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AN ANALYSIS AND COMPARISON OF TWO RECREATIONAL MUSIC

MAKING ADULT PIANO CURRICULA AND TWO BEGINNING ADULT

PIANO CURRICULA

_______________

A Thesis

Presented to the

Faculty of

San Diego State University

_______________

In Partial Fulfillment

of the Requirements for the Degree

Master of Arts

in

Music

_______________

by

Nancy J. Reeves

Spring 2012
iii

Copyright 2012

by

Nancy J. Reeves

All Rights Reserved


iv

DEDICATION

This thesis is dedicated to my parents, Warren and Carmen Reeves, and my sister,
Julia Novoa. Without their love, support, and prayers, this study would not have been
possible.
v

ABSTRACT OF THE THESIS

An Analysis and Comparison of Two Recreational Music Making


Adult Piano Curricula and Two Beginning Adult Piano Curricula
by
Nancy J. Reeves
Master of Arts in Music
San Diego State University, 2012

The purpose of this study was to establish if there are major differences between the
materials used in Recreational Music Making (RMM) lessons for beginning adult piano
students and the materials for traditional private instruction of adult beginners, and if so,
what the differences are. In order to demonstrate these differences, this study analyzes
selected materials according to six musical categories: Reading, Technique, Repertoire,
Aural Skills, Musicianship (Theory), and Creative Skills. Using these categories developed
by Cathy Albergo for a study of childrens materials, the analysis of each RMM or adult
piano book was completed.
This researcher identified the beginning section of each adult curriculum that would
comprise approximately eight weeks of adult group instruction. Because each book contained
a different number of pages and content, a common length of study had to be determined for
the comparative element of this study. Piano Fun for Adult Beginners is designed to be used
in an eight-week period. To find the beginning eight-week segment in Musical Moments, the
researcher consulted the Musical Moments Teachers Guide. The published lesson plans
indicated that a class might reach page 21 within eight weeks. For Bastien Piano for Adults,
the researcher received data from one of the authors of the book, who had taught a sixty-
minute adult group class for eight weeks. The approximate eight-week portion of the Bastien
curriculum ended on page 80, or the completion of chapter 5. Because the researcher was
unable to discuss the approximate eight-week segment of Alfred Adult All-in-One with the
authors, a survey was sent to teachers in the San Diego area. The teachers stated that they
covered an average of four pages per week. Thus, thirty-two pages of Alfred Adult All-in-One
were analyzed for this study.
Although this study aimed to discuss significant differences between the four texts,
differences could not be quantified because the results were unclear and inconsistent.
Although one RMM text produced unique data, the same result was not found in the other
RMM text. For example, Piano Fun contains far more popular repertoire than traditional
methods; however, it also contains far more popular repertoire than Musical Moments.
Musical Moments contains wellness exercises, which reflect the wellness philosophy of
RMM. However, neither Piano Fun nor the traditional texts contain wellness exercises.
Although there are elements of the RMM philosophy that concur with broader research on
adult student preferences, the researcher cannot prove if RMM materials are more beneficial
for adult students than traditional methods for adult students because no scientific data exists
to determine which type of curriculum best fulfills the adult learners needs.
vi

TABLE OF CONTENTS

PAGE

ABSTRACT ...............................................................................................................................v

LIST OF TABLES .....................................................................................................................x

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS .................................................................................................... xii

CHAPTER

1 INTRODUCTION .........................................................................................................1

Purpose .....................................................................................................................8

Limitations ...............................................................................................................8

Methodology ............................................................................................................9

Definitions..............................................................................................................10

Organization ...........................................................................................................11

2 REVIEW OF LITERATURE ......................................................................................12

Adults and Learning...............................................................................................12

Adults and Piano Study ..........................................................................................18

Adult Piano Methods .............................................................................................26

Recreational Music Making ...................................................................................27

Recreational Music Making for the Adult Pianist .................................................29

3 AN ANALYSIS OF FOUR PIANO TEXTS...............................................................35

Six Musical Categories ..........................................................................................36

Reading ............................................................................................................37

Rhythm.............................................................................................................39

Technique .........................................................................................................40
vii

Repertoire .........................................................................................................41

Aural Skills ......................................................................................................42

Musicianship (Theory) .....................................................................................42

Creative Skills ..................................................................................................43

Piano Fun for Adult Beginners: Recreational Music Making for Private
or Group Instruction ..............................................................................................43

Piano Fun; Reading .........................................................................................44

Piano Fun; Rhythm..........................................................................................46

Piano Fun; Technique......................................................................................47

Piano Fun; Repertoire......................................................................................48

Piano Fun; Aural Skills ...................................................................................48

Piano Fun; Musicianship (Theory) ..................................................................49

Piano Fun; Creative Skills ...............................................................................49

Musical Moments: A Recreational Music Making Program, Student Book


One .........................................................................................................................50

Musical Moments; Reading..............................................................................50

Musical Moments; Rhythm ..............................................................................52

Musical Moments; Technique ..........................................................................53

Musical Moments; Repertoire ..........................................................................54

Musical Moments; Aural Skills ........................................................................54

Musical Moments; Musicianship (Theory) ......................................................54

Musical Moments; Creative Skills ...................................................................55

Bastien Piano for Adults ........................................................................................55

Piano for Adults; Reading ................................................................................56

Piano for Adults; Rhythm ................................................................................58

Piano for Adults; Technique ............................................................................59


viii

Piano for Adults; Repertoire ............................................................................60

Piano for Adults; Aural Skills ..........................................................................60

Piano for Adults; Musicianship (Theory) ........................................................61

Piano for Adults; Creative Skills .....................................................................62

Alfred Basic Piano Course for Adults: Level One Adult All-in-One Course ........62

Alfred Adult All-in-One; Reading ....................................................................63

Alfred Adult All-in-One; Rhythm .....................................................................65

Alfred Adult All-in-One; Technique .................................................................65

Alfred Adult All-in-One; Repertoire .................................................................67

Alfred Adult All-in-One; Aural Skills ..............................................................67

Alfred Adult All-in-One; Musicianship (Theory) .............................................67

Alfred Adult All-in-One; Creative Skills ..........................................................68

Conclusion .............................................................................................................68

4 SIMILARITIES AND DIFFERENCES BETWEEN TWO RMM TEXTS


AND TWO TRADITIONAL METHOD BOOKS ......................................................69

Reading ..................................................................................................................69

Reading Approach ...........................................................................................70

Keyboard Geography .......................................................................................71

Key Names .......................................................................................................71

Pre-Reading Experiences and Note Names .....................................................72

Grand Staff, Accidentals, and Key Signatures.................................................72

Range and Register ..........................................................................................73

Musical and Expressive Symbols ....................................................................74

Note Values and Counting Methods ................................................................74

Rests .................................................................................................................75
ix

Meter ................................................................................................................76

Time Signatures ...............................................................................................76

Rhythmic Terms and Symbols; Tempo Markings ...........................................77

Technique ...............................................................................................................77

Posture at the Piano, Hand Position, and Wrist, Arm, and Shoulder
Positions ...........................................................................................................77

Legato and Staccato .........................................................................................78

Finger Numbers ...............................................................................................78

Finger Coordination, Technical Exercises, Five-Finger Patterns ....................78

Slurs and Phrasing............................................................................................79

Pedaling............................................................................................................79

Repertoire ...............................................................................................................79

Aural Skills ............................................................................................................80

Balance .............................................................................................................80

Legato versus Staccato ....................................................................................81

Musicianship (Theory) ...........................................................................................81

Intervals............................................................................................................81

Chords, Primary Chords, and Chord Inversions ..............................................82

Key Signatures .................................................................................................82

Notation and Music Appreciation ....................................................................82

Practice and Study Skills .................................................................................83

Creative Skills ........................................................................................................83

Conclusion .............................................................................................................84

5 SUMMARY, CONCLUSIONS, AND RECOMMENDATIONS FOR


FUTURE STUDY ........................................................................................................86

Summary ................................................................................................................86
x

Conclusions ............................................................................................................87

Recommendations for Future Study ......................................................................89

REFERENCES ........................................................................................................................92
xi

LIST OF TABLES

PAGE

Table 1. Reading Concepts in Piano Fun ................................................................................45

Table 2. Hand Position for Pieces in Piano Fun ......................................................................46

Table 3. Rhythmic Concepts in Piano Fun..............................................................................47

Table 4. Repertoire Genres and Occurrences in Piano Fun ....................................................48

Table 5. Number of Pieces per Module ...................................................................................49

Table 6. Reading Concepts in Musical Moments.....................................................................52

Table 7. Hand Position for Pieces in Musical Moments ..........................................................52

Table 8. Rhythmic Concepts in Musical Moments ..................................................................53

Table 9. Genres of Repertoire in Musical Moments ................................................................54

Table 10. Reading Concepts in Piano for Adults .....................................................................57

Table 11. Hand Position for Pieces in Piano for Adults ..........................................................57

Table 12. Rhythmic Concepts in Piano for Adults ..................................................................59

Table 13. Genres of Repertoire in Piano for Adults ................................................................60

Table 14. Reading Concepts in Alfred Adult All-in-One .........................................................64

Table 15. Hand Position for Pieces in Alfred Adult All-in-One ...............................................65

Table 16. Rhythmic Concepts in Alfred Adult All-in-One .......................................................66

Table 17. Repertoire Genres in Alfred Adult All-in-One .........................................................67

Table 18. Reading Approaches in Two RMM Books and Two Method Books ......................70

Table 19. Keyboard Geography in Two RMM Books and Two Method Books .....................71

Table 20. Key Names in Two RMM Books and Two Method Books ....................................72

Table 21. Reading Concepts in Two RMM Books and Two Method Books ..........................73
xii

Table 22. Hand Positions of Repertoire Pieces in Four Piano Texts .......................................74

Table 23. Musical Terms and Symbols in Four Piano Texts ...................................................75

Table 24. Counting Methods in Four Piano Texts ...................................................................75

Table 25. The Introduction of Rests in Four Piano Texts ........................................................75

Table 26. The Introduction of Time Signatures in Four Piano Texts ......................................76

Table 27. The Introduction of Slurs and Phrasing in Four Piano Texts ..................................79

Table 28. Number of Pieces in each Genre of Repertoire; Percentage of Repertoire in


Each Genre ...................................................................................................................80

Table 29. Number of Repertoire Pieces in Four Piano Texts ..................................................80

Table 30. Major and Minor Chords Taught in the Four Piano Texts ......................................82
xiii

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I owe everything I know about academic research and writing to my professor, Dr. J.

Mitzi Kolar, who tirelessly aided me in the process from concept to completion. Dr. Kolar

has taught me a great deal throughout my graduate studies, and she will always have my

respect and thanks.

I owe thanks to Maya Ginsberg, who has great talent for formatting and editing, and a

big heart for helping friends. Thanks to my peers, Elyse Reed and Katie Kinnaman we did

it! Thank you to my fianc and best friend, Patrick Gilbert, who supported me along the way

through fair and foul weather.


1

CHAPTER 1

INTRODUCTION

The number of adults aged sixty and up in American society is growing

exponentially. According to the Administration on Aging, the number of adults over sixty

years of age in 2010 was approximately fifty-six million. In only twenty years, that number

is expected to grow to ninety-two million adults.1 These statistics are pertinent to piano

instructors because adults of retirement age have more leisure time in their lives due to less

work responsibility and fewer family obligations.2 Adults of retirement age may have the

time to work towards the goals that they have had since youth. After all, adults have reported

that the greatest personal benefit of piano study is the fulfillment of a lifelong dream.3 Piano

instructors are not only in a position to assist adults in fulfilling their dreams, but also have

the potential of accessing a large market of adult students who are motivated to learn.4

According to music researchers, there are many benefits to having adult students in

the studio.5 Adults are not in competition for after-school hours, and may be able to take

1
Administration on Aging, Projected Future Growth of the Older Population, By Age: 1900-2050,
Persons 60 and Older, Department of Health and Human Services, http://www.aoa.gov/AoARoot/Aging_
Statistics/future_growth/future_growth.aspx#age (accessed April 11, 2011).
2
Peter J. Jutras, The Benefits of Piano Study as Self-Reported by Selected Adult Piano Students, Journal
of Research in Music Education 54, no. 2 (Summer 2006): 97, http://www.jstor.org/stable/4101433 (accessed
February 5, 2011).
3
Ibid., 104.
4
Diane DeNicole Orlofsky and Rhenella Smith, Strategies for Adult Keyboard Learners, Music
Educators Journal 83, no. 4 (January 1997): 22, http://www.jstor.org/stable/3399037 (accessed February 5,
2011).
5
Ibid.
2

lessons when school-age children cannot. Although adults may be engaged in other activities,

they appear to have narrowed them down in a more discerning way.6 Adults are likely to

stay involved in activities in which they feel connected, and may have a better understanding

that learning a new musical skill is not an easy process. However, adult piano students can

easily become discouraged while taking lessons because of expectations of progress and

skill.7 In fact, adults frequently drop out of lessons because of a perceived lack of skill.8

Additionally, adults need encouragement from their teachers, and must be assured that the

obstacles that they face in their studies are normal.9

The Recreational Music Making (RMM) model, which emphasizes the need for

stress-free and enjoyable music study, may be what many adult beginners need.10 In the

Recreational Music Making Handbook for Piano Teachers, Brenda Dillon and Brian Chung

compare traditional teaching of adults to RMM teaching.11 In RMM teaching,

Performance is not emphasized or required.


The curriculum can bend and adapt at any time.
Teaching occurs primarily in group lessons. The student and teacher participate
together in prescribing the direction/style of lessons.

6
Brenda Dillon, RMM One Teachers Journey, Piano Notes (Summer 2006): 1-4,
http://mysite.verizon.net/res79tqb/sitebuildercontent/sitebuilderfiles/summer2006newsletter.pdf (accessed
February 15, 2011).
7
Debra Perez and Will Baily, Musical Moments: A Recreational Music Making Program, Teachers
Manual Book One (Corpus Christi: Musical Moments, 2008).
8
Thelma L. Cooper, Adults Perceptions of Piano Study: Achievements and Experiences, Journal of
Research in Music Education 49, no. 2 (Summer 2001): 164-165, http://www.jstor.org/stable/3345867
(accessed April 5, 2011).
9
Orlofsky and Smith, 23.
10
Karl T. Bruhn, A Focus on Recreational Music Making, Yamaha Music and Wellness Institute.
http://www.yamahainstitute.org/Page_details.aspx?cmd2=9 (accessed February 15, 2011).
11
Brian Chung and Brenda Dillon, Recreational Music Making Handbook for Piano Teachers (Van Nuys:
Alfred Music Publishing Company, 2009).
3

Students learn from the teacher and other class members.


The student appraises the level of success Above all, [RMM teaching] makes
music making accessible for anyone, and puts as its first priority the needs and desires
of the student.12

In traditional piano teaching,

Primary emphasis is placed on achieving a high level of performance.


A structured curriculum is employed.
Teaching occurs primarily through private/individual lessons.
The teacher prescribes the direction and style of the lesson.
The teacher appraises the students level of success.13

Dillon and Chung say that they are not seeking to discredit the teaching methodology that

continues to serve the needs of many aspiring and accomplished musicians today

However, it fails to meet the needs of millions of potential music makers who find the

traditional learning style too solitary or who cannot live up to its standards of

achievement.14

Currently, there are two RMM books for beginning adult piano students that are

available for use in teaching: Piano Fun for Adult Beginners by Brenda Dillon and Musical

Moments: A Recreational Music Making Program by Debra Perez and Will Baily.15 The

authors have given RMM seminars at national conferences and have published articles about

RMM teaching in keyboard publications.

12
Chung and Dillon, 8.
13
Ibid.
14
Ibid.
15
Brenda Dillon, Piano Fun for Adult Beginners: Recreational Music Making for Private or Group
Instruction (Milwaukee: Hal Leonard Corporation, 2010); Debra Perez and Will Baily, Musical Moments: A
Recreational Music Making Program, Student Book One (Corpus Christi: Musical Moments, 2008).
4

Piano Fun is organized by modules, and comes with a supporting compact disc. At

the moment, there is only one level of Piano Fun. There are no additional supplementary

books or teachers guides; however, the Recreational Music Making Handbook for Piano

Teachers provides guidelines for teaching. The handbook discusses the RMM philosophy,

the difference between traditional and recreational teaching, the initial stages of teaching

RMM, marketing, suggestions for teaching venues, lesson planning, and more topics.

Perez and Bailys Musical Moments series includes wellness exercises for the student

to complete while practicing and a compact disc containing piano-only tracks and

accompaniment tracks. The materials include three student books with compact discs,

teachers manuals, and supplementary materials such as Reflective Moments, Christmas

Moments, and Sacred Moments with each supplementary book having a supporting compact

disc. Much like the handbook written by Dillon and Chung, Perez and Bailys teacher manual

gives the RMM facilitator advice about teaching venues, setup of the piano lab, group

classes, lesson planning, and more. These aforementioned books are available in three levels.

