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Learning pathway for novices

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Learning pathway for novices

Post by KiwiZimbo on Fri Nov 20, 2009 5:13 am

Hi,
(my first post)
Andrew - thank you so much - it restores my faith in humanity to find people that do not hoard knowledge or treat it as a personal possession.

My 9 year old son started playing about 2 months ago and lessons are not an option at the moment. No one else in the family has any musical talent or experience so most of the input is coming from a couple of simple method books and Andrews first few lessons. What I am hoping for is a 'pathway of learning' that is not time based (ie 'you should be able to do <this> after 3 months') but more milestone based. I dont know enough to have a clue what I don't know or even should know, and I am scared that I will either leave out a crucial piece of grounding or push in a direction that is not good. If I know what the next challenges are before they arrive then I can prepare myself to guide my son through them.

All input gatefully received
Thanks
Ian

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Re: Learning pathway for novices

Post by Matthieu Stepec on Fri Nov 20, 2009 10:58 am

Hello!

I understand what you mean with the "milestone based approach", but don't forget that every child is different and doesn't learn everything in the same order. It takes a good piano teacher to really analyze one's weaknesses, point them out and fix them.
Andrew's lessons cover a lot of aspects of piano playing, but there are still things that can't be efficiently shown in a video, as they are all about physical feelings (in the fingertips for example).

But anyway, that's a start, and not the worst one Wink


Welcome to the forum!

Matthieu

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Re: Learning pathway for novices

Post by KiwiZimbo on Sat Nov 21, 2009 3:35 am

Thanks for the response Matthieu,
I mostly want my son to have fun and for him at the moment that means playing the first part of Fur Elize constantly - someone showed him a simplified two handed version of the right hand. I felt that it would be better to learn the correct fingering (from Andrews tutorial) and he is now working on adding the left hand. I cant help feeling that we are trying to run before walk, but maybe if he is having fun then its all good.
Cheers
Ian

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Re: Learning pathway for novices

Post by Matthieu Stepec on Sat Nov 21, 2009 9:17 am

Hello!

"Fun" is probably the most dangerous concept ever thought of in pedagogy. Ok, if he's having fun, it means that there is one thing that isn't wrong: he's not being forced to play against his will. But it doesn't mean that everything is right: a lot of people "have fun" learning the piano; a few years later it happens that they have an incomplete technique and get tendonitis from playing difficult pieces. I know I'm exagerating, but it's just an example of one of the worst possible scenarios. What I mean is that a "fun" progression doesn't mean it is the best possible progression.

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Re: Learning pathway for novices

Post by KiwiZimbo on Sat Nov 21, 2009 10:43 am

Hi Matthieu,
What you say is correct and the reason for my first post. Assuming the lack of professional lessons on a regular basis, which is the reason thousands of people have turned to the Internet, then finding the right balance and direction is virtually impossible.
Surely it is possible to have a basic idea of development stages, I cannot believe that a teacher could effectively teach multiple students without one. I know that it wouldn't be a straight line but a mess of branches opening and closing - complex but not impossible.
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Re: Learning pathway for novices

Post by VictorCS on Sat Nov 21, 2009 4:07 pm

I would start with teaching him how to read a sheet. Thats probably the most basic knowledge there is. This is basically theory. Theory is usually not fun, but necessary.

And you also have to hear from your son, what he prefer and not, and listen to his questions.

All I wanted as a little kid was a piano, but I never got one. Only small toy piano stuff. At 16 my father came with a 61 key keyboard, but at that time I didnt really know anything, so I looked at the piano roll in Music Masterworks, and figured out how to play simple stuff ( single handed stuff ). As I didnt have much experience from theory and stuff it didnt really go anywhere. It wasnt until my brother got a guitar when I was 19 that I "discovered" theory, searching for guitar stuff on youtube. And after alot of theory reading and playing the last 3 years I've become hooked.

Theory is important, as important as the playing itself. But a more experienced teacher would be able to do the job much better than you. You have to teach yourself, before you teach it to your son.
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Re: Learning pathway for novices

Post by KiwiZimbo on Sat Nov 21, 2009 11:37 pm

Hi Victor,
Thanks for the input,that sounds like a good idea. I have been teaching myself as much as possible - I doubt that I will ever be able to read music at any speed but I understand enough to explain the notes, timings, major chords etc. Being non-musical but with a IT background I cheat and create quick Midi files to demonstrate how a piece should sound. For the practical technique side which was my main concern, I think I have the answer - I had missed Andrews lesson #40 (perhaps this video belongs at the start of the lessons not the end) and watched it last night. In there he talks about exam pieces and it clicked that the pathway I am after is the progression of course work and exams. It had simply not occured to me before! Now I have some work to do researching and translating the basic course/exam requirements into a study plan. I am feeling much more confident.
Cheers
Ian

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