Since my last post on rote teaching, which focussed on Piano Safari, I've purchased several new books of rote pieces. I'm always on the lookout for resources which enable me to teach more effectively and I find that rote pieces are excellent for helping students to focus on their technique while playing enjoyable pieces. I'll be talking about this in much more detail at our workshops in October. For now I'd just like to introduce some of these new books.
Katherine Fisher and Julie Knerr, the authors of Piano Safari, have reworked their Technique Exercises and Rote Pieces book into two separate volumes of rote pieces called Pattern Pieces, with a number of new pieces added to the collection. The technique exercises have been moved to a separate volume. Pattern Pieces Volumes 1 and 2 provide excellent supplementary material to use alongside any other method series.
Paula Dreyer has three volumes of rote pieces entitled Little Gems for Piano. The primer book is designed for the absolute beginner, the first volume caters to late beginners, and the second volume is perfect for early intermediate players (Preliminary to Grade Two AMEB).
Repertoire by Rote, by Dennis Alexander and Amy Greer, consists of seven pieces designed for rote teaching, using both standard notation (intended for the teacher) and alternative pictorial memory maps for the student. Each piece has clear instructions to step the teacher through the process of teaching by rote.
The beauty of teaching rote pieces is the opportunity that they provide for students to look at their hands while they play, instead of having their eyes glued to the page and all their energy consumed with trying to decode the notation. When students look down at their hands, they are able to pay attention to the important details of hand shape and alignment, details that slip under the radar when too much brain space is occupied with notation.
In our workshops in Sydney (7-8 October) and the Gold Coast/Logan (14-15 October) I’ll be speaking in much more detail about how to use rote pieces to teach technique. Go to www.trybooking.com/QFMA to book. If you cannot make it in person, you can purchase video access to the lectures. These videos will be made available after the conclusion of the workshops once the videos have been edited.
Please note that the venue for the Gold Coast workshop (14-15 October) has been changed to Shailer Park in Logan.