Dillon and Chung stress the need for an RMM facilitator to be upbeat, carefree,

humorous, and above all, encouraging.16 RMM was created for a majority of people who

want to play music for enjoyment regardless of their aptitudes for music. Dillon plans at least

two arrangements for every tune learned in her group classes to prepare for different degrees

of skill.17 Perez and Baily also discuss the necessity for a RMM facilitator to let go of

16
Chung and Dillon, 10.
17
Brenda Dillon, Student-centered Outcomes, Keyboard Companion 18, no. 3 (Autumn 2007): 33.
5

expectations and accept that every class will have multiple levels of skill.18 In response to the

question shouldnt everybody have a shot at making music?, Dillon and

Chung write,

Recreational Music Making (RMM) was created to address these questions.


[RMM] was founded upon the following core principles: All people should
experience the joy and benefits of music making, music making can be enjoyed
without stress and performance requirements, music making can nurture the
whole person and improve quality of life, and music making is beneficial to the
health of the participant.19

Few studies have been written on adults and piano, and few studies have been written

on RMM, which is a new field of piano pedagogy.20 Those that were found will be described

briefly here and with more depth in the second chapter of this study. Samuel Tsugawa wrote

an informative dissertation in 2009 entitled Senior Adult Music Learning, Motivation, and

Meaning Construction in Two New Horizons Ensembles.21 New Horizons bands began as

an opportunity for beginning or seasoned brass players, ages fifty and up, to come together

and make music. In his study, Tsugawa purposed to investigate music learning, motivation,

meaning construction, and sense making among members of the Desert Foothills New

Horizons Band (DFNHB) and the Brigham Young University New Horizons Orchestra

(BYUNHO).22 Tsugawa interviewed New Horizons band members in order to report what

motivates band and orchestra members to play a musical instrument, join a New Horizons

18
Perez and Baily, Teachers Manual, 13.
19
Chung and Dillon, 7.
20
Jutras, 98.
21
Samuel Tsugawa, Senior Adult Music Learning, Motivation, and Meaning Construction in Two New
Horizons Ensembles, DMA diss., Arizona State University, 2009, in ProQuest Dissertations and Theses,
http://proquest.umi.com/pqdweb?index=0&did=1954915641&SrchMode=2&sid=5&Fmt=6&VInst=PROD&V
Type=PQD&RQT=309&VName=PQD&TS=1303080337&clientId=17862 (accessed April 1, 2011).
22
Ibid., 6.
6

ensemble, and engage in group and individual music making.23 Tsugawa hoped to explore

what participation in an ensemble meant to these individuals, because the study of meaning

making provides insight to whatever drives us and governs our sense of purpose.24 Tsugawa

discovered that members in the ensembles found meaning and purpose in their music studies,

and provided them with a sense of control in their lives.25

Jane Michelle Conda wrote an interesting case study on the Late Bloomers Piano

Club, a piano support group where adults joined together to practice performing piano

pieces.26 Ms. Lucy Reibe, of northwest Ohio, started the club in 1994. Reibe was an amateur

pianist at that time, and wanted to play piano with other pianists.27 The group began to grow

after Reibe placed an advertisement in her citys local newspaper. Conda writes:

The purpose of this study was to examine the Late Bloomers Piano Club and
its members to discover:
1. Why the club exists
2. What changes and strategies have occurred in the development of the
organization
3. How interrelationships have changed and developed between the club
members and the founder.28

Through her research, Conda discovered primary factors that motivated adults in the LBPC

to play piano recreationally.

23
Samuel Tsugawa, Senior Adult Music Learning, 6.
24
Tsugawa, 7.
25
Ibid., 167.
26
Jane Michelle Conda, The Late Bloomers Piano Club: A Case Study of a Group in Progress, PhD diss.,
University of Oklahoma, 1997, in ProQuest Dissertations and Theses,
http://proquest.umi.com/pqdweb?sid=8&vinst=PROD&fmt=6&startpage=1&clientid=17862&vname=PQD&R
QT=309&did=739698411&scaling=FULL&vtype=PQD&rqt=309&TS=1303078485&clientId=17862
(accessed April 1, 2011).
27
Ibid., 32.
28
Ibid., 131.
7

Jane Mary Curran wrote a dissertation on the design and implementation of a group

piano class for leisure age adults.29 Curran noticed there were few classes offered to adults

at universities that offered the study of informal music, which is described as music that

would not normally be included in a degree-oriented course of study for piano, such as hymn

arrangements, twentieth century popular music, and folk music.30 Curran added, Informal

music may also include transcriptions of well-known operatic melodies and symphonic

themes.31 Curran wrote a list of long-term goals and short-term objectives for an eight-week

course. At the end of the course, Curran found that

leisure age people are interested and eager to participate in a beginning group
piano course, the curriculum was successful, the physical limitations due to
age of the students in the experimental class were not a deterrent to any playing
activities included in the class, the adult students experienced no hardships in
learning outside what is normal for adult beginners, that colleges and universities
should offer these kinds of classes, and what was learned in the course was useful
to adults who wanted to continue their studies.32

When considering RMM, the piano teacher may ask whether RMM teaching

materials are necessary to be successful in this environment, or can any adult beginner book

on the market be used? How do RMM materials differ from other adult method books?

Currently, there are no studies that address these questions. RMM is a new field in piano

29
Jane Mary Curran, A Design for the Development and Implementation of a Beginning Piano Group
Curriculum for Leisure Age Adults, DMA diss., University of Oklahoma, 1982, in ProQuest Dissertations and
Theses,
http://proquest.umi.com/pqdweb?index=2&sid=5&srchmode=2&vinst=PROD&fmt=6&startpage=1&clientid=1
7862&vname=PQD&RQT=309&did=752467921&scaling=FULL&ts=1307491760&vtype=PQD&rqt=309&T
S=1307491767&clientId=17862 (accessed May 25, 2011).
30
Ibid., 10.
31
Ibid.
32
Ibid., 141.
8

pedagogy, and research in new fields is an important task. Dillon and Chungs quote states

that traditional methods fail to meet the needs of potential music makers. The quote

demonstrates that the authors of RMM materials assume there is a difference between

traditional materials and the RMM curricula. The hypothesis for this study was that there is a

difference between the analyzed curricula. The researcher expected to find that RMM texts

have a greater amount of familiar repertoire pieces and more opportunities to use technology

in the form of digital keyboards. Distinguishing key differences and similarities between

available RMM and traditional texts is a vital first step for future RMM studies.

PURPOSE
The purpose of this study is to establish if there are major differences between the

materials used in RMM lessons for beginning adult piano students and the materials for

traditional private instruction of adult beginners, and if so, what those differences are. In

order to demonstrate these differences, this study analyzes selected materials according to six

musical categories: Reading, Technique, Repertoire, Aural Skills, Musicianship (Theory),

and Creative Skills.

LIMITATIONS
This study is limited to adult students who are retired or near retirement,

approximately fifty to seventy years old. This study is limited to healthy adults without

physical or mental incapacitations. This study does not discuss the therapeutic aspects of

piano study, or lessons where the aim is solely to promote wellness. The study focuses upon

adults who have never taken piano instruction or adults who may have played piano as a

child or younger adult, but who have not taken lessons for at least fifteen years.
9

RMM piano curriculums were limited to those written exclusively for Recreational

Music Making. The curriculums being used in this study are limited to publications

commercially available through retail print vendors or music stores; therefore, corporate

publications that require exclusive, specialized teacher training are excluded form the study.

The RMM curriculums used in this study are Piano Fun for Adult Beginners by Brenda

Dillon and Musical Moments by Debra Perez and Will Baily. The adult beginning method

books used for the study are Alfreds Basic Adult Piano Course, Lesson Book, Level One by

Willard A. Palmer, Morton Manus, and Amanda Vick Lethco, and Bastien Piano for Adults,

Book One by Jane Smisor Bastien, Lisa Bastien, and Lori Bastien.

Piano Fun contains eight modules of lessons, which were formulated by the author

according to her experience of how much material could be learned in eight weeks; therefore,

the other books are limited to approximately how much material could be learned in that time

span. Analysis is only performed on the first book or level of each method. No additional

materials, compact discs, or supplementary books were analyzed.

METHODOLOGY
All statistics or quotations concerning RMM or other adult methods are found in

bibliographic sources. Articles provide the bulk of the research on this topic. In order to

choose which adult method books to compare to RMM books, three music suppliers in the

southern California area were contacted to identify a list of top-selling adult method books.

Of the responses, Alfred Basic Adult Piano Course and Bastien Piano for Adults were

mentioned most often; thus, they were chosen for the study.

Through bibliographic research, an appropriate model on which to base the analysis

of this study was found. Using the categories of Reading, Technique, Repertoire, Aural
10

Skills, Musicianship (Theory), and Creative Skills established in this study on childrens

materials, an analysis of each RMM and adult piano book was completed.33 The researcher

determined how each element within the categories would be counted in each text and

conducted a page-by-page analysis of each book. Those results are discussed in chapter 3. In

chapter 4, the analysis of each book is discussed and compared to the others.

In order to identify a comparable beginning section in each adult curriculum, a

teaching period of eight weeks was selected. Because each book contained a different

number of pages and content, a common length of study had to be determined for the

comparative element of this study. Piano Fun contains eight modules that were designed to

be completed in eight weeks. The Musical Moments teachers manual for book one contains

sixteen lesson plans. Using this information, it is possible to discern how far an adult student

would progress in eight weeks. To find an eight-week segment in the Alfred and Bastien

books, the researcher interviewed the authors or teachers using the materials.

DEFINITIONS
Recreational Music Making is defined by Karl T. Bruhn as follows:

Recreational music making (RMM) encompasses enjoyable, accessible and


fulfilling group music-based activities that unite people of all ages regardless of
their challenges, backgrounds, ethnicity, ability or prior experience. From
exercise, nurturing, social support, bonding and spirituality, to intellectual
stimulation, heightened understanding and enhanced capacity to cope with lifes

33
Cathy Freeman Albergo, Objectives for Elementary Piano Instruction: A Survey and Comparison of the
Objectives of Eight American Childrens Piano Methods with the Objectives of Piano/Piano Pedagogy
Teachers (EdD diss., University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1988), 6, in ProQuest Dissertations and
Theses,
http://proquest.umi.com/pqdweb?index=0&sid=1&srchmode=2&vinst=PROD&fmt=6&startpage=1&clientid=1
7862&vname=PQD&RQT=309&did=744742091&scaling=FULL&ts=1307491023&vtype=PQD&rqt=309&T
S=1307491028&clientId=17862 (accessed May 25, 2011).
11

challenges, the benefits of RMM extend far beyond music. RMM ultimately
affords unparalleled creative expression that unites our bodies, minds and spirits.34

In the dissertation entitled Catalog and Analysis of Adult Piano Method Books

Published in America from 1980 to 2001, Pui Man Chan defines the term leisure-age

adult as a retired person or a person who has moved into a period of increased leisure time

through changes in the family or professional role.35

ORGANIZATION
The thesis is organized into five chapters. The first chapter includes background on

the study and an introduction to the topic, the need for the study, the purpose for the study,

the limitations of the study, the methodology of the research, definitions of relevant terms,

and the organization of the thesis. Chapter 2 contains the review of literature related to the

topic of the thesis, ranging from broad to more specific information. The sections in chapter

2 are: adults and learning, adults and music, adults and piano study, and recreational music

making. The section about Recreational Music Making reviews current studies on RMM,

current articles, and books on RMM. Chapter 3 presents the results from the analysis of each

adult piano curriculum according to six musical categories. The elements of each category

are discussed as they appear in each book. In chapter 4, results from the analyses in chapter 3

are compared according to each category. Chapter 5 concludes the study by summarizing

results, discussing conclusions, and giving recommendations for further study.

34
Bruhn, A Focus on Recreational Music Making.
35
Pui Man Chan, Catalog and Analysis of Adult Piano Method Books Published in America from 1980 to
2001 (DMA diss., University of Miami, 2002), 1, in ProQuest Dissertations and Theses,
http://proquest.umi.com/pqdweb?sid=4&vinst=PROD&fmt=6&startpage=1&clientid=17862&vname=PQD&R
QT=309&did=726446841&scaling=FULL&vtype=PQD&rqt=309&TS=1303077601&clientId=17862
(accessed April 1, 2011).
12

CHAPTER 2

REVIEW OF LITERATURE

There are several areas in the review of literature that have formed a basis for this

study. The sections proceed from most broad to most specific. First, principle sources on

adult learning are reviewed. The researcher attempts to present characteristics of adults who

engage in learning, and other information on how and why adults learn. Next, sources

pertaining to adults and piano study are discussed. Then, studies on adults and piano, studies

on adults in the piano studio, and studies on adult piano methods are presented. Lastly,

studies on recreational music making are reviewed. The researcher reviewed studies on

recreational piano and music study to demonstrate the lack of studies in the subject. The

researcher also examined the connections between the philosophy of andragogy and the

philosophies of Recreational Music Making.

ADULTS AND LEARNING


This section provides background on the characteristics of the adult learner, how and

why they learn, and teaching models that are most beneficial for their learning patterns.

Although characteristics of retirement-age adults were not found, facts regarding adults as a

demographic were found. Patricia K. Cross writes, American adults have the tendency to

have what is called a linear life plan, which means the separation between education,

work, and leisure is increased. The linear life plan is a life pattern in which education is for
13

the young, work for the middle aged, and leisure for the elderly.36 Not only do the elderly

engage in more leisure-related activities, but the interest in job-related goals begins to

decline at age 50 and drops off sharply after age 60.37 Also, adults often choose to begin

learning due to a life change.38 Retirement could be considered a possible major life change

in the lives of many adults.

Adults possess unique learning attributes that are different from the learning styles of

children. Malcolm S. Knowles introduced a model of learning unique to adults, called

andragogy, in 1968.39 Knowles reviews the assumptions inherent in the andragogical

model in the book Andragogy in Action: adults self-directed nature in learning,40 adults

bank of experience and knowledge they bring to their studies,41 their readiness to learn,42

their desire to learn not for the sake of learning but for a specific outcome,43 and the internal

motivators for learning adult possess.44

Adults are accustomed to taking responsibility for their actions and decisions.

Independence is an important trait of adults that educators must take into account. Adults

36
Patricia K. Cross, Adults as Learners: Increasing Participation and Facilitating Learning (San
Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1981), 9.
37
Ibid., 91.
38
Ibid., 95.
39
Sharan B. Merriam, Rosemary S. Caffarella, and Lisa M. Baumgartner, Learning in Adulthood: A
Comprehensive Guide (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2007), 83.
40
Malcolm S. Knowles, Elwood F. Holton III, and Richard A. Swanson, The Adult Learner, 6th ed.
(Amsterdam, Boston: Elsevier, 2005), 9.
41
Ibid., 10.
42
Ibid., 11.
43
Ibid.
44
Ibid., 12.
14

greatly benefit from self-pacing while learning.45 Studies show that upwards of 90 percent

of adults are engaged in self-directed learning projects and that 70 percent of projects are

planned by the learner 46 Jane Vella says, Listening to learners wants and needs helps to

shape a program that has immediate usefulness to adults.47 Part of the educators

responsibility is to help learners, whether they are learning on their own or in formal

learning programs, to be able to plan, carry out, and evaluate their own learning.48 Not only

may adult students help inform their instructor what and how they wish to learn, but also give

feedback on the pacing and sequencing of the class.49

In addition to receiving feedback from adults in the classroom, instructors may draw

from the experience of adult learners as a rich resource for learning.50 Mackeracher writes,

Adults accumulate experiences and prior learning over their lifetime; the older they grow,

the more past experiences and prior learning they bring to bear on current learning.51 Laurie

Materna writes, The healthy adult brain is richly woven with intricate connections formed

throughout a lifetime of experiences. Having a more extensive base of previous life

45
Barbara English Maris, Making Music at the Piano: Learning Strategies for Adult Students (New York:
Oxford University Press, 2000), 23.
46
Merriam, Caffarella, and Baumgartner, 92.
47
Jane Vella, Learning to Listen, Learning to Teach: The Power of Dialogue in Educating Adults (San
Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers, 1994), 4.
48
Merriam, Caffarella, and Baumgartner, 107.
49
Vella, 9.
50
Knowles, Holton, and Swanson, 11.
51
Dorothy Mackeracher, Making Sense of Adult Learning, 2nd ed. (Toronto: University of Toronto Press,
2004), 25.
15

experiences yields more potential new associations to link with new learning

opportunities.52

Adults enter an educational activity with a life-centered, task-centered, or problem-

centered orientation to learning.53 Adult participation in learning is linked to adult roles of

worker, family, member 54 This correlation [lends] support to the assumption that the

readiness of an adult to learn is closely linked to the developmental tasks of his or her social

roles.55 According to Cyril Houle, three types of adult learners exist:

The first, goal-oriented learners, use learning to gain specific objectives, such as
learning to speak before an audience, learning to deal with particular family
problems, learning better business practices, and similar concrete objectives
The second subgroup, activity-oriented learners, participate primarily for the sake
of the activity itself rather than to develop a skill or learn subject matter. They
may take a course or join a group to escape loneliness or boredom or an unhappy
home or job situation, to find a husband or a wife, to amass credits or degrees, or
to uphold family tradition the third group consists of those who are learning
oriented; that is, those who pursue learning for its own sake. They seem to
possess a fundamental desire to know and to grow through learning, and their
activities are constant and lifelong.56

Because of the link of adults lives and learning, educators should inform students at the

beginning of a learning experience what its relevance is to the learners life tasks or

problems.57

52
Laurie Materna, Jump Start the Adult Learner: How to Engage and Motivate Adults Using Brain-
Compatible Strategies (Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press, 2007), 41.
53
Ibid., 12.
54
Ibid.
55
Ibid.
56
Cross, 83.
57
Malcolm S Knowles and associates, Andragogy in Action: Applying Modern Principles of Adult
Learning (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers, 1984), 12.
16

Adults find intrinsic motivation in learning situations. Knowles says, Although it

acknowledges that adults will respond to some external motivators- a better job, a salary

increase, and the like- the andragogical model predicates that the more potent motivators are

internal- self-esteem, self-actualization, and the like.58

Adults are pragmatic and knowledgeable learners. However, they have the potential

to be more aware of their mistakes and shortcomings than children are. In addition to having

an accepting instructor and a stress-free learning environment, adults must set realistic goals

for study.59 The adult learner is reluctant to lose face, reluctant to give an answer unless they

know it is correct, [and] have the tendency to make premature judgments.60 However, adults

are also adept at handling frustration.61

Adults also possess the need to feel satisfaction in their learning pursuits. Patricia K.

