What's your "method"? - What piano teaching method do you use?

Discuss the pros and cons of various "methods" with other teachers

What's your "method"? - What piano teaching method do you use?

Faber and Faber
12
39%
Alfred
3
10%
Bastien
0
No votes
Clark
0
No votes
Pace
0
No votes
Suzuki
0
No votes
Thompson
3
10%
Mixed methods
9
29%
Personal method
2
6%
Other
2
6%
 
Total votes : 31

Postby Dr. John Zeigler - PEP Ed » Sun Dec 14, 2003 2:03 pm

Teachers, tell us what method you use, if any and why.
All religions, arts and sciences are branches of the same tree. All these aspirations are directed toward ennobling man's life, lifting it from the sphere of mere physical existence and leading the individual towards freedom. - Albert Einstein
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Postby 78-1055971015 » Tue Dec 23, 2003 4:26 pm

Hi

I use a variety of methods. For beginning adult students I really like the Play by Choice books by Fred Kern. For children, I use the Clark books along with the Keyboard Town, Technic Tales Books 1 and 2, and Pedal Books by Louise Robyn.

I AVOID all books that have even the faintest touch or mention of position playing.

To help with the note reading and counting aspects I also use the Schaum Note Spellers Books 1 and 2. And the Rhythm Workbook Series by Schaum is also very good.

The Bartok Microkosmos Books are also wonderful - they help confirm note reading and counting issues. And are so wonderfully composed that students really have to know their stuff- as these defy playing by ear.

Great Survey Question
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Postby Mins Music » Sun Jan 25, 2004 10:08 pm

I use different books. Alfred Adult course, Bastien or Alfred for kids, Thompson's "Teaching Little Fingers to Play" for beginners with Denes Agay Joy of Piano. I don't follow any of their 'method's' as such, (I teach kinesthetically mostly, also auditory, and visually, both letter names and interval approach, emphasising the 'numbers' on the notes are for finger suggestions only) I used Thompson because I like his bright colourful pictures, short progressive songs (with words - I believe singing is very important too) Bastien because it's fun and goofy - some students like that, for my more 'serious by nature' youngsters I used Alfreds, - pictures aren't so goofy, songs a little more sophisticated. Denes Agay's book I use for the kids to 'give it a go!' at home, without help from me.
I use these books mainly because they're the ones I'm familiar with. Other suggestions greatly appreciated.
"I forget what I was taught, I only remember what I've learnt." - Patrick White, Australian novelist.
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Postby Marian » Fri Feb 06, 2004 6:48 pm

I use The Well Prepared Pianist Series by N. Jane Tan. I also used various Alfred Books for Adult beginners or those returning to the piano; at least at first. We then delve into various literature.
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Postby Mins Music » Fri Feb 06, 2004 11:37 pm

I'm interested in the Well Prepared Pianist Series" Marian. What is it you like about this method? I might give it a go.
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Postby 81-1074658942 » Fri Feb 27, 2004 12:51 am

If anyone is interested in supplemental material for students who are still in their method books, take a look at some of the books Alfred's publishes. Their 'masterpieces with flair', 'the baroque/romantic spirit', and sonatina books are really wonderful. They have really nice pieces, and also have level identification on them. [intermediate, early intermediate...etc]
The 'spirit' books especially have lots of extras. They include pictures, a little background of the history and composers of the era, and a good bit of theory. The baroque book has explanations of structure highlighted on their pieces throughout. The other nice thing is that these books are fairly inexpensive.
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Postby Mins Music » Fri Feb 27, 2004 10:02 pm

My favourite Alfred composer is Martha Mier. I think her work is wonderfully musical, no matter what level she writes for. A real talent.
"I forget what I was taught, I only remember what I've learnt." - Patrick White, Australian novelist.
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Postby Mins Music » Mon Mar 01, 2004 6:24 pm

