Classical or Popular?
Yes! To Both!
We believe students learn best when they become curious about the music they hear everyday.
Think about how your child learns language. First they mimic – they learn how to create sounds by manipulating their vocal chords, tongue, and mouth. Then they learn how to form words and what those words mean. Finally, they learn from their environment, being saturated in language almost every minute of their lives.
This analogy, music learning as language learning, is not new. Shinichi Suzuki pioneered this approach in Japan, and you may have heard of the Suzuki Method. We think he was on to something, but may have made a crucial and limiting mistake.
The Suzuki Method uses primarily Classical music as its repertoire. Don’t get us wrong, we love Classical music, but it is not exactly the dominant force in a child’s musical environment. Teaching music by focussing only on classical music is akin to teaching your child to speak using only the works of Shakespeare, Wordsworth, Keats, Dickens, and Joyce. All are master authors that use the language in artistic, innovative ways, and all authors that we hope young children will grow to enjoy as their education allows, but they are certainly not the first works to sit on your child’s bookshelf!
We believe in popular music should be taught right alongside classical music. We believe in developing play-by-ear skills and improvisation skills so students can explore the music they are most curious about all on their own. We believe students can and should learn “the words” of music so they can put them together to form their own personal expression.
We have chosen American Popular Piano (APP) to form the backbone of our curriculum. We are very excited about the quality of music, the emphasis on improvisation and ear-training, and the variety of genres presented in APP.
Does that mean we will ignore classical music? Absolutely not! We love classical music, and hope our students develop the same love for the masterpieces of the repertoire. We think that with a well-rounded education and the ability to understand and create musical structures, our students will be as amazed as we are with the profundity and depth of emotion inherent in the classical repertoire.