Cross writes, Among the top-rated reasons for continuing learning is the pleasure of

receiving the content, the feeling of being a successful learner, and satisfaction or happiness

from the activity of learning.62 Motivation is an incredibly important factor in adult

learning. Although adults possess internal motivators, external sources may contribute to

motivation as well. Cross adds,

motivation for learning is a function of the interaction between internal


psychological factors and external environmental variables, or at least the
participants perception and interpretation of environmental factorsboth adult
education participation and dropout can be understood to occur as a function of
the magnitude of the discrepancy between the participants self-concept and key

58
Knowles and associates, Andragogy in Action.
59
Maris, 6.
60
Ibid., 23.
61
Ibid.
62
Cross, 85.
17

aspects (largely people) of the education environment. Nonparticipants manifest


self/institution incongruence and do not enroll.63

Understanding the adult learner, their characteristics within a learning environment,

and what motivates them is central information to a study on adult piano study. Also helpful

are procedural tips on how adults learn, what learning model suits them, and characteristics

of the classroom that they may find helpful. Many instructors and adult students assume that

adults have more difficulty learning than children do. This is not true. However, reaction

times and response times do have an effect on adult learning. Cross writes,

Speed of learning involves reaction time to perceive the stimulus, transmission


time to transmit the message to the brain, and response time to carry out the
action. On the average, older learners perceive more slowly, think more slowly,
and act more slowly than younger people. Current knowledge suggests that ageing
has somewhat more impact on time needed to perceive the stimulus than on time
needed to react, but reaction time is related to the complexity of the task and to
individual differences.64

The teacher of adult students may compensate for these characteristics for giving more

retrieval cues while teaching, giving longer learning sessions, providing visual learning

cues, and teaching using discovery learning.65 Barbara Maris says, Although learning takes

longer, retention is sure.66

Malcolm S. Knowles discusses the difference between two teaching models: the

process model and the content model. Andragogy, or the field of adult learning, is considered

a process model. Knowles discusses how the process model is more beneficial to adult

learning than the content model:

63
Cross, 119.
64
Ibid., 155.
65
Maris, 23.
66
Ibid.
18

The difference is this: In traditional education the teacher decides in advance


what knowledge or skill needs to be transmitted, arranges this body of content
into logical units, selects the most efficient means for transmitting this content,
and then develops a plan for presenting these content units in some sort of
sequence. This is a content model (or design). The andragogical teacher
(facilitator, consultant, change agent) prepares in advance a set of procedures for
involving the learners (and other relevant parties) in a process involving these
elements: (1) preparing the learner; (2) establishing a climate conducive to
learning; (3) creating a mechanism for mutual planning; (4) diagnosing the needs
for learning; (5) formulating program objectives (which is content) that will
satisfy these needs; (6) designing a pattern of learning experiences; (7) conducting
these learning experiences with suitable techniques and materials; and (8)
evaluating the learning outcomes and rediagnosing learning needs. This is a
process model. The difference is not that one deals with content and the other
does not; the difference is that the content model is concerned with transmitting
information and skills, whereas the process model is concerned with providing
procedures and resources for helping learners acquire information and skills.67

In conclusion, adults possess unique learning characteristics, attitudes, and

motivators. The reviewed sources in this section are helpful to any person who instructs

adults, whether it is in an academic or leisure environment. Much of the reviewed

information applies to adult learning and appears in academic research for adults and piano

study.

ADULTS AND PIANO STUDY


According to many adults, making music is a part of being a well-rounded person.68

James Bastien writes,

Traditionally, adult beginners represented a small portion of the teachers class.


Today, with increased leisure time, more and more people are looking for a

67
Knowles and associates, 115.
68
Chelcy L. Bowles, Self-Expressed Adult Music Education Interests and Music Experiences, Journal of
Research in Music Education 39, no. 3 (Autumn 1991): 192, http://www.jstor.org/stable/3344719 (accessed
February 5, 2011).
19

creative, stimulating activity. Music lessons offer an important outlet to adults


who are searching for some form of aesthetic fulfillment.69

In his study, The Benefits of Adult Piano Study as Self-Reported by Selected Adult Piano

Students,70 Peter J. Jutras writes, The increase in adult population, along with increases in

free time and disposable income, has led to greater adult participation in all fields of

education, including music.71 Whether lessons were stopped because of the childs desire to

quit, a negative experience with a teacher, or because lessons were not financially viable,

music lessons were able to give some adults a second chance to fulfill their dreams of

learning music.72

Adults are dedicated to their desire to take lessons, unlike children, who often take

lessons because of parental insistence,73 or music majors, for whom beginning piano is a

required course.74 Adult recreational musicians recognize the intrinsic value of learning to

make music and find the process itself pleasurable.75 Other characteristics of the adult

learner include the ability to work with a teacher to structure their own lessons and to set

personal goals, and the ability to analyze information with greater ease than children.76

Regardless of these positive cognitive characteristics, there is a huge potential for

69
James W. Bastien, How To Teach Piano Successfully (San Diego: General Words and Music Company,
1995), 13.
70
Jutras, 97.
71
Ibid., 97.
72
Bonnie Blanchard and Cynthia Blanchard Acree, Making Music and Enriching Lives: A Guide for All
Music Teachers (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2007), 193.
73
Bastien, 13.
74
Connie Arrau, Piano Techniques for Adults, Music Educators Journal 69, no. 6 (February 1983): 31,
http://www.jstor.org/stable/3396165 (accessed February 5, 2011).
75
Ibid.
76
Orlofsky and Smith, Strategies for Adult Keyboard Learners.
20

discouragement and dropout as students find that playing the piano is more difficult than

anticipated. Adults are easily frustrated by cognitive-motor skill disconnect 77 Teachers

may assist students by using discovery learning with new concepts, applying musical

techniques and concepts to adults familiar experiences, and allowing students to set the pace

for progress within the class.78

Adults also have greater attention spans than piano students of a younger age. In a

study done by Marilyn J. Kostka, the reinforcements, time use, student attentiveness, and

interruptions of student performance in 96 piano lessons79 were investigated. Each of forty-

eight teachers voluntarily participated with two students ranging in age from preschool to

older adult.80 Students were separated into three levels: elementary, secondary, or adult. The

lessons were videotaped in fourteen-minute increments. Observation time was equally

distributed across beginning, middle, and end of lessons.81 The observers of the lessons

were given training in order to minimize bias. Observation forms were identical for live and

taped assessments; each had 42 intervals within which were contained coded letters

according to definitions such as N = non-music activity, etc.82 Kostka found that

attentiveness was most prevalent in adult lessons. Although all three groups were on task at

least eighty-five percent of the time, adults were off-task 3.53% of the time. Secondary

77
Brenda Wristen, Demographics and Motivation of Adult Group Piano Students, Music Education
Research 8 (November 2006): 389.
78
Ibid., 390.
79
Marilyn J. Kostka, An Investigation of Reinforcements, Time Use, and Student Attentiveness in Piano
Lessons, Journal of Research in Music Education 32, no. 2 (Summer 1984): 113,
http://www.jstor.org/stable/3344978 (accessed April 5, 2011).
80
Ibid.
81
Ibid., 115.
82
Ibid.
21

students were off-task 6.27% of the observed lesson time, and elementary students were off-

task 13.66% of the lesson time.83 In conclusion, adults are able to focus during the majority

of lesson time in comparison to younger age groups.

The adult has a wealth of learning experiences on which to draw and to expand. They

are able to apply new information easily and desire to put things in context and arrive at a

synthesis.84 Applying adults experience in a musical learning environment may take several

forms. Studies show that adult students enjoy incorporating their personal experiences into

new learning Thus a teacher should encourage associations of musical concepts or

physical movements necessary to play the piano with work or other life experiences.85 The

instructor may also encourage adults to interact in group discussions or activities, where they

can share accumulated experiences with each other.86

Dennis J. Siebenalers study illustrates the difference in interaction between teachers

and their adult and child students.87 In the study, thirteen teachers were observed in the

Austin, Texas area. The lessons of one adult student and one child student were videotaped

from each teacher. The videotaped lessons totaled seventy-eight videos. A computer program

specifically designed for the study and like studies kept track of the different kind of

interactions that occurred within an eight to twelve minute segment of the lesson. The

83
Kostka, 119.
84
Marienne Uszler, Stewart Gordon, and Scott McBride Smith, The Well-Tempered Keyboard Teacher
(Belmont, CA: Schirmer Books, 2000), 58-59.
85
Wristen, 390.
86
Knowles and associates, 10.
87
Dennis J. Siebenaler, Analysis of Teacher-Student Interaction in the Piano Lessons of Adults and
Children, Journal of Research in Music Education 45, no. 1 (Spring 1997),
http://www.jstor.org/stable/3345462 (accessed April 5, 2011).
22

recorded and analyzed segment was of the reviewing and discussing of a piece in progress.

The main difference between the use of time in adult and child lessons was the amount of

talking. There was a higher rate of Teacher Music Talk, which means the teacher was

talking while demonstrating something to the student on the piano, and Student Question

and Music Talk, where the student questions the teacher about anything that pertains to the

content and proceedings of the lesson, or any dialogue where the student engages in some

talk pertaining to the lesson or music in general not included in the other categories.88

Siebenaler found that adults are more analytical and reflective than children in their learning

processes and have become progressively more verbal in their learning styles.89

Although adults are capable of independent study, piano teachers do not always

take advantage of this characteristic.90 In Hung Ling-Chens dissertation, the use of self-

directed learning is explored within adult private piano lessons.91 Chen researched the tenets

of andragogy and adult education to form a basis for the study and a list of questions with

which to interview participants. Chen found that many piano teachers follow in the path of

pedagogy rather than andragogy, and self-directed learning was not often utilized in the

lessons of the interviewees. Many adult students did not voice their thoughts and concerns

out of respect for their teachers. Rhonda Mizok-Taylor conducted a similar study. Mizok-

88
Siebenaler, 9.
89
Wristen, 389.
90
Uszler, 58.
91
Hung-Ling Chen, An Investigation of Self-Directed Learning Among Non-Music Major Adult Piano
Learners in One-to-One Piano Instruction (EdD diss., Columbia University, 1996), in ProQuest Dissertations
and Theses,
http://proquest.umi.com/pqdweb?sid=6&vinst=PROD&fmt=6&startpage=1&clientid=17862&vname=PQD&R
QT=309&did=739219221&scaling=FULL&vtype=PQD&rqt=309&TS=1303078145&clientId=1786 (accessed
April 1, 2011).
23

Taylor investigated the potential for self-directed learning in three adult method books for

beginning piano students: Adult Piano Adventures: A Comprehensive Piano Course Book

One by Randall and Nancy Faber, Piano for Adults: A Beginning Course Book One by Jane

Smisor Bastien, Lori Bastien, and Lisa Bastien, and Alfreds Basic All-in-One Adult Course

Level One by Willard A. Palmer, Morty Manus, and Amanda Vick Lethco. Mizok-Taylor

found that very few opportunities to self-direct were given to the adult student; for example,

although concepts given were easy for adults to understand, there were not many

opportunities for discovery. Mizok-Taylor writes,

No choice was given to the student regarding repertoire selection, and with two
exceptions, no references to any outside sources were suggested for locating
additional music in the same style. No information was provided for the student
regarding additional source material for further reading and comprehension of
new concepts. With some very rare exceptions, the adult was not called upon to
use his own previous musical experiences to understand new material.92

Piano instructors may take advantage of the self-directing skills adults possess by teaching

with the process model of teaching, which is deemed most fitting for andragogy.

Many scholars and authors advise adult students to discuss expectations for their

piano lessons, and counsel teachers to let go of their own personal presumptions of student

progress. Orlofsky and Smith say, There is little doubt about the high level of determination

and motivation that adults have at the outset of the learning process. But it is important that

structured, clear-cut goals should be established so that unrealistic expectations are not

92
Rhonda Jane Mizok-Taylor, Promoting Self-Directed Learning in Adult Piano Instruction (DMA diss.,
West Virginia University, 2008), ii, in ProQuest Dissertations and Theses,
http://proquest.umi.com/pqdweb?sid=12&vinst=PROD&fmt=6&startpage=1&clientid=17862&vname=PQD&
RQT=309&did=1886603821&scaling=FULL&vtype=PQD&rqt=309&TS=1303078843&clientId=17862
(accessed April 1, 2011).
24

allowed to unduly influence the adult learner.93 The adult students perceptions of their

piano lessons are directly related to their enjoyment of lessons. Thelma Cooper found in a

study about adult perceptions of piano lessons that adults who viewed their own skills as

competent were more likely to enjoy and keep taking lessons.94 Conversely, a perceived

lack of skill in lessons brought on boredom, dislike of given repertoire, and discontentment

with lessons.95 Jeanine Jacobson writes, Adult students have preconceived expectations and

goals. These often are much higher than those of children and vary widely from student to

student. The method should be chosen to support those expectations.96 Jacobson adds

stipulations for the kind of books and repertoire adults need in lessons: The method should

appeal to a students intellect. Adult students can understand abstract concepts and ideas

more quickly and more easily than children. Therefore, more text and more exploration of the

musical content (theory) can be included.97 Jacobson adds,

The presentation and format of the books must be appropriate for adults. Adults
(with the exception of some older adults) can usually read average-sized print.
The titles of the pieces must not sound childish Whenever possible, the method
should include familiar tunes, especially those that were popular when the student
was young.98

Hadassah Sahr says,

A teacher should provide a continually changing variety of music to study and


play. The music must be simple or the student wont be able to play it, but it also
has to be interesting or the student wont enjoy it. The students attitude toward

93
Orlofsky and Smith, 23.
94
Cooper, 164.
95
Ibid., 165.
96
Jeanine M Jacobson, Professional Piano Teaching: A Comprehensive Piano Pedagogy Textbook for
Teaching Elementary-Level Students, ed. E. L. Lancaster (Van Nuys: Alfred Publishing Company, 2006), 62.
97
Ibid., 61.
98
Ibid.
25

what he or she plays and the quality of concentration will be better if he or she
enjoys or at least sees the value of the material assigned.99

Picking the correct books and repertoire for adults is essential. Immediate success is

also highly motivating. First, teachers must amend their expectations and goals for the

student. Uszler writes,

Few [adult students] are looking to establish a career in music, at least not as
pianists, so there is no urgent desire to learn and perfect technique beyond just
getting around the keyboard comfortably. The majority of teachers, however,
have been classically trained and are accustomed to thinking about the taking
of lessons in terms of long-range goals, even though most of their students never
really complete years of study In agreeing to teach an adult, the instructor must
think in terms of more immediate goals 100

Short-term success gives all students confidence and enjoyment of lessons. Uszler discusses

success within the context of the adults physical abilities:

It is easier for the teacher of the adult to tolerate time and difficulty factors
inherent in the learning of new motor skills than it is for the adult to view the
same situation with equal forbearance. Telling the adult to be patient is usually
ineffective. The adult needs to achieve recognizable success in order to move
forward with assurance and enthusiasm, if not immediate pleasure.101

Adults constantly show their perceptions towards their piano lessons. Hadassah Sahr

says, The adult student frequently reveals a whole range of attitudes toward playing the

piano. For example, many adults are perfectionists; the idea of making a mistake is acutely

disturbing to them.102 Because of the self-scrutinizing that adults often do, an adult teacher

must be sensitive and encouraging. Sahr writes,

99
Hadassah Sahr, The Adult Beginner, in The Art of Teaching Piano, 245-257 (New York: Yorktown
Music Press, Inc., 2004), 257.
100
Uszler, 62.
101
Ibid., 60.
102
Sahr, 254.
26

A teacher needs to recognize that students have different study patterns and that
they often have strong feelings related to learning to play the piano. Many are
genuinely apologetic about their wish to learn, saying, I am really not very
talented. Do you think it is possible for me to learn to play? Or, Is it foolish of
me to want to take lessons? Many students are nervous about playing for another
person. It is important for the teacher to establish and maintain a non-pressured
environment in which the student has the freedom to develop piano skills and
musical interests at an individual rate.103

To summarize, adults who come to piano study often have strong attitudes about their

expectations; thus, they need an encouraging teacher, opportunities to self-direct, good

materials with which to study, and short-term success in order to view their lessons positively

and feel confident in their music studies.

ADULT PIANO METHODS


Although there are studies that concern adults and piano study, there are few studies

and articles on piano curriculums or books for adult beginning piano students. Mizok-

Taylors study and Pui Man Chans study constitute found studies on adult piano methods.

