Margaret Brandman's 'Playing Made Easy' music teaching books and CDs begin with a simplified interval approach, using terminology connected to physical actions for instance - Step, Skip or Jump. The interval approach helps to connect the aural, visual and tactile aspects of music. The approach allows the performer to read the flow of the music, while feeling the interval distances in the hand and listening to the sounds being played. Students are encouraged to sing the pitches prior to playing (for both piano and recorder methods) while in the early levels of the Contemporary Piano Method, a comprehensive piano teaching course, students sing the intervals as they play, using this easy language, which in turn helps the development of inner hearing.
In the Contemporary Piano Method, the music presented for study moves away from the centre of the instrument very quickly using the C's as signpost notes, so that students see the 'Gestalt' view of the instrument and understand spatial concepts on the Grand Staff. The method moves on fairly swiftly to larger intervals, changes of area, transposition and playing in all twelve major keys as the groundwork for all future key, scale and chord work on the keyboard. Keyboard scales are presented as Pictorial Patterns to teach students keyboard topography.
This holistic approach flows through the entire method, blending ear-training through the use of the Contemporary Aural Course - CD and book sets, with written work in the related theory texts: Contemporary Theory Workbook series and the Contemporary Chord Workbook series. The method presents classical and modern techniques, drawing parallels between the common threads of classical and modern music (popular, jazz and contemporary). Areas covered include music speed-reading techniques in the written key, transposed or in C clef, plus improvisation techniques and both jazz harmony and figured harmony at the keyboard.
The aim is to offer the student professional music making skills in an easy fashion, beginning early, so these skills may be incorporated in a very gradual way, rather than being thought of as tertiary study material. Then in time, students can choose the musical direction that suits them best: performing, composing, arranging, recording, teaching in classical, jazz or pop genres.
The Brandman Music Education materials have been frequently used as resources for secondary school and tertiary courses. They provide supporting information and practice questions for many examination syllabi, including the AMEB’s recently developed Music Craft course.
Brandman Music Education materials for use with AMEB 'Music Craft' topics:
Summary of the Brandman educational series:
Contemporary Piano Method
Margaret Brandman’s music teaching books and accompanying aural courses, begin with a simplified interval approach, using terminology connected to physical actions for instance – Step, Skip or Jump. The interval approach helps to connect the aural, visual and tactile aspects of music. The approach allows the performer to read the…
Contemporary Theory Workbooks
1) Contemporary Theory Primer 2) Contemporary Theory Workbook 1 3) Contemporary Theory Workbook 2 Contemporary Theory Primer provides an enjoyable and practical introduction to music theory for the novice musician from age 5 and up. The accelerated learning concepts in the book help students gain a thorough grounding in ‘general…
Contemporary Aural Course
Ear-training is an intrinsic part of any studies in music. Awareness of pitch and rhythm and an ability to transcribe music from a sound source to the written page is essential for any well-rounded musician. The Contemporary Aural Course is a graded set of ear-training materials designed for complete beginners…
Playing made easy for recorder
Brandman’s Playing Made Easy for Recorder series consists of two books – Method Book and Tune Book. The Playing Made Easy for Recorder Method Book (also released in the USA as ‘How to Play the Recorder”) is based on the author’s belief that one can develop a speed-reading approach by…
Contemporary Chord Workbooks
• Comprehensive guide to chords • Includes information on scales and modes • Suitable for all instruments • Both books in this series are fill-in-answer style workbooks. Book One: Topics include the Building Blocks of Chords, plus all three and four-note chords. Contemporary Chord Book 1This book covers all types…
Harmony Comes Together
Margaret Brandman has, in her recent publication provided a text which, whilst designed for students, will prove to be an invaluable resource for all music teachers. Harmony Comes Together is designed not only to equip the student with the necessary skills to write effective and meaningful three and four-part harmony…