P Plate Piano website is live!

One of the most exciting aspects of creating the P Plate Piano series with the Australian Music Examination Board has been their corporate commitment to the project.  So many times in business (let alone the print music business) lateral thinking is simply not part of the equation, so it has been a joy to be involved in a project that really is designed for the 21st century. So this is the first examination board-produced repertoire series ever to have its very own website, and that website has just gone ‘live’ at http://www.pplatepiano.com.au Still not live are the online student journal, the teachers forum and some other bells and whistles, but this website does have some nice features already, including some short videos we made at the end of last year.  And I’ll be reporting on when new features are added as the year goes on. I’m still very much involved with the project, with launch events still running til the

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Judge Not: the question of assessment (beginners)

The really big question when talking about assessing piano/instrumental students is: are external assessments of piano students a motivational tool, encouraging serious effort which certainly would not be made if an external assessment (and the possibility of failure) were not looming OR are piano exams something that strips time from the lesson that could have been spent developing a wider knowledge of the repertoire, a more varied technical expertise and a broader set of musicianship skills? A firmly believed, but often not-expressed, view amongst piano teachers is that the use of graded assessments often ends up being a way for students (and their parents) to compare themselves with their peers, and this competitive perspective can undermine the motivational benefits that an assessment deadline can deliver. I’ve recently been spending a great deal of time considering the benefits of assessments for beginner pianists, many of whom may be as young as five years of age.  It can be exciting for beginner

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P Plate Piano: What is it and why?

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

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