Mizok-Taylor investigated adult method books for instances where the adult was given

opportunities to engage in self-directed learning. Chan created a catalog of adult method

books by analyzing them each for certain characteristics.

In 2001, Pui Man Chan categorized and analyzed many of the method books that

were most widely used at that time in adult piano lessons. Chans purpose for the study was

to create a reference book on piano methods that are appropriate to use as basic material or

the core of a students piano curriculum during the first year (more or less) of study.104 Chan

excluded books that were intended for degree-oriented use, and only used books

103
Sahr, 257.
104
Chan, ii.
27

appropriate for the leisure age adult beginner.105 Additionally, only the first lesson book of

each method was reviewed. Chan reviewed each book alphabetically by author with

descriptions of each method divided into four sections: a cover page, content description,

analytical description, and additional information.106 Any stated objectives for each course

were included in the content description of each book. Twenty-three books were reviewed.

RECREATIONAL MUSIC MAKING


Karl T. Bruhn, former senior vice president of marketing at Yamaha Corporation of

America, was the father of the music-making and wellness movement.107 Bruhn visualized

music-making for all people. Before the year 2006, Recreational Music Making was not

much more than an idea discussed at national and state piano conferences.108 However, more

and more, it is beginning to enter in to the studios of everyday piano instructors.

Additionally, NAMM, the National Association of Music Merchants, has been awarding

grants to RMM programs yearly.109 Bruhns definition of RMM is as follows:

Recreational music making (RMM) encompasses enjoyable, accessible and


fulfilling group music-based activities that unite people of all ages regardless of
their challenges, backgrounds, ethnicity, ability, or prior experience. From
exercise, nurturing, social support, bonding and spirituality, to intellectual
stimulation, heightened understanding and enhanced capacity to cope with lifes
challenges, the benefits of RMM extend far beyond music. RMM ultimately

105
Chan, Catalog and Analysis of Adult Piano.
106
Ibid.
107
Yamaha Music and Wellness Institute, Music and Wellness: A Focus on Recreational Music Making,
Yamaha Music and Wellness Institute. http://www.yamahainstitute.org/Page_details.aspx?cmd2=9 (accessed
February 15, 2011).
108
Brenda Dillon, RMM One Teachers Journey.
109
Ibid.
28

affords unparalleled creative expression that unites our bodies, minds and
spirits.110

Bruhn collaborated with Dr. Barry Bittman to conduct research on the benefits of music

study. Bruhn and Bittman published several articles on their research and findings, and

ultimately were able to confirm that group music in an RMM setting reduces stress at the

DNA level.111

There are other benefits to learning music in an RMM setting. Samuel Tsugawa found

in his study on New Horizons ensembles that three themes of meaning construction and

sense making arose through the interviews he held with members of the ensembles: (a)

members simultaneously embraced music and music learning as a means to enhance the time

they have remaining while engaged in a long-term self-directed learning (b) members

focused on music learning as a process rather than an objective; (c) amidst the challenges of

aging and adult role and identity changes; members used music making and participation to

regain a sense of control over their lives.112

RMM is not a traditional way of teaching music RMM programs are not intended

to diminish the importance of formal music instruction. Therefore, it should not compete

with or replace formal music instruction. Rather, RMM is supposed to make music available

to a large and vastly underserved market.113

110
Bruhn, A Focus on Recreational Music Making.
111
Rebecca J. Johnson, Take Two Music Lessons and Call Me in the Morning: Interview with Karl
Bruhn, Keyboard Companion 18, no. 2 (Summer 2007), http://www.claviercompanion.com/summer
2007/persp/persp1.html (accessed April 12, 2011).
112
Tsugawa, 167.
113
Johnson, Take Two Music Lessons.
29

RECREATIONAL MUSIC MAKING FOR THE ADULT


PIANIST
Brenda Dillon defines recreational music making as music making for the joy of it in

non-stressful environments.114 There are many adults who have the ability and desire to

study music, but very few, if any, will become the next Lang Lang.115 Dillon and Chung

write,

Recreational Music Making (RMM) was founded upon the following core
principles: All people should experience the joy and benefits of music making[,]
music making can be enjoyed without stress and performance requirements[,]
music making can nurture the whole person and improve quality of life, [and]
music making is beneficial to the health of the participant.116

Although the traditional teaching model is a viable methodology, Dillon discusses how the

requirements of traditional teaching can bring on pressure and frustration because of busy

lifestyles.117 The difference between traditional piano teaching and RMM piano teaching is

as follows:

In traditional piano teaching: Primary emphasis is placed on achieving a high


level of performance. A structured curriculum is employed. Teaching occurs
primarily through private/individual lessons. The teacher prescribes the direction
and style of the lesson. The teacher appraises the students level of success.118

Dillon argues that embracing some attributes of RMM teaching could not only transform the

music teaching profession, but also elevate the importance and impact of music making in

our culture.119 Dillon and Chung describe the attributes of RMM teaching:

114
Brenda Dillon, Recreational Music Making, American Music Teacher 57, no. 1 (August/September
2007): 2123.
115
Chung and Dillon, Handbook, 1.
116
Ibid., 7.
117
Ibid., 8.
118
Ibid.
119
Ibid.
30

Performance is not emphasized or required. The curriculum can bend and adapt at
any time. Teaching occurs primarily in group lessons. The student and teacher
participate together in prescribing the direction/style of lessons. Students learn
from the teacher and other class members. The student appraises the level of
success.120

The most important facet of RMM is the accessibility of music study to any beginning piano

student. Adults may feel successful from their first lesson by having an encouraging

facilitator who possesses a sense of humor. Bruhn differentiates between teachers and

facilitators: Teachers often lead students to the teachers goals, while facilitators walk

beside the student and guide the way to the students goals. The objective is to have students

realize a great deal of success from the very beginning.121

RMM students need a stress-free learning environment.122 Humor is an important

part of creating a relaxing environment. Dillon explains an instance when she could use

humor to bring attention to technical errors in class:

Technically, the greatest challenge these students face is what I call wandering
fingers. Many of their mistakes occur when their fingers dont stay on the piano
keys needed for a particular piece of music When the fingers wander, though,
the class and I start humming Willie Nelsons On the Road Again.123

The instructor may also eliminate stress from classes by encouraging students to let go of

expectations of progress. Dillon writes,

I know that human beings have an affinity for learning certain skills, but I think
you can learn to do almost anything if you are willing to devote the time and
attention to it. With every new class, I urge them to remove the word talent from

120
Chung and Dillon, Handbook.
121
Johnson, Take Two Music Lessons.
122
Perez and Baily, Teachers Manual, 4.
123
Dillon, Recreational Music Making, 2.
31

their vocabulary. I tell them the formula for learning to play the piano is simply:
Desire + Slow Repetition = Success.124

The expectation of perform in front of others can be stressful for students.

Performance is not required in RMM study; however, according to teachers, most students

feel so supported and encouraged in their classes that they volunteer to perform.125 Some

RMM facilitators, such as Debra Perez, host RMM Celebrations, where students may

perform if they choose. Dillon writes, The audience was told not to applaud and to continue

talking and eating just as they would at a dinner club as the adults went to the pianos to

perform.126 These sorts of informal performances are often a success and give adults the

confidence to perform in front of others.

In a study by Jane Michelle Conda, a group of amateur pianists called the Late

Bloomers Piano Club were interviewed in order to ascertain why the club exists, what

changes and strategies have occurred in the development of the organization, [and] how

interrelationships have changed and developed between the club members and the

founder.127 Members have been as few as four and as many as twenty-seven, with thirteen to

nineteen regular attendees of varying skill, from beginner to advanced. Each member plays

one or two pieces at each meeting. The meetings are held the second Sunday of every other

month.128

124
Dillon, Recreational Music Making.
125
Brian Chung and Brenda Dillon, Piano Teaching Traditional or Recreational? Whats the
Difference? American Music Teacher 58, no. 2 (October/November 2008): 46.
126
Brenda Dillon, Create Excitement with Celebrations and RMM Players Clubs, Piano Notes (Winter
2008). http://mysite.verizon.net/res79tqb/sitebuildercontent/sitebuilderfiles/winter2008newsletter.pdf (accessed
February 15, 2011).
127
Conda, 131.
128
Ibid., 32.
32

The Late Bloomers Piano Club possesses unique qualities because it is one of the

few forums where adults can perform for peers in a non-judgmental situation. Conda adds,

In contrast with the existing belief that adults do not like to perform, the members of the

LBPC look at this organization as a way to practice performing not actually performing. It

is a subtle but significant difference.129 In conclusion, in RMM piano study, performance is

viewed as a non-mandatory avenue to potentially gain confidence in playing the piano in

front of others. Organizations and events like the Late Bloomers Piano Club and RMM

Celebrations may provide a model for stress-free performances for future RMM facilitators

who will plan such events.

Repertoire choice is an important factor of teaching piano to adults. Dillon discusses

how this fact takes priority in teaching RMM: When it comes to learning to read music, I

find that adults are primarily interested in learning to play pieces they have always yearned to

play. That goes hand-in-hand with my belief that mastering music fundamentals will lead

adults to that promised land of fulfilling their dreams.130 Dillon discusses how the piano

curriculum Piano Fun includes music that adults enjoy playing, while still highlighting key

fundamentals of music. It is important not to skip any steps and to thoroughly learn and

review the building blocks of playing music.131

Teaching a group class can prove to be a challenge for teachers because of possible

limitations on space and instruments. Teachers may choose to teach a RMM group class on

129
Conda, 135.
130
Brenda Dillon, Developing Musical Independence While Having Fun, Clavier Companion,
(January/February 2011): 28. http://mysite.verizon.net/res79tqb/sitebuildercontent/sitebuilderfiles/Brenda2.pdf
(accessed February 15, 2011).
131
Ibid.
33

two pianos or in a piano lab with six or more digital pianos. Dillon recommends teaching

RMM classes on two pianos. It is easier to find a teaching venue with two pianos, and

students may benefit from being able to observe other students play.132 In order to keep all

the students engaged, the teacher might use MIDI accompaniments, compact disc

accompaniments, and small plastic keyboards for the students away from the keyboard.133

Debra Perez and Will Baily recommend using a piano lab and offer two separate

configurations for the teaching room. Benefits of teaching in a piano lab are teacher visibility

from the viewpoint of the students, personal space that students have while learning, and

being able to hear each student individually through headphones.134 Additionally, the

students may play as an ensemble at any point, may practice individually at their keyboards,

and always have pianos that are in tune with one another.135 Dillon, Chung, Perez, and Baily

all give the recommendation for teachers to form relationships with piano vendors, who may

be able to provide a room with a piano lab.

The Recreational Music Making teaching model possesses qualities that are similar to

qualities of andragogy and the learning characteristics of adults. Dillon and Chung stress the

need for the teacher to facilitate learning and plan the pacing and progress of the class

according to student feedback: The curriculum can bend and adapt at any time The

student and teacher participate together in prescribing the direction/style of lessons. Students

learn from the teacher and other class members. The student appraises the level of

132
Chung and Dillon, Handbook, 32.
133
Ibid., 33.
134
Perez and Baily, Teachers Manual, 11.
135
Chung and Dillon, Handbook, 36.
34

success.136 Karl Bruhn stated that the objective [of RMM] is to have students realize a

great deal of success from the very beginning.137 RMM facilitators are encouraged to create

a stress-free environment where students can share experiences in a group setting.

There are not many studies on Recreational Music Making. This study may form a

base for future studies on Recreational Music Making for the adult beginning piano student.

136
Chung and Dillon, Handbook.
137
Johnson, Take Two Music Lessons.
35

CHAPTER 3

AN ANALYSIS OF FOUR PIANO TEXTS

In this chapter, Piano Fun for Adult Beginners: Recreational Music Making for

Private or Group Instruction, Musical Moments: a Recreational Music Making Program,

Bastien Piano for Adults, and Alfreds Basic Piano Course for Adults: Adult All-in-One

Course are analyzed according to six musical categories as delineated in a study by Cathy

Albergo: Reading, Technique, Repertoire, Aural Skills, Musicianship (Theory), and Creative

Skills.138 The comparisons of the methods in Chapter 4 are based upon the analyses.

This researcher found the approximate end point in each book that constituted eight

weeks of adult group instructions. Because some of the selected books are much longer than

others, a similar ending point or section had to be found. Piano Fun for Adult Beginners is

currently available in one level. The book reflects the authors experience when teaching a

group of Recreational Music Making adults for an eight-week period.139 Piano Fun contains

sixty-six pages of instruction, or seventy-one pages if the glossary and a section that

addresses frequently asked questions are included. To determine an eight-week segment of

Musical Moments, the researcher consulted the Musical Moments Teachers Guide.140 The

lesson plans indicated that a class might reach approximately page 21 at the conclusion of

eight weeks. Recreational Music Making instructors, or facilitators, say that each class

progresses differently, and that it is important for the facilitator to change the pacing and
138
Albergo, 283.
139
Brenda Dillon, RMM One Teachers Journey.
140
Perez and Baily, Teachers Manual, 34.
36

sequencing of the class according to the needs of the students. Debra Perez writes, In a

group lesson, the students are never at the exact same skill level. It is important as facilitators

to encourage students to relax and enjoy playing at their current skill level.141 To determine

an eight-week segment of Bastien Piano for Adults, the researcher received data from one of

the authors of the book, who had taught a sixty-minute adult group class for eight weeks. The

materials covered in eight weeks concluded with page 80, or the end of chapter 5. Because

this researcher could not contact authors of Alfred Adult All-in-One, a survey was sent to

teachers in the area who use the book. The teachers stated that they covered an average of

four pages a week. Thus, the analysis of Alfred Adult All-in-One concludes with page 32.

SIX MUSICAL CATEGORIES


Albergo, in analyzing childrens piano methods for her study, discovered that the

method books had concepts in common. Albergo grouped the concepts into six categories.

Although Albergos study reviewed piano books targeted for young beginners, the elements

and categories that she used may be applied to the piano books for RMM and adult beginners

in this study. The adult beginner books selected for this study are analyzed according to each

conceptual element. Because this study focuses on an eight-week instructional term, few

advanced elements are discussed. Concepts that are not found in any of the four books are

not discussed. Each of Albergos categories and their corresponding concepts are discussed

below in terms of the definitions. Albergos six categories and corresponding concepts are

defined in the order in which they appeared in Albergos study.

141
Perez and Baily, Teachers Manual, 13.
37

Reading
Albergos reading category consists of concepts related to pitch and rhythm.

Keyboard geography, key names, pre-reading experiences, grand staff, note names,

intervallic reading, accidentals (sharps, flats, and naturals), key signatures, range or register,

and musical and expressive symbols are elements that fall into the pitch category of

reading.142 The reading approach of each book is discussed this portion of the study although

it is not one of Albergos categories. Key names, pre-reading experiences, note names, and

reading approach are elements of the discussion of the introduction of reading in each text.

For this study, keyboard geography is the orientation around the black key groups and

higher and lower registers on the keyboard. The graphic presentation of a hand position

before the beginning of a piece is not counted as an instance of keyboard geography in the

study. An activity where the student answers questions about black keys and higher or lower

pitches on the piano is considered an example of keyboard geography.

A repertoire piece that is notated on the grand staff is not counted as an instance of

the grand staff element. Additional tips that appear after the first introduction of the grand

staff and theory activities that reinforce learning the grand staff such as, but not limited to,

identifying or drawing a brace, clefs, lines, and spaces, are counted as instances of the grand

staff element in the pitch category of reading.

Intervallic reading is defined as instances where the student reads by intervals (the

distance between two notes) and not by note names or with terms like step, skip, and

same. Instances when the student must say intervals while playing or read intervals aloud

142
Albergo, 283.
38

before playing are counted as reinforcements of the element. Identifying or writing intervals

is discussed in the category Musicianship (Theory).

Accidentals are counted when they appear within a piece or theory exercise. Instances

of key signatures are counted when they are introduced in the text, mentioned in the text, or

appear at the beginning of repertoire. Range or register is the range of notes that the student

must recognize and play within any song. Pre-reading experiences are not included in the

discussion of range. Hand positions such as the Middle C position or the C five-finger

position are also discussed and reflected in the information included in a table within this

section of the paper. In the middle C position, the players left and right thumbs share middle

C. Fingers two, three, four, and five of each hand are placed on the keys adjacent to middle

C. The middle C position ranges from the F below middle C to the G above middle C, or the

span of a ninth. A hand position centered near the middle C position might have the first

finger of the right hand on the D above middle C rather than sharing middle C with the left

hand thumb. In the C five-finger position, the students fifth finger of the left hand is placed

on any C, and the first finger of the right hand is placed on any C with the adjacent fingers of

each hand covering the pitches of the key. The researcher refers to hand positions centered

around C position as any position that is nearly the same as C position. Usually these

positions consist of a right-hand thumb being placed one key higher or lower than C, or

finger five of the left hand placed one key away from C. Pieces with hand positions that are

nearly the same as the middle C or the C five-finger position occur in some of the analyzed

texts; thus, distinguishing these hand positions is important.

Musical and expressive symbols consist of dynamic markings including crescendo or

decrescendo, repeat signs, codas, and other symbols in music. They do not include
39

articulations or touches such as legato, staccato, or accents. Musical symbols that affect

rhythm are discussed in Albergos rhythm category. Time signatures and tempo markings are

discussed in another portion of this chapter.

