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#26588 - 09/05/01 01:44 PM PA vs MFLM vs MT vs Sing&Play vs Noona vs . ..
Lilla Offline
Star Member

Registered: 10/30/00
Posts: 1569
Loc: Chicago
Ok, all you pros! Speak up! I have reviewed everything I could find on pre-school and kindergarteners. I purchased copies of everything in the topic heading and more and have spent the past few days reviewing and comparing the materials. Here's what I'm doing: I'm cutting all the books apart and putting them all back together in the order that makes sense - it'll be arranged in more than one level. OK, just kidding. :rolleyes: Everytime I sit down and review the materials I change my mind I'm in such a tizzy that I'm even using GRAEMLINS :rolleyes:

Ok, here's what's sitting on the piano at this moment as materials of choice for a beginning kindergarten student: PA Primer Lessons, PA Primer Tech. & Art., and Sing&Play Workbook #1. Why? PA lessons is comprehensive, easy enough for a 5-yr. old to handle without continuous parent involvement, has fun/nice/familar songs. T&Art. offers reinforcement material for homework assignments as well as introducing technique. Sing&Play workbook is LARGE PRINT and well-laid out for elementary student. Did you ever see them try to get those alpha letters in the little spaces? HOWEVER, every book I looked at has its pluses/minuses, soooo, I'm thinking to also incorporate ideas from Sing&Play (that was on the music stand early in the morning as first choice) like cutting out pictures of hi/lo sounds, and the welcome song. JT Teaching Little Fingers has nice rote exercises in the first few lessons - think I'll incorporate them.

Noona Starter book enjoyed a brief spell on the music rack as the right choice. However, it seems to move into playing pieces too quickly. I just don't see that happening. MFLM was my method of choice early in the week but I decided it is better for groups, especially the Discovery Book. Music Tree was up there on the stand this morning. Almost went with it but I can't stand the BORING and stupid songs. Honestly, if they would just include better pieces it would be a hands down winner. I will however incorporate some MT concepts during lessons.

Until we get going I won't know how this little girl responds. We may dump the material and start from scratch. So, without opening up the entire debate which is pretty well documented here and in the archives, please tell me your successes and failures once you made your decision on materials. How and when did you supplement? Where did you make errors in judgement - or have surprising successes? Any advice to offer?

Help, the countdown is on . . . lessons start this weekend. Thanks, Lilla

[ 09-05-2001: Message edited by: Lilla ]

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#26589 - 09/05/01 02:31 PM Re: PA vs MFLM vs MT vs Sing&Play vs Noona vs . ..
Jason Offline
Star Member

Registered: 05/14/00
Posts: 2019
Loc: Iowa City, IA
I've used MT, Pathways, and PA. My brain likes MT, but my experience has been more positive with PA. The only thing MT and Pathways seem to have on PA is that they put a lot of early-pedagogy style language and activities alongside the music. I think the best way to go is to use PA (or another similar method) and have lesson plans that include MT or MFLM type activities and language as necessary.

For example, one thing that's nice about MT and MFLM is that they give the student two friends (Chip and Bobo, Mozart Mouse and Beethoven Bear) that help them along the way. It's a nice idea and can be helpful for some students. But there's no reason you can't invent your own Randy Racoon and Nancy Notehead and incorporate them into the method. \:D
_________________________
"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)


www.pianoped.com

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#26590 - 09/05/01 03:03 PM Re: PA vs MFLM vs MT vs Sing&Play vs Noona vs . ..
Lilla Offline
Star Member

Registered: 10/30/00
Posts: 1569
Loc: Chicago
Thanks, Jason. Now do you see why I want to cut apart all the books and put them back together? So tempting. 3-ring binders are cheap. ;\) Interesting comments on our little pals - I caught myself thinking to purchase Mozart M. and Beethoven B. even tho I had already decided not to use MFLM. Does that make sense? Then I thought I could just grab a couple beanie babies from my son's room. To be honest, I'm more interested in the welcome songs and such from the JT and Sing&Play books. I think a Kindergartener would respond real well to singing well-learned songs and getting some ear-training and voice practice to boot. Well, PA & the Sing&Play workbook have been sitting on my music stand for almost 2 hrs. That's a record. I'm looking forward to picking and choosing supplementary ideas from the other methods - sounds like fun altho I'll have to keep on my toes with the preparation and sequencing. Any other comments will be more than welcome. I didn't check out Pathways because my music store didn't have lower levels in stock. Is anything unique or especially interesting about Pathways? Thanks, Lila

