P Plate Piano (and its various launch and discussion events) have kept me outrageously busy of late, and I’m ashamed to note that it’s been close to a month since I last posted anything to this blog – a record time without new contributions. All the more shameful as I’ve set myself the task of discussing a scale every week, and that’s looking a bit like a failed New Year’s Resolution at present. But back to the topic of today’s post: an update on P Plate Piano. The website is increasingly functional, and the forum for teachers has been up and running for a week or so. Not many posts as of yet, but 19 members, which (by Australian piano teaching demographic standards) is not a bad start! The last two weekends of February saw me tearing around southern Victoria doing my final launches for teachers in that state. Ballarat, Bendigo, Traralgon (I had to look that one up on
P Plate Piano launches
Younger Beginners & Piano Exams (in Australia)
I’ve just completed a tour of the four of the major centres in Australia (Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide) and three of the smaller ones (Coffs Harbour, Launceston and Geelong) with the Australian Music Examination Board launching the P Plate Piano publications and assessments to groups of piano teachers. More of these launch events will take place in the first few months of 2010, but the eleven events we’ve already done gave a good insight into the issues piano teachers grapple with getting students ready for their first (Preliminary) AMEB exam. In my seminar I talk about the four pressures Australian piano teachers are feeling in regard to their beginners in 2009: The AMEB Preliminary examination has been getting steadily and substantially more difficult (comparing the syllabus repertoire in the mid-90s with that in 2009). Piano students are starting lessons younger. Whereas most beginners were 7 or 8 years of age twenty years ago, in 2009 beginners are often 5
What is ‘progress’?
Written on Saturday, prior to the two Sydney P Plate Piano launches….. I’m back tonight from Adelaide, where in the early afternoon I presented a launch event for P Plate Piano. The weather was unbelievable, literally howling winds, and rain that seemed to bend around the trees that were left standing (one just outside the venue had split leaving two cars trapped beneath enormous broken branches). So with this unpromising meteorological backdrop a group of around 20 piano teachers gathered to explore P Plate Piano. The most exciting response came from a clarinet teacher who wanted to know when the same kind of approach was going to be applied to instruments other than the piano! She also pointed out that the activities and the approach of P Plate Piano, while being designed to inspire and enthuse children beginners, would be equally inspirational to adult learners. I honestly had not given adult beginners much thought at all, but this Adelaide teacher