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Music has been part of the human lifestyle since the beginning of time. Teaching and learning music was made through folk songs, lullabies, and traditional instruments made from wood, hide, and animal bones (Gerischer, 2017). During the colonial period and introduction to Christianity, learning music was done in churches and schools, which developed modern singing and reading music sheets. The first music academy introduced theories and methods of teaching music to improve the learners understanding of reading, composing and playing musical instruments. Through teaching music, students learn to be creative and acquire skills and experiences which build their musical persuasions. Different methods and materials are used in teaching and learning music and musical instruments.
Learning The Piano
The piano is one of the most familiar instruments that piques the interest of music lovers. In teaching piano, learners are grouped according to age, from children to adults. Beginner tutor books cover music for children between age six to ten and contain the primary and straightforward teaching materials that introduce learners to music. Teenagers, usually high school seniors, use more advanced tutor books that describe all information regarding the musical pieces. Finally, tutor books for adults contain more comprehensive and technical knowledge that requires higher understanding (Gerischer, 2017). In this essay, discussions entail the different textbooks, materials and pedagogy in piano lessons, showing their suitability and effectiveness in studying music.
Teaching and Learning Materials for Children
Learning the piano has become necessary for children aspiring to pursue music in education and as a career. For young beginners, the methods and materials for teaching are simple to help the learners understand the basics of music first. Children between five to ten years old understand more through pictures, colorful illustrations, and images as their minds are more visual. The best textbook for teaching piano lessons to young children is ‘Alfred’s Basic Piano Book 1A’ and ‘WunderKeys Primer Book One.’ They contain suitable material and content for teaching children (Comeau et al., 2019). The books start with colorful book covers that attract children to explore their contents. Inside, the books also contain intriguing and bright images motivating children to learn the musical content. ‘WunderKeys Primer Book One’ learning materials explains music pieces using cartoon illustration, which is more understandable because children see the action invoking the music (Brown, 2016). For example, the Twinkle Twinkle Little Star is described by pictures of twinkling stars, so the children get an idea of their playing.
Similarly, teachers can also use illustrations and images to explain the speed and power required to bring out the musical piece’s theme effectively. Besides using graphics to describe components and speed, they also compare piano keys and stave for new notes helping the children find the corresponding keys. Unlike adults and teenagers, Children get bored quickly when an activity goes on for a long time; therefore, the beginner’s textbook and learning materials presents learners with short pieces that start and end when the mind is still attentive.
The textbooks use short melodies that are interesting to hear. At the same time, the learning material presents short pieces performed in duets, either by partnering with students or singing along with the teacher, making learning more exciting than when a student performs solo (Brown). Learning for beginners and children using the two books effectively as images are easy to understand and remember when connecting the new things learned every day. The learning material also uses large and bold fonts that are easy to highlight crucial points for remembrance. With ‘Alfred’s Basic Piano Book 1A’ and ‘WunderKeys Primer Book One,’ learning and teaching the piano is exciting considering the colorful images, sweet melodies, funny illustrations, and primary language, motivating learners to learn to explore every day (Comeau et al., 2019). Thus, this book makes both teaching and learning seem so exciting.
Teaching and Learning Materials for Teens
Teenagers are more mentally advanced and require learning materials that contain more information. For example, before playing a piano piece, a teenager requires comprehensive knowledge regarding style and the composer’s background to understand the music better. Two books that offer effective piano lessons for teenagers are Hal Leonard,s ‘Piano for Teens Method,’ written by Jennifer Linn, which combines ‘Wunderkeys Rock Repertoire For Teen Beginners Book 2’ as the teaching material. The books contain orderly guidelines that help teenage beginners learning to play the piano from the basics to the most complex bits (Perkins, 2018). For example, Hal’s teaching guidelines begin with the basic knowledge of the piano, which describes the piano’s components and structure in detail using WunderKeys book edition in giving home practice exercises.
As the textbooks for teenagers, images and pictures describe the various part of the piano that learners compare and memorize with time. A comparison is made between different piano types to better understand the piano’s structure, each having other systems with the same functions. Some of the components used in comparing the different structures include the keyboard cover, music rack, upper and lower panels and pedals. Using pictures and illustrations seems to be the best method of teaching and learning music regardless of age, as it has been used in both elementary and teenage textbooks (Comeau et al., 2019). While the textbook describes the piano structure, WunderKeys learning materials provide recorded musical pieces that enhance individual and group practice ensuring learners are well prepared for upcoming lessons.