 Quote:
Originally posted by Jason Sifford:
I've used MT, Pathways, and PA. My brain likes MT, but my experience has been more positive with PA. The only thing MT and Pathways seem to have on PA is that they put a lot of early-pedagogy style language and activities alongside the music. I think the best way to go is to use PA (or another similar method) and have lesson plans that include MT or MFLM type activities and language as necessary.

For example, one thing that's nice about MT and MFLM is that they give the student two friends (Chip and Bobo, Mozart Mouse and Beethoven Bear) that help them along the way. It's a nice idea and can be helpful for some students. But there's no reason you can't invent your own Randy Racoon and Nancy Notehead and incorporate them into the method. \:D

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#26591 - 09/05/01 04:01 PM Re: PA vs MFLM vs MT vs Sing&Play vs Noona vs . ..
Jalapeņo Offline
Star Member

Registered: 11/04/00
Posts: 5712
Randy Raccoon & Nancy Notehead. Hmmm... I guess you could find a raccoon beanie baby. But a notehead? Gotta think of something else that starts with "N." Let me think:

Nancy Nurse
Nancy Ninja Turtle (?)
Nancy Newt
Nancy Nighthawk

How 'bout the Friendly Faber Frog Family? \:D

[ 09-05-2001: Message edited by: Jalapeņo ]

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#26592 - 09/05/01 05:12 PM Re: PA vs MFLM vs MT vs Sing&Play vs Noona vs . ..
FrannyMeow Offline
Resident Member

Registered: 01/02/01
Posts: 376
Loc: Bellevue, WA
How about Nancy Nightengale?

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#26593 - 09/05/01 06:06 PM Re: PA vs MFLM vs MT vs Sing&Play vs Noona vs . ..
Deborah T. Freeman Offline
Contributing Member

Registered: 08/22/01
Posts: 32
Loc: South Carolina
Lilla
I went throught this process last week when beginning a new student.
I really tried to use PA or the new Piano Discoveries with this one little boy and I just couldn't do it! I must have taken the music on and off the music rack a dozen times before he came in for his lesson!
I ended up using Music Tree - couldn't help myself.
\:\) Good luck!

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#26594 - 09/06/01 06:33 AM Re: PA vs MFLM vs MT vs Sing&Play vs Noona vs . ..
Lilla Offline
Star Member

Registered: 10/30/00
Posts: 1569
Loc: Chicago
Deborah, thanks so much for your comments. You know precisely what I'm going thru. It isn't that I've never taught a 5-yr. old. It's just that I want to improve my approach and be more creative is my choice of materials. Yes, I want to use MT, but the boy I have in MT right now hasn't been responding well. Until he hit Bingo! He loves that song and has been practicing his little behind off. I've been giving him some additional folk-type songs from mysheetmusic.com. Thus, my hesitation to use MT again - they just don't get excited about the pieces. How is your student responding? Are you supplementing with worksheets or addl pieces? Are you coordinating any other method materials? Lilla

 Quote:
Originally posted by Deborah T. Freeman:
Lilla
I went throught this process last week when beginning a new student.
I really tried to use PA or the new Piano Discoveries with this one little boy and I just couldn't do it! I must have taken the music on and off the music rack a dozen times before he came in for his lesson!
I ended up using Music Tree - couldn't help myself.
\:\) Good luck!

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#26595 - 09/06/01 07:08 AM Re: PA vs MFLM vs MT vs Sing&Play vs Noona vs . ..
Lisa Kalmar Offline
Star Member

Registered: 04/10/00
Posts: 4277
Loc: KC
Jason,

Have you worked with a lot of 5 year olds? Were these "normal" ones or the kind that end up memorizing entire Clementi sonatinas to play for their 7th birthday party? ;\) When using PA with 'em, did you attempt to Music Tree-ize it or teach it fairly straight from the PA approach?

