable electricity, water supplies and funding — do research that has a high societal impact. Five people describe the challenges they face. Career Feature 23 July Two researchers describe how they successfully manage a mentoring arrangement in which face-to-face meetings are rare.
Since the average teacher's class is comprised of students of all ages, careful consideration should be given to the most advantageous times of the day and week for scheduling lessons. The following brief outline and discus- sion of various age groups is offered which may serve as a general guide for scheduling all types of lessons.
Kindergarten students Beginners 2nd, 3rd, and 4th year students Intermediate students Advanced students Kindergarten age children usually go to school in the mornings. Since some of them still take daily naps, a good time to schedule their lessons is about during week days and at any time on Saturday morning. Average beginners are in the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th grades.
They are relatively free from homework, and they get home earlier than older students.
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They may be given an early afternoon time or a Saturday time. This age group is still young enough to escape rigorous homework. In addition, they have not yet become seri- ously involved in outside school activities games, cheer-leading, baton-twirling, etc. They may be given afternoon times and Saturday times. Intermediate students are usually about junior high age, and these students are generally more involved with after-school activities than younger children.
Frequently there is a school game on Friday afternoon, so it is better to avoid lessons on Fridays if possible. Also, students of this age often spend Friday nights at a friend's home; therefore, Saturdays are also undesirahle for lessons. Try to schedule lessons for intermediate students during the early part of the week-some con- flicts will be avoided. Advanced students usually are senior high age, and there are numerous considerations for this age group.
Home- work, dating, sports, and many other activities pose conflicts in scheduling. Because high school students often have exams on Friday, Thursday afternoons should be left free for studying if possible. Also, late Friday afternoon times are objectionable because stu- dents of this age are concerned with dating. Lesson times for this group should be scheduled during the early part of the week if at all possible. Since the most desirous times will probably be taken by continuing students, transfer students must be satisfied with the times available.
Often these are unwanted times-late Friday afternoon, early Saturday morning, etc. Adults are the easiest of all groups to schedule. If they work during the day, they may be given a late evening time. If they do not work during the day, they may be given a morning or early afternoon time.
For the uninitiated, scheduling lesson times can be somewhat prob- lematic. Therefore, to help alleviate a number of the typical pitfalls which may be confronted in scheduling, we will outline three different types of schedules: private lessons, combination private and class lessons, and small and large group lessons. Private Lessons Although teachers are becoming increasingly interested in group lessons, most teachers still teach individually on a one to one basis.
Private lessons are easy to schedule and times may be worked out according to the general guidelines already listed. Teachers giving only private lessons generally offer three types: half hour lessons, forty-five minute lessons, and one hour lessons. An hour lesson can become tedious if the student is young or in the beginning stages. Therefore, the teacher should consider giving two thirty minute lessons per week instead of one extended lesson. The two lessons may be evenly spaced during the week to allow some time in between for practice: Monday-Thurs- day, Tuesday-Friday, or Wednesday-Saturday.
The following schedule Ex. The circles indicate students who are scheduled for one thirty minute lesson a week. Analysis of Schedule A: Forty students are scheduled during the week. Twenty-five students receive only one thirty minute lesson per week, indicated by the circles all kindergarten students, transfer students, and other assorted levels.
Note that this schedule utilizes four a. If this early time is objectionable, lessons can be scheduled at other times-later in the evening, Saturday afternoon, or noon-time. Schedule A: private lessons. These three schedules differ greatly regarding the number of students taught, the various levels of students, and the various teaching times utilized. The first schedule Ex. He teaches a standard full-time private teaching class of 42 students.
His class is comprised of the following assortment of students: 1 Kindergarten Student 10 Beginners 3 Second Year Students 5 Third Year Students 15 Transfer Students of assorted ages and levels 8 Adult Students of various levels 15 students receive one 30 minute lesson per week. The second schedule Ex. She has an unusually large class of 96 students. The third schedule Ex. He has one of the largest private classes in the country, teaching a grand total of III students per week! Schedule A-I from the studio of John Erickson. Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday 2: A beginner 2nd A 2nd year A 2nd year 2nd Tr.