Rhythm
This section addresses counting methods, note values, rests, meter, time signatures,

rhythmic terms and symbols, and tempo markings are elements related to the rhythmic aspect

of reading.143

The approach to counting rhythms is discussed according to how it is introduced, and

whether or not it changes throughout the book. Examples of counting approach are numerical

counting, that is, 1 for a quarter note, 1-2 for a half note, and so on; metric counting,

where each beat is counted successively; syllabic counting, such as ta-ah for a half note;

and descriptive counting, which could be half-note for a half note, or whole-note-hold-it

to count a whole note.144 Another counting method identifies the students action of playing

or playing and sustaining a note such as play-hold-hold-hold for a whole note of four beats.

This play-hold method is called action counting in this document.

Note values include quarter notes, half notes, or any notation of duration or length.

The discussion of note values includes what note values are introduced and when they are

introduced in each text. Rhythm that appears in a piece of repertoire is not counted as an

instance of the concept unless the student is directed to count aloud or conduct a similar

activity. Rests are discussed in the same manner as note values. Pulse, when maintaining a

143
Albergo, Objectives for Elementary Piano Instruction.
144
Jacobson, 45.
40

steady beat, is not be defined as meter, though it may be discussed if meter does not appear in

any text.

The discussion of time signatures includes what time signatures are introduced and

when they are introduced in each text. Rhythmic terms and symbols and tempo markings are

discussed when they are introduced and when they appear in a piece. Tempo markings

include terms like allegro, andante, andantino, and adagio.

Technique
Albergos technique category encompasses the following concepts: posture at the

piano; hand position; wrist, arm, and shoulder positions; legato and staccato; finger numbers;

finger coordination; technical exercises; five-finger patterns; slurs and phrasing; and

pedaling.145

Posture at the piano consists of any discussion of bench placement, feet placement,

forearm and hand placement in relation to the piano keyboard, and similar discussions.

Instances of hand position in the text consist of discussion of curved fingers rather than flat

fingers while playing the piano. This discussion may also include an exercise or warm-up.

Relaxation exercises are an integral part of the discussion of wrist, arm, and shoulder

positions and will be tallied as an instance of the concept.

The next element of the technique category is legato and staccato. Introduction to

the legato and staccato symbols, exercises practicing legato or staccato, and use of legato or

staccato symbols in repertoire pieces are discussed as they appear in the books. Legato is an

element that is discussed in three different ways in this study. First, the legato symbol is

145
Albergo, 283.
41

discussed, then the slur mark and phrasing are discussed, and later on, legato versus staccato

is discussed. None of these elements are deleted because they may be introduced in different

ways throughout each of the four texts. Finger numbers are discussed according to when they

are introduced in each text. Finger coordination is defined as warm-ups, exercises, tudes,

or pieces that are designated by the author(s) to promote finger coordination. Technical

exercises are defined in this study as exercises or warm-ups intended to promote a particular

technical element of playing piano, such as loose wrists, arm weight, or a similar issue. Slurs

and phrasing are discussed in relation to their introduction or mention. Pedaling and pedal

markings are counted when they are introduced and when they appear in repertoire.

Repertoire
Repertoire refers to the different genres of pieces that may be found within each book

in this study. Pedagogical repertoire, folk and traditional melodies, classical themes, and

popular pieces are all examples of repertoire genres.146 Each book is analyzed for genres of

repertoire and the number of examples in each genre.

Pedagogical repertoire is any piece that was written by the author or authors of the

examined text. Folk and traditional melodies are designated as such. Classical themes are

themes that have been simplified and adapted from classical works. Popular repertoire is any

piece that originated in a television show, play, musical, or as a popular tune distributed

through mass media.

146
Albergo, Objectives for Elementary Piano Instruction.
42

Aural Skills
Aural skills encompass activities that are identified by listening. Interval recognition,

balance, legato versus staccato, and ear training activities are included in Albergos aural

skills category.147

Interval recognition is an ear-training activity that requires the student to name an

interval heard or to select the correct answer from multiple choices. Balance could be defined

as a concept of technique rather than an aural skill. Due to the advanced nature of this

element, instances of balance are defined as pieces or exercises where the authors have

mentioned playing melody louder than accompaniment, which requires the student to listen

to the dynamics they create. Ear-training activities are aural activities that require the student

to identify one choice over another choice. This could be identifying music as forte or piano,

identifying music as being played legato or staccato, or identifying whether sounds moved

higher or lower.

Musicianship (Theory)
Musicianship (theory) includes the following elements: intervals, chords, primary

chords, chord inversions, notation, memorization, music appreciation, and practice and study

skills.148

Intervals are counted when they are introduced and when they are reinforced in

theory activities. Chords, primary chords, and chord inversions are discussed in their order of

introduction. Notation is analyzed according to the instances when the student is told how to

notate or is given the opportunity to notate music. Memorization is defined as any instance

147
Albergo, Objectives for Elementary Piano Instruction.
148
Ibid.
43

where the student is prompted to memorize information or music. Music appreciation may

consist of facts that deepen the students knowledge of a piece of repertoire, give biographies

of composers, background information on a style of music, or similar discussions. Practice

and study skills are lists of directives to guide the development of effective practice on the

piano.

Creative Skills
Lastly, creative skills are any activities that encourage creativity in music. Creative

activities include improvisation, question and answer drills, variation techniques, playing

with different accompaniment patterns, and composition.149 The student may be prompted to

explore creative activities in a variety of ways that are discussed according to each text.

PIANO FUN FOR ADULT BEGINNERS: RECREATIONAL


MUSIC MAKING FOR PRIVATE OR GROUP INSTRUCTION
Piano Fun for Adult Beginners150 by Brenda Dillon was published by the Hal

Leonard Corporation in 2010. The book was designed as an entre into the world of

Recreational Music Making (RMM), where students are able to learn to read music, play

music of [their] choice and learn to play lead sheets in an enjoyable and relaxing manner.151

Piano Fun has 71 pages of instruction and repertoire with an accompanying compact disc.

Dillon organized the book by modules. There are a total of eight modules. Each module has

between five to eight pages. Ric Iannone composed accompaniment tracks to coordinate with

repertoire within the text. The accompaniment tracks are fully orchestrated arrangements of

149
Albergo, Objectives for Elementary Piano Instruction..
150
Brenda Dillon, Piano Fun for Adult Beginners.
151
Ibid., inside cover.
44

each piece of repertoire in the book. There are two tracks for each piece: the first is recorded

at a slower practice tempo, and the second is recorded at a faster performance tempo. The

compact disc allows the students to access the MIDI files for each piece on their computer.

Piano Fun does not instruct the student to use or explore the features of a digital keyboard.

Piano Fun; Reading


Piano Fun utilizes an eclectic reading approach. On page 7, reading is first introduced

on the black keys using only finger numbers. Notes longer than one beat have the word

HOLD printed next to the finger number.152 The student is encouraged to play along with

the compact disc. On page 16 and onward, the student plays pieces using only key names.

Note values appear on the same page; however, some well-known pieces, like Joy to the

World have note names but no rhythm values.153 On page 23, the key names are placed

within the note heads. Beginning on page 33, the student reads notes on the staff. The student

learns the names of the lines and spaces of both clefs with graphics and text explanations

followed by two pieces called Treble Clef Chant154 and Bass Clef Chant.155 On page 38,

the student is introduced to directional reading on the staff. The student is encouraged to

identify the movement of the notes by saying, step, skip, and repeat.156 Identifying the

movement of the notes does not qualify as intervallic reading. Other key reading concepts

appear throughout the text. Table 1 indicates the initial introduction of the concept.

152
Brenda Dillon, Piano Fun for Adult Beginners, 7.
153
Ibid., 18.
154
Ibid., 34.
155
Ibid., 35.
156
Ibid., 38.
45

Table 1. Reading Concepts in Piano Fun


Page on which concept first Number of times concept
appears appears after initial
introduction
Keyboard Geography 7 0
Key Names 14 1
Pre-reading Experiences 7 16
Grand Staff 32 0
Note Names 32 8
Interval Reading Interval reading does not 0
appear in this text.
Sharps, Flats, and Naturals 60 6 Sharps (4 activities and 2
pieces).
1 Flat (1 activity).
3 Naturals (3 activities).
Key Signatures Key signatures do not appear 0
in this text.

In modules one through three (pages 6 to 31), the range of the pieces is a fifth. The

pieces are either played C position, or hand positions centered on C position. On page 37, the

first piece that spans more than a fifth or five notes per hand is introduced. This piece is a

popular song with a reading range spanning the interval of a tenth. On page 52, there is a

piece where the student is required to switch the hand position midway through the piece.

However, in each position, the student plays intervals of a fifth or smaller in each hand. In

module seven, the student reaches the interval of a melodic sixth in one piece and a melodic

octave in another. On page 62, the traditional English melody Scarborough Fair contains

the range of an eleventh in the right hand. In one piece, the range for the right hand is twelve

notes, ranging from notes below middle C to notes above treble C. The last piece in the book

uses an interval of a melodic tenth in the right hand. The pieces discussed are meant to

display the large range in many of the pieces in this book. A summary of hand positions of

Piano Fun in Table 2 illustrates the division of hand positions throughout the text.
46

Table 2. Hand Position for Pieces in Piano Fun


Middle C position 0
C position 11
Centered around Middle C position 5
Centered around C position 5
Other positions (other keys) D minor, 1; G major, 2

Most musical and expressive symbols appear at the end of the book in the Glossary of

Musical Terms and Symbols.157 Dynamic markings, tempo markings, and other symbols

appear in the glossary. Repeat signs, and first and second endings appear on page 29.

Piano Fun; Rhythm


Piano Fun introduces rhythm with the action counting method. First, the students

learn to count longer notes by saying hold for each sustained beat. The finger number is

verbalized on the first beat of the rhythmic value, and the word hold is repeated for the

subsequent beats. For example, to count a whole note, the student would see and say the

appropriate finger number, and say the words hold hold hold on the following three

beats.158 Another instance where rhythm is explained informally occurs on page 16: White

circle notes are held longer than black circle notes. Eighth notes are introduced on page 20.

In module three, pulse, rhythm, how to count rhythmic values (quarter note, half note,

dotted half note, and whole note), measures, barlines, tied notes, the repeat sign, and first and

second endings are introduced.159 Although rhythm had previously been introduced, a

different counting method, descriptive (nominative) counting, is introduced. For example, the

student says half-note rhythmically while counting a half note, or whole-note-hold-it for

157
Brenda Dillon, Piano Fun for Adult Beginners, 70.
158
Ibid., 10.
159
Ibid., 22.
47

a whole note. On page 45, eighth notes and dotted quarter notes are introduced using the

descriptive (nominative) counting method. To count eighth notes, the student says, eighth-

eighth in rhythm. The quarter rest, half rest, and whole rest are introduced on page 45.

Tempo markings and codas first appear in the Glossary of Musical Terms and Symbols.160

The tied note is introduced on page 22. Piano Fun introduces a range of rhythmic concepts,

as shown in Table 3.

Table 3. Rhythmic Concepts in Piano Fun


Rhythmic Concept Page on Which Concept First Appears

Note Values 22, 45

Rests 45

Meter 0

Time Signatures 4/4, 32; 3/4, 36

Piano Fun; Technique


Posture at the piano and finger numbers are discussed on page 6. The student learns

the correct position for the feet, shoulders, hands, and forearms. Hand position is introduced

by directing the student to curve fingers while playing and to leave the thumb on its side.

Wrist, arm, and shoulders are only discussed when sitting position and posture is discussed.

Legato and staccato are first introduced in the glossary of musical terms and symbols;

these symbols do not appear in pieces of repertoire.

160
Brenda Dillon, Piano Fun for Adult Beginners, 70.
48

Piano Fun; Repertoire


In Piano Fun, pedagogical repertoire is generally used to introduce new concepts like

keyboard geography, learning white key names and musical alphabet letters, and names of

notes on the staff.

The popular repertoire pieces in this book are themes from movies, popular tunes

from mass media, standards, and themes from television and musicals. The oldest piece of

popular repertoire was originally performed by Woody Guthrie in the 1940s. The other

popular pieces were written between the 1950s to the 1990s. Piano Fun is a unique text in

that it contains many folk and traditional melodies and popular pieces (see Table 4).

Table 4. Repertoire Genres and Occurrences in Piano Fun

Pedagogical Repertoire 2

Folk and Traditional Melodies 15

Classical Themes 3

Popular Pieces 12

Also significant is the number of pieces that appear in each module throughout the

book, as shown in Table 5. The number of pieces displayed in Table 4 does not add up with

Table 5. The classical theme Ode to Joy appears three times with varying degrees of

difficulty and was counted each time. Ode to Joy was counted once in Table 4. Piano Fun

contains thirty-two pieces of repertoire.

Piano Fun; Aural Skills


Piano Fun does not contain aural skills activities. There are no ear-training activities

within the text.


49

Table 5. Number of Pieces per Module


Module One 5
Module Two 4
Module Three 5
Module Four 1
Module Five 5
Module Six 5
Module Seven 4
Module Eight 3

Piano Fun; Musicianship (Theory)


Chords (C, F, and G Major, root position) are introduced on page 54. The student

initially learns the three triads in root position, but on page 56 the chords appear in close

position. The term close position introduces students to inverted chords in a chord

progression. The F major chord appears in second inversion, and the G dominant seventh

chord appears in first inversion with the fifth omitted. Minor chords and additional major

chords are introduced on pages 60 and 61. C major, D major, E major, F major, G major, A

major, B major, C minor, D minor, E minor, F minor, G minor, A minor, and B minor are

introduced.

A table called Prepare always appears on the page before a new repertoire piece to

guide the students practice. Preparing for the piece involves reviewing key concepts,

clapping the rhythm, singing the melody, or playing along with the compact disc. This

preparatory section appears before each piece in the book.

Piano Fun; Creative Skills


Opportunities for creativity do not arise in this book. Improvisation, question and

answer drills, variation techniques, playing with different accompaniment patterns,

transposition, and composition are not addressed in the text.


50

MUSICAL MOMENTS: A RECREATIONAL MUSIC MAKING


PROGRAM, STUDENT BOOK ONE
In the preface of Musical Moments, Perez and Baily wish the student well on their

musical journey and quote Karl Bruhns definition of RMM. On page 2, there are tips for

using the book and explanations of the kinds of activities found in the text. Musical

Wellness activities are stretching and breathing exercises that will help [the student] play

piano more comfortably and without tension.161 The term Musical Language will appear

on a page where there are new terms or symbols to learn. Explore activities will give the

student an opportunity to experiment creatively with songs they have already learned. The

book comes with a compact disc. Some repertoire pieces have as many as three different

kinds of compact disc accompaniments. This book gives opportunities for students to use the

features of a digital piano. On page 13, the authors give a definition of pre-recorded

accompaniment styles that can be used to create the feeling of the style of the piece and

can be used as a musical metronome.162 Musical Moments does not have chapters or units.

Musical Moments; Reading


In Musical Moments, the students first pieces are on the black keys. Next, the student

is introduced to key names. White key names are placed within the note heads. There are two

pieces on the white keys before the grand staff is introduced. Although pieces are notated on

the staff, key names still appear within the note heads. From this point to the end of the

book, at least one note in each piece has a key name within the note head. For example, the

first beat of each measure has a note name within the note head. Additionally, if a new note

161
Perez and Baily, Student Book One, 2.
162
Ibid., 13.
51

on the staff is introduced, its note name will appear in the note head each time it appears. If a

new concept is introduced, such as chord shells, attention may be drawn to significant note

movement by placing note names in the note head. In some pieces, the first beat of each line

contains the note name in the note head. This method of teaching note names to student

appears throughout the book in varied forms. Musical Moments teaches reading using an

approach that focuses on the notes of the C major five-finger pattern. Other five-finger

patterns are not taught within this text.

Musical Moments does not introduce keyboard geography with an explanation or text.

Rather, the student encounters keyboard geography during the first piece of repertoire, Sun-

Up.163 An illustration of a piano shows the student which groups of black keys they play in

the piece, and there are arrows showing that the student should move higher as they play.

This method of introducing keyboard geography is used again in the next piece,

Lavender.164

Love Song, the first song on the white keys, does not have any explanatory

illustrations. However, the following piece, Saturday Night, has a small picture of a piano

keyboard with labeled keys. The labeled keys are the notes of C position for right hand and

left hand. A general depiction of reading concepts in this text is illustrated in Table 6.

The range in Musical Moments stays close to the notes of the C position, or five notes

to each hand, as seen in Table 7. The students learn to play the shell of a G dominant

seventh chord, which is the interval of a harmonic sixth combining B and G, on page 11 of

the book. The students learn the chord shells for the F major chord and C dominant seventh

163
Perez and Baily, Student Book One, 5.
164
Ibid., 6.
52

Table 6. Reading Concepts in Musical Moments


Page where concept first Number of times concept
appears appears after initial
introduction
Keyboard Geography 4 2
Key Names 6 2
Pre-reading Experiences 4 4
Grand Staff 8 0
Note Names 9 Note name hints appear
throughout the book.
Interval Reading Here 0 0

Sharps, flats, and naturals 0 0


Key Signatures 0 0

Table 7. Hand Position for Pieces in Musical Moments


Middle C position 0
C position 11
Centered around Middle C position 0
Centered around C position 1

Other positions (other keys) 0

chord on page 17. The F major chord is played as a harmonic sixth (from C to A), and the C7

chord shell is played as a harmonic minor seventh (from C to B-flat).