I know what you mean about your brain wanting MT. When I first started teaching Faber, I tried to MT and Pathways-ize it. When I stopped I had better student response. Just curious as to others' experiences....

Regarding little "friends", I'm not convinced they have that much appeal for today's students. They seem, to me, rather contrived. The most response I get from students on visuals comes from those little colored pics in PA, stuff I at first barely noticed. \:o (IMO, Chip & Bobo were waaaaaaay more fun back in the 60's-70's when they were HUGE and more prominently pictured in those Playtime books. \:D )

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#26596 - 09/06/01 10:00 AM Re: PA vs MFLM vs MT vs Sing&Play vs Noona vs . ..
Lilla Offline
Star Member

Registered: 10/30/00
Posts: 1569
Loc: Chicago
Lisa, can you tell me a little about Pathways for primer? I have Level 3 materials, but nothing at lower levels and my local store doesn't seem to carry the lower levels. Thanks, Lilla

[QUOTE]Originally posted by Lisa Kalmar:
[B]. . .When I first started teaching Faber, I tried to MT and Pathways-ize it.. .

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#26597 - 09/06/01 11:02 AM Re: PA vs MFLM vs MT vs Sing&Play vs Noona vs . ..
Lisa Kalmar Offline
Star Member

Registered: 04/10/00
Posts: 4277
Loc: KC
I was referring to more of a how-they-teach-concepts type situation. I got rid of my Pathways stuff some time ago and, frankly, can't remember if there even was a primer. I'm sure Arlene will tell us ;\) (Hi Sister!) or else Patti will show us, which reminds me - I didn't get a fall catalog and am gonna go order one N O W.

But first, a question for you or others. What advantages do you see in putting a 5 year old in formal piano lessons vs. waiting til age 8 (and perhaps suggesting they take Musikgarten in the meantime?) I'm not looking for a debate, just curious as to the rationale. I've been wondering if teachers that start 'em this young in formal piano do it because they see advantages or more because it helps 'em fill up their schedules. I turned away about 6 people who answered my ad that had 5 or 5 year olds, tellin them to save their money and wait til 2nd grade.

I am also curious if anyone has ever tracked the dropout rate of 5 and 6 year old beginners vs. the standard age 8ish beginners. Anyone?

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#26598 - 09/06/01 11:16 AM Re: PA vs MFLM vs MT vs Sing&Play vs Noona vs . ..
Eric Offline
Star Member

Registered: 04/04/00
Posts: 2325
Loc: New York, NY
 Quote:
Originally posted by Lisa Kalmar:

What advantages do you see in putting a 5 year old in formal piano lessons vs. waiting til age 8 (and perhaps suggesting they take Musikgarten in the meantime?) I'm not looking for a debate, just curious as to the rationale.


Lisa,

I'm relatively inexperienced with the 5-year-old set, but my instincts tell me that most of them are better off having a more broad-based experiential musical education at that age than mere piano study affords them.

Though I enjoy teaching Cubby, I believe it would have been more appropriate to wait until he's 7 or 8 for piano lessons, and for him to do Kindermusic, Musikgarten or some other program that is more about physically moving to the music, ("feeling" the beat) singing, and listening. In essence, that's what his piano lessons were reduced to, anyway.

I don't have a rationale for my position on this, other than the obvious one of readiness. Some 5 year-olds MAY be ready for piano, but most will enjoy a music class much more. As a teacher, I know I prefer teaching kids who've already learned to read and write. Maybe when PA comes out with their Early Childhood series I'll have a change of heart. In the meantime, I think the little ones get more out of dancing around to "Farmer in the Dell" than they do learning where Middle C is.

