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Originally Posted by keystring
Originally Posted by bennevis
If they are kids, are you sure they really understand what you're talking about - especially as they aren't playing anything in, say, D# minor anytime soon?
You may have misread this:
Quote
to know the key of D has two sharps, but why it has two sharps.
The key of D ....
has two sharps.

Not D# minor. Even eventually going to it - since only major keys were mentioned.

Everything the OP listed is what the teacher I study with teaches, including to young children. If you know how to teach it, that's always the thing. i.e. how the teacher teaches it.
I didn't misread anything. Have you ever taught piano to young children?

Read his post again.

What are you making kids jump through hoops they don't need to, for their stage of learning to play piano, which presumably is what their parents signed them up for?

Quote
Quote
Are they playing any piece that contains a diminished chord?
Does any piece contain G7, or A7, or C7?
Are you saying 7th chords are the same as diminished chords?

Or are you dissecting everything they play to justify why you want to teach them stuff they don't need, from all intervals (some of which even intermediate students have trouble distinguishing) to part-writing to counterpoint to harmonic progressions? After all, even basic simple classical music composed for children contain them. How far do you want to go?
Quote
You have a point. I wish my first teacher had asked. Then we could have started on theory 4 years before we did. When I did ask, he said "I didn't know you were interested." and I thought, "If we use theory in music, why do I first have to express interest?" Does it need to be taught in lessons? No, and yes. I learned on my own, but we reviewed and explored. Things were pointed out that I would have missed; occurrences in actual music and exceptions to the rules I was learning.
As a piano teacher, I teach theory alongside practical, but only the theory required for the practical. My students' parents didn't sign them up for theory lessons, but piano lessons.

As an adult student, you can tell your teacher if you want her to waste, er, spend time in your piano lessons teaching you theory which you can easily do on your own. Piano technique and musicality, however, needs to be properly learnt from a good teacher if you hope to reach a high standard. (If you don't, why would you want a teacher anyway?)

If I was a student, and signed up for instrumental lessons, I expect my teacher to teach me to play that instrument well (including of course, reading music and how it is written), not waste precious lesson time on teaching me academic stuff like circle of fifths. Not even ii-V-I.


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
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I didn't misread anything.
You referred to D# minor. After quoting the OP, who wrote of D major, and did not ever talk of minor keys.
Quote
Are you saying 7th chords are the same as diminished chords?
The OP, in the post you responded to, talked of having his students notice that dom7 chords contained diminished chords. i.e. GBDF contains BDF which is a diminished triad. Since I have seen this taught .... to children .... I know it's feasible. I don't know how the OP teaches, but then, none of us do, yourself included.

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why you want to teach them stuff they don't need, from all intervals (some of which even intermediate students have trouble distinguishing) to part-writing to counterpoint to harmonic progressions?
I haven't stated that I want to teach anything. In the post you quoted, the OP did not write about part-writing, or counterpoint.

Anyway, this is probably turning into a waste of time. Thank you for responding.

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Originally Posted by keystring
In the post you quoted, the OP did not write about part-writing, or counterpoint.
You misunderstand my point, which is that the OP is selective about what he enjoys teaching.

In other words he wants to teach "secondary dominants, borrowed chords, common tone diminished" - all rather pointless esoteric stuff for a near-beginner - rather than part-writing, which is found in the most basic classical piano/keyboard music (and which is also pointless for beginners to learn). And never once did he mention teaching common musical terms about mood, tempo, dynamics, articulation etc, much less even more basic stuff like the difference between duple, triple and quadruple time - all of which do make a difference to how the student plays and interprets the music. Therefore, that is something all students need to know, fairly early on.

Whereas knowing that a chord has a diminished triad within it makes absolutely no difference in the playing of it. Can the student even recognize a diminished 5th when he hears it, let alone sing/whistle it? Or even simpler, a major 6th?


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
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Originally Posted by bennevis
You misunderstand my point, which is that the OP is selective about what he enjoys teaching.

I learned a long time ago that one cannot understand anyone's teaching, unless one spends time observing and/or experiencing that teaching - that time should span at least several months, and probably longer. Even then you might miss what the person is really doing. You don't know, and i don't now, what the OP is doing, what he "enjoys", or anything else - not really. There is, however, the tendency to extrapolate and assume.