Treble clef, bass clef, barlines, and the grand staff are introduced on page 8. The

repeat sign is introduced on page 8.

Musical Moments; Rhythm


Notated rhythm begins on page 6 of the book. The student learns to count by action

counting. Underneath a whole note, the student sees the words Play-hold-hold-hold, and

then underneath other whole notes in the song, the abbreviation P-h-h-h. In the next pre-

reading piece, half notes are shown with the abbreviation P-h beneath the note values. On

page 11, a small illustration appears. A quarter note is notated with the word Play, a half

note indicates the words Play-hold, and a whole note is shown with the words Play-hold-
53

hold-hold. On page 15, the student learns the name and duration for each note. Thus, the

student learned that a whole note contained four beats (play-hold-hold-hold) before

learning its name.

Note values and tied notes are introduced on page 15. The 4/4 time signature appears

on page 8. On page 13, the student is introduced to the pulse of a triple time signature in a

musical wellness activity called Barcarolle. The student is directed to sway to the beat of

the music and feel the strong pulse of the first beat by tapping their hands. Rests and tempo

markings are not introduced in the analyzed portion of this book, as shown in Table 8.

Table 8. Rhythmic Concepts in Musical Moments


Rhythmic Concept Page where concept first appears

Note values 15

Rests Does not appear

Meter 13

Time Signatures 4/4, page 8; 3/4, page 13

Musical Moments; Technique


Posture at the piano is a significant element in this book. Posture at the piano is

introduced in a musical wellness exercise. Several of these stretching and breathing

exercises are found throughout the book, and are intended to help [the student] play piano

more comfortably and without tension. The exercises specifically address the release of

tension in [the students] shoulders, wrists, and hands.165 Waves is the first musical

wellness exercise, found on page 3. It is a shoulder exercise that the student completes while

165
Perez and Baily, Student Book One, 2.
54

listening to a track on the compact disc that supplements Musical Moments. Other musical

wellness exercises address wrist tension, feeling rhythmic pulse, and maintaining good

posture at the piano.

Legato and staccato are introduced on page 15. On page 18, the slur mark is

introduced. Legato appears in pieces on pages 20 and 21. Finger numbers are introduced on

page 3. Damper pedal marks are introduced on page 21.

Musical Moments; Repertoire


The majority of the pieces in Musical Moments are pedagogical (see Table 9). This

text contains twelve pieces of repertoire.

Table 9. Genres of Repertoire in Musical Moments


Pedagogical Repertoire 8
Folk and Traditional Melodies 2
Classical Themes 2
Popular Pieces 0

Musical Moments; Aural Skills


Musical Moments does not contain aural skills activities or concepts. Interval

recognition, balance, legato versus staccato, and ear training activities are not introduced in

the analyzed portion of this text.

Musical Moments; Musicianship (Theory)


Chords are introduced on page 11 of Musical Moments. The chords are presented as

chord shells. The C major chord is presented with the third omitted, and the G dominant

seventh chord is presented in first inversion with the fifth and seventh omitted. Lead-line

playing is introduced on page 13. The authors write, In this style of writing, the melody

(tune) is written out and usually played with the right hand. The harmony (chord) is written
55

as a symbol above the melody line 166 On page 17, the chord shell of C major is reviewed,

and the chord shells of F major and C7 are introduced.

A unique way to approach music appreciation with beginning students is shown on

page 13. The exercise is a musical wellness exercise that instructs the student to listen to

the compact disc track, sway to the beat, and [move] [their] arm to [the] big beat as if

[they] were a conductor.167 Although this exercise is reinforcing the 3/4 time signature, it

also may promote active listening away from the piano. Practice and study skills are

reinforced through tips on certain pieces in the book. For example, on page 7, the student is

invited to try singing the names of the notes while playing.

Musical Moments; Creative Skills


Students receive three opportunities to employ variation techniques. On page 7, the

student is instructed to explore the piece by playing it on all the Cs on the keyboard. On

page 17, the student can explore the piece by playing it with other rhythmic accompaniment

styles on a digital piano. On page 19, the student is instructed to try playing a cha-cha

rhythm at the ends of each line with their left hand chord.

BASTIEN PIANO FOR ADULTS


Bastien Piano for Adults was written by Jane Smisor Bastien, Lisa Bastien, and Lori

Bastien in 1999. This course includes lessons, theory, technic, and sight-reading. The preface

reads: We are thrilled that you have decided to add piano to your life! Whether this is your

166
Perez and Baily, Student Book, 13.
167
Ibid., 11.
56

first attempt, or you are taking a refresher course, we hope you will find this experience fun

and fulfilling. We wish you all the best in your endeavor.168

A table of icons is included for the students reference. The icons have the following

titles: Answer Key, Fact, Follow Through, New Notes, Recall, and Starting Point.169 Answer

key reminds the student to check your answers in the answer key. Fact is used when a

historical or theoretical piece of information is given. The follow through icon appears

whenever follow-up exercises are presented. The new notes icon appears when new notes

are presented. When important information has been presented previously, the recall icon

appears. The starting point is used as a reminder to locate the starting notes in each hand

before playing.170 Another icon shows the compact disc track for each piece of repertoire

and provides a metronome marking for each track.

Piano for Adults contains a thorough table of contents. The table includes chapter

headings, concepts presented in each chapter, and what concepts are presented in each piece

of repertoire. The book may be purchased with and without a compact disc.

Piano for Adults; Reading


Piano for Adults teaches reading using an eclectic approach that focuses on the notes

of the C major five-finger pattern. The G major five-finger pattern is taught on page 64, so

the researcher does not qualify this book as having a multi-key approach, which teaches

multiple key patterns quickly.171 Students learn the white key names, then the notes of C

168
Jane Smisor Bastien, Lisa Bastien, and Lori Bastien, Bastien Piano for Adults: A Beginning Course:
Lessons, Theory, Technic, Sight Reading (San Diego: Neil A. Kjos Music Company, 1999).
169
Ibid.
170
Ibid.
171
Jacobson, 42.
57

position off the staff. On page 16, the students are shown the notes of the C five-finger

position on the grand staff, and are instructed to memorize them. The note names are placed

within the note heads from pages 16 to 21. From pages 22 to 29, only the first note played in

each hand contains a note name. Beginning on page 32, note name hints are no longer

provided. Other key reading concepts are introduced in this book, as shown in Table 10.

Table 10. Reading Concepts in Piano for Adults


Page where concept first Number of times concept
appears appears after initial
introduction
Keyboard Geography 6 0
Key Names 7 3
Pre-reading Experiences 8 13
Grand Staff 16 0
Note Names 16 13
Interval Reading 0 0
Sharps, flats, and naturals Sharps, 51; Flats, 45; 10
Naturals N/A
Key Signatures 64 18

In this book, the majority of repertoire pieces appear in a five-finger position. The

range of a fifth is only extended when the student plays chords, which extend the range to the

interval of a sixth. In Chapter 5, pieces begin to have a slightly larger melodic range. There

are twenty-one pieces in chapter 5, and seven of extend to the range of a melodic sixth. The

most frequently appearing hand position, as shown in Table 11, is C position.

Table 11. Hand Position for Pieces in Piano for Adults


Middle C position 10
C position 38
Centered around Middle C position 0
Centered around C position 0
Other positions (G position) 19
58

Dynamic symbols, specifically, piano, mezzo-piano, mezzo-forte, and forte are

introduced on page 22. The dynamic symbols appear in every piece of repertoire thereafter,

which totals forty-six instances. Dynamic marks are reviewed in theory exercises. The slur

mark is introduced on page 27, and appears in a theory exercise on page 31. Instances of its

reoccurrence after the introduction of legato are counted in the technique category. The

ottava symbol is introduced on page 57, and appears three times thereafter. The repeat sign

first appears on page 14. First and second endings are introduced on page 55. Da Capo al

Fine is introduced on page 81, and Coda is introduced on page 82.

Piano for Adults; Rhythm


Quarter notes, half notes, whole notes, and dotted half notes are the rhythm values

that are introduced in chapter one. Quarter notes and half notes first appear on page 8, whole

notes appear on page 12, and dotted half notes are introduced on page 14. Students are

instructed to count rhythms in two ways. They may either count numerically, counting 1

for a quarter note and counting 1-2 for a half note; or count using the descriptive or

nominative method, counting quarter for a quarter note and half note for a half note. The

quarter rest, half rest, and whole rest are introduced on page 18. The time signatures 4/4, 3/4

and 2/4 are introduced on pages 17, 29, and 65, respectively. When 4/4 is introduced, the

student is instructed to count metrically instead of numerically. Rhythm is reinforced in

theory exercises on pages 31 and 56.

Tied notes are introduced on page 23 and appear twenty-three other times. Upbeats

are introduced on page 39, and appear another eight times later in the text. The fermata is

introduced on page 43 and appears once more. Diminuendo e ritardando appears on page 45

and reappears twice throughout the next two chapters. The symbol ritardando appears
59

without additional explanation on page 66, and appears four more times. The tempo

markings andante, moderato, allegretto, and allegro are introduced on page 49. The term a

tempo is introduced on page 75. Students learn first and second endings on page 55, and da

capo al fine, da capo al coda, and coda on pages 81 and 82, respectively. Other key rhythmic

concepts occur in different chapters throughout the book (see Table 12).

Table 12. Rhythmic Concepts in Piano for Adults


Rhythmic Concept Page where concept first appears

Note values 8

Rests 18

Meter 0

Time Signatures 4/4, 17; 3/4, 29; 2/4, 65.

Tempo Markings 49

Piano for Adults; Technique


Posture at the piano is the first concept introduced in Piano for Adults. Pages 4 and 5

give instructions on correct posture at the piano, introduce finger numbers, define tone, and

explain hand position. The student is reminded to keep a good hand position on page 5. The

student is also reminded to keep a relaxed wrist on page 60.

The slur mark is introduced on page 27. In the same paragraph, legato and phrasing

are introduced. Staccato is in introduced on page 58. Seven pieces throughout the text

contain staccato marks and slurs. In one instance, staccato is reviewed in a written theory

activity. In chapter 4, pieces appear that have legato in one hand and staccato in the other.

Piano for Adults contains many tudes, warm-ups, and exercises. Most of them

appear directly after a new concept is introduced. Two exercises in the text mention finger
60

coordination. One exercise on page 60 contains staccato and legato. The other exercise

appears on page 83, and gives the student the opportunity to play staccato in one hand and

legato in the other. C position and G position five-finger patterns are introduced in the

analyzed portion of Piano for Adults as a technical exercise. Slur marks appear in fifty pieces

of repertoire. Damper pedal is introduced on page 29 and appears fifteen times throughout

the remainder of the text (up to page 87).

Piano for Adults; Repertoire


Piano for Adults contains sixty-seven total pieces of repertoire from pages 4 to 87.

This book contains mostly pedagogical repertoire and very few popular pieces (see Table

13).

Table 13. Genres of Repertoire in Piano for Adults


Pedagogical Repertoire 36
Folk and Traditional Melodies 22
Classical Themes 8
Popular Pieces 1

Piano for Adults; Aural Skills


No aural recognition exercises or interval recognition exercises appear in Piano for

Adults. Ear training activities are not found in the text. Balancing melody and

accompaniment is discussed on page 33, although the term balance is not defined. The

concept of balance is reinforced throughout the book in seven different pieces by placing a

louder dynamic marking by the melody and a softer dynamic mark by the accompaniment

line.

Nine pieces of repertoire contain legato versus staccato. Four of the nine pieces

contain staccato in one hand while the other hand is holding a note of long rhythmic
61

duration. Five of the nine pieces contain motion in both hands with one hand playing legato

and the other playing staccato.

Piano for Adults; Musicianship (Theory)


Intervals are introduced on page 21 shortly after notation on the staff is introduced.

The student learns the difference between harmonic and melodic intervals and the difference

between the interval of a second and a third. On the same page, a short tude appears so

students may practice what they have learned. Students are encouraged to recognize intervals

that occur in their pieces. In two repertoire pieces, boxes appear above the notes where

students write the name of the interval. A theory review for seconds and thirds is provided.

Fourths and fifths are introduced next. An exercise is provided to practice the new concept

and a theory review is provided. The remainder of the text contains theory reviews for

intervals. Sixths are introduced on page 78. Two more theory reviews appear from page 78 to

page 87.

The C major triad is introduced on page 14. C major is re-introduced on page 32 as

the I chord, or tonic chord. The G major dominant seventh chord, or V7 chord, is introduced

slightly thereafter, on page 34. Chord progressions and chord symbols are introduced on page

35. The F major chord, or IV chord, is the introduced on page 40. The primary chords of G

major are introduced in chapter 5. The G major, D dominant seventh, and C major chords

appear on pages 66, 72, and 76, respectively. Chord inversions and the term primary

chords are not defined; however, they do appear in the text. The student briefly learns how

to play from chord symbols on page 87.


62

The G major key signature is introduced on page 64. Only two pieces in this chapter

are not in the key of G major. However, students are not asked to draw the key signature or

review the function of a key signature in theory exercises.

Students are introduced to the stem rule shortly after notes on the staff are introduced.

The student is not given an opportunity to notate music in any theory activity. Some

composer biographies are given to correspond with classical themes. The students learn

about the lives of Beethoven, Wagner, Chopin, Bach, Haydn, and Vivaldi.

Practice suggestions are interspersed throughout the text. In chapter one, there are

quite a few of the green boxes with practice suggestions on the pages. However, as the book

progresses, practice tips are given less often. On page 11, practice suggestions are given for

hand position, white key names, rhythm, and how to prepare for and practice a new piece. On

page 17, a plan for practicing appears. The authors suggest that those practice directives be

used for each piece for the remainder of the text. The student is given specific practice

suggestions for a technical piece on page 60, including suggestions for three different

metronome speeds, and reminders on articulation and technique.

Piano for Adults; Creative Skills


Improvisation, question and answer drills, variation techniques, accompaniment

patterns, and composition are not discussed in the analyzed portion of this text.

ALFRED BASIC PIANO COURSE FOR ADULTS: LEVEL ONE


ADULT ALL-IN-ONE COURSE
Willard A. Palmer, Morton Manus, and Amanda Vick Lethco wrote Alfred Adult All-

in-One Piano Course. Alfred Publishing Company published the book in 1994. The All-in-

One books were designed for the beginner looking for a truly complete piano course that
63

includes lesson, theory, technic, and popular repertoire in one convenient, all-in-one

book.172 The authors say the book does not contain gaps in knowledge that frustrate the

student. Students learn to play chords in both hands, are taught how to find chords in every

key, and are provided with outstanding repertoire pieces.173 The book is the first all-in-

one book that combines lesson pages, theory pages, and technic pages. The authors say, At

the completion of this course, the student will have learned to play some of the most popular

music ever written and will have gained a thorough understanding of the basic concepts of

music.174

Alfred Adult All-in-One is not organized by chapters, but rather, by major concepts.

The major concepts that form the table of contents are Introduction to Playing, Position,

The Grand Staff, Playing C-G on the Grand Staff, and Introduction to Chords.175

These major concepts have as many as eighteen pages, and some have as few as one page.

The average amount of pages is nine pages per concept.

Alfred Adult All-in-One; Reading


Keyboard geography is introduced by an illustration that displays lower and higher on

the piano and black key groups. A short exercise practicing higher and lower on the piano

appears. White keys are taught by relating their location to the black keys.

This text, like Musical Moments, approaches reading by introducing the five notes of

the C major five-finger pattern. Note names are introduced on page 14, along with the treble

172
Willard A. Palmer, Morton Manus, and Amanda Vick Lethco. Adult All-in-One Course: Lesson, Theory,
Technic. Van Nuys, CA: Alfred Publishing Co., Inc., 1994.
173
Ibid.
174
Ibid.
175
Ibid., 2.
64

clef, staff, and notes of C position for the right hand. For the first warm-up and repertoire

piece, the note names are written within the note heads. The student is instructed to draw

several treble clefs and fill in note names in a theory activity. Left hand C position notes are

introduced on page 16. The note names appear within the note heads for a warm-up and

repertoire piece, followed by the introduction of the bass clef symbol and notes with spaces

for the student to fill in note names. The student is given two more opportunities to complete

note-naming theory activities. Students are taught to read directionally; in other words, as the

notes move higher on the staff, they move higher on the keyboard. Various reading elements

are found in this text (see Table 14).

Table 14. Reading Concepts in Alfred Adult All-in-One


Page where concept first Number of times concept
appears appears after initial
introduction
Keyboard Geography 8 0
Key Names 9 0
Pre-reading Experiences 8, 9 2
Grand Staff 20 0
Note Names 12 4
Interval Reading Reading by interval does not 0
appear in this text.
Sharps, flats, and naturals Accidentals do not appear in 0
the analyzed portion of this
text.
Key Signatures Key signatures do not appear 0
in the analyzed portion of
this text.

All of the pieces in this text contain the reading range of a fifth in each hand. This

text contains no other positions besides C position, as shown in Table 15.

