Famous ComposersInfluence of MusicInspirationMusic Star StudiosRevamping Classical Music: “Classical” Composition Tools with a Popular Twist

September 1, 2016by emilylowe0

In my years as a piano teacher, I've encountered students of all ages and backgrounds. Not surprisingly, I usually have at least one student who hates any of the music they are "supposed" to play. Many students can't connect to the standard teaching literature written by dead European guys; they want to learn music they know. However, standard teaching literature does serve a purpose in teaching specific techniques and composition tools, so what's a piano teacher to do, today?

Revamping Classical Music: “Classical” Composition Tools with a Popular Twist

In my years as a piano teacher, I’ve encountered students of all ages and backgrounds. Not surprisingly, I usually have at least one student who hates any of the music they are “supposed” to play. Many students can’t connect to the standard teaching literature written by dead European guys; they want to learn music they know.

However, standard teaching literature does serve a purpose in teaching specific techniques and composition tools, so what’s a piano teacher to do, today?

According to Rebecca Langley in an article on timtopham.com, you can use your students interest in popular music to make connections with classical teaching pieces. She suggest you learn a pop song, then analyze it and pick out some key ingredients (key signature, chord progression, rhythmic patterns, melodic motifs) and then link those same ingredients to a standard teaching piece. In her example she looked at Ed Sheehan’s “Thinking Out Loud” and linked the chord progression and key signature to Passepied, the sixth movement of Suite No. 2 by Charles Dieupart.

Another approach you can use is to prep your students for classical study by having them work on a popular song that employs the same compositional technique. For example, Andrea on teachpianotoday.com, suggests using Coldplay’s Clocks to prepare a student for a Bach prelude. She suggests that the use of common tones to connect chords will help a student understand Bach’s compositions.

Lastly, you can opt to explore some of the new Classical Pop compositions that have been written. Giovanni Detorri is a composer who has taken some popular themes and arranged in the style of classical compositions. He is most famous for his Lady Gaga fugue, which uses a melodic motif from Bad Romance as the fugue subject. Detorri’s collection also includes Hey Jude written as a theme and variations and My Heart Will Go On from Titanic written as a sonatina.

Are you looking for a music teacher to help you weave pop and classical music together? Check out Music Star Studios today!

 

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