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Ok, I see the opening post about "liking a lot" to teach theory, and things like secondary dominants are mentioned.

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Originally Posted by bennevis
Originally Posted by keystring
In the post you quoted, the OP did not write about part-writing, or counterpoint.
You misunderstand my point, which is that the OP is selective about what he enjoys teaching.

In other words he wants to teach "secondary dominants, borrowed chords, common tone diminished" - all rather pointless esoteric stuff for a near-beginner - rather than part-writing, which is found in the most basic classical piano/keyboard music (and which is also pointless for beginners to learn). And never once did he mention teaching common musical terms about mood, tempo, dynamics, articulation etc, much less even more basic stuff like the difference between duple, triple and quadruple time - all of which do make a difference to how the student plays and interprets the music. Therefore, that is something all students need to know, fairly early on.

Whereas knowing that a chord has a diminished triad within it makes absolutely no difference in the playing of it. Can the student even recognize a diminished 5th when he hears it, let alone sing/whistle it? Or even simpler, a major 6th?
You assume a LOT and you're incredibly condescending.

When did I ever say that I don't teach dynamics, tempo and articulation? Of course I teach that stuff. What do you think I'm doing the other 25 or so minute of the lesson?

You also assumed up above I'm teaching all this to my beginner students which I never said. What on earth? I do have younger students aged 7-9 or so and have not yet taught them any theory beside what's in the primer books like time signatures of course. I *very specifically* stated that the theory I'm teaching is to students who have been playing for anywhere from 2-4 years and don't even know how to construct scales or chords, which yes I think should be required learning for the piano.

You're a real piece of work, man. You just went ahead and assumed a *lot*, completely misread my posts, got up on your high horse and just went to town. Truly. Nevermind that I humbled myself in making this thread to ask how far I should be going with theory, a perfectly reasonable question.

And btw secondary dominants and borrowed chords are *not* pointless, esoteric stuff. They are in a TON of music from the Beatles to all sorts of classical music.


My youtube channel where I discuss theory, performance, cover some tunes, etc.
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCruDLJseRHB_04Zwz0NXVGg
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Originally Posted by bennevis
Originally Posted by CodySean
I teach students diminished chords because they occur naturally in a major scale and are also embedded in a V7 chord.

I also teach how to construct scales so that they understand where key signatures come from. To me, it's not good enough to know the key of D has two sharps, but why it has two sharps. I eventually transition this to the circle of fifths. They catch on to Constructing scales and those sorts of implications pretty quick.
Are your students adults?

If they are, did you ask them whether they really wanted to spend lesson time (even if "only" 5 minutes of a half-hour lesson) on stuff they could easily learn from a book, if they are inclined to......or whether they'd rather spend the time on getting their technical and musical skills on a higher level, and polishing what they have already learnt?

Sure, "easily learn from a book", you know...Like all the stuff I'm teaching out of the faber book. They could just read it and do it themselves. Everything is clearly marked as forte and piano, slurs, form, reminders of keeping curved fingers... I mean, you know what? Why do we even have schools at all for that matter? Why have a biology class when students can just read the book? Why have teachers?

So then the student comes back and says "Hey, I read from the faber theory book, and I had some questions", nope, sorry, I can't afford any time of the lesson your music theory questions. Just go ahead and figure it out on your own.

Nevermind most people *avoid* learning theory because they think it's some incredibly hard, esoteric study that makes music "bad" or "boring" or "unemotional" or whatever. Introducing them to these ideas early enough will keep them prepared and turn them into a well-rounded musicians.

Seriously re-read my post here

http://forum.pianoworld.com/ubbthre...w-far-to-go-with-theory.html#Post3161120

And tell me what exactly is wrong with my reasoning. You haven't even acknowledged this comment. You've instead gone on insane, assumptive tirades where you imply I'm not teaching piano playing at all for some reason and instead stuffing young children's heads with near-algebraic knowledge of augmented 6 chords and mediant modulations.

Last edited by CodySean; 10/07/21 12:14 AM.

My youtube channel where I discuss theory, performance, cover some tunes, etc.
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCruDLJseRHB_04Zwz0NXVGg
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This is what you wrote:

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for the students who are only on book 3 for instance, do you think i should continue teaching theory that is beyond what Faber shows? Like if the books don't talk about minor keys, should I still go ahead and introduce those ideas? And even beyond this, discussing ideas of secondary dominants, borrowed chords, common tone diminished, etc.