Schedule A-2 from the studio of Bernice Robe. Schedule A-3 from the studio of Lt:onard Gay. Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday I 3rd 2nd 4th 4th B I B 4th 4th 2nd B B 4th 4th 3rd I A I hour 4th 4th 4th I 3rd 2nd I I A 4th I B 2nd I I 3rd 4th 2nd I 2nd 2nd 2nd I hour 2nd I 45 min. The private lesson 30 min- utes deals almost exclusively with repertoire, sight-reading, some technique, and individual problems.
The class lesson 45 minutes emphasizes theory, ensemble playing, sight-reading, technique, and general musicianship. There is sufficient time between these two weekly lessons to cover a great deal of material, and students are exposed to a complete musical program. The result is usually superior musicianship. There are a number of advantages in the combination of private and class lessons: 1. Teaching time is used efficiently. Possibilities are provided for varied, effective presentations of materials. Incentive is stimulated among class members.
Contact is provided with peer groups. Musicianship is promoted through an awareness of other students' work. In this schedule economical use of teaching time is utilized by providing both private and group instruction rather than private instruction exclusively. Schedule B: combination private and class lessons.
Analysis of Schedule B: Forty students are scheduled during the week; each student has two lessons a week. This allows sufficient time in between for practice. In succeeding years, spacing is not as important and students who live far away often appreciate the convenience of having two lessons on the same day note: Wednesday, 3 and 5 :OO-one intermediate student before and after class.
Third and fourth year students may be grouped together for their class lesson note: Friday, The advanced student on Friday, , may be able to get out of school if the last period is study hall. Transfer students may need two private lessons a week for a period of time before they are caught up and ready to go into their appropriate level. The level of each group depends mainly on age, but sometimes a class may be further divided by ability: for example, a slow second year class and a fast second year class.
Comparison of Schedule A and B 1. There are no morning times or Saturday afternoon times in Schedule B. All students receive two lessons per week in Schedule B, whereas only fifteen students out of forty received two lessons a week in Schedule A. The teacher following Schedule B could charge more because each student receives two lessons a week: for example, using Schedule B, a m?
Less teaching time is used in Schedule B and it produces a greater return than Schedule A. Small and Large Group Lessons A growing number of teachers are beginning to offer group instruc- tion only. There are several possibilities for scheduling class piano lessons: I one large class lesson per week group of six to eight ; 2 two large class lessons per week; 3 one small class lesson group of four to six plus one large class lesson per week group of eight to twelve. Although the first two possibilities may be effective, the best results are most often produced by two lessons per week-one small group lesson plus one large group lesson.
Many aspects of group teaching are discussed in the informative booklet, Greater Rewards Through Creative Piano Teaching printed by The National Piano Foundation: In this booklet Robert Pace offers an interesting arrangement of scheduling small groups and large groups Ex. He suggests teaching each student two lessons per week: one forty minute lesson with. This teaching program makes very efficient use of teaching time. If teachers do not have enough students to form large groups, an alternative may be considered. Combine "overlapping" groups in the follow- ing manner: Have two students come at for their lesson.
At they may be joined by two more students for thirty minutes. At the first two students leave and the second two continue for their small class lesson punctuality is a must for this schedule! Additional variations may be devised which will best fit the teacher's schedule. Schedule C: small and large group lessons.! Self-preparation IS the first step in obtaining the deSIred goal. Although college study culminating in one or more degrees is a basic necessity, learning does not end there. On the contrary, experience is one of the most important factors in successful teaching.
A great deal of learning will come by doing. It might be well to remem ber that many beginning professionals have to start slowly. Apprentice lawyers may struggle for a few years before achieving financial success; dentists, and to some extent, physicians often experience slow beginnings until their reputations have become known in the community. Private teaching usually follows this same path.
However the financial rewards eventually can be considerable for the well-trained,' cap- able, ethical, conscientious teacher. Matters of organizing a studio, obtaining students, interviewing stu- dents, and scheduling lessons should be given serious consideration before embarking on a private teaching career. Organization is the key factor in any successful business venture, and private teaching is no exception. I sThis schedule. Make an oral or written report on the following questions. How did these three teachers learn to teach?
Do you think their training was adequate? If not, what should be done to up-grade their present condition? What is the total number of students in each teacher's class? How many are beginners? Second year students? Transfer students? Advanced students? Do you think you would enjoy teaching a class of this composition?
