Core Repertoire - can it be helpful in our teaching & learning process?

I posted this at my Instagram story last year, march '23

One of the things I admire about the Suzuki Method is that they dare making decisions. One of those decisions is to have a core repertoire which focus especially on the Baroque and Classical-period music (my personal favorites!). To start with a core repertoire can be good for many reasons.

Behind every exercise, every piece of music, there is a lot of study. The more shared the repertoire is, the more familiar and motivating it can be for the students. For the teachers, the more experienced they are in teaching certain repertoire, the better they can help the students. They would know more about the typical problems to avoid, and they would be more informed about various things to consider. A piece could be quite easy and still quite paradoxal because there are many ways to approach it.

An example, the Beethoven Sonatina in G major. I had once a discussion with quite a senior teacher who said it had to be played with a strong starting first beat. However, I would prefer it -at that time of discussion- to be played softer because it was the beginning of a motive in which the "climax" was in the middle.

How about the baroque elementary/intermediate pieces, they certainly have the same problems as their more difficult contempararies: pedal or no pedal, staccato or legato, how to phrase, etc.

My students are playing so many nice pieces and I often want to share their learning process across students so that they can also learn from each other. That's why I arrange group lessons from time to time.

This year, I'd like to do something more special and to learn something more substantial together. I'd like to invite Marietta Petkova to give a workshop in which some people can join actively (taking a lesson/ even masterclass) while others can watch the lessons too. We are learning together and learning from each other. On 7 April, 2024, it will be our first time to give it a try.

Besides the elementary and intermediate pieces, some pieces are too advanced or too different a genre for me as a teacher. Some students (either still active with me or not) could grow in such a way that they'd better learn from another teacher, or in this case, in the workshop with Marietta Petkova who is not only a master pianist, but definietly also a master teacher.

While the Suzuki teachers get teachers' training for each piece in their core repertoire, I consider my lessons with Marietta Petkova as my teachers' training; and why not having it while my students can directly learn too. This idea plays in my mind for some time already. Other teachers/parents, other piano students, even other pianists, might also benefit from such a workshop.

Back to the idea of developing a core repertoire, I posted the photo above at my Instagram story last year in March '23. Yet the idea has been playing in my mind longer.

A core repertoire doesn't need to be rigid, yet having it can be informative and therefore motivating. A core repertoire can also give the reason to study together and make a stronger bond, don't you think?

Amsterdam, 27/2/2024