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Margaret's book:

In April 2017 Margaret Brandman's 'Cosmic Wheel of the Zodiac' song cycle performed by Baritone Martin Cooke and the composer, was aired in two half-hour programs on Sydney radio station FINE MUSIC 102.5 FM. The DVD of these songs is now available. View the Performance and Recordings page for details.

September 2017: Margaret travels to Prague for a concert performance of her 'Cosmic Wheel of the Zodiac' song cycle by the Prague Mixed Choir at 7.30pm on the 14th of September in the concert hall of the Czech Music Museum. The choir will be recording the cycle for PARMA recordings. View the Performance and Recordings page for details.

Three new art songs in the collection titled 'From the Mountains to the Sea' for Mezzo-Soprano or Baritone voice and piano are now available. View the page for From the Mountains to the Sea for details.

Sensations recorded in the Czech Republic by the Moravian Philharmonic Orchestra has been receiving a great deal of international airplay since it was released in May 2016. View the Performance and Recordings page for more information.

'Warm Winds in Havana' suite for Saxophone Quartet and Percussion, recorded in Cuba last year, has been on air on many Jazz Radio programs around the world and was featured on radio HRT Croatia on April 10th this year. ABRAZO compilation CD.

 

WELCOME TO MARGARET BRANDMAN'S
'PLAYING MADE EASY' FOR BEGINNERS

If you've never played an instrument before, getting started with the Brandman "Playing Made Easy' system, is one of the best and quickest ways to learn.

The system can be applied to any keyboard instrument ( piano, electronic keyboard or organ) and most woodwind instruments including recorder, clarinet and saxophone.

There are materials available for these instruments, to follow up the information given here. (see below)

The simplest way to see the method demonstrated is to view the VIDEO/DVD (see the video/DVD page on this site)


PLAYING MADE EASY

With this teaching approach, by limiting the amount of information needed to the essentials and developing a sense of the flow of music from the beginning much of the difficulty experienced in traditional music education is avoided.

The system is based on hand positions, but quickly moves on to explore ways of moving around the keyboard. For technical information on how to produce a note on the instrument, please refer to the written materials.

Here are some of the basics.......

  • 1) The key to finding your way around a keyboard is the sense of touch which can be used to locate all the SIGNPOST notes (Cs and Fs) by feeling for the groups of black notes with the eyes closed.

Did you know that music only uses SEVEN alphabet letter names, A, B, C, D, E, F, AND G.? These repeat in several different pitches from Low to High. So if you can find any C and F on the keyboard the others will not be far away.

  • 2) The written notes on the staff lines (sets of five lines on which music is written), represent sounds from low to high. There are five Cs which appear on or near the staff lines for piano. These Cs are very useful as location points. If you learn these, you will always begin in the correct area of the keyboard. In my books and DVD you will find easy ways to remember them.
  • 3) When the notes are written on lines or between spaces and are presented in ascending order on a staff (Line Note, Space Note, Line Note, Space Note etc) the resulting look is that of a ladder. Our word "SCALE" comes from the Italian word 'La Scala', the ladder.
  • 4) It therefore follows that if the notes are moving along this ladder frame they are moving in a stepwise fashion. This movement is known as the distance or INTERVAL of a STEP. If there is a position skipped out, ie Line Note to the next Line Note, or Space Note to the next Space Note, the resulting distance or INTERVAL is known as a SKIP.

In the Brandman beginner books, you will find the first five distances or intervals. These are extremely easy to identify on the page, feel with your fingers and begin to recognise by sound. The only note name you will need to learn is C. The rest is like looking at a picture, does it go up or down or remain the same? Is it nearby or somewhat further away, Students find this comes together in a few minutes. Adults will find they can Sightread a line of music, without looking at their fingers, within a half hour session. What you will be using is a combination of your aural, visual and tactile faculties, for rapid progress.

  • 5) As the system is the same for both hands and therefore can be read the same way in any clef and anywhere on the keyboard, two handed playing can be achieved in about two weeks. (Some people can even do this on their first lesson!) For those readers that understand a little musical language, the method also provides the ability to transpose onto any white note pattern, and later on to any key or mode.
  • 6) Rhythm. Music for beginners uses very simple note values based on the divisions of whole, half, quarter and eighth. Each value note is given a different shape. The whole note is an egg shaped note, the half note is an open circle with a stem (like a flower stem), the quarter note is similar to the half note but its centre filled in and the eighth note is written like a quarter note with an added tail. (The British system has other names for these notes, which are explained in the books)

The topic of rhythm, can be understood very simply by boxes representing the values of the notes, being placed under the notes. The method (which has been used successfully for over 30 years ) uses colour (recently hailed as a tool for accelerated learning) to represent the values of the notes. If you would like to see an example, refer to the Course Map on this site.

I hope these few points will provide you with some basic information on the method, and that you will discover more easy ways to learn as you explore the Brandman 'Playing Made Easy' system.

 

Here is a list of the materials available for beginners.......

 

SECTION ONE - KEYBOARDS

For the Junior beginnner on PIANO/KEYBOARD OR ORGAN ( 6 to 11 age group):

  • the Contemporary Piano Method Junior Primer.

For older children and adult beginners of PIANO or KEYBOARD:

  • Book 1A of the Contemporary Piano Method.

 

SUPPLEMENTARY BOOKS FOR LEVEL ONE KEYBOARDS

  • Junior Trax - easy piano arrangements of children's tunes and original pieces, complete with duets.
  • Daily Dexter-Flexers (Skill builders and reading reinforcement)
  • Dexter's Easy Piano Pieces - combining reading examples with well-known tunes
  • Hot Trax - easy piano arrangements of popular tunes
  • It's Easy to Improvise - keyboard harmony and chord work based on many familiar tunes in varied styles


SECTION TWO - WOODWIND INSTRUMENTS

For beginners of any age on RECORDER, flute, saxophone

* 'Playing Made Easy for Recorder' (Australian edition) 'How to Play Recorder' (USA edition). This book presents the easy reading system of the piano method, adapted for recorder which is the gateway to the fingerings on the other woodwind instruments. This book is a far more thorough and interactive teaching method than others on the market. Student will really be reading the flow of the music and understanding the feel of the notes,and simultaneously developing their ear and ability to improvise. (A small amount of written work is incorporated for easy interval recognition and reinforcement of the topics)


SECTION THREE - THEORY AND EAR-TRAINING

Margaret Brandman has also written theory and ear-training materials to complement and support the basic tutor books. These suit students of any instrument or voice. The specific books for beginners are:

 

THEORY

 

EAR-TRAINING

For the novice musician:

For those with a little previous music experience:

    For more details on each of these books, visit the education and piano pages on this site.