FOUR AREAS OF INSTRUCTION
Regardless of the instrument, KMI takes a four sided approach to music instruction: lesson, theory, technique and performance. Most method systems already include all four elements, and some with a separate book for each area. Where the system is not sufficient in one or more areas, the KMI faculty have identified the materials necessary to ensure that the student receives sufficient training in all four subjects.
Lesson: The lesson book teaches the student music in a step-by-step sequence. Short musical examples demonstrate the new music concept or skill. Mastery of the short examples is generally required before progressing to the next page or exercise. Memorization or performance of these short songs is not required, but if a student is motivated to do so such pieces are treated as performance selections.
Theory: Music Theory is the subject that covers all the mechanics of music that does not include playing the instrument. Theory includes reading and writing music, chords, keys, modes, harmony, melody, tonality, ear training, formal analysis, etc. The theory book is always a workbook because it requires writing more than playing. In the piano method systems, the theory lessons are carefully coordinated with the lesson book. For instruments where we have had to chose a theory system because the method book was deficient, the lessons progress in a general order, but not necessarily the same as the lesson book. The student must do assigned written theory homework every week, and often must also learn to play the theory exercises adequately.
Technique: The technique book contains repetitive exercises that drill and reinforce the skills taught in the lesson book. Students not only must learn the technique exercises, but must play them daily for many months to strengthen their fingers and reinforce the muscle skills. Assignments in the technique book are accumulative, and are not “checked off” until the student has played them for a sufficient number of months.
Performance: Since the primary goal of learning to play a musical instrument is to perform music, the performance book or books are also an important aspect of the education. Whether part of a method system, or chosen by the KMI faculty to coordinate with the lesson book, the performance book has pieces that are longer and more interesting than the short examples in the lesson book. Sometimes they are teaching pieces actually composed by a famous composer or teacher. It is the goal with this book to learn each song to a level of perfection, and even to memorize many of them. At recitals, the student will perform pieces from the performance book(s) rather than from the lesson book.