Re: Piano

From: Louise Donahue <>
Subject: Re: Piano
Date: Tue, 23 Dec 1997 00:46:00 +0100

Hi Stephanie.  Thanks for your imput about teaching science!  I really
appreciate it!  Home school parents typically are continually seeking
teaching advice--and assurance--I guess just as any teacher does.  (I
know I do as a piano teacher, as well.)  My son is so thirsty for
"knowledge" that sometimes I do think we do too much, and I don't want
to "satuarate" him too early, while still trying to quench that thirst. 
The NASA web site is great, and he loves it!
	As far as piano requirements for university:  it depends on the type of
degree and the type of university/college.   The highest degree is 
performance (bachelor of music, MM, DM), and at the best music schools
or conservatories, the auditions are horrendous!  My daughter went
through that, and burned out her first year--actually, even before she
GOT to her 1st year-- (switched to pre-med her second year--something
that is done quite often).  10th grade piano wouldn't be nearly enough
for this one, which requires Bach prelude/fugue, complete Beethoven
sonata, very difficult romantic and contemporary literature, and most
often the student needs a record of successful competitions during high
school, including a few concertos. There are some performance degrees as
"lesser" schools with less stringent requirements. Depending what a
student wants to do as a career, the latter is sufficient.
	The next degree is the BA (MA, etc.), which usually includes a minor in
a different area (mine was English/communications).  This is a more
practical degree, and much more well-rounded--also offers more
sociability than the above.  It does require a great deal of
performance, too, which requires very long hours in isolated practice
rooms (as do performance degrees).  Something that really requires a lot
of committment and "love" for music. The requirements for admission are
almost comparable to a performance degree, but a "little" less
	Education music degrees (BS, MEd, etc) are the most sociable, 10th
grade piano might be enough at many schools, depending upon the
instructor and number of piano majors, and the requirements are much
less demanding--altho a well-rounded repertoire is still needed.  My
masters degree is in education, but only because that's what was offered
at our local U's.  I really wanted a MM in piano and/or composition, and
still would like to pursue the composition aspect.  (I let myself get
too rusty for piano MA or MM.) 
	 However, once I got into education, I loved it!  I focused on the
studio teaching aspect, with emphasis on children at risk, gifted
children, learning styles, and child development.  I learned a great
deal, and did some very rewarding projects!  I really love teaching, and
incorporate a lot of innovative methods in my studio (very adventurous
for Montana, I might add....and risky for business--but they caught on,
other teachers followed suit--which I encouraged--the more that do, the
better the public accepts new ideas, the better the students learn, etc.
etc.) (Incidently, "education-study" in BM, BA is "piano
pedagody"--studying only how to teach piano, and doesn't even include
education ideas--something I strongly believe should be added.  If not,
we could get back to knuckly-cracking-piano-teachers....yuk!)
	Another type of piano degree is one with Christian U's.  The
requirements are MUCH less restrictive, the study is in church music
(very few schools even tap into the classics at all), and the study is
probably the most sociable of all piano degrees.  I do a lot of church
music and improvising, and I love it.  But I would have felt very
stiffled without a strong classics education!  And my love for
composition would not have been nourished enough.
	Now, tell me--I'm really curious--how much piano have you done?  Are
you in the US?  When you mentioned "10th grade piano,"  I wondered if
you were trained in the Canadian school?  Are you thinking of a career
in music? What do you do now?  Teach science?
	Thanks again for your imput.  I plan to do more with NASA Quest. Any
more ideas?