Modern piano teaching and practice methods: considerations and comparisons with language learning


published in

Turkish Online Journal of Educational Technology September, 2015

Special Issue for INTE 2015 pp. 357-362 - ISSN 1303-6521

available online at http://www.tojet.netspecial2015_9_1.pdf


Abstract

Beginning with observations of current procedures in learning music, the author shows that the teaching process in many situations is reduced to mere reading of the notes, with practice being robbed of its most important aspect – the music – focusing only on mechanical repetition of the more difficult passages. After discussing how performers and composers faced this topic in the past, the author analyzes some problems resulting from a wrong approach to music. He provides diverse solutions and possibilities, illustrated by concrete teaching examples based on his experience, referring to some of the most authoritative piano literature. (In the following summary this last section is limited to the example of Bartok’s Mikrokosmos.)

Maieutic: a teaching and learning approach as applied to western music


published in

Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences 237C (2017)

pp. 1520-1525 - ISSN 1877-0428

available online on http://www.sciencedirect.com

 

Abstract

In this article, I discuss some considerations arising from eight years of professional experience in Thailand, as both performer and teacher of music. Working alongside students mainly from Asian countries, I have been led to reconsider deeply how western teaching methodologies can be efficient and valuable in non-western cultures. I have become convinced that music teaching (and learning) must be part of a cultural and artistic approach towards diverse heritage – the western legacy in this specific case – through study of music. The goal of a teacher is to show students the correct learning process, and to create for them the best conditions to facilitate awareness, understanding and appreciation of the music. Considering the undeniable relevance of ancient Greek influence in western arts and philosophy, I demonstrate the effectiveness of the Socratic method known as maieutics, as applied to the learning of music. By this method students are always forced to think-in-music, to understand what they are doing, to make responsible choices. A musical piece is a problem to solve, and classes are often based on dialogue with Q&A sessions, stylistic considerations, reflections on the meaning of the music, and understanding of the underlying meaning of the written notation, following which performance of the score is just a way to verify the validity of our proposed solution. Through this approach students are stimulated to find the truth WITHIN THEMSELVES, and thus have the opportunity to become artistically independent.


Learning Classical Music through Improvisation:
(a new approach?) Instruction for use


published in
Education and New Developments 2017, pp. 642-646 - ISSN 2184-044Xavailable online at: http://end-educationconference.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/Education-and-New-Developments_2017.pd...



Abstract

The author takes the cue from some historical considerations about modern teaching & learning process in classical music. While in the past most renowned musicians have considered improvisation and composition as a complementary aspect of performance, today for almost all music students the practice of improvisation seems to be not necessary at all, and often only a very basic knowledge of harmony and theory is requested to complete their studies. Presently it is very rare to find a classic music student able to improvise a short prelude or compose a little music piece with confidence. Investigating possible reasons of this shift, we may notice that by one side since the last post-war a remarkable significance has been given to technical approach, on the other side music teaching has been reduced essentially on the reproduction of the symbols of the music score. In order to re-establish the lost balance among improvisation, composition and performance, the author proposes a different approach to classic music, starting from improvisation and consequently understanding of musical structures. In his almost ten-year experience of teaching in Asian countries, he developed the idea that the proper way to approach classical music should not be based on a mere reading of the notes without awareness of the musical structure, as well as fulfilment of a given composition should not be based on reiterated mechanical repetitions of the same passage. The author elaborated a simple as well as efficient method to introduce students to improvisation: starting from the invention a melodic and/or rhythmic fragment, the student is led step by step to the creation and completion of the musical piece. During class students have chance to discover, experiment, test diverse possibilities and get familiarity with essential elements of the music. The study of improvisation let students look at the music under a different perspective: it represents a valuable support for the real understanding of the music score, an aid to penetrate composer's mental process and an unique way to learn how to create music.

Discovering Eighteenth-century Italian keyboard works: easy listening music or unexplored pedagogical material?


published in
Music and Socio-Cultural Developments of the ASEAN pp. 6-16. Available online at http://www.pgvim.ac.th/sym/Files/Proceedings_2016.pdf

 

Abstract

This contribution wishes to highligh the pedagogical relevance of some keyboard compositions written by Cimarosa, Platti, Paradisi, Galuppi, Rutini and many others. These works fall historically between the sonatas of Domenico Scarlatti and the galant/classical works of the second half of the century. This music offers a variety of idioms, style, compositional techniques and musical affects; in the same time it preserves shortness and conciseness. According to my experience as teacher and musician, I will try to explain how and why this music pieces, despite their easiness and simplicity, may contribute greatly to develop music skills in young (and less young) music students.
As everone may realize, a standard approach to this music (starting and focusing merely on the reading of the notes) would deeply limit the understanding of this music. Therefore I wish to propose a method that focuses the attention of the performer on the composition as a whole. Simultaneously, the affect related to the colour and characteristics of tonality is discovered, as an inevitable element within the framework of the work.


The Importance of a Correct Approach in Music (for both Professional Instrumentalists and Amateurs) to Guarantee a Stable Lifelong Benefit

published in

ICLEL 2017, pp. 661-667 - ISBN 978-605-66495-2-3 available online at:

https://docs.wixstatic.com/ugd/d546b1_d2d378eff60846a89a64385da0a8fb82.pdf


Abstract

Could a learning method in music guarantee lifelong knowledge and, to some extent, independence from practice? In the author’s opinion, the answers within certain realistic limitations should be positive. Since generalization is impossible, and for reasons of concision, this article puts professional musicians to one side and considers two other categories of student: firstly beginners, and secondly those people who previously studied music but for only a while, usually as children. Taken for granted that a lack of practice would damage even the most talented and skilled musician, current music teaching pays disproportionate attention to technical aspects of performance, to the detriment of other essential subjects such as improvisation and composition. The author will focus on the uselessness of a method based merely on reading the notes of the score whilst paying no attention to the music’s meaning, and will analyze some of the disadvantages caused from this approach in the student’s mind. The author will then explain how a proper teaching process, essentially based from the very beginning on improvisation and as a means to learn directly from the musical instrument, will produce enormous benefit and prevent several problems due to an incorrect method. Directly in consequence of such a method, students approach the musical score with a lively interest in other aspects than mere reproduction of the notes.

A new pedagogical approach from the Music to the score


published in

Proceedings of the 13th Australasian Piano Pedagogy Conference
The University of Adelaide, 10 – 14 July 2017

available online at: https://www.appca.com.au/proceedings/

 

Abstract

While most traditional piano teaching methods are based on reading the notes, the author uses a different approach, where aspects such as awareness of music and knowledge of theory are emphasized since the first step. As example, the author proposes the learning of one little Bach prelude FROM the music TO the score. Initially, student’s attention is focused on the bass line: after the teacher plays this, the student is invited to reproduce it at the piano without any score. He may be asked to write it down after listening. After memorization, harmonies are played (extemporized) with the right hand. Student is asked to connect them properly. The next step consists of transpositions. Finally, suspensions – according to Bach examples - are introduced. This innovative approach has many advantages: among them, it shows the construction of the piece in different steps, and forces the student to “think in music”.