If not, why? Describe their studios. Are the studios in their homes? What are the studio dimensions approximately? How many pianos are in each studio? What additional equipment is used? Do you think the studios and equipment in them are adequate? If not, what would you do to improve the situation? How did these teachers obtain students when they first began to teach? What additional advertising might have been employed? Do they presently have all the students they would like to have? Describe the type of interview these teachers use. What reasons are given for accepting or rejecting students?
Do you think these are reasonable? Describe the schedules these teachers follow. Do any of the teachers give class lessons? If so, how are these scheduled? Could you offer any suggestions for economizing teaching time? Box , Corpus Chnstl, Texas , This page spiral bound book contains a wealth of practical information.
The interesting and unusual methods of procedure will be of special value for the novice teacher. Blair, Glenn Myers, and R. Stewart Jones. Psychology of Adolescence for Teachers. New York: The Macmillan Company, This book and o? Concise and daect, these books may be read in their entirety. Psychology of the Child in the Classroom. New York: The Company, Between Parent and Child. New York: The Macmillan Com- pany, 1. An Avon PB. Although written primarily for parents, this best-selling b. Topics such as communica- tion, praise and criticism, jealousy, and others are treated with skill.
Read- of sp,eciai interest to piano teachers are: Chapter 1, "Conversing with Chapter 2,. This informative 16 page booklet offers numerous valuable suggestions on teaching class piano. Aspects of class organization, scheduling lessons, class procedure, and class activities are clearly and concisely discussed. An excellent selection of teaching repertoire is given at the end. Robinson, Helene, and Richard L.
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Jarvis, eds. Teaching Piano in Classroom and Studio. Washington: Music Educators National Conference, Consisting of a collection of nineteen outstanding articles by nationally known music educators, this page volume is an extremely valuable reference source. The book stresses primarily class teaching and creative theory.
Sandstrom, Carl Ivor.
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Baltimore, Md. A Pelican PB. From Sweden comes this intelligent, well-written book designed as an introduc- tory textbook for teachers. The author speaks with authority on a broad spectrum of subjects ranging from growth and development to the develop- ment of language and thought. Ridgewood, N. This 40 page booklet contains many useful and practical suggestions regarding building a class of pupils, organizing recitals, teaching beginners of all ages, and many other topics.
Hopefully, this booklet is still in print. Such practical proce- dures as sending bills and keeping accurate accounts are necessary modi operandi. The difference between musicians and other professional groups, however, is the size of their business and the amount of income received. Piano teachers generally run a small business, and they must, out of neces- sity, keep their own books rather than hire a secretary or an accountant to handle this for them. No one will think less of you or your musical ability if you have some practical sense. On the contrary, competence in managing your finan- cial affairs efficiently will gain you respect from your students and especially from their parents.
The student should not be placed in the position of an intermediary courier. Payment at the lesson by the student is cumbersome and unbusiness-like, and it detracts from the normal course of the lesson. Therefore, send statements and encourage parents to mail payments back by check. Charge by the Month It is advisable to charge by the month rather than by the lesson. If payment is made by the lesson, pupils will feel free to cancel, and the teacher will be left with both teaching vacancies and a loss of income.
What About Payment for Missed Lessons? Sometimes a parent will ask: "May I deduct payment for a missed lesson? Lessons should be paid for in advance for the entire semester or for the month. Just as there is no tuition refund if a child misses school for which he is paying tuition private school , there should be no refund for missed lessons- if the reason is flimsy or frivolous-going to parties, spending the night out, etc.
If the teacher makes allowances for these situations she will be making up lessons until the wee hours. However, since the lessons are paid for, the teacher should make up lessons due to illness and other unavoidable situations. Too, under these conditions, missed lessons by the teacher must be made up. Concerning monthly payments, a parent may ask: "Should I paY' less when there are fewer lessons in the month?
To avoid any misunderstandings about variances in lessons per month, your calendar should be printed on the lesson brochure with the holidays clearly stated. Since tuition is based on a fixed number of weeks in the school year, monthly payments should be the same regardless of the number of weeks in the month. Payment for lessons may be either by the semester or by the month.