[ 09-06-2001: Message edited by: Eric ]

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#26599 - 09/06/01 11:51 AM Re: PA vs MFLM vs MT vs Sing&Play vs Noona vs . ..
Lilla Offline
Star Member

Registered: 10/30/00
Posts: 1569
Loc: Chicago
Every 5-yr old I've ever taught was the younger sibling of another student. I always had much discussion with the parents before students embarking on lessons - they must know, read, and write their alpha and #'s, and their fingers must be strong enough to get the keys down. And they must REALLY want to take piano. I have had no drop-outs from that age group. I do not have a waiting list or I would be more selective. But, I LOVE teaching the little ones. The parents of the student starting this week have been talking to me for more than a year and say that their daughter is begging, begging, begging for lessons. Sits at the piano all the time. Soooo, we'll give it a try. We go slow. BTW, many of my students are transfers from a Christian school that provides private instruction onsite and they start them in Kindergarten - recitals and all. Lilla

P.S. I've been checking out local colleges for Early Ed courses - I love this age group and want to know more.

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#26600 - 09/06/01 12:30 PM Re: PA vs MFLM vs MT vs Sing&Play vs Noona vs . ..
Jalapeņo Offline
Star Member

Registered: 11/04/00
Posts: 5712
I started teaching PK when she turned 5, solely because she started playing well by ear at age 4 & just couldn't seem to stay away from the piano. It seemed like the right time to capture her interest & get her started playing. We went really slow, though. It worked, but I would not recommend that the average child start formal piano lessons at age 5. I agree with Eric & Lisa. They're much better off taking general music readiness classes, then starting formal piano lessons at age 7 or 8.

I have a question about muscular control. A while back, I taught a 4-year-old girl (MFLM) who could barely color the pictures. She scribbled mostly. My youngest daughter, who is now 3.5 years old, can color quite well. She can control her muscles enough to stay within the lines, even with pictures that are quite detailed & have lines that are close together. My question is: At what age is the average child expected to be able to color a picture & stay in the lines? Is my child exceptional or average?

Jalapeņo, just wondering, Pepper

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#26601 - 09/06/01 04:28 PM Re: PA vs MFLM vs MT vs Sing&Play vs Noona vs . ..
Jason Offline
Star Member

Registered: 05/14/00
Posts: 2019
Loc: Iowa City, IA
 Quote:
Originally posted by Lisa Kalmar:
Jason,

Have you worked with a lot of 5 year olds? Were these "normal" ones or the kind that end up memorizing entire Clementi sonatinas to play for their 7th birthday party? ;\)


One (Pathways) was above average and did very well. She was, however, the kind of student that could have succeeded in any method with virtually any teacher. She was that good. My MT students were average to below-average. One book a year, and even that wasn't easy. With PA, I did pretty straight PA and it worked out rather well. It really is a solid method. I will say that MT and Pathways were easier to use in group classes - and that PA was easier for me to use in private lessons. Not sure that's because of the method, though, that could be because of me.
_________________________
"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)


www.pianoped.com

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#26602 - 09/06/01 05:00 PM Re: PA vs MFLM vs MT vs Sing&Play vs Noona vs . ..
OKMusician Offline
Mainstay Member

Registered: 03/01/01
Posts: 602
Loc: Oklahoma
My first 5 year old was my son who is now 21. He stayed with lessons until JH, then stopped, but played in the band. He still plays any time he's home--he's very talented. I've had 5 & 6 year olds ever since. I start some younger ones in MFLM, but many I start right out in PA. Most do very well. I have a very low dropout rate--no higher than later starters. One of the advantages of starting earlier is that they have fewer activities and get into the habit of practicing before their schedule gets so overloaded! I thoroughly enjoy the "wee ones" and have great luck with them.
_________________________




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#26603 - 09/06/01 07:42 PM Re: PA vs MFLM vs MT vs Sing&Play vs Noona vs . ..
Susan Offline
Star Member

Registered: 01/03/01
Posts: 2168
Loc: Texas
I agree with OKMusician. I have started many 5 yr olds, but I am selective and suggest some wait a year or two. I decide during an interview if they are physically and mentally ready. I find that if I carefully select who starts at kindergarten level, the drop out rate is lower than older children. As OKMusician says, they have fewer activities and they get into better practice habits. Also, when a student is in second grade and can play a piece such as Gypsy Earrings with style, well that is a huge motivator to continue. They feel very special. When the same boy or girl is in 5th grade playing big sounding pieces, the reinforcement to continue is great. I used to teach elementary music in public school, and the 4-5th graders who were not very far in their lessons books would get discouraged and want to quit piano and do band instead because they said then they would be beginners along with everyone else. They were so embarrassed to be playing easy pieces. I know this is not true for all children. This is just a general trend I have noticed over the years. I would like to point out that as a school teacher I taught ages 3 to 18, and I have taken many classes in child development, so I feel very comfortable with the young ones. Please forgive my disjointed writing. I do not seem to have the talent to express myself as well as some of you!

