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A Content Analysis of the Music Creation Part of Three Piano Method Series
piano method series
Faber’s Piano Adventures Basic Method
Helen Marlais’ Succeeding at the Piano
Hal Leonard’s Piano Lesson
This research aims to investigate the “music creation” part of three piano method series, namely Faber’s Piano Adventures Basic Method, Helen Marlais’ Succeeding at the Piano and Hal Leonard’s Piano Lesson. Applying the method of content analysis, the study analyzed the Lesson Book and Theory Book from each method series to compare the progressing sequences and proportions of “composition” and “improvisation” in the “music creation” part of three series. The following conclusions have been reached: Firstly, the music creation part of Faber’s Lesson Book consists solely of exercises of “improvisation,” arranged progressively with a particular emphasis on “melody” followed by “harmony.” Exercises of other creation aspects are considerably less and scattered. In the Theory book, exercises of “improvisation” is also made up a large proportion of the “music creation” part, and the exercises in both “composition” and “improvisation” emphasize most on “melody.” While the arrangement is also made progressively, the application of each music element in the “composition” part is highly limited. Secondly, the music creation part of Helen Marlais’ Lesson Book is also comprised mainly of exercises of “improvisation” particularly focusing on “melody.” The arrangement is based solely on the circle of fifths without consideration of other musical elements. In the exercises of “composition,” the application of all musical elements is fragmented and unsystematic. In the Theory Book, a higher proportion on exercises of “composition” is seen. While the main focus is also on “melody,” the arrangement is well ordered progressively. On the other hand, the “improvisation” part adopts a considerably less amount of musical elements in a sporadic manner. Thirdly, the music creation part of Hal Leonard’s Lesson Book is also fully made up of exercises on “improvisation,” emphasizing also mainly on “melody.” While the arrangement is made progressively in accordance with pitch and tonality, the application of other musical elements is much restricted and fragmented. The Theory Book has a higher proportion on exercises of “composition” with a special focus on “tempo,” but the arrangement of all the exercises is lopsided with a lack of systematic progression. Fourthly, the Lesson Book of each method series contains a very small（or zero）amount of “compositional” exercises with discontinuous arrangements, and takes comparatively a bigger proportion on “improvisation” exercises mainly focusing on “melody” and are arranged progressively. Of the three series, the “improvisation” exercises in Faber’s Lesson Book is particularly abundant and well-designed. The Theory Book of each method series has a smaller amount of “improvisation” exercises with unsystematic arrangements while provides a comparatively larger amount of “compositional” exercises. Of the three series, the “compositional exercises” in Faber’s and Marlais’ are especially well arranged and progressively sequenced focusing on “melody.” Based on the conclusions, the researcher proposed suggestions for designers and users of piano teaching materials as well as for future research.
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