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It is also u ncertain what specific skills and concepts are being taught across institutions Slawsky, Inadequate preparation is a concern because piano teachers today must teach in a variety of educational settings, including the private instructional setting and the group piano setting; and te aching to the nonmusic major, the music major, and adults Uszler, Uszler said the concert or recital performance is no longer the PAGE 38 38 exclusive goal of the piano teacher. K eyboard lab, classroom, small group, and other educational settings have changed the goals of the piano teacher Uszler, These goals now emphasize Uszler, , p.

Piano teachers must also consider different musica l genres to connect with music serve the contemporary piano teacher as teaching tools, along with chamber music, accompanying, and musical theatre music to keep pianists engaged and A degree in piano pedagogy or a piano performance degree, along with strong pedagogical training, should be considered essential for a career in piano teaching Lyke, b. With the trend sh ifting toward group teaching at the piano and functional skills at the piano, there has also been an increase in pedagogical materials and methods books Uzler, However, little is known about which methods are effective Uszler, It is common for the piano teacher to use material from various methods books Us zler, It is typical books within a series according to personal teaching philosophy or the needs and , p.

Functional Keyboard S kills As noted earlier, the goals of the piano teacher emphasize ing students for more college options Clarfield, D evelopment of functional piano ski lls and musicianship training for intermediate age students is important because these skills teach students basic musical knowledge Lyke, e. While some aspiring musicians may choose to learn functional piano PAGE 39 39 skills in colle ge, music educators believ e in preparation in functional skills before college Christensen, Christensen su rveyed general elementary music teachers along with secondary school band, choral, and orchestra teachers to determine which functional piano skills these teachers use and how often.

Respondents said while functional piano skills are important for music education majors, pre collegiate students who show an interest in teaching should be encouraged to learn functional skills in piano lessons before college C hristensen, The respondents said, in doing so, the general level of piano proficiency of music education majors would increase.

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What is more, a piano student who shows an interest in teaching needs a strong set of functional piano skills, as the student is more likely to teach those skills Uzler, compared to other musicians. Uszler said within the music teacher chain of command, the keyboard teacher is typically accountable for teaching functional music skills. An explanation for this tren d in piano teaching : the nature of the keyboard makes piano teacher a likely candidate for teaching functional skill proficiency.

She said piano teachers in gene ral are more likely to focus on teaching functional musical skills in a ddition to solo repertoire compared with choral or instrumental teachers. She said it is typical for piano teachers to teach their students harmonization, transposition, improvisation, and other functional skills while simultaneously preparing the student for a formal recital Uszler, I dentification of a list of skills to be developed during intermediate years should help piano teachers to plan a curriculum Uszler, b.

The group piano class has also been viewed as an important tool to assist in theory instruction Uszler, Teachers find th e group method of instruction advantageous because they are able to teach the same concept to multiple students, simultaneously, in a fraction of the time it would take to teach just one student in back to back private lessons.

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Students learn through active participation, exploration, and discovery in the group setting, as opposed to the imitation method often used in a private setting Skaggs, The teacher in this group setting act s as a guide as students develop skills that include listening, peer interaction, positive peer encouragement, and self accountability Skaggs, The piano instructor must decide on the balance between group instruction and solo instruction within t he curriculum at a performing arts school. Teachers often use the group piano setting to focus on functional skills, and use the private, one on one, teacher student setting, to teach applied piano performance Skaggs, As noted above, some advanta ges of group teaching include students being able to learn together, to conduct ear training and rhythmic drills in unison, to play for their peer audience, and to be exposed to a greater portion of piano literature Skaggs, Group lessons can, therefore, establish the instructional model that can enhance the emotional literacy of every piano student.

A challenge for the teacher of group piano : the teacher must spend many hours planning appropriate meth ods and materials for the group piano curriculum Skaggs, The teacher also must be able to effectively manage the classroom Therefore it is valuabl e for the teacher to have had coursework in education, psychology, and testing Skaggs, S trong organizational skills and coursework in group teaching are also valuable for the group piano teacher Skaggs, 1 Piano Teacher and Assessment Goffe performing arts high schools should be developed to encourage uniformity in standards valuation and assessment components are key to a succes sful musical curriculum Abeles et al.