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#26604 - 09/06/01 08:03 PM Re: PA vs MFLM vs MT vs Sing&Play vs Noona vs . ..
John Offline
Star Member

Registered: 03/29/01
Posts: 2448
Loc: Bellingham, WA
Total "ditto" to Susan's and OK's posts. With a typical 5 year old, we can easlily go for 35-45 minutes, but only about 10 of that is "playing pieces" (broken up). Maybe add 5 or more of improv/playbacks, 5 of "keyboard races" (drills/note find...eyes open and closed), and the rest is the many other things you would do in any early music program. So I have never really called lessons for 4-6 "formal lessons", since it's more like music playtime with a piano in the room. If the student is ready and THE PARENTS ARE INVOLVED 100%, we can make a LOT of progress before the added stress of homework/social-life/3rd grader "attitude" enters the picture. Developing the art habit and routine early on definitely has advantages. The trick is to constantly watch the eyes; if they aren't 'smiling' most of the time you need to change your approach.

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#26605 - 09/07/01 12:29 PM Re: PA vs MFLM vs MT vs Sing&Play vs Noona vs . ..
Lisa Kalmar Offline
Star Member

Registered: 04/10/00
Posts: 4277
Loc: KC
THanks for all of those responses and thanks, Lilla, for letting me blight up your thread! I like all of your rationales, and can think of one other: Families that are willing to fork over the bucks for early piano lessons (the $$ being roughly twice what one would pay for Musikgarten, etc.) have automatically shown a commitment to lessons.

One more question: What kind of parental involvment are those of you regularly taking this age group requiring? Are you asking the parents to sit down on the bench and supervise the practice of their child every day? Do you require that the parent attend the lesson? Thanx!

Sigh....I think there's a real niche here for teaching this age group in a private setting. I wish the Fabers would get that earlier program out! I'm hoping it will be an excellent compilation of the best of all the other methods we've discussed!

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#26606 - 09/07/01 01:44 PM Re: PA vs MFLM vs MT vs Sing&Play vs Noona vs . ..
Diane Offline
Contributing Member

Registered: 08/10/01
Posts: 23
I agree that many five-year-olds are not ready for single-instrument lessons. I do teach them, though, and for one simple reason -- the parents demand it, and if I won't do it, there are plenty of other teachers who will. I have had success with these kids, but in my opinion they are bored with piano in two or three years, plus when they are nine years old, it shocks them that students who started later play as well as them after only one or two years of lessons. I use PA primer, by the way. I also like MT's approach, but like others I've found their music to be unappealing to students (and me!)

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#26607 - 09/07/01 03:15 PM Re: PA vs MFLM vs MT vs Sing&Play vs Noona vs . ..
John Offline
Star Member

Registered: 03/29/01
Posts: 2448
Loc: Bellingham, WA
Parents attend ALL lessons and participate in many activities, and try to recreate what I do at lessons during home practice. I also send them home with guidelines as to use of language, approaching musicianship skills, and guiding/encouraging improvisations.

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#26608 - 09/07/01 03:26 PM Re: PA vs MFLM vs MT vs Sing&Play vs Noona vs . ..
Susan Offline
Star Member

Registered: 01/03/01
Posts: 2168
Loc: Texas
Lisa, I do require that a parent sit in on the lessons for several months. I also ask the parent to practice with the child. Since I am careful whom I allow to start lessons at this age, by the second year they can practice by themselves.
You know, some kids teach themselves to read at age 4. By first grade they can read Harry Potter. By the same token there are children who are gifted in piano. They are ready to start. I don't belive the talented, very intelligent child should be held back. But we should be very convincing to the parents of children who are not ready, so they will wait. I had to turn down the child of a good friend because her child was not ready.
In our area, most of our children turn 6 very soon after they start kindergarten. My own daughter was already 6 when she started kindergarten. In some areas, kindergarten children are younger.
Are the Fabers working on an early level book?