Payment is based on the number of weeks of lessons given during the school year - about 36 weeks of lessons is a good average number. The number of teaching weeks will vary for teachers of different localities due to dissimilar- ities in the commencement of school, vacations, and the dismissal of school. Summer teaching would be figured separately. While it is not possible to state categorically a certain amount that will be applicable to all teachers, some guidelines may be offered. In their advice to parents seeking a music teacher, Wills and Manners discuss the subject of lesson fees.
A teacher who is confident of his abilities will charge as much as he feels the area can afford. While a very small fee may indicate that the teacher is just starting, it may also mean that he places small value on his talent. On the whole, you will get what you pay for. A bargain is a rare phenomenon in music education. Background and Capability of the Teacher The teacher's training and background includes a variety of areas: pre-college training, college training, advanced study with artist-teachers, attendance and other educational or professional experiences.
All are relevant to the background of the teacher, and they would be valid factors in determining lesson fees. One would expect to pay more for lessons from a teacher with a Master's degree than from a teacher with a Bachelvr's degree or no degree at all. The teacher's capability is determined mainly by well-tramed stu- dents. The ability to produce first-rate students year after year is not necessarily dependent on the teacher's performance ability or even a college education. Success may depend just as much on a winning personality and years of self-learning and improvement from experience as on degrees and other measures of professionalism.
An experienced, successful teacher may charge a proportionately higher fee than a less experienced teacher. Income Bracket of the Community The socio-economic status of the community or neighborhood may be determined by external factors such as homes, schools, and automobiles. However, unseen factors often dominate the financial position of the area.
The cost of living is a main determining agent in various communities. While salaries may be similar in both large and small cities, living costs usually are not at all the same. Therefore, fees must be somewhat scaled to the community. Lesson fees in a ghetto area of Boston could not be compared to those charged in Grosse Point. Status of Music in the Community Where do piano teachers prosper most frequently in a large city?
Success usually lies in the suburbs rather than in the inner core of a large metropolitan area. The reason is simple: the status of music is important to the inhabitants, and they can afford them. Piano lessons in suburban com- munities are as commonplace as children and pets.
A value is placed on music lessons as part of the children's general education. In short, parents in certain communities have both the inclination and the means to pay for what they value. Lesson fees will be adjusted accordingly. The Business oj Piano Teaching 54 Length of Lessons Pedagogical Considerations In addition to the preceding, the length of the lesson often deter- mines the fee.
Teachers frequently have rates for half hour lessons, forty-five minute lessons, and hour lessons. The reduced price is offered as an inducement to take a longer lesson. If the teacher does not have a full class of students, more income can be gained by teaching hour lessons at "bargain prices. Group lessons are more demanding than private lessons. There is more work involved in group teaching-lesson planning, preparing extra for class, etc.
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Teachers are justified in charging proportionately hIgher fees for group instruction. Large Gasses Summary Fees for this type of instruction should be nominal. Most full-time profes- 2Prices are based on fees charged by professional private teachers from around the country whom the author knows personally. A yearly income can be easily computed by multiplying the number of students by hourly or monthly prices. It would, therefore, be practical to conclude that the best return for teachers is made by giving some type of class lessons.
It is, likewise, the best rate for parents who receive more time proportionately for their money. Additional lessons may be given by utilizing other portions of the day. Pre-school children may be taught either in the morning or early afternoon. Adults may be taught either in the morning, early afternoon, or evening. Although it may be possible to teach from early morning until late at night, quality lessons can only be given when one is mentally and physically alert.
Teaching is strenuous work, and the teacher should not cram the entire day exclusively with teaching. Before enrolling additional pupils, plan your schedule carefully so there will be sufficient time for outside activities. Raise Rates One of the most logical sources of additional income is to increase tuition. Teachers often worry needlessly about adjusting fees.
The cost of living goes up, inflation continues, and piano teachers must raise their prices from time to time as other costs rise. It is not necessary to apologize for an increase in tuition-parents have probably been expecting it for some time. It is not advisable to have different rates for different pupils. Raise your tuition at the same time for everyone. Some teachers charge new students a higher fee and wait to raise the tuition for students of long standing. It is better to have a uniform fee to avoid comparisons among parents which may possibly result in embarrassing confrontations.
