What learning materials should I bring to my lesson?

19 Feb 2015

It has recently come to my attention that some of our students have been attending their lessons without any books. I cannot stress enough that it is absolutely imperative to bring the correct materials to every lesson, if you wish to make consistent progress. The following article outlines the books we recommend for each of our most popular music lessons.

 

Piano lessons: all students -a music manuscript book or practice diary, it is essential for students to bring a book for teachers to document the lesson and set homework. For younger beginners (age3-6) we recommend Alfreds prep course level A, children aged 6-11 Alfreds Lesson book level 1A and once students are graduating to Level 1B it is a good time to purchase the ANZCA Pianoforte Introductory to continue with exam preparation(scales, sight reading and general knowledge will already be well underway). For children 12 and over we recommend the Alfreds Adult Piano course book 1. It is optional to also purchase the ANZCA Sight Reading book appropriate to one’s grading. Working regularly through new material in our method book should be enough to keep one’s sight reading up to scratch, however, testing ourselves regularly from the ANZCA sight reading books is a great way to prepare for our exams. Another optional (though recommended book) is ANZCA Pianoforte Technical Work.


Guitar Lessons: all students – a music manuscript book or practice diary, it is essential for students to bring a book for teachers to document the lesson and set homework. For younger beginners (age 4-8) we recommend Progressive Guitar Method Book 1 Young Beginner, from there students progress to books 2 and 3. Children aged 9 and over are best suited to Progressive Guitar Method book 1, or A Modern Method for Guitar book 1 by William Leavitt. Students may also purchase the appropriate ANZCA guitar exam book by Michelle Nelson. Other optional books are ANZCA guitar Sight Reading and ANZCA Guitar Technical Work also both by Michelle Nelson, although not compulsory, these books should be a part of every serious guitar student’s library. Some other great and entirely optional general study guitar books include: The Advancing Guitarist by Mick Goodrick, Micky Baker’s Complete Course in Jazz guitar book 1. The Joe Pass Guitar Method, Exploring Jazz Guitar by Jim Hall. Single note soloing and Chord Chemistry by Ted Greene are great books also. My personal favourite guitar books are George Van Eps Harmonic Mechanisms Vol 1, 2 and 3.


Singing Lessons: All students – a music manuscript book or practice diary, it is essential for students to bring a book for teachers to document the lesson and set homework. For young beginners (ages 3-8) we recommend Progressive Singing Method for young beginners. For children over 8 we recommend Fast track Lead Singer Book 1 which leads to Fast track Lead Singer book 2. Another option is Progressive beginner Singing. We have noticed a number of students who have come to us from other schools have no method book whatsoever; these very same students have of course been unable to read music. In a recent singing lesson with a student from another school our teacher started explaining the difference between a crotchet (1 beat note) and a minim (2 beat note) and the student said “Hang on, I am not learning music, I am learning singing!” This is obviously not a failing of the student but a sad indictment on the ethos of their previous music school. At Caroline Springs School of Music our singers are musicians equal in music knowledge to any of our instrumental students.

 

Violin Lessons: All students – a music manuscript book or practice diary, it is essential for students to bring a book for teachers to document the lesson and set homework. For very young students (age3-6) we recommend Encore on Strings Music Maestros book 1, for slightly older students Abracadabra Violin is a good choice. All other beginners are recommended to purchase Suzuki Violin method book 1 (many ANZCA grade pieces are drawn from books 1-5) other good books inclued Fiddle Time Joggers, Fiddle time Runners and String Basics Violin book 1. The best scale book for ANZCA exam preparation is Edward Pople’s Essential Technique for Violin.


Drum Lessons: All students – a music manuscript book or practice diary, it is essential for students to bring a book for teachers to document the lesson and set homework. For very young beginners (age3-7) we recommend ANZCA Introductory Drumkit Performance by Mark Murphy . For older students 8 and above we recommend ANZCA Drumkit vol 1, these follow on with a different volume for each exam grade. The ANZCA drum technical work, sight reading, aural and general knowledge books (also by Mark Murphy) are all excellent. Other worthwhile books are Frank Corniola’s Rhythm Section Drumming, Progressive Drum Method, Groove Essentials by Tommy Igoe and Bill Bruford’s fantastic book When in Doubt, Roll. 


Woodwinds Lessons: All students – a music manuscript book or practice diary, it is essential for students to bring a book for teachers to document the lesson and set homework. For Clarinet, Saxophone and Flute students we generally recommend the relevant Essential Elements books. The Learn As You Play series by Peter Wastall and the Abracadbra series are often used also.


Theory Lessons: All students – a music manuscript book or practice diary, it is essential for students to bring a book for teachers to document the lesson and set homework. The best theory books on the market at the moment are June McLean’s Music Theory Pathway to Preliminary and Pathway to Grade One (both ANZCA publications) Other good theory books are Dulcie Holland’s Master Your Theory (grades 1-8), How to Blitz Theory and the Alfred’s Theory books 1A, 1B and so on. For advanced modern students we recommend The Jazz Theory Book by Mark Levine. Another great book is Berklee Jazz Harmony by Barrie Nettles.

 

I hope to see you all before your next lesson with books in hand!

 

Brendan Hains
Principal Instructor at Caroline Springs School of Music

 

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