Music educators must assess a variety of skills in music, including performance, music history, composition, composition, and aural skills Kostka, Once a studen t is admitted to a performing arts magnet school, teachers must consider the unique educational demographic due because of diverse backgrounds Daniel, Therefore, it is important not to assess students based on their rank PAGE 43 43 relative to the rest of the class Butera, Instead, the assessm ent should be based on whether specific criteria ha ve been met. As piano teachers are becoming increasingly responsible for equipping students with a broa der set of functional piano skills Vogt, , Uszler, 19 92 within the piano curriculum along with solo repertoire proficiency, it is important that piano teachers assess students on these skills Kostka, Assessment will help teachers determine iculum such as Ornstein and Hunkins, , p.

In their recent article Teaching and Learning: Using Experiential Learning and Reflection for Leadership Education, Guthrie and Bertrand discuss Dewey who believed that experi ential learning gives educators and students a chance for reflection on the experience, therefore creating a more meaningful learning opportunity. The experiential learning theory suggests that learning occurs through process in which individuals learn and develop, based on the experience Guthrie and Bertrand, Through reflection, part of the process proposed by Kolb , we can determine which criteria are being met Butera, and which elements of the curriculum could be eliminated or chang ed Ornstein and Hunkins, , p.

Students from music PAGE 44 44 programs at performing art s schools are consistently highly qualified to pursue further study or to pursue a career in the performing arts U.

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Department of Education, b This is partly because of dedicated teaching Dyaz, and partly because the unique educational environment includ es a rigorous curriculum of arts and core academic courses Daniel, U. Department of Education, b A primary goal of performing arts schools is to provide students with pre professional training Goffe, Many piano students at performing arts schools are dually enrolled in private studio lessons; so the piano teacher must work to engage the student in the keyboard lab setting and in many cases, supplement their private studio instruction.

Today, piano teachers are challenged to give 21 st century students fundamental and contemporary course o ptions in music Slawsky, ; Meichang, to engage students and prepare them for success. Therefore, it is suggested that piano teachers have a strong knowledge of educational and psychological le arning theories Uszler, a ; and pedagogical, technologic al, and performance training at the piano Lyke, a. It is also suggested that piano teachers at performing arts schools teach a comprehensive musical education, which includes performance skills and functional piano skills Uszler, It is also suggested teachers provide extra curricular activities such as master classes and field trip s Goffe, , while using the group piano and solo teacher may have to seek addit ional fund ing resources to do this Walker, These skills and other musicianship skills should arfield, Finally, piano teachers must find ways to assess functional skills and repertoire requirements.

In addition, performing arts high schools should be developed to encourage uniformity in s tandards However, quantifiable data on what students know and learn in music education classes at state and national levels is limited because teachers have a difficult time assessing creative and performing arts c omponents Mark, In conclusion, performing arts schools provide a unique environment to research current trends in curriculum at the piano.

By taking an in depth look into the piano programs at performing arts school s we can find out what cou rses are being taught; what training and skills teachers find beneficial to teac h in these unique environments; and which courses they would like to add, remove, or change in their current school program. Finally, by looking at modes of assessment used by these teachers, we can determine the best ways to set students up for collegiate and professional success.

The primary purpose of the study was to identify and explore the current teaching qualifications, teaching positions, classes taught, mandatory requirements, and materials used by piano teachers at performing arts schools. Based on this, the researcher identified similarities in the curricu lum and methods used by these piano teachers and identified improvements sought by piano teachers regarding the current teaching situation at their magnet school.


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Based on the se similarities and teacher suggested improvements, the researcher developed a suggested curriculum to prepare the students to enter college as a piano major. The suggested curriculum is located at the end of Chapter 5 after the discussion of the results and recommendations for further research Research Design The exploratory resear ch used a one shot case study approach, with a mixed methods research design.

While the research is primarily quantitative in nature, to strengthen the study, open ended questions provided a qualitative component in one survey section as a means to gat her more in depth information. Q uanti tative and qualitative data were collected simultaneously.

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Target P opulation A target population, sometimes referred to as the sampling frame individuals with some common defining characteristic that the researcher can identify PAGE 47 47 th e schools, teacher names, and email addresses of piano teachers, adjunct and part time, who teach any kind of piano at their respective performing arts high school. Procedures Before the actual study, the researcher conducted a pilot study, using the rese archer developed survey discussed below with piano teachers in Florida from two separate performing arts schools that belong to the Arts School Network ASN An online questionnaire created in Qualtrics was distributed to the se piano teachers.