It is best to raise rates at the beginning of a new school term rather than in the middle of the year. The change to the higher fee will not be so abrupt, and parents will have time to adjust to the idea of more expensive lessons. A letter or brief note Ex. You mayor may not state that tuition will be raised; likewise, reasons for the tuition increase do not have to be spelled out in great detail. A simple statement will suffice. Sample tuition note. Sincerely, Even a small tuition increase will raise yearly income. Give Summer Lessons Most private teachers give some summer lessons, at least for the months of June and July.
However, lessons are apt to be sporadic due to out of town interruptions. Most students take vacations or go off to camp, and summer piano lessons are usually irregular. Summer income may be obtained by 1 continuing regular lessons, 2 offering special programs for regular students, or 3 offering classes for new beginners six or eight weeks. A percentage of regular students will want to continue lessons during part of the summer. If you are teaching the private-class combination during the regular school year, it might be difficult to continue this same program during the summer due to a reduced number of students.
In this case continuing students may be given two private lessons during the summer. There are several possible summer programs that may be offered: high school theory, music appreciation classes, piano pedagogy for older high school students, and special ensemble classes. Beginners may be started during the summer in small classes of four to six on a trial basis at a reduced rate optional. Those who show interest and promise could continue in the fall. Because bookkeeping can be both time consuming and frustrating, the following sample forms are offered in the hopes of simplifying this process.
Monthly fees are easy to keep track of by simply checking each time payment is received Ex. Individual lesson payment complicates this procedure, and if used, the teacher will have to record payment received at least four times per month instead of once a month. Accounting Ex. If bookkeeping is not kept up to date, a number of deductible items may be overlooked.
Be sure to keep all receipts and canceled checks during the year for Internal Revenue purposes. Record of student payment. Student's Name Sept. Monthly accounting form. Studio Rent: if renting IV. Portion of Utility Services: V. Telephone: VIII. Additional Expenses: membership dues, workshops, piano tuning, etc. Items such as studio rent and expenses, office expenses, professional association dues, depreciation on equipment, etc. The following checklist of deductible expenses is offered as a handy reference guide.
Musician's checklist of deductible expenses. Sheet music, music writing pen and paper Office supplies: stationery, business cards, signs, postage, etc. Studio or separate portion of home Rent Depreciation, real estate tax, and interest on mortgage Maintenance and repair Cost of moving to new location Insurance on business property: fire, lia- bility Overhead: heat, light, cleaning Magazines and newspapers for waiting room Performance Recital expenses: hall rental, flowers, programs, refreshments, transporta- tion Royalties paid Coaching expenses Costume or uniform but not evening dress if it can be used on non- business occasions Costume or uniform cleaning Fees and Dues Dues in professional organizations MTNA, MENC, NBA, NSOA, etc.
O'Byrne, Clavier, Vol. VII, No. If lessons are given in the home the teacher may deduct part of the household expenses from the gross income. If one room is used exclusively for income-producing purposes, a portion of the household expenses may be deducted. This is figured on the basis of the room's percentage of the total floor space in the house.
Thus, a studio lOx 15 feet in a sq. However, if the room is also used for family purposes, then the deduction may be made only in proportion to the hours used for giving lessons. Any special costs to this room such as acoustical treatment, special lighting, etc. Although the above mentioned deductions are standard pertaining to the business of private teaching, it is advisable to seek professional advice from a tax accountant. The accountant will be able to assist you in itemizing all allowable deductions. Yearly Expenditures Records of income and expenses must be accurately noted from month to month.
Otherwise it is extremely difficult to gather this informa- tion when income tax time approaches. To quickly compile information for income tax, total the monthly expenditures Ex. The profit and loss statement Ex. Yearly profit and loss statement. Copyright by Benner Publishers. Used by permission. Further information about studio management can be learned by asking the following questions from the same three teachers.
What method of payment does each teacher use by the lesson, month, or semester? Discuss briefly the merits or demerits of each teacher's method. What policy is used for a missed lesson? Are students charged for missed lessons? Are missed lessons made up? How is payment handled for months of varying teaching weeks? What fees are charged for lessons? Teachers usually will not object to this question for research purposes. Are summer lessons given? If so, are any additional summer programs offered?