I guess I'm asking if their theory knowledge is beyond what they play/are exposed to, does that seem reasonable? Or is it unnecessary? I like teaching theory a lot and I know they pick up on this, and they're generally good with theory too, so I don't want to stop just because they won't be playing secondary dominants in Faber anytime soon
.
What I, as a piano teacher, and a previous piano student (for ten years) say to you is:
Teach your piano students the theory they need for their piano playing, and what is actually relevant to their playing, not what you "want" to teach and enjoy talking about.

I can only remember one incidence in my life when a teacher taught us teenaged students a whole lot of stuff we couldn't properly grasp and which was irrelevant, but that wasn't in music, but in a physics class. The teacher was clearly enthused by the subject, and taught us the basics of that concept (which was straightforward, and we all understood).....and then continued on to explain it in depth, how it came about from first principles and from previous conjectures etc. We just looked at him as he rambled on, wondering how we would ever learn all that stuff, much less understand it properly.
Luckily, at the end of the lesson, he told us that we didn't actually need to know all that, and that all we needed to know was the basics of that concept. (No, I'm not talking E=mc2. whistle) We all breathed a sigh of relief.

Incidentally, what the Beatles use in their music is irrelevant to piano students, unless they don't just want to play pop, but also want to write pop songs themselves, and you are a pop teacher.

In which case, carry on, and forget everything I ever said......


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
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Some basic theory knowledge is important. Your students should probably know I IV V I, and other similar things. Especially if they are adult students, they would probably grasp it quickly. Secondary dominants and borrowed chords, not so much. They typically won't be used in beginner repertoire. Once they've started playing e.g. Mozart, the idea can be introduced imo. I took to theory very naturally, so I personally just learned functional harmony at the start which helped a lot with memory and understanding. However, in a half hour lesson, I would much rather focus on stuff like phrasing and technique, which a student can not typically learn in their own time.

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I as surprised by all the naysayers as well. There are good points on all sides. I think it depends on the individual situation. If all they are interested in is the theory in the Faber books I think that is OK. However I hove some students who want to play pop tunes and are interested in analyzing chords, for them spending the time to dive deeper into theory is quite proper. It also depends on how much emphasis there is on improvisation. Do they want to learn Blues turnarounds or things like that then they need the theory that goes behind that. Usually these are students who have been with me for a while and know how to articulate what they are interested in.

Just my 2 cents.





Originally Posted by CodySean
Originally Posted by quodlibet
Personally, I like the Faber Theory books along with the Lesson books. Most of the transfer students I get have only been working out of the Lesson books, and I have one student now in Book 4 who plays the repertoire pretty well, but can't identify a I or V7 chord, even though that gets introduced way earlier (I forget which level). So, even though he's more than halfway through Book 4, I asked him to get the Theory book and we're starting at the beginning.

Yes, spending inordinate amounts of time at a lesson talking about theory wouldn't be great. But I think it's a real missed opportunity to let a student get to Level 4 or 5 and not know basic theory. There are so many opportunities to demonstrate it in the repertoire, and it doesn't even take that long to introduce a concept like V7 chords and then point it out every single time it occurs in music. (They'll get it eventually!)

Also, I like the Theory books because they're not just about worksheets and exercises. There are pieces in the books too to reinforce concepts. So it's not like you're handing them a big book of exercises to do separate from pieces.

I think you're doing fine. I love it when kids ask interesting questions and I get a chance to introduce something new to them.
Thank you. I was a bit flabbergasted at all the responses in here chastising me for teaching any theory at all. It seems once I more thoroughly made my case, the naysayers vanished...

I also do this exact thing you're talking about. Now when I'm teaching a piece out of faber with a student, I point to the chord and say "What chord is that?" they usually respond correctly, and then I ask them what the roman numeral is. heck, even in the faber lesson books (at least level 3, maybe earlier) they want you to put roman numerals on the I, IV and V. And I stress to my students that it's super important to know where the I, IV and V come from, rather than just memorizing what they are in that piece. I.e. if it's in G the chords are G, C and D. That rote memorization is not good for understanding music. But pattern recognition most certainly is.

And I agree with you that a student getting to book 4 or 5 and not knowing how to construct major scales and chords seems a bit funny...I'm surprised my piano instructor neglected such ideas, actually.

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