An Instructional Guide to Teaching Kurtág’s Játékok Volume I to Beginning and Intermediate Piano Students
Description: Pedagogical methods in piano instruction are constantly evolving. Traditional approaches for beginning students typically focus on teaching music theory and developing the skills necessary to read music. Some contemporary methods, however, are centered on training students to use their whole body while playing the instrument. These more recent methodologies allow students to bond with the piano in a more personal manner, as if they were playing a game with a big toy. One of the most representative works of this approach is the eight-volume collection Játékok (1973) by György Kurtág (b.1926). Volume 1 of Játékok consists of short pieces featuring a new graphic notation devised by Kurtág himself. It also incorporates the use of unusual piano techniques, such as playing with the palm, fist, and forearm. The method also explores the use of the entire range of the instrument. Though the work is over 40 years old, Játékok is only infrequently used as a teaching tool for piano instructors in Hungary, and is unknown in the United States. This probably stems from the fact that it presents students and teachers with atypical musical elements such as unusual notation, use of an unlimited register, and pieces that feature varying degrees of difficulty within the same volume. This study provides a guideline which will assist instructors in implementing Játékok’s Volume 1 effectively as a pedagogical tool by introducing instructor’s teaching content, rearranging the original order of pieces in ascending level of difficulty, and providing a methodology to creatively teach the three most significant musical skills to be developed through Volume 1.
Date: May 2015
Creator: Jang, Jeongwook