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#26609 - 09/07/01 05:18 PM Re: PA vs MFLM vs MT vs Sing&Play vs Noona vs . ..
Lilla Offline
Star Member

Registered: 10/30/00
Posts: 1569
Loc: Chicago
I address parent involvment at the lesson and at home on an individual basis. Here's why: First, I teach out of my home so I'm not in a true classroom setting with multiple keyboards, tables, chairs, computers, chalkboards,etc. Secondly, I've learned thru experience that parents and students react quite differently. I have one family where I have had to request that parents not attend because the students act silly and uncooperative (time for discipline thread ;)) Without parents there, the students are fine. Another family is overly involved. It became obvious that mom was doing the work, not the student. I have worked with both that mom and students to act independently. Good part is that mom is excellent at monitoring when I tell her to. Another mom (horrors) had applied sticker names to all the keys - it was some time before I knew. Lightbulbs!! Many put a time limit on practicing instead of following assignments. I think it's a result of today's over-scheduled kid. The whole point here is that requesting parental involvement in itself is not the answer. Somehow we have to balance the instruction, the supervision, and the student independence to ensure progress. Lilla

We're in the final countdown and I still have PA lessons and tech&art, plus Sing&Play's workbook, Write and Listen on the music stand. My fingers are crossed - I'm gonna give it a try. Supplementing at the lesson with MT and lot's of Sing & Play concepts. I'll let you know how it goes. Thanks.

[ 09-07-2001: Message edited by: Lilla ]

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#26610 - 09/09/01 04:27 PM Re: PA vs MFLM vs MT vs Sing&Play vs Noona vs . ..
Lilla Offline
Star Member

Registered: 10/30/00
Posts: 1569
Loc: Chicago
Hi, all. Thought I'd give you a run-down on this 1st 30-min. lesson. It went surprisingly well. The girl is teeny tiny, 5 yrs. old but I had no trouble with coordination or holding her attention. I had her write her name down a couple times - no trouble. She laid out the alpha cards and informed me we were missing a letter (!). Quickly caught on. We worked on hi/middle/low sounds - that was more challenging but she's getting it. Working on finger #'s, tapping & hand position. Sitting and arm position. Kept her moving on and off the bench. Had no time to get into the PA lesson songs. I think she could have easily handled 45min. Next week will again be 30, but think I'll move her to 45 after that. Her parents did not stay but I sent her home with complete instructions for reinforcement of all that we covered. Based on what happens next week, we'll decide if her parents need to be at the lesson. Did not get into any singing or improvisation - partly cause of time, partly cause I'm not oriented to jump into those first. Well, I won't take up time to give you play by plays, but I will let you know if she handles PA ok, and if her parents end up attending or not. (She does have a brother who also takes lessons.) Thanks, everyone. Overall, I'm very pleased and think I'm on the right track thanks to all your input. Lilla

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#26611 - 09/09/01 11:00 PM Re: PA vs MFLM vs MT vs Sing&Play vs Noona vs . ..
Joy123 Offline
Mainstay Member

Registered: 05/22/00
Posts: 566
 Quote:
Originally posted by Susan:

Are the Fabers working on an early level book?[/B]


YES THEY ARE, SUSAN. According to what Randall Faber told me via e-mail, their projected date for release is the fall of 2002. I'm so eager to see it!

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#26612 - 09/13/01 07:36 PM Re: PA vs MFLM vs MT vs Sing&Play vs Noona vs . ..
bethann Offline
Resident Member

Registered: 10/12/00
Posts: 359
Loc: Nebraska
If you remember, I was in a big debate with myself over what to use for a new five-year-old student last summer. Eventually I went with MFLM. It's not perfect, but she and I are enjoying it a lot. I really love the way it allows you to spend 10 minutes on one activity and then focus on something completely different. We go from piano to desk to floor and the lesson doesn't get stale. The Discovery book might work BEST in a group situation, but my little student loves it and has no problem dancing around all by herself.

Now, Mozart Mouse and Beetoven Bear - not the big hit I imagined they would be. Also, the CD recording of them telling the story is very boring to her. We use the CD for the accompaniments and such, but I read the parts of the story I think are necessary.

