Exclusively Using the Pace Method
Fort Lee, NJEWestchester & Port Washington, NY
| What is Pace Method?
(last updated on 2/1/2015)
*The advantage of The Pace Approach.
(1) Spiral learning process.
Immediate results easily become a purpose of learning musical instruments. Therefore students have to depend on mechanical repetition to polish up a piece. If a teacher stresses only a few pieces, a student will not develop total musical capability which is required for future learning.
On the contrary, the process of the spiral learning presents many different aspects such as exploration, experience, discovery, analysis and creative problem solving. What they learned is stored inside of the students. The reason why it is called "spiral learning" is that students skills become interrelated as they grow higher and wider.
Spiral learning process observed from the Side and from the Top
(2) Balanced diet.
Teachers have to provide various activities for students to experience the spiral learning process. Therefore teachers have to include many different items in their teaching strategies.
(3) Sequential learning from the beginning to an advanced level
When teachers introduce the smallest unit to the students at the beginning level, they have to present all the necessary phases. For example, when a three year old is taught the combination of three notes, they name it as Low, Middle and High. Three notes can be arranged in many different shapes as shown in the diagram.
The students listen to the combination and look at the above shapes, then pick up the card with the correct shape. Finally they transfer it to their fingers and play. They learn the musical patterns. This is called the smallest unit or a microcosm by Dr. Pace. The small world which three year olds can recognize will apply to the following steps. The microcosm will expand to a four bar phrase which has pattern and sequence . It will also take a chord progression with I V7 to the next level. Thus structure becomes more complicated and longer as they move to a higher level. But the concept which is engraved in the brain at the age of three will be stored and will be used whenever it is necessary and indirectly transferred to the higher level.
Students will be able to apply whatever they learn in the spiral learning process to the next steps. They will finally enjoy working on big sonatas or symphonic compositions which were too big when they were three years old. A microcosm which students learned at the beginning level connects to the universe when they are mature enough to develop transferring ability at an advanced level.
(4) Multiple key approach
Why is the multiple key approach important? Dr. Pace explained, first, we can train students to be capable sight - readers. Developing sensitive finger tips will prevent students from looking at their fingers and allow them to concentrate on the music. There is a wide range of repertories available. Students who developed tactile skills on multiple keys are able play many pieces in any key. They also develop a sensitive ear for tonality because students experience multiple keys on a daily basis.
(5) Various styles of music
Students who are exposed to various styles of music from the beginning will have a flexible mind toward musical sound.
(6)Group piano instruction
People in general think of the efficiency of group lessons as a business matter. But the purpose of The Group Piano Instruction of the Pace Approach is not only a business matter. It is based on an essential educational concept. The purpose here is that students positively reinforce each other and activate the learning process. Because of this setting a student has variety of ideas for problem solving. A group should be rather small like a project team in which all students are able to interact. Ear training, theory, analysis, sight- reading, transposition, improvisation, dictation and mental gymnastics are included in a group lesson.
Besides the group activities, students are divided into a dyad (two students) and have instruction for the repertories in a partner setting. There are two reasons to have partner lessons instead of having private instruction. First, it is a very important part of learning music for a student listen to a partner who has similar skills and maturity. After listening the two students discuss the performance from both angles first as a performer and then as an audience. The two students polish their pieces together. This is different from listening to and passively copying a teacher`s samples. It will develop a sensitive ear which can hear the details of musical expression and technical improvement.
Another reason for dyad lessons is that whatever students learn in group activities should be utilized in the repertory lessons. If a teacher gives instruction privately, the sequence of spiral line will be disconnected because of the teachers` initiation. Their background should be used in their discussions and applied to their performances. The teachers role will be more important in partner lessons than private instruction because a teacher has to guide students focus efficiently to all the necessary points.
*The Pace Approach for music education in the 21st Century.
Instruction in The Pace Approach provides various activities in order to develop intergrated competence. These activities involve musical thinking, musical feeling and musically well controlled fingers. A variety of sequential training from the first step to the advanced level develops the abilities of sight- reading, improvisation and performance with an efficient technique. For example, many people believe that improvising music is a special gift bestowed on a chosen few. But according to Dr. Robert Pace, this theory precludes millions of students from realizing their creative potential in music, and perhaps in other educational disciplines. Thus the goal of The Pace Approach is to expand the musically educated population. Most of the people in the 21st Century would have life-long benefits from musical activities no matter if they become professional musicians or not.