An alternative class piano approach based on selected Suzuki principles
Williams, Marian Kay
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This study investigates the possibihlity of applying selected Suzuki principles to a class piano curriculum designed for music majors. Beginning students enrolled in a class piano sequence are generally able to master rather quickly the elementary material in the first part of theh textbooks. However, as early as the second semester, many of these students reach a performance plateau that is very difficuh to move beyond. The purpose of this study is three-fold: first, to identify group dynamic influences, teacher responsibilities, current textbook content, and student characteristics that might be possible causes or solutions for the performance ability plateau; second, to explore the Suzuki method as a possible alternative to a traditional note reading presentation; and third, to design a college textbook based upon Suzuki principles. Chapter II of this study presents a review of the related literature to determine what has been written on class piano and if those writings address solutions to the performance ability plateau. Chapter III examines currently published class piano texts. The purpose of the examination is two-fold: first, to understand the focus of each text; and second, to provide a comparison between the textbook presented in this study with those currently on the market. Chapter IV provides an in-depth look at the Suzuki method including a history of the movement and a discussion of the essence of Suzuki teaching principles. Chapter V considers the possibilities of applying principles of the Suzuki method to the teaching of beginning adult piano students. Appendix A provides a teacher's manual for the four semesters of a normal music major class piano sequence. Appendk B is the student text that accompanies the teacher's manual.