On November 1, 2009, throughout Australia, a new series of books from the AMEB (Australian Music Examination Board) will be available in all good music shops: P Plate Piano Books 1, 2 & 3. Australian piano teachers will be quite curious about these new books. The AMEB only publishes materials that are for use in conjunction with their examinations, and the title P Plate Piano doesn’t sound like anything like an examination! And it’s not an examination. But it is an assessment. And there’s a difference… But we’ll come back to that later. Firstly, P Plate Piano is a series you can use alongside any of the method books you use now, and the first book corresponds roughly to the skill level a student would have achieved at the end of the first book of any of the well-known method books. The idea of this series is to map out the various keyboard skills and techniques that students need to master
How I came to compose educational piano music
This blog has been a bit of an experiment so far – an experiment in how-to-blog, as far as I am concerned, and I’ve realised that I probably haven’t included a whole lot of useful factual information about myself so far….. So to rectify a little: I’ve been composing educational piano music since 1995 when an adult student (probably no older than 22 at the time) said to me “But what I really want to do is to play the way you do when you are playing your own music”. This set me back quite a bit, as I had never given any thought to teaching my students to play the way I did when I wasn’t performing ‘repertoire’. My teaching was somewhat traditional in terms of content, style, outcomes and expectations. But my performing life was anything but traditional, and many parents had sent their children to me to have lessons after they had seen me performing. My adult student
The blog begins….
Previously: A childhood in New Zealand, desperate to start piano lessons so I could compose more easily, not enough books in the school library but plenty of sexism to confront and theology to deconstruct. Growing up on a farm, growing up in a city, sick through enough of my childhood that I didn’t quite expect to grow up. Composing came easily, but what to choose to say to the world, and who to decide to be? Sometimes charting a perilous course between incompatible identities, irreconcilable expectations. Choosing to change the culture. The culture I’m changing in 2009 is the culture of piano teaching (see “P Plate Piano”, “Getting to” and other topics in weeks to come), but this very niche educational market is only one terrain I hope to help change (for the better).