"Music for Everyone, All Ages "
1515 WARREN STREET, (NORTHSHORE) PITTSBURGH, PA 15212-3332
(412) 322-0520                                             info@KikuchiMusic.com
                                                                     Founder: Lee W. Kikuchi

HANDBOOK SECTION
DEPARTMENTS

 

PIANO AND ORGAN DEPARTMENT
General
Ensemble
Instrument
Competitions

CORE CURRICULUM

The KMI piano Core Curriculum is the same for all non-adult students at the beginner level. The goal is to provide a solid foundation in playing the piano, reading music, piano technique, and music theory. In addition, the student is exposed to classical music literature of all styles and periods. Optional materials are available for students who wish to explore popular, rock, jazz, gospel or other styles of music. Upon successful completion of the Core Curriculum, the student is ready to proceed to the intermediate level and has the option of two programs: Young Artist or Music Appreciation. Acceptance into the Young Artist program is based on audition and evaluation.

Depending on the age and diligence of the student, each level typically requires 8 to 12 months for successful completion (although some very serious students have progressed at 6 months per level). Each student progresses at his/her own rate, so that full mastery of the material is acquired before advancement. This ensures a much more fulfilling experience as the difficulty of music increases, and guards against painful remedial instruction to make up for insufficient or missing skills.

Lesson: KMI uses the Bastien method series for all non-adult beginners. This system provides a solid understanding of music in four basic areas: lessons, theory, technique and performance. All four books in the series are fully coordinated, and each concept or skill is presented in a simple step-by-step sequence. A wide and prolific spectrum of songs and exercises keeps the student’s interest and provides numerous opportunities to reinforce (drill) the essential skills without the boredom of simply repeating the same thing.

Repertoire: Although the Bastien system has a few examples of classical music, the pieces are primarily arrangements of common folk melodies or songs originally composed by James and Jane Bastien. This approach assures that students are exposed to the full spectrum of styles and techniques through a progressive sequence of short simple examples. However, the KMI faculty believe that an exposure to the actual piano literature is also necessary, and have chosen to supplement the method books with the Keith Snell literature series. In this series, Mr. Snell collects actual sample works (not arrangements) from the major composers of Western Europe and America and organizes them into graded levels. In addition to the educational importance of being exposed to the great composers, all piano competitions and standardized juried evaluations (PPTA, Guild, NFMC and PMTA) accept only pieces from the classical literature.

Supplemental Theory: The Bastien system provides a very thorough theory background in a way that is coordinated with the music samples and technic in the accompanying books. However, that progression does not correspond 100% to the other standard curricula and sometimes does not drill certain concepts sufficiently. Therefore, the KMI faculty have supplemented the theory portion of the curriculum with Learning Music, a special music vocabulary building series, and have identified special theory exercises to be drilled regularly at the lesson. The additional work in these areas help build a much more solid foundation of musical knowledge in preparation for more advanced study.

Supplemental Technique: Just as with theory, the Bastien system’s approach to technique is excellent, yet does not correspond 100% to the other standard curricula, so the faculty at KMI have chosen to accelerate certain aspects of technique development – namely scales, triads and arpeggios. The Pentachord course is a pre-scale approach to understanding keys by playing the 5-finger patterns and primary triads in the various keys first before learning to play 8-note, 15-note and 22-note scales. Sightreading is part of the Bastien supplemental books, and the faculty uses them in the lesson to monitor the student’s progress in reading music.

Key Memorized Repertoire: At each level every student is expected to memorize and perfect key required repertoire pieces. Most of these pieces should be performed at a recital. All students are expected to memorize more pieces than the few that are required.

Primer Level: KMI uses three different systems to start young beginners, depending on their starting age. 1) For pre-schoolers we start with Invitation to Music by Jane Smisor Bastien, which is a four level pre-reading series that is specifically designed to teach children ages 4 & 5. 2) For early primary school children, we use the James Bastien’s Primer for the Young Beginner (ages 5 & 6) which has the same material as his basic primer books, only with much less reading and paced more slowly. 3) For children ages 7 or older, we use the James Bastien Primer.

Students are expected to complete their respective primer series before advancing to Level 1. Optional supplemental material such as Christmas or Chanukah music is available for all the systems. Students close to completing the Primer system may be encouraged to purchase repertoire music, namely the Keith Snell Repertoire Series, Preparatory Level, in anticipation of performance at evaluations or other recitals. Students are expected to memorize 2 pieces per term, in his/her respective system’s performance book.

Level 1: All students at this level will use the James Bastien Piano Basics, Level 1, Music By Me Book 1 (FJH) and the Keith Snell Repertoire Series, Preparatory Level. In addition, students are expected to begin composition as a supplement to their theory homework, and will need to purchase a staff paper notebook. Students are expected to memorize 2 pieces per term, in the Bastien Performance Book, and 1 piece per term in the Keith Snell Repertoire Series.

Level 2: All students at this level will use the James Bastien Piano Basics, Level 2, Music By Me Book 2 (FJH) and the Keith Snell Repertoire Series, Level 1. In addition, students are expected to study composition as a supplement to their theory homework. Students are expected to memorize 2 pieces per term, in the Bastien Performance Book, and 2 pieces per term in the Keith Snell Repertoire Series.

Level 3: All students at this level will use the James Bastien Piano Basics, Level 3, Music By Me Book 3 (FJH) and the Keith Snell Repertoire Series, Level 2. In addition, students are expected to study composition as a supplement to their theory homework. Students are expected to memorize 3 pieces per term, in the Bastien Performance Book, and 2 pieces per term in the Keith Snell Repertoire Series.

Level 4: All students at this level will use the James Bastien Piano Basics, Level 4 and the Keith Snell Repertoire Series, Level 3. In addition, students are expected to study composition as a supplement to their theory homework. Students are expected to memorize 3 pieces per term, in the Bastien Performance Book, and 3 pieces per term in the Keith Snell Repertoire Series.

(See TUTORIAL: Timelines, for more information about student progress through the Core Curriculum)

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Last Modified: 08/11/2006