The musical and expressive symbols introduced in Alfred Adult All-in-One are the

dynamic markings piano, mezzo-piano, mezzo-forte, and forte. The markings are introduced
65

Table 15. Hand Position for Pieces in Alfred Adult All-in-One


Middle C position 0
C position 18
Centered around Middle C position 0
Centered around C position 0
Other 0

on page 22. Each piece that appears thereafter contains at least one dynamic marking. One

piece, Chimes, contains three different dynamic markings.176 The markings appear in a

theory exercise on page 31.

Alfred Adult All-in-One; Rhythm


Alfred Adult All-in-One teaches students to count numerically. Quarter notes are

counted as 1, half notes are counted as 1-2, and whole notes are counted as 1-2-3-4.

Quarter notes and half notes are introduced on page 13, and the whole note is introduced on

page 17. The counting method does not change once 4/4 is introduced on page 20. The

authors give students a sample practice plan for each new piece that includes clapping or

tapping the rhythm. The practice plan appeared before the first few repertoire pieces in the

book, and then stopped appearing; however, the authors recommended the student use the

same practice plan for every new piece in the book. Several other rhythmic concepts are

introduced in this text, as seen in Table 16.

Alfred Adult All-in-One; Technique


The student is directed how to sit at the piano before they are taught any other

concepts. The page features a large diagram of a player seated at the piano. The text on the

176
Palmer, Manus, and Lethco, 29.
66

Table 16. Rhythmic Concepts in Alfred Adult All-in-One


Rhythmic Concept Page where Concept First Appears

Note values 13

Rests Whole rest, page 20; quarter rest, page 21

Meter Meter does not appear in the analyzed


portion of this text.
Time Signatures 22

Tempo Markings Tempo markings do not appear in the


analyzed portion of this text.

page describes the correct posture: SIT TALL! Lean slightly forward. Let arms hang loosely

from shoulders. Elbows slightly higher than keys. Bench must face the keyboard squarely

177

Hand position is mentioned several times in the text. Page 4 shows preliminary

exercises that students may complete to warm up their hands. This includes advice to wear

gloves when you are lifting large, heavy objects, use a little warm water in order to

promote circulation.178 The student is then given some hand exercises that they may

complete in order to further warm up the hands. On pages 10 and 11, there are isometric

exercises for the student, directions on how to give a beneficial hand massage,179 and

reasons for playing with curved fingers.180 Wrist, arm, and shoulder positions are included

177
Palmer, Manus, and Lethco, 6.
178
Ibid., 4.
179
Ibid., 10.
180
Palmer, Manus, and Lethco, 11.
67

in the discussion on posture at the piano. The text says, Let arms hang loosely from

shoulders.181 Finger numbers are introduced on page 7.

Alfred Adult All-in-One; Repertoire


Alfred Adult All-in-One contains the same number of pedagogical repertoire and

folk/traditional melodies (see Table 17). There are seventeen pieces of repertoire within the

analyzed portion of this text.

Table 17. Repertoire Genres in Alfred Adult All-in-One

Pedagogical Repertoire 8

Folk and Traditional Melodies 8

Classical Themes 1

Popular Pieces 0

Alfred Adult All-in-One; Aural Skills


Each time a new interval is presented, the student is instructed to play a small

educational warm-up and listen to the sound of the interval; however, there are no aural

interval recognition activities in the text.

Alfred Adult All-in-One; Musicianship (Theory)


Intervals are introduced in Alfred Adult All-in-One. The intervals of a second, third,

fourth, and fifth are introduced in the text. Seconds and thirds are introduced at the same

time. The students are able to practice the intervals of a second and third in repertoire and

theory activities. The authors use a similar approach for the intervals of a fourth and fifth.

181
Ibid., 6.
68

The C major chord is the only chord introduced in the analyzed portion of the text.

Students are able to notate music in several theory activities.

Alfred Adult All-in-One; Creative Skills


No creative activities were found in the analyzed portion of Alfred All-in-One course.

CONCLUSION
In conclusion, this chapter presents important musical concepts from each of the four

analyzed books. The results found in this chapter are compared in chapter 4 in order to

highlight the similarities and differences between the RMM books and the traditional method

books, if any. Comparing the selected books may give researchers and piano teachers a

clearer picture of how each text might be used for a group class of beginning adult piano

students.
69

CHAPTER 4

SIMILARITIES AND DIFFERENCES BETWEEN


TWO RMM TEXTS AND TWO TRADITIONAL
METHOD BOOKS

Chapter 4 compares the results from the analyses of the four texts that were

completed in chapter 3. Comparing results may give readers a clearer picture of the

similarities and differences between these texts. Chapter 3 contained very specific details,

whereas this chapter provides an overview of the results. The six musical categories that are

discussed in this chapter are: Reading, Technique, Repertoire, Aural Skills, Musicianship

(Theory), and Creative Skills.182 These six categories and the elements in each category

provide a scope and sequence of each piano text. Conclusions are drawn at the end of this

chapter.

READING
The reading category contains many elements of learning that are broken up into two

sub-categories: pitch and rhythm. The pitch sub-category consists of the following

elements: reading approach, keyboard geography, key names, pre-reading experiences, grand

staff, note names, intervallic reading, accidentals (sharps, flats, and naturals), key signatures,

range or register, and musical and expressive symbols. The rhythmic elements of the reading

category are: counting methods, note values, rests, meter, time signatures, rhythmic terms

and symbols and tempo markings.

182
Albergo, 283.
70

Reading Approach
None of these books employ an intervallic reading approach or multi-key reading

approach; in fact, Table 18 shows that Piano Fun is the only text to utilize an eclectic reading

approach.

Table 18. Reading Approaches in Two RMM Books and Two Method Books
Piano Fun Eclectic Reading Approach
Musical Moments C major five-finger position approach
Bastien Piano for Adults C major five-finger position approach
Alfred Adult All-in-One C major five-finger position approach

Piano Fun directs students to learn the names of the lines and spaces of both clefs

with diagrams and text explanations followed by two pieces called Treble Clef Chant and

Bass Clef Chant.183 On page 38, the student is introduced to directional reading on the

staff. The student is encouraged to identify the movement of the notes by saying, step,

skip, and repeat.184 Musical Moments teaches the student the notes of the C major five-

finger position in each hand. White key names are placed within the note heads. Two pieces

on the white keys appear before the grand staff is introduced. Although pieces are notated on

the staff, key names still appear within the note heads. From this point to the end of the

analyzed portion, at least one note in each piece has a key name within the note head. Bastien

Piano for Adults uses an approach to reading that is primarily focused on the five notes of the

C five-finger position. On page 16, students are shown the notes of the C major five-finger

position on the grand staff and are instructed to memorize them. Note names are placed

within the note heads from pages 16 to 29. Alfred Adult All-in-One, like Musical Moments

183
Dillon, Piano Fun for Adult Beginner, 34.
184
Ibid., 38.
71

and Piano for Adults, teaches the notes of the C major five-finger position for right and left

hands as the primary way for the student to learn reading notes on the staff.

Keyboard Geography
Keyboard geography is one of the first concepts introduced in most method books.

The introduction of keyboard geography is similar in the four piano texts; however, some

included warm-up drills after the initial explanation of keyboard geography (see Table 19).

Table 19. Keyboard Geography in Two RMM Books and Two Method Books
How Concept is Number of Times Concept
Introduced Appears after Initial
Introduction
Piano Fun Introduction in Text 0
Musical Moments Illustration only 2
Bastien Piano for Adults Introduction in text plus 0
warm-up drills
Alfred Adult All-in-One Introduction in text plus 0
warm-up drills

Key Names
All four books introduce key names, although some books have more information

than others. When introducing key names, Piano Fun introduces the music alphabet (to be

learned forward and backward), and the location of middle C. Musical Moments introduces

the key names on a keyboard graphic with labels on the keys of the C major five-finger

position for the right and left hands. Bastien Piano for Adults introduces the letters of the

music alphabet and the key names on a keyboard graphic. Alfred Adult All-in-One introduces

the letters of the music alphabet, the key names on a keyboard graphic, and the location of

middle C. Alfred Adult All-in-One and Bastien Piano for Adults also provide warm-up drills

as displayed in Table 20.


72

Table 20. Key Names in Two RMM Books and Two Method Books
Introduced Reappears
Piano Fun Text, Illustration, Chant 1 Time
Musical Moments Illustrations 2 Times
Bastien Piano for Adults Text, Illustrations, Warm- 3 Times
ups
Alfred Adult All-in-One Text, Illustrations, Warm- 0 Times
up

Pre-Reading Experiences and Note Names


Repertoire pieces that are taught off of the staff are known as pre-reading pieces.

These pieces plus warm-up drills and exercises are known as pre-reading experiences. Piano

Fun contains the most pre-reading experiences. It contains five black-key pieces and nine

white-key pieces that are off the staff. Musical Moments contains two black-key pre-reading

pieces and two white-key pieces. Bastien Piano for Adults contains four white-key warm-up

drills and five white-key pieces. Alfred Adult All-in-One does not contain pre-reading pieces.

In teaching note names on the staff, three of the four piano texts have similar

approaches. Musical Moments, Bastien Piano for Adults, and Alfred Adult All-in-One

introduce the notes of the C major five-finger position on the staff before presenting any

other notes on the staff. Piano Fun introduces line notes and space notes of the treble and

bass clefs.

Grand Staff, Accidentals, and Key Signatures


The grand staff is introduced in each of the four books, as shown in Table 21. No

additional activities to learn the grand staff are found except in subsequent repertoire pieces.

Bastien Piano for Adults contains the most accidentals in repertoire and theory activities or

references to key signature when compared to the four analyzed texts.


73

Table 21. Reading Concepts in Two RMM Books and Two Method Books
Grand Staff Accidentals Key Signatures
Piano Fun Page 32 Sharps, 4 activities, 0
2 pieces; flats, 1
activity; naturals, 3
activities.

Musical Moments Page 8 0 0


Bastien Piano for Page 16 Sharps, 3 pieces, 2 18 appearances in
Adults activities; flats, 3 repertoire
pieces, 2 activities;
naturals, 0 pieces
and activities
Alfred Adult All- Page 20 0 0
in-One

Range and Register


Piano Fun has the largest reading range of the four books. In chapter 3, the range of

this book was discussed in detail. The reading range of pieces spanned from the five notes of

the C major five-finger position to the interval of a twelfth in one popular piece. All of the

pieces in this book that contain a larger range are either folk songs or popular repertoire. The

pieces in Musial Moments only extend past the range of a fifth when the student is playing a

chord shell. The shell of a G dominant seventh chord is the interval of a harmonic sixth

(from B to G), the chord shell for the F major chord is a harmonic sixth (from C to A), and

the chord shell for a C dominant seventh chord is a harmonic minor seventh (from C to B

flat). In Bastien Piano for Adults, the typical range of a fifth is extended to a sixth when the

student plays chords, which is similar to Musical Moments. From pages 64 to 87 of Bastien

Piano for Adults, the right-hand melodies extend to a melodic sixth. Alfred Adult All-in-One

contains no pieces with a range larger than a fifth in each hand. Within the section analyzed,

Alfred Adult All-in-One had the least variation of hand positions within pieces using the C
74

major five-finger position. Piano Fun had the most variation in hand positions as displayed

in Table 22.

Table 22. Hand Positions of Repertoire Pieces in Four Piano Texts


Middle C Centered C Position. Centered Other.
Position. around Number of around C Number of
Number of Middle C Pieces = position. Pieces =
Pieces = position. percentage Number of percentage
percentage Number of of total Pieces = of total
of total Pieces = repertoire percentage repertoire
repertoire percentage of total
of total repertoire
repertoire
Piano Fun 0 5= 20% 11= 44% 5= 20% 4= 16%
Musical 0 0 11= 92% 1= 8% 0
Moments
Bastien 10= 15% 0 38= 57% 0 19= 28%
Piano for
Adults
Alfred 0 0 18= 100% 0 0
Adult All-
in-One

Musical and Expressive Symbols


The discussion of musical and expressive symbols includes dynamic markings,

crescendo, decrescendo, and other symbols and terms. Some musical symbols may affect

form, such as repeat signs, first and second endings, and terms like Da capo al Fine. Piano

Fun introduces many musical terms and symbols in the glossary at the back of the book,

which are not included in the table below. Bastien Piano for Adults introduces the most

musical terms and symbols in the text (see Table 23).

Note Values and Counting Methods


Each of the four texts recommends a different method for counting rhythm as shown

in Table 24. However, the two RMM texts introduce counting in the same manner, and the
75

Table 23. Musical Terms and Symbols in Four Piano Texts


Piano Fun Repeat sign, first and second ending
Musical Moments Repeat sign
Bastien Piano for Adults Piano, mezzo-piano, mezzo-forte, forte,
ottava, slur mark, repeat sign, first and
second endings, DC al Fine, Coda
Alfred Adult All-in-One Piano, mezzo-piano, mezzo-forte, forte

Table 24. Counting Methods in Four Piano Texts


First Counting Method Second Counting Method
Piano Fun Action Counting; pages 7- Descriptive (nominative)
22 Counting; pages 22-66
Musical Moments Action Counting N/A
Bastien Piano for Adults Numerical or Metric Counting; pages 17-
Descriptive (nominative) 87
Counting; pages 8-17
Alfred Adult All-in-One Numerical Counting N/A

two traditional methods employ a similar method. In Bastien Piano for Adults, the student is

given a choice between two counting methods. The counting method in the Bastien book

changes to metric counting when 4/4 is introduced on page 17. Piano Fun introduces a

second counting method when rhythmic durations are introduced on page 22.

Rests
Quarter rests, half rests, and whole rests are introduced on page 45 of Piano Fun.

Bastien Piano for Adults introduces the quarter rest, half rest, and whole rest on page 18.

Alfred Adult All-in-One introduces the whole rest on page 20 and the quarter rest on page 21

as shown in Table 25.

Table 25. The Introduction of Rests in Four Piano Texts


Piano Fun Page 45
Musical Moments Does not appear
Bastien Piano for Adult Page 18
Alfred All-in-One Pages 20 and 21
76

Meter
Meter was not defined in any of the four analyzed texts. Musical Moments introduces

students to the concept with a musical wellness activity where the student is encouraged to

feel the steady beat and the strong beat in 3/4.

Time Signatures
Time signatures are introduced when the grand staff is introduced in all four of the

piano texts. Text or an illustration explains that the upper number represents the beats in each

measure, the lower number indicates what kind of a note gets one beat (or count), and the

two numbers represent a time signature.185 Musical Moments, Bastien Piano for Adults, and

Alfred Adult All-in-One introduce time signature in this manner. However, Piano for Adults

provides a longer explanation of time signatures. The text reads, Music is sound organized

in time. Musicians organize pulses or beats into measures. A time signature is one number

above another. It is not written as a fraction (4/4).186 Bastien Piano for Adults also

introduces 2/4 on page 65. Musical Moments introduces time signatures the most quickly as

shown in Table 26.

Table 26. The Introduction of Time Signatures in Four Piano Texts


4/4 Time Signature 3/4 Time Signature
Piano Fun Page 32 Page 36
Musical Moments Page 8 Page 13
Bastien Piano for Adults Page 17 Page 29
Alfred Adult All-in-One Page 20 Does not appear

185
Bastien, Bastien, and Bastien, 17.
186
Dillon, Piano Fun, 33.
77

Rhythmic Terms and Symbols; Tempo Markings


A rhythmic symbol that appears in the four texts is the tied note. Bastien Piano for

Adults describes the fermata, upbeats, and the following rhythmic terms: diminuendo e

ritardando, ritardando, and a tempo. Bastien Piano for Adults is the only book to introduce

the following tempo markings within the text: Andante, moderato, allegretto, and allegro.

Piano Fun introduces adagio, andante, moderato, allegro, and vivace in the Glossary of

Musical Terms and Symbols, but not in the text.

TECHNIQUE
The technique category encompasses the following concepts: posture at the piano;

hand position; wrist, arm, and shoulder positions; legato and staccato; finger numbers; finger

coordination; technical exercises; five finger patterns; slurs and phrasing; and pedaling.

Posture at the Piano, Hand Position, and Wrist, Arm,


and Shoulder Positions
Posture at the piano is often a concept that is introduced at the beginning of a piano

text. It is also one of the first concepts that students learn in each of the four texts, but each

book contains a slightly different approach. In Piano Fun, the student learns the correct

position for the feet, shoulders, hands, and forearms with an illustration accompanied by

explanatory text. Musical Moments discusses posture throughout the analyzed portion of the

book in four Musical Wellness exercises. Bastien Piano for Adults and Alfred Adult All-in-

One introduce this concept in a similar fashion. These two books contain several pages of

large illustrations with instructions on correct posture and how to depress the key. The

Bastien and Alfred texts also give a definition of tone and where to place the piano bench. In

Alfred Adult All-in-One, wrist, arm, and shoulder positions are included in the discussion on

posture at the piano.


78

In Piano Fun, the correct hand position is introduced on page 8. Musical Moments

does not introduce good hand position in the analyzed portion of the text. Bastien Piano for

Adults introduces hand position with the introduction to posture at the piano. Alfred Adult

All-in-One models a good hand position in an illustration and includes several exercises

where the student prepares the hands for playing. This section in the Alfred text also includes

tips on how to protect the hands and gives isometric exercises.

