If you are interested in learning piano, you may be exploring different teaching methods, such as Alfred's piano library or Faber piano books. One method you may want to consider is the Rhodes piano method, created by Harold Rhodes. If you want to learn at your own pace by yourself, there are Rhodes method books that you can use at home. The Rhodes method is also used by private teachers, schools, and websites if you want more guidance. Read on to learn more about this method to see if it's right for your studies.
Who was Harold Rhodes?
Harold Rhodes was a composer, teacher, and inventor who started his career by running piano schools all across the United States. His method has been used in Montessori schools, charter schools, public schools, and summer camps. During World War II, he joined the Army Air Corps and entertained the troops with his piano playing. He also gave lessons to wounded servicemen with a portable piano.
Rhodes created different piano units and is arguably most well-known for creating the Rhodes piano. The Rhodes piano is an electric piano that generates sound with keys and hammers like a conventional piano. Instead of hitting strings, however, the piano's hammer strike metal tines. These tines vibrate near an electromagnetic pickup, which then sends a signal to an external amplifier and speaker. These pianos were used extensively for jazz, soul music, and pop—especially in the 1970s. His inventions inspired music technology that's still used today by musicians and sound engineers.
What are the Principles of the Rhodes Method?
The Rhodes method works for beginners and more experienced students. It combines classical teaching methods, such as a focus on good technique, with more creative endeavors, such as improvisation and composition. For example, you will learn proper finger patterns for notes and chords for technique, but you will also be encouraged to experiment and develop your own style of playing.
Instead of just focusing on the left hand or right hand, Rhodes focuses on both hands (melody and chords) very early on. This helps you become more comfortable with the piano instead of favoring one hand.
Some students may balk at other teaching methods since the songs may be unfamiliar, but the Rhodes books contain popular songs so that students are more motivated to learn songs that they enjoy.
Lastly, this method focuses on sight-reading. Sight reading is the ability to read or perform a piece of music with little to no preparation. Sight reading is an important aspect of this method as it helps you gauge your overall progress. It's a good skill to develop so that you can better accuracy, rhythm, and pitch.
Reach out to a company like Rhodes Music Education Inc. to learn more about the Rhodes method.