Teenagers are more eager to learn and create new ideas where the recorded audio files can assist in previews during practice before and after lessons, enhancing skills in playing music pieces through repetition. Teachers use these audio files to monitor the learners’ progress in playing and developing musical works and reference material in teaching (Comeau et al., 2019). Since teenagers are keen on the background of a musical piece, Hal Leonard’s piano methods provide a comprehensive summary of the composer, the style used in composing the musical work and a preview of the work. More information about a musical piece gives relevant knowledge and understanding of the composer’s intention and emotion in creating the music. WunderKeys enables learners to incorporate mood and emotions in playing the piece by using the provided piano pieces.
When playing the piano, the first aspect to consider is the sitting position. Posture determines the comfortability of playing the piano regarding access to all keys and pedals for effective presentation (Gerischer, 2017). Instructions on sitting positions and postures are provided in the book, which teachers can use in demonstrating suitable poses. For example, a learner should sit with a straight back, relaxed shoulders, raised elbows and curved fingertips for pressing the keys. The books provide methods that enhance creativity and broaden the learner’s knowledge and skills in playing the piano, giving both teachers and learners an easy time learning.
Teaching and Learning Materials for Adults
Unlike teenagers and children, adults are more focused on their musical studies with solid aims and objectives. Adult beginners include first-time learners and those who have learned the piano before and require a re-introduction only (Gerischer, 2017). As adults have more learning abilities and an excellent understanding of concepts, learning materials and methods need to be comprehensive and informative (Curran, 2019). The two best books for this group of individuals are ‘Faber’s Adult Piano Adventures’ and ‘The Classical Piano Method Book 1’. They are used as learning materials, which offers complete knowledge and skills for teaching and learning the piano for adults regardless of previous knowledge or experiences playing (Monroe, 2018). The adult books contain all theoretical knowledge in playing the piano and is supplemented by audio and video files.
Playing the piano in adults focuses more on creating rhythms, recognizing notes, melody and playing in harmony with the high and low notes (Monroe, 2018). Because adults learn fast, they can read music sheets and combine theoretical knowledge with practical music when playing the piano. In this case, the textbook for learning materials provides comprehensive and no-nonsense theoretical notes for practice in producing a harmonious melody. Moreover, the textbooks enable teachers to review the learner’s progress by providing a review sheet at the end of each lesson. In addition, teachers comment on their students’ progress by watching pre-recorded videos of students playing during practice lessons. By monitoring the learner’s development, teachers can identify weak spots immediately and focus on them to enable fast learning in adult students. The pre-recorded videos and audios also help learners review and rate their performance and decide on the next steps. Adults are generally busy people who require flexible schedules in learning (Curran, 2019). Therefore, the textbooks offer learning lessons through video and audio files which are retrievable at a learner’s convenience.
Additionally, videos are usually long, with varying music files giving detailed instructions which can be viewed and reviewed to ensure all details are captured for effective performance (Monroe, 2018). Teachers can also give feedback using video and audio files hence learning through the internet, making it convenient for adults with a busy lifestyle. ‘Faber’s Adult Piano Adventures’ contains all content needed in adult piano learning, which is presented systematically for both learners and teachers.
To conclude, the age-related beginner materials for playing the piano, ‘Alfred’s Basic Piano Book 1A’ and ‘WunderKeys Primer Book One’ are the most suitable for learning and teaching young beginners. Colourful images and funny illustrations provide an exciting method of learning and teaching (Brown, 2016). Furthermore, the books consider children’s emotional and behavioral factors creating a favorable environment to ensure effective learning. ‘Piano for Teens’ combined with ‘Wunderkeys Rock Repertoire For Teen Beginners Book 2’ also qualify as suitable materials for teaching and learning. The books give relevant content based on teenager’s preferences and their capacity to manage and utilize the information. Finally, ‘Faber’s Adult Piano Adventures’ and The Classical Piano Method Book 1 in adult learning should be appreciated as they give adults a comprehensive and quick learning process. Both adult and teenage textbooks provide learning materials that can be reviewed for future reference: audio and video files. Apart from helping learners rate their performance, the pre-recorded videos also provide teachers with teaching materials for future classes.
Brown, D. R. (2016). Listening Lesson Practices in the Elementary General Music Classroom: A Mixed-Method Approach. Web.
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Comeau, G., Huta, V., Lu, Y., & Swirp, M. (2019). The Motivation for Learning Music (MLM) questionnaire: Assessing children’s and adolescents’ autonomous motivation for learning a musical instrument. Motivation and Emotion, 43(5), 705-718. Web.
Gerischer, C. (2017). Music education in social contexts – a study program. Revista Da FAEEBA, 26(48), 123-137. Web.
Monroe, M. F. (2018). A Descriptive Study of the Faber Series Piano Adventures and Its Implications for Piano Pedagogy. Web.