How are fees handled for summer lessons? Did any of the teachers raise their rates during the past few years? If so, how was this handled? Blue Book, Fifth Edition. Schenectady, New York: Benner Publishers, This excellent 53 page book contains a wealth of information on studio management. Matters of finance, bookkeeping, in- come tax, and many other studio problems are thoroughly discussed.
The pages pertaining to business matters are: pp. O'Byrne, John. Although tax matter change frequently, the teacher can get a good understanding of the situation from this article which is clear and specific. A reprint of the article may be purchased separately from Clavier. Stone, Marion. Matters of policy, lesson fees, and other pertinent busi- ness information are clearly discussed in this article.
The information from various teachers represents a cross section of the country. Piano lessons have become standard fare per se, and an acceptable social activity as a part of general childhood education. Regardless of talent or excessive motivation, millions of students are engaged in the pursuit of musical instruction as an extension of the general learning process. Often it is not the intent or purpose of those studying to become professional musicians. Rather, for the majority who study, the general philosophy is based on the premise that musical instruction is for the acquisition of a special skill which will enrich and broaden their lives.
Music becomes a satisfying experience that gives direction to the basic needs of self-expression, an appreciation for beauty, and an outlet for emotional release. Due to the great popularity of piano instruction, this country has produced a large body of teaching materials over the past forty years. The sheer bulk of this output is sufficient to overwhelm anyone who endeavors to become knowledgeable on the subject.
Therefore, the purpose of this chapter is to sort a number of these methods into groups and to discuss briefly those which are used most frequently. Out of necessity, the methods surveyed will be limited to those published in the United States which are currently in print. Since method books have planned objectives for systematic progression, one should consider the specific goals outlined by each book or series. Without thought or reference to any particular method of instruc- tion, list your own teaching objectives.
Consider basic skills that your students should have attained after a few years of instruction. The following 63 64 Pedagogical Considerations list of teaching objectives is offered as a guide. These ten points represent general goals which would be endorsed by most piano teachers-no doubt you will think of many more. After a few years of instruction students should be able to: 1. Understand the entire keyboard, not just part of it 2.
Recognize notes fluently, including ledger line notes above and below the staff 3. Recognize chords and be able to play them major, minor, augmented, and diminished 4. Understand tempo markings, meter signatures, key signatures, and generally used musical terms 5. Improvise 6. Transpose 7. Harmonize melodies 8. Sight-read 9. Accompany Memorize a number of pieces each year Educational Philosophies Philosophical concepts in education have changed greatly during the past five decades.
Years ago elementary education of all sorts was looked upon as being necessarily strict; learning was a bitter pill that had to be swallowed before any good resulted. Old-school disciplinarians did not spare the rod or the dunce cap. Students were not given the opportunity to enjoy the subjects they were studying. They often were forced to memorize long poems and essays, and they were required to learn tedious rules and facts whether they understood them or not. They were required to recite, copy and practice for the sake of training and discipline.
Piano lessons, too, often tended to be difficult and tedious. The child was taught to sit stiffly on the piano bench, with his arms in a certain fixed position. His fingers and wrist had to be held just so, and if it took him months to learn these beginning essentials, it was for his own good.
If he survived these basics, he was taught scales and exercises for a period of time before the playing of musical compositions was even considered. Fortunately, much of this stern autocratic approach to teaching along with the famous "willow switch" and the well-known "rap on the knuckles" is gone. The majority of students today are learning to enjoy music. Lessons are presented in such a fascinating and challenging way that practically every pupil is intrigued with his lessons and with his progress.
Although teaching methods have progressed markedly in the past ten years, it is difficult for some teachers to adjust to today's methods because of the way in which they were taught. The forces of tradition make it quite difficult to introduce new teaching methods. Besides the inertia of existing methods, there is the problem of avoiding threat to teachers using the traditional approach. It is understandable that experienced teachers will resist change if they are made to feel that the way they have been teaching is inferior or that they must learn new skills.
They will insist that the old way is the best way and find fault with the innovation. Techniques that are now traditional were, of course, at one time new. And, naturally, no teaching method has failed to undergo subtle changes in response to changing values of the culture. The teacher's style and technique of presentation should be oriented toward today's youth. Teach- ing should be relevant.
