May 31st, 2010
New scales, Chords / cadences, arpeggios book introduction: “Play Piano In All Keys” by Eva Martin Hollaus.
I have been entering students in the Annual Guild Auditions since 2001 and average about 26 – 35 students each year with a National or International program. All my students, with the exception of students I only had for a few months and that are entering Guild, are performing scales, arpeggios and chords / cadences.
I have used the usual scales books, e.g. Hanon, Keith Snell; those are all excellent books giving accurate scales fingering. BUT I was not happy with the results. My students are your above average mostly straight A students, who are busy with too many school activities and also are talented in everything they touch, including piano. Piano playing is an extracurricular choice activity for my students and most enter the Certificate of Merit (TM) and the NGPT Guild auditions.
I could organize their preparation folders so they could zip through efficiently practicing their 7 pieces (or bringing them back) and then learn / review their scales / chords / cadences / arpeggios – musicianship phases.
Years ago, when I started my piano studio here in Perris, CA, that was in 2000 (brand new), I used to hand draw the scales fingering charts, to help my students memorize the fingering and help acquire accurate, permanent fingering. A few years later, I asked my students to draw up the fingering charts on their computer spreadsheets. Well, as you could guess, that did not happen – too busy with everything else.
So, I decided to do it myself. I learned this internet course how to create a website, a little about advertising, learned the windows Office Suite and started putting down how I could get my students through any 10 piece programs. First, I published my downloadable books and then I took the time to develop the print books. I did not want to compromise. I knew I had to take the time and typeset it all myself to get the look the way I wanted it. All my books and charts are tested in my studio. These books are what I use to get a rock solid technical foundation in the least amount of time. In the 10 years of Guild auditions, I have only had 2 students whom I could never motivate sufficiently to learn a national program. And I am counting now, over 200 National / International programs.
I developed these books, to efficiently teach the phases from EB through High School Diplomas. I also entered students in EA with 5 musicianship phases and as soon as I can, I will put my Elementary A manual together.
But for right now, I am truly enjoying the results of my hard work. This is the first year, where I can sit back and my students are playing through their scales / chords / cadences / arpeggios phases one scale after another, one keys set after another. Often Guild judges ask to play the phases in one particular key. Well, that’s how the book is structured: “C” everything, then “G” everything, etc., including black keys, including enharmonic keys. This is the first year, I can sit and enjoy and they turn page after page and play ACCURATELY and EXACTLY scale after scale, chords / cadences and arpeggios.
What a relief for me as a teacher to have these books! Using the usual scale books, the notes are small, the fingering uses a 10 point type style and reading keys signatures and notes adds many obstacles for some of my students. My teaching philosophy is, to teach each element by itself. That way I get undivided attention and focus and in a short time each of the baby steps gets accomplished easily. When we practice scales using my charts, all difficulties are removed: no notes and a HUGE print; the notes letter match the keys black and white, the contrast is great. Even 5 year old students and beginners can decipher these scales charts. The entire manual is graphic. White keys are white, Black keys are black. All labeled correctly, with the correct letter names. Each correct keys has the correct finger number!
I also really like the idea of ONE BOOK, rather than needing to purchase a new book each year. When students learn the phases in the various levels, I simply mark the sections they need to practice, and that’s how they learn them. Even with minimal practice time, we are able to get the national programs done.
The essence of practicing scales is technique and fingering. With the scales charts and scales sorted, so you can practice sets of keys, it is actually fun practicing scales. Several months ago, I took some time in the morning and practiced blocks of 30 minutes one set of Major / Harmonic, Melodic, Natural Minors scales with metronome and found it very relaxing. I could not wait to get back to the piano and practice another block of 30 minutes. Remembering back to my Conservatory times, just like most students, I hated scales thought of them as boring — and you know they were: there is not much variation in playing Major and relative minor. On the other hand, practicing one set Major and Parallel Minors – the fingering is quite similar, or identical, there is just enough variation for the mind to not fatigue and you can actually relax into the tonality of the key to really “tune” your body. This only makes sense: the loser you are, the more reverberation your body with feel with the sounds of one scale, the better your playing will be and the sound quality and your projection of melody.
Please, visit: http://www.playpianoinallkeys.com for more information, or just purchase your copy with the free reports as a product bundle at: www.classicalpianolesson.com.www.classicalpianolesson.com
Good luck and enjoy!