A total of 10 teachers completed the pilot study The pilot s tudy contained four sections: s tudent recruitment and achievement, program requirements, student assessment information, and teacher demographic information.


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  7. Because of the target sample for the pilot st udy piano teachers at schools belonging to the Arts School Network , pilot participants were assumed to be representative of the population for the actual study Results of the pilot study were reviewed with an external auditor. In an external researcher hires or obtains the services of an individual outside the study to review many aspects of the research.


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    This auditor reviews the project and writes or consu lted with colleagues in music education, and changed from nominal scale questions to open ended questions, asking participants to type in the exact number of students in their program. This change shortened the survey, and allowed the researcher to collect more accurate answers by allowing teachers to write in specific program size numbers.

    After revising the survey Appendix A the researcher sent the email through the Qualtrics system inviting these teachers to participate in the study. The email conta ined PAGE 48 48 a link to the electronic survey teachers could choose to open and answer. The first schedule of emails was sent on October 29 th A total of surveys were emailed to 79 schools belonging to the Arts School Network that fit the criteria of a p erforming arts magnet school with a piano program.

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    Survey Instrument The study used a researcher developed survey based on similar research on arts schools and high school music programs Goffe, ; Gordon, ; Hinkle, ; Lacognata, ; Perry, 20 The survey consisted mainly of closed ended questions in which the participant was forced to choose from a set of predetermined responses. Section 1 teacher background and qualifications , consisted of close ended questions in the format of nominal scales, ordinal scales, and interval scales to gather quantitative data from respondents.

    Nominal scales were used to collect data about teacher background and specialties, where open ended questions were used to gather quantitative data about program siz e and years of teaching experience. Section 2 student recruitment, achievement, and requirements used nominal scales to gather data about student entrance criteria, student graduation rates, and program objectives. PAGE 49 49 Section 3 of the survey asked responde nts to answer both nominal scale questions and open ended questions.

    The nominal scale questions asked teachers to check off which courses are currently required within their program. The open ended questions asked which courses teachers would add, delete, or change in their current curriculum and why. Finally, Section 4 assessment and evaluation practices contained nominal scale questions about assessment and evaluation practices. Data Analysis Data from the quantitative portion of the survey were anal yzed using descriptive statistics that describe, summarize, and explain the data Johnson and Christensen, Data from the qualitative portion of the survey underwent content analysis.

    Content analysis is a systematic technique that allows a researc her to compress many words of text into content categories based on explicit rules of coding and is used to determine trends and patterns Stemler, Content analysis helped helped compare them to the literature. Validity and Reliability The researcher asked committee members and professional colleagues in the field of music education to evaluate the questions before they were pilot tested to ensure item validity.

    Feedback from participants was used to make needed revisions to the survey. Content validity was established through review by an external audit.

    The open the responses; and was checked by experts in the field. Reliability for the revised survey was based on a Cronbach alpha coefficient of 0. Furthermore, only one version of the survey was distributed, to increase internal consistency. Summary In conclusion, the pilot study allowed me to identify similarities in the requirements of piano majors and similarities in the entrance criteria for piano majors at perf orming arts schools.

    The pilot study also helped identify questions needing to be revised or converted to open ended questions, to yield more accurate answers and shorten the survey. The researcher was also able to identify which courses were currently re quired, and which courses teachers would like to see added to their curriculum. In total, emails were sent to 79 schools from the Arts School Network that fit the criteria of a performing arts high sc hool.

    Fifty seven teachers returned the survey. The survey was divided into four sections: teacher demographic information, student recruitment and a chievement information, program requirements, and student assessment information. Data collected from the questionnaires are presented below. Description and analysis of survey results are presented in conjunction with the questions as designated on the su rvey Table 4 1 to 4 19; Figure 4 1 to Figure 4 8. Research Questions RQ1: Are there similar course offerings in piano departments among arts schools belonging to the Arts School Network?

    RQ3: What are the requirements of piano majors at performing arts schools? RQ5: Is there a piano requirement for all music majors in the music program at a performing arts school?