The teacher should focus on the needs and objectives of students today, not those used twenty years ago. Middle C Versus Multiple Key Although there are numerous method books available by many different authors, essentially there are two basic approaches to teaching beginners in this country at the present time: one is the traditional "middle 'C' method," and the other is the more recent "multiple key method.
It has been only within the past ten years that the multiple key method has been used with any frequency. The middle C approach has been firmly established in the United States for many years. Thompson, and others before him, began a trend of teaching beginners which has persisted to the present, and the middle C method is still the most frequently used instructional procedure among teachers today. The popular- ity of this approach is evident; even a cursory glance at subsequent methods reveals that most books are patterned after Thompson's blueprint.
The basic procedure of the middle C approach is to learn facts one at a time and eventually develop a musical picture. Whereas, the basic proce- dure of key '! S:h is to present whole concepts and then break them down into parts. The instructional technique of the middle C method requires the stud en t to both thumbs on middlLL. Example of a middle C method: single line melody.
The method of instruction presents single line melodies divided between the hands. Later, melodies are written mostly in two parts Ex. Finger numbers are given Ex. Example of a middle C method: two-voice melodies. The keys of the pieces are limited almost exclusively to C, G and F. Theoretical concepts such as intervals, chord structure and use, transposition, harmonization, the order of sharps and flats, key signatures, etc. The multiple key approach is a completely different concept of instruction, and is in direct contrast to the middle C method.
Although not new, the multiple key method is only now beginning to find acceptance among an increasing number of teachers. The procedure of the multiple key method is to learn all twelve major five-finger positions Ex. Example of a pre-notated multiple key pattern. Later on, directional reading is further developed by continuing 3The twelve major positions are most easily learned by dividing the keys into groups according to those which are related by both sight and touch-example: Group I keys C,G,F have all white keys in the tonic chords; Group II keys D, A, E have a white, black, white composition in their tonic chords; Group III keys Db,Ab,Eb have a black, white, black composition in their tonic chords; Group IV keys Gb,Bb,B are not related by sight or touch, because each is different.
Example of basic directional reading patterns. Almost from the beginning, I and V7 chords are used, and melodies are harmonized with these two chords Ex. The following elements of theory are stressed throughout multi- Ex. Melody harmonized with I and V7 chords. A comparison of the middle C and multiple key methods is offered Ex. The following comparisons are based on general areas of knowledge that a student mayor may not have been exposed to after approximately a year of instruction. From the following comparisons Ex. While this is basically true, the correct presentation of any material is essential; success cannot be guaranteed automatically by the materials chosen.
The teacher, not a set of books, is the determining factor in quality results. In many instances teachers have produced skilled, finished pianists using what would appear to be almost any materials at hand. Conversely, other teachers appear to be using excellent materials, but unfortunately the results produced are consistently poor.
Teachers should realize that a "method" alone will not do the job for them. Some teachers become so attached to one author's course that they will not consider using another method even for supplementary purposes. This is a very narrow view and unnecessarily limiting. Quality teaching is determined by the results the teacher achieves, not necessarily by the methods used. Nevertheless, a gifted teacher using superior materials will be most likely to produce outstanding results.
Some are out of print.
- Wordplay: Damnation.
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Each music store carries different method books. And new method books are being written continually. Even this list, which is not entirely complete,4 is quite staggering when seen in its entirety displayed in the store. The Pierce Music Company has one of the finest selections of piano music in this country, and Mr. Pierce has conscientiously attempted to stock every beginning piano method.
Unfor- tunately, most music stores are unable to carry a large inventory of piano music. Because of the expense involved, most stores are somewhat justified in not stocking every method book in print. Due to the sheer bulk of piano instruction books, they often are considered the anathema of the sheet music business. Therefore, information has been obtained primarily from publishers' catalogs. From this list of forty-eight entries, how many names have you seen 71 before'? How many courses are familiar to you?
There are probably only about ten names from this list which "ring a bell"-the others are apt to be unfamiliar.
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Courses range in years from the very old like the Williams, Thomp- son, and Oxford courses to the very new like the Bastien, Gillock, Glover, and Palmer courses. As a basis for comparison the teacher should have at least a working knowledge of the better known courses regardless of when they were written. The courses which are used with some frequency will be found in music stores of any size. The teacher should make an effort to keep abreast of the new courses published by searching these out in the music store. If the store has a limited piano sheet music department and does not subscribe to new issues, information on new courses can be found in magazines such as Clavier and Piano Quarterly.