Legato and Staccato


Piano Fun introduces legato and staccato in the glossary of musical terms and

symbols. No repertoire pieces contain these symbols. Legato and staccato are introduced on

page 15 of Musical Moments. Legato appears in pieces on pages 20 and 21 of Musical

Moments. Bastien Piano for Adults contain the most appearances of staccato and legato in

repertoire. This book also contains the most technical exercises for these concepts. The

curved phrase mark or long slur is introduced as a symbol indicating legato symbol on page

27 of the Bastien book. Legato appears in fifty pieces of repertoire from that point onward.

Staccato is introduced on page 58, and appears in sixteen pieces.

Finger Numbers
All four of the piano texts introduce finger numbers in an illustration near the

beginning of the book. Finger numbers appear on page 6 of Piano Fun, page 3 in Musical

Moments, page 4 of Bastien Piano for Adults, and page 7 of Alfred Adult All-in-One.

Finger Coordination, Technical Exercises, Five-Finger


Patterns
Bastien Piano for Adults contains the most tudes and exercises of the four analyzed

books. Many of the short pieces appear directly after a new concept is introduced. Two
79

exercises in the text mention finger coordination. One exercise on page 60 contains staccato

and legato, and another on page 83 presents the opportunity to play staccato in one hand and

legato in the other. The C major five-finger position and the G major five-finger position are

the two five-finger patterns introduced in the analyzed portion of this book.

Slurs and Phrasing


Slurs and phrasing are discussed in two of the four analyzed piano texts as illustrated

in Table 27. In Musical Moments, the slur mark is notated on two repertoire pieces.

Table 27. The Introduction of Slurs and Phrasing in Four Piano Texts
Piano Fun Do not appear
Musical Moments Slur mark introduced on page 18.
Bastien Piano for Adults Introduced on page 27
Alfred Adult All-in-One Do not appear

Pedaling
Damper pedal marks appear on page 21 of Musical Moments, the last page analyzed

by the researcher. Bastien Piano for Adults introduces the damper pedal on page 29. The

symbol for the damper pedal appears fifteen times throughout pages 29 to 87 of the Bastien

book.

REPERTOIRE
The discussion of repertoire, as shown in Table 28, displays how many genres of

repertoire each book contains, how many pieces appear in each genre, and the percentage of

total pieces that appear in each genre. Musical Moments contains the most pedagogical

repertoire, Piano Fun and Alfred All-in-One contain the most folk and traditional melodies,

Musical Moments contains the most classical themes out of the four texts, and Piano Fun

contains the most popular repertoire by a significant margin.


80

Table 28. Number of Pieces in each Genre of Repertoire; Percentage of Repertoire in


Each Genre
Pedagogical Folk and Classical Popular
Repertoire Traditional Themes Repertoire
Melodies
Piano Fun 2; 6% 15; 47% 3; 9% 12; 38%
Musical 8; 67% 2; 16% 2; 17% 0; 0%
Moments
Bastien Piano 36; 54% 22; 33% 8; 12% 1; 1%
for Adults
Alfred Adult 8; 47% 8; 47% 1; 6% 0; 0%
All-in-One

Each of the four books contains a different amount of repertoire pieces that would be

learned in an eight-week period, as shown in Table 29.

Table 29. Number of Repertoire Pieces in Four Piano Texts


Piano Fun 32 pieces in 66 pages
Musical Moments 12 pieces in 21 pages
Bastien Piano for Adults 67 pieces in 87 pages
Alfred Adult All-in-One 17 pieces in 32 pages

AURAL SKILLS
Although aural skills are an important component of a well-rounded musical

education, very few activities for developing the ear training are found in the four piano

texts. Two of the analyzed texts contain listening activities including an activity in Musical

Moments that encourages the student to listen for meter in the music and to move their bodies

accordingly. Alfred Adult All-in-One encourages students to listen to the sound of a newly

introduced interval while they play a warm-up piece.

Balance
Bastien Piano for Adults introduces balance in the analyzed portion of the text. The

first appearance of balance occurs on page 33. The text reads: Balancing Melody and

Accompaniment: Chords are often used to form the accompaniment for melodies. The
81

melody should always sing above the accompaniment. To achieve a good sound, balance

your hands by playing the melody louder and the chords softer.187 Balance reoccurs in seven

pieces by placing a louder dynamic marking by the melody and a softer dynamic mark by the

accompaniment.

Legato versus Staccato


Bastien Piano for Adults is the only piano text that contains legato versus staccato.

Nine pieces of repertoire appear that contain this concept.

MUSICIANSHIP (THEORY)
Albergos musicianship (theory) category includes the following elements: intervals,

chords, key signatures, primary chords, chord inversions, notation, memorization, music

appreciation, and practice and study skills.

Intervals
In Bastien Piano for Adults, the intervals of a second, third, fourth, fifth, and sixth are

introduced. A warm-up drill or an exercise follows the introduction of a new interval. Theory

reviews where the intervals are identified appear often. Additionally, in several pieces of

repertoire with the Bastien text, the student must identify intervals. Alfred Adult All-in-One

features the intervals of a second, third, fourth, and fifth. Seconds and thirds are introduced

simultaneously and are reinforced in repertoire and theory activities. The intervals of a fourth

and fifth appear in the same manner. Musical Moments and Piano Fun do not introduce

intervals in the analyzed portion.

187
Bastien, 33.
82

Chords, Primary Chords, and Chord Inversions


Piano Fun introduces the C, F, and G major chords in root position first. Later, the

student is taught how to change a major chord into a minor chord. This book employs the use

of chord charts, or lead-line playing. Musical Moments uses chord shells, or chords with

one or two notes omitted, to introduce major chords. The student also learns how to play

chords from chord symbols, or lead-line playing. Bastien Piano for Adults is the only book

to teach primary chords using Roman numerals. On page 35, the chord progression is

introduced. None of the four piano texts define chord inversions. Piano Fun taught the most

chords in an eight-week period, and is the only book to introduce minor chords as illustrated

in Table 30.

Table 30. Major and Minor Chords Taught in the Four Piano Texts
Major Chords Minor Chords
Piano Fun C, D, E, F, G, A, B C, D, E, F, G, A, B
Musical Moments C, C7, F, G7 Do not appear in text.
Bastien Piano for Adults C, D7, F, G, G7 Do not appear in text.
Alfred Adult All-in-One C major chord Do not appear in text.

Key Signatures
The G major key signature is introduced on page 64 of Bastien Piano for Adults.

Most of the pieces in chapter five of this text are in the key of G major. No other books

contained the concept of key signatures.

Notation and Music Appreciation


Alfred Adult All-in-One is the only piano text to give students the opportunity to

notate music. The memorization of repertoire pieces does not appear in any of the four piano

texts. Bastien Piano for Adults provides a composer biography before each classical theme.
83

Practice and Study Skills


Practice or study skills are approached uniquely in each book. Piano Fun provides a

section called Prepare before each piece. In this section, the student is prompted to review

the key concepts, clap the rhythm of the piece, sing the melody, play along with the compact

disc, and review the hand position. In Musical Moments, students are also invited to practice

creatively. One tip says, Try singing the names of the notes while playing. This will help

you learn the note names both forward and backward.188

In Bastien Piano for Adults, practice suggestions are interspersed throughout the text.

Initially, large green boxes with detailed practice steps appear at the beginning of the book.

However, as the book progresses, practice tips are given less often. Alfred Adult All-in-One

offers consistent practice tips before each warm-up or piece. The directions instruct the

student to tap the rhythm, play and count, or play and say the finger numbers. On page 20,

the practice directions say, The following practice procedure is recommended for the rest of

the pieces in this book: 1. Clap (or tap) & count. 2. Play and count. 3. Play & sing the words,

if any.189

CREATIVE SKILLS
Musical Moments provided three opportunities for the student to try variation

techniques. On page 7, the student is instructed to explore the sonority of the piano by

creating a piece on the Cs of the keyboard. On page 17, the text directs the student to try

playing a piece with other accompaniment styles programmed on the digital piano. Another

variation technique on page 19 instructs the student to play the chord at the end of each line

188
Perez and Baily, Student Book, 7.
189
Palmer, Manus, and Lethco, Alfred Adult All-in-One, 20.
84

with a cha-cha rhythm. This text is the only curriculum to provide any creative activity or

to explore the technological features of their digital instrument.

CONCLUSION
Because research about the preferences of adults engaged in piano study is scant, few

conclusions can be drawn about which curriculum is most beneficial for adults. A few

conclusions are presented below.

According to researchers, a major detriment to reading approaches that focus on one

hand position is that the students are apt to become comfortable in that hand position, and

often develop insecurities playing elsewhere on the keyboard.190 Piano Fun is the only

analyzed method book that did not place a major emphasis on the C major five-finger

position. For this reason, Piano Fun may provide the best opportunity for developing

students reading skills. Piano Fun contained the most variation of hand positions. It was the

only curriculum to contain less than fifty percent of the repertoire in the C major hand

position.

Musical Moments is the only book that emphasizes wellness and relaxation in the

discussion on piano posture, which are key principles of the Recreational Music Making

philosophy.191 Wellness exercises may release tension and stress, which may aid in relieving

the body of stress-related ailments.

The discussion of repertoire may have highlighted the most significant difference

between one Recreational Music Making text and the other texts. Some studies suggest that

an important factor of adult enjoyment in music making is playing repertoire they are

190
Jacobson, 42.
191
Perez and Baily, Teachers Manual, 3.
85

familiar with.192 Piano is Fun contains the largest percentage of familiar music, or popular

repertoire and folk/traditional melodies when compared to other genres of repertoire.

However, Alfred Adult All-in-One also contains a large percentage of traditional and folk

melodies rather than other genres of repertoire.

Research shows that chords are an important concept when teaching adult students,

who enjoy playing popular repertoire.193 It is acceptable to teach adults chords while they are

still beginners, because adult students can understand abstract concepts and ideas more

quickly and more easily than children.194 Piano Fun is the only curriculum to teach minor

chords and non-primary chords.

Musical Moments is the only book to give suggestions for creative activities. This

book also gave suggestions for exploring the technological features of the digital keyboard.

In conclusion, this chapter highlights the similarities and differences of the four piano

texts. Every effort was made on the part of the researcher to present the results fairly.

Obtaining a unilateral eight-week segment of study in each curriculum was a challenge.

Many variables exist that greatly affect the progress of a class, such as the pacing of the

class, the length of the class, the number of students within the class, and the teaching style

of the facilitator.

192
Sahr, 257.
193
Jacobson, 61.
194
Ibid.
86

CHAPTER 5

SUMMARY, CONCLUSIONS, AND


RECOMMENDATIONS FOR FUTURE STUDY

This chapter begins with a short summary of the need for the study, the purpose of the

study, and the methodology. Following the summary, conclusions about the results of the

analysis are drawn. Lastly, recommendations for future research are given.

SUMMARY
Although many studies about adult music study exist, there are relatively few studies

about adults and their study of the piano, and even fewer resources concerning Recreational

Music Making. In fact, there are currently no studies on adult group piano lessons within the

RMM environment. Before further studies may be conducted to enhance the understanding

of RMM and adult piano study, an understanding of the published materials and a

comparison to extant traditional method book for adults must be established.

Thus, in this study, the researcher aimed to identify if there are major differences

between the materials used in RMM lessons for beginning adult piano students and the

materials for traditional private instruction of adult beginners, and if so, what they are. In

order to delineate the differences, an analysis of selected materials for each type of adult

instruction was provided according to six musical categories: Reading, Technique,

Repertoire, Aural Skills, Musicianship (Theory), and Creative Skills.

Bastien Piano for Adults and Alfred Adult All-in-One were the two traditional texts

analyzed. The two Recreational Music Making texts analyzed were Piano Fun for Adult

Beginners and Musical Moments. The researcher selected an approximate eight-week


87

beginning segment in each book by consulting teacher handbooks, contacting the authors of

the books, or conducting informal surveys. The researcher conducted a page-by-page

analysis of each of the four texts, and in doing so, determined when concepts were

introduced, and for some elements, identified how often they appeared after their

introduction. The researcher presented the results of these categories and elements side-by-

side in chapter 4.

CONCLUSIONS
Although this section aimed to discuss significant differences between the four texts,

significant differences could not be quantified because the results were unclear and

inconsistent. The researcher expected to find more popular repertoire and emphasis on

technology in the RMM books. However, where one RMM text contained a unique result,

the same result was not always found in the other RMM text. For example, Piano Fun

contains far more popular repertoire than the selected traditional methods; however, it also

contains far more popular repertoire than Musical Moments. Piano Fun was the only text to

introduce minor chords. Musical Moments contains wellness exercises that reflect the

wellness philosophy of RMM, but neither Piano Fun nor the traditional texts contain

wellness exercises. Musical Moments emphasized the use of technology, but Piano Fun did

not.

RMM teacher handbooks and manuals contain information that is not necessarily

reflected in the RMM curricula. Thus, finding conclusions based on materials is difficult.

Although there are elements of the RMM philosophy that correlate to research on adult

student preferences, there is not conclusive evidence that RMM methods are more beneficial

than traditional methods because no scientific data exists on which format best fulfills the
88

adult learners needs. For example, research by Thelma L. Cooper shows that adults enjoyed

piano lessons because [they] cited liking the music, challenging lessons, and supportive

teachers195 RMM facilitators should be genuine, should be willing to let students move

at their own pace [and] enjoy smiling, laughing, and having fun.196

Cooper adds, Playing was enjoyed by respondents because it made them feel special,

because of a sense of self-efficacy, and because they liked being part of a group. In contrast,

nervousness, a sense of embarrasment, and a lack of skill were the most frequently cited

reasons for not enjoying piano playing by respondents across all groups.197 RMM is meant

to be taught primarily in a group setting, which is meant to foster a feeling of camaraderie.

Dillon and Chung say, Traditional teaching can be stressful for both teacher and student

with its emphasis on performance. RMM teaching is far less stressful. Since high-level

performance is never required, students can enjoy the playing experience in groups without

pressure and anxiety. Solo playing is always voluntary.198

In conclusion, much of the perceived benefit of the RMM philosophy depends on

rapport between the facilitator and students in the classroom environment, and not

necessarily in what materials are used in the teaching of the class. Ultimately, to evaluate a

curriculum, projected outcomes must be evaluated, and in this study, that is not possible.

However, recommendations for future study are provided below in hopes that someday the

questions posed in this study may be answered with scientific data.

195
Cooper, 164.
196
Chung and Dillon, Recreational Music Making, 10.
197
Cooper, 164.
198
Chung and Dillon, 9.
89

RECOMMENDATIONS FOR FUTURE STUDY


Finding a unilateral point of progress between the four books was a challenge in this

study. For example, one teacher might cover eighty-seven pages of material in eight weeks,

whereas another may only cover thirty-two pages in eight weeks. Perhaps if traditional

method books contained more information on lesson plans, pacing, and teaching philosophy,

an adequate comparison to RMM materials could be made. Then, researchers and instructors

would be able to draw conclusions about the benefits of using each text within a group class.

Thus, a useful future study would create detailed lesson plans for traditional method books so

that a common eight-week endpoint could be found between RMM books and traditional

lesson books. The lesson plans could outline what concepts students might cover in a weeks

class, give teaching strategies, and offer information regarding how to introduce new

concepts. To find research on pacing, the researcher might interview teachers of traditional

methods to learn how they pace the introduction of new concepts and what strategies they

use to address different levels of skill in each group class. The interviewer could also gather

information on the teaching philosophies of traditional method teachers.

Perhaps if there was more research concerning adults preferences in piano repertoire,

conclusions on which materials contain appropriate repertoire might be clearer. Thus, a

future study could survey adult students who have practiced repertoire pieces for one to two

weeks and ask them about their experiences and impressions of their repertoire assignment.

A survey could be given to the students each week of an eight-week class. Similarly, Thelma

Cooper conducted a study on adults perceptions of piano study in general. A future

researcher could conduct a similar study, but test for perceptions of adult group classes with

RMM books versus traditional books. Not only would this study provide specific data on
90

what adults prefer within piano study, but would also illuminate the differences between

RMM and traditional materials.

Furthering research on the similarities and differences between traditional teaching

and RMM teaching would be beneficial for the field of piano pedagogy. These further studies

could control the variables within classes in order to compare results fairly. Adults could be

questioned about their reasons for beginning piano study before they begin an eight-week

curriculum, and be given a survey after the completion of their RMM piano group class to

discover if their goals and expectations were fulfilled. Additionally, research could be

gathered on students backgrounds, levels of education, and fields of work to see if there is

any correlation between those factors and the model of teaching preferred. Research could

also be gathered on what challenges adult students face during lessons to determine if those

challenges are heightened or lessened when RMM piano classes.

All four of the analyzed books in this study did not have very many activities for

developing the aural skills of the adult piano student. A researcher could create

supplementary activities to correspond with the musical concepts within the RMM curricula

and provide lesson plans that detail when and how to introduce aural skills. A similar study

could be conducted with creative activities.

In conclusion, the RMM philosophy contains positive elements for adult students: an

emphasis on wellness and relaxation, familiar music, and a social learning environment.

Teachers planning on teaching a RMM group class should examine books and articles on the

subject, because the facilitator plays an important role in the RMM classroom. There are

questions about RMM and adult piano study that have yet to be answered, and perhaps there

are questions about this topic that have yet to be asked. Hopefully this study will be a starting
91

point for future researchers interested in Recreational Music Making for adult beginning

piano students.
92

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