Also, I am still not certain that piano lessons benefit a 4 or 5 year old any more than a music appreciation class would. My other student who started at 5 (this little girl's brother - we used Bastien Piano Party) is now at the same point in the PA Primer as my two 7 year olds who started in June. (He is 7 as well.) But, I might see the benefits later on, so who knows.

Wow, I don't post for awhile and then I just go on and on - sorry for the rambling!

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#26613 - 09/14/01 12:08 AM Re: PA vs MFLM vs MT vs Sing&Play vs Noona vs . ..
John Offline
Star Member

Registered: 03/29/01
Posts: 2448
Loc: Bellingham, WA
As I sign up another preschooler I just realized a common trait:

ALL of the preschoolers I have taught that have been successful at piano lessons (and are still enrolled) had either Kindermusic or some other early childhood experience.

When the singing voice, sense of beat & rhythm, ear, and control of rhythmic movement are all "there", it is an easy transition to add piano playing to the mix.

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#26614 - 09/14/01 06:19 AM Re: PA vs MFLM vs MT vs Sing&Play vs Noona vs . ..
Jalapeņo Offline
Star Member

Registered: 11/04/00
Posts: 5712
Originally posted by John:
As I sign up another preschooler I just realized a common trait:

ALL of the preschoolers I have taught that have been successful at piano lessons (and are still enrolled) had either Kindermusic or some other early childhood experience.

When the singing voice, sense of beat & rhythm, ear, and control of rhythmic movement are all "there", it is an easy transition to add piano playing to the mix.


None of my own children were enrolled in early childhood music classes. I just spend a lot of time working with them at home. No special curriculum--we just listen to music & sing a lot. None of the children I taught in Costa Rica were enrolled in early childhood music classes, either. However, they all received daily exposure to music at school & at home--moreso than here in the States because in Central America, music is an integral part of day-to-day life. You can't shop in a store down there without hearing rhythmic latin music blaring from the radio. All school children are taught to read music & play the recorder, to dance, & to march in the annual Independence Day parade.

What children need are parents who will spend time with them, singing & listening & dancing to music. But I guess that's not going to happen in America, so the early childhood music classes are the next best thing.

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#26615 - 09/14/01 09:13 AM Re: PA vs MFLM vs MT vs Sing&Play vs Noona vs . ..
John Offline
Star Member

Registered: 03/29/01
Posts: 2448
Loc: Bellingham, WA
Good point! We have compartmentalized so many aspects of a young child's education that the whole "early childhood" music thing is our attempt to supplement what used to be present in homes and communities.

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#26616 - 09/17/01 10:08 AM Re: PA vs MFLM vs MT vs Sing&Play vs Noona vs . ..
Lisa K. Studtmann Offline
Contributing Member

Registered: 08/22/01
Posts: 46
Loc: USA
Jalapeno, you raise a distinction teachers need to keep in mind when working within the current culture. It is important to realize, when dealing with young people and their parents, that our society has really changed from one of music makers to one of music consumers. That is our teaching reality.

In addition, most of the 20-somethings and early 30-somethings out there received a remarkably different musical upbringing in the public schools than many of us more "mature" teachers due to vast educational changes that occurred in the US. We need to bear this in mind at all times. (Thankfully, there has been yet another shift in thinking at this point to take us back to what we now realize probably worked better, but that's another topic for another day!) Many of the parent-clients that come to us simply were not given the musical backgrounds or tools necessary to provide a home that supplements the musical instruction we provide. There is no malice on their part - many simply do not understand, for the most part, what is helpful. Young child programs like Kindermusik and Musikgarten, among others, serve to provide remedial family help as well as teach "straight" music like we do in private lessons. This is but one factor that sets these programs apart from private lessons at the early childhood age. What are some ways that the private lesson teacher (of the very young) could also provide this remediation?

John, your comments reflect the theories prevalent in the "wholistic" world of early childhood music & movement ed: that the body is and should be the first instrument of choice. Until a child has internalized the beat and can move to music (as well as express one's self through music) he or she is not ready to begin formalized study of an instrument.

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