To acquaint students and teachers with methods that are used with some frequency, the author has chosen twenty-six courses to survey.
At a glance
Piano Primer is an introductory book designed especially for young beginners, ages five to eight. Elements of rhythm and notation are tradition- ally presented in a logical, systematic manner. The book is patterned on the middle C concept, and only single line melodies divided between the hands are used exclusively on the white keys. Grade 1 presents attractive melodies mostly in the 5-finger positions of C, G, and F.
Clear, concise explanations are given for such basic elements as 5-finger position, transposition, triads, and scales. Finger numbers are used liberally for almost every note. Grades 2 through 5 become successively more difficult and reach approximately high school level difficulty. Original compositions and music by master composers comprise the bulk of the materials in these remaining four books.
Book 2 contains 21 original studies S It is helpful to have most of these courses available for students enrolled in piano pedagogy. By actual examination of the books, students will gain useful information about each course and will be able to make meaningful evaluations. Survey of Method. Most of the exercises are in C and move up the keyboard on the white keys.
The book contains a useful combination of finger studies, chord drills, double note exercises, and some exercises for balance of tone. Books 2 and 3 become progressively more difficult; many of the studies in these books are based on well-known tunes "Swanee River," "Greensleeves," etc. Let's Learn Major Scales and Chords is a first year collection of easy studies mostly in 5-finger positions. Let's Learn Minor Scales and Chords is more difficult.
Let's Get Technical is about a fourth year collection of exercises for the development of arpeggios, octaves, double thirds, and other intermediate presentations. The majority of the pieces are in 5-finger positions mostly C, G, and F. This title implies that the books in this series are for recreational use for the less serious student. No one series has a corner on the market contain- ing a magic blueprint which will automatically produce first-rate pianists. However, there are some guidelines which may be used to determine quality features in method books and to help determine approaches that will assist the skilled teacher in developing knowledgeable young musicians.
The fol- lowing criteria are offered as general guidelines in evaluating beginning course books. Basic approach: a. Middle C? Multiple Key? Format: a. Is color used? Is the music legible? Is the size of the printing realistic for younger students? Is the marginal material helpful without being cluttered, and is it written in children's language? Is the book long enough to be practical, but short enough to give the student a feeling of accomplishment?
Used by Permission. Sequence and progression of materials: a. Does the series as a whole keep the student advancing in a steady manner, not by spurts? Purpose of the course: a. For individual study? For group study? For a combination of individual and group study? Note range: a. Does the series encourage the student to gradually explore more and more of the keyboard?
Is the range confined to a central portion of the keyboard? Methods of counting: a. Presentation of rhythm: a. What types of rhythms are encountered as the series progresses? Chords and scales: a. How and when are these presented? Are both block and broken chords used? How many different types of chords are used?
Are both major and minor scales presented? Theory: a. Are intervals used? Are chords presented? Is keyboard harmony included? Is functional harmonization included? Is transposition emphasized? Is creative work included? If separate books are used, how well does it integrate with the basic course books? Supplementary materials: a. What types and varieties are available as part of the course?
Including all supplementary materials, does the course claim to be complete as is? Few, if any, courses are "complete" in themselves. Form and structure: a. What opportunities are offered throughout the course to teach musical form? Musicianship: a. Is the student given an opportunity to develop musicianship or creative- ness? Is undue emphasis given merely to the mechanics of playing the piano? Fundamental Features of Method Books I.
Is it a comprehensive course of study? Does it include a logical, practical sight-reading program? Does it include a sensible theoretical program based primarily on key- board harmony? Does it include a practical technical program geared to basic keyboard fundamentals? Survey of Method for Beginners Pedagogical Considerations d. Does the course offer a variety of supplementary books for reinforced learning at different levels of advancement?
Does the music make sense to the student? Is the music tasteful and appealing to children? Is the rate of progression gradual rather than abrupt? What will the student have learned upon completion of the course? Will he be able to sight-read fluently? Will he be musically literate in basic fundamentals? Will his technic be sufficient to allow him to perform various levels of repertoire accurately?
What length of study time will it take for the student to become musically literate? Two years? Three years?