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100899628 Goran Brkovic YouTube for Teaching Piano Accompaniment

100899628 Goran Brkovic YouTube for Teaching Piano Accompaniment

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Published by: gbrkovic611 on Aug 21, 2012
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Using Youtube For Teaching PianoAccompaniment
By:
Goran Brković
Creative Commons License:
CC BY-SA
Author contact:
@gbrkovic
Author Biography:
Goran Brković is a pianoteacher and teacher of piano accompanimentfrom Europe, Serbia, Čačak. Works in a stateMusic School "Vojislav - Lale Stefanović", in Užice (Elementary Music School andHigh School of Music.) More info at
and
Activity Summary
Teacher should prepare before preforming this lesson by choosing the pieces according to studentability, grade, and program requirement, searching Youtube links for pieces students will play alongwith, selecting useful performances, collecting and saving the links in a document available alsoduring lessons, other important activities: keeping tracks of what is already done, making notes andreflections about students' achievements, and allowing some time for students to read and practicethe pieces at home. During the lesson every student performs warming up, without accompanyingthe Youtube recording, every student works on her / his own part's technically most difficult spots,or musically most complex points, one student accompanying the new / different Youtube videorecording -15 minutes, the other student accompanying the new Youtube video performance -15minutes.
Class or subject area: Music, Piano, Piano AccompanimentGrade level(s):
High school of music: 1st - 4th grade
Specific learning objectives:
Choosing the pieces, according to student ability, grade, and program requirementSearching Youtube links for pieces students will play along withSelecting useful performancesCollecting and saving the links in a document available also during lessonsOther important activities: keeping tracks of what is already done, making notes andreflections about students' achievementsAllowing some time for students to read and practice the pieces at home
 
Introduction
I've been working as a piano teacher for 21 years, and as piano accompanist for 10 years. Frommy personal experience, good piano accompaniment is a complex task for a pianist, especially for a piano student.Piano accompaniment involves various kinds of musical difficulties. The main difficulty is being ableto watch and listen to more than our own piano part, and also being able to adapt our own playingto playing of the other musician. Accompaniment includes other difficulties. I've been given sheet music too often too late, pupilsplayed with wrong pitch, incorrect rhythm, constantly involuntarily changing the base tempo,skipping large parts of the piece due to memory errors. Students-soloists often couldn't even give aclear sign for starting playing together at the start of the piece. Of course, the tempo at publicperformance has usually been different from what we practiced at rehearsal.But, despite all of these, pianist is normally expected to be able to cope with all this as being normalpart of the accompanist job and skill. Pianist not being able to do all of these - is not considered agood piano accompanist. The pianist has to "catch" the soloist, whatever she / he does while stillplaying on a professional level, musically expressive and technically completely prepared.In Serbian Highs schools of music, we have a separate subject dedicated specifically andcompletely to teaching / learning piano accompaniment: Piano Accompaniment lessons.Piano accompaniment lessons are taught:To two pupils in a group at one lesson35 classes per yea45 minutes per classOne class per weekNo final examTwo obligatory public performancesProgram: pieces for flute, violin or voice and pianoMain goal: to educate piano students how to play piano accompaniment well on publicperformances.
The Main Problem In Teaching Piano Accompaniment
To be able to understand the main problem in teaching it, let's first define: what is a good pianoaccompaniment.
Good accompaniment 
1.Playing together (simultaneously, compact playing, producing tone at the same moment)2.Not covering the soloist dynamically (not being too loud)3.Active involvement (not too soft, not being too passive, but chamber music cooperation)On a higher level: musically breathing as one player, as ensemble. Accompanist being a secondsound layer, submitted to expressiveness and dynamics of the soloist, actively involved, andachieving a balance of leading and following the primary musical focus, playing as one "musical
 
organism .
Solo piano vs. piano accompaniment 
While students are taught to develop musically and technically on their piano lessons with their piano teachers, they develop listening skills limited to their own playing, and listening themselvesonly. The goal of Piano Accompaniment Lessons is to teach them to listen and adapt to others,usually soloists on other instruments.Playing in an ensemble is, at the same time, both easier and more complex than solo pianoplaying. Let's divide and analyze what is more easy, and what's not.Easier:Psychologically, not being alone at the podiumNo memorization requirements, playing from the score, not by hearth, piano part may be(or may not be) simpler than the usual solo piano repertoire pieces structure.More complexity in accompaniment:1. Watching and listening to three or more staves, more complex thinking and listening process2. Requires greater musical flexibility, and even more developed listening skills:Listening to ourselvesListening to othersCoordination of both, which means: constantly adapting to the playing of the soloistThe main problem in teaching piano accompaniment is: how to achieve adaptability while teachingit the old way.
The Old Way We Used To Teach It And The Problems It Involved
The main problem with the old way of teaching piano accompaniment is in limited usability of suchlessons. Students are learning and training one skill on the lesson, while public performancerequires different set of skills. Students are missing the link between what they learned ataccompaniment class and real life requirements needed during public performance. There is nopreparation for the real public performance.Usually, the old fashioned class looks like this: one piano student at the lesson plays the solo part onthe piano imitating the soloist, while the other plays along piano accompany part, both playing onthe piano (we do not have a real solo student while learning piano accompany part). We are playingwith soloist only after the piece being completely learned. By the moment of rehearsals before thepublic performance with the soloist playing on other instrument, piano students have alreadydeveloped a habit of playing alone. They get used to their own tempo, dynamics, agogics, etc. Bythe moment of public performance, instead of trained accompanist, we get two soloists: one realsoloist, and the piano accompanist acting like a parallel soloist, instead of collaboration, we get amusical fight for attention. No doubt It is hard for students to adapt to playing with real soloperformer.This type of teaching is non-efficient. Teaching piano accompaniment the old way with both piano

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