Thursday, December 28, 2017

MTAC Pedagogy Workshop in January, San Jose!

Just scheduled another exciting workshop presentation for MTAC Santa Clara Branch January Program Meeting in San Jose.

In addition to the Handout, you can find detail information such as pedagogy books, music apps reviews, and learning triangle on this website for today's presentation.

Essential Teaching Tips for Beginner-Elementary Students, and Beyond

Experienced awkward hand position, bent joint, very little practice or counting problems? This workshop provides solutions to these common issues by focusing on three aspects of teaching: (1) the fundamental techniques that enhance the future advanced playing, (2) the efficient practice strategies that ensure successful at-home practice, and (3) the hall-of-fame music apps that make reading/counting drills and ear training so much more fun!

Date: Wed, January 10th, 2018
Time: 10-11:30 am
Location: Licon Glen Church, 2700 Booksin Ave. San Jose, CA.

It's a blessing to have such a fantastic group of teachers attending today's session! I value your opinions, please feel free to leave feedback or comments.

Happy New Year!!

Monday, December 18, 2017

RCM pieces for quasi-rote teaching

Tip: Rote pieces are often identified as "pattern pieces." Therefore, any piece that contains recurring patterns can be easily adapted for rote teaching. They are a great way for beginner and elementary students to experience full sonority and be familiar with the keyboard range.

Here are two of my favorite pieces from the RCM Celebration Series Repertoire level 1 that I used for quasi-rote teaching: 

"Robots" by A. Gaudet 
This energetic piece covers the full range of the piano and yet, it introduces patterns of perfect 5th, 3 black keys, chromatic scale and the 16th notes rhythm.

I teach this by quasi-rote to guide students familiarize with the patterns which, at the first glance, seems very difficult to read because they constantly moving and switching clefs:
  • playing the P5th patterns and its moving range
  • work on the rhythm taping of changing between 8th and 16th
  • working on the positions/moves between 3 black keys pattern on the 16th notes and the chromatic scale contrary motion (2nd line)

"Toy Solider's March" by D. Rahbee 
This is an effective performance piece with "patterns" centers on two black keys and C Major triadic notes. This piece appears "strange and confusing" to the students because of the overlapping hand position and two treble clefs, but it is not hard to read once the patterns are analyzed. Here is my lovely students Jessica's performance, it is the 2nd piece she played.

Music examples: The Royal Conservatory. Celebration Series Piano Repertoire level 1. Toronto: the Frederick Harris Music Co., 2015.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Upcoming Piano Pedagogy Workshops in the Bay Area 2018!

I am thrilled to present these two topics for CSUEB and CAPMT-SCV in the Bay Area. Please join me and start the NEW YEAR 2018 with some inspiring teaching information!

"Effective Teaching Strategies for Beginner and Elementary Students" 

This workshop shares essential aspects of teaching beginner and elementary students that target three components of learning: Fundamental technique, Practice strategies, and Music apps

Date: 1/20/2018, Sat, 9-12
Host: Piano Pedagogy Symposium at CSU East Bay
Location: California State University East Bay Department of Music, Recital hall
Parking: Lot K nad L

"The Nitty-Gritty of Comprehensive Curriculum Programs" 

This workshop provides detail information of various curriculum programs including RCM, ABRSM, and CM. It will help teachers to determine which curriculum program/exam is best suited to their student's level and study plan.

Date: 2/28/2018, Wed, 9:30 am
Host: CAPMT Santa Clara Chapter Meeting
Location: Greene Music San Jose
Parking: on site

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Explore Rote Teaching

Rote teaching has always been a debatable subject to me, partly because of my personal learning experience and the other is that I had quite a few transferring students who were taught by rote could play such advanced pieces but not so good at reading. 

However, in recent years, especially after admitting students who are visually impaired or have a visual learning disability, I started to attend workshops hosted by rote teaching experts and incorporate quasi-rote in my teaching. Here are few benefits that I like:
  • Majority of the rote music was composed and known as "pattern music" such as playing groups of black keys that appear easier to play than reading. This particular trait allows beginner students to experience more "fancy sound" and the full sonority of the keyboard, hence, help to develop physical comfort on the piano in addition to the traditional five-finger position. 
  • These more "fancier pieces" serve a good motivation and are appealing to students for recital choices. 
  • You can discover music that can be easily i.d. by "patterns" and teach it by rote.
  • Many of the rote teaching music incorporates theory concept like the use of perfect 5th as repetitive patterns.
  • Some rote teaching methods include notes reading and rhythmic counting instructions. Visit the links below for details.
Here are some reputable resources that inspire and help me to start. Although I am a firm believer in drilling reading and counting, sometimes, it is fun to experiment beyond notation as long as we keep our students in check. I also find a couple of my favorite RCM pieces that can be taught by quasi-rote and I will inlcue those in the following post! 

Have fun in experimenting!!

Piano Safari by Katherine Fishers and Julie Knerr

Little Gems for Piano by Paula Dreyer (her primer level is a supplemental book to Irina Gorin's Tales of a Musical Journey)

Repertoire by Rote by Dennis Alexander and Amy Greer - African Adventure and Holiday Rote and Reading Pieces by Wendy Stevens (she has composed some cool pieces that can be easily taught by rote)