I've recently discovered 'Chester's Easiest Piano Course'. It's published in England, so for us Aussies, it's just what we need (semibreves instead of whole notes etc). Designed for the very young. My kids (5 and 6 year olds) love it!
They're introduced to Chester - a frog, and his mates, an elephant, a mouse, a girl frog (just what a boy frog needs), and a cat. They each have a distinct personality. The original songs are about these friends.
All the way through it are reminders, games and theory.
It's an excellent method for brand new teachers with very young students.
Basically, all the teacher has to do is make sure they read everything on the page and follow the instructions. So far, my littlies are having a ball
I use this book with lots of others too. But for new teachers with little experience, all you'll need is this book.
I'd recommend buying the omnibus collection.
You can buy it from here:

http://www.musicroom.com/se/ID_No/025377/details.html
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Postby Mins Music » Wed Mar 10, 2004 3:34 am

Just added Margaret Brandman 'Contemporary Piano Method Junior Primer' to my list of methods. I have to say though, I didn't like it much :( and now I feel like a traitor 'cause she's a fellow Aussie VERY dedicated to kids and music.
I liked her 'basic' picture in section one. It's of a little boy sitting at a piano. It gives very good precise tips on posture and playing position.
It takes a lot of time providing a foundation for her particular method. If you were to teach just using this method alone, it is worth spending the time going through all of her suggested activites (of which there are many). However, if you're a teacher who likes to pick and choose, there is little to use. Having said that, I have incorporated a few of her ideas in teaching very young children.
If you are a beginning teacher or you're interested in using just one method, then this might be the one for you. It takes a very different approach from the Alfred and Batien books.
Have a look at the review of her book, and her interview on the PEP.
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Postby 110-1079111554 » Fri Apr 23, 2004 12:26 pm

All of my pupils are using the Michael Aaron series.
I find there is a depth of detail in the music which is missing in other books. The pieces are a mix of original pieces and popular classics, and it is a very well prepared series in general.
I supplement this series with additional material as and when required, ie I add examination pieces when necessary, and I also include jazz, blues, folk tunes, ragtime & contemporary pop music.
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Postby 81-1074658942 » Sat Apr 24, 2004 12:27 am

A variety of styles is always good! One word about the alfred's books: [okay so it's a lot of words]

They're great for young beginners, but I really started to get annoyed with those books when I was about nine. I thought they were for little kids, and I did NOT like the music. I'm not the only one either. These books have some really good aspects, but they're geared toward younger students.

My teacher eventually switched me to the Piano Adventures series, which worked out very well. Their books are still fun, but they are a bit better for older students. They also incorporate good theory principles into all of the lessons.
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Postby Lyndall » Mon May 17, 2004 2:54 pm

I'm pretty well purely Faber & Faber Piano Adventures, esp. when starting beginners. I found Bastien & Alfred move too quickly into reading by step before you've established guide notes which can be memorized as reference points.

For beginners I use Bastien Performance book level 1 for supplemental songs that I mainly teach by ear so that they are playing harder stuff but not being bogged down by not knowing notes yet.

The older students LOVE the songs in PA as do I! They're full of Irish jigs, jazzy numbers, syncopated beats, folk songs & more contemporary sounds. We all love the duets too. And the words are really pretty cool - but I seem to be the only one to appreciate them as I sing along!
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Postby Ursie » Fri May 21, 2004 3:12 pm

I use different tutor methods. Joanna MacGregor's Piano Adventures, Pauline Hall's Piano Time (which has a lot of supplementary material e.g.various repertoire books of classics, jazz, etc. sight-reading, duets, technique book), Chester's Easiest Piano Course (again this method has extra material), Waterman/Harewood Piano lessons (lots of extra material but I've only got the Progress Studies so far).

I like Piano Time - but it doesn't give finger exercises or scales (not in book 1 anyway :D ) so you have to add these yourself. However I cross-use all methods so my favourite is a mixture of everything! My newest tutor book is "Piano Method" by Charles and Jacqueline (I haven't used it yet) and the distributors in the US are Theodore Presser and U.M.P for UK (it doen't mention any other countries). This tutor is divided into sections which give some exercises for your task i.e. independence of hands, chords, crossing hands etc. and then some little tunes to practice your newly acquired skill :p There's also a little theory pull-out in the middle.

Mins Music wrote:Just added Margaret Brandman 'Contemporary Piano Method Junior Primer' to my list of methods.


Mins Music, I had a look at the review of this tutor method and also at the website and I think I may buy this one. I was quite interested in the interval reading method as I think my dyslexic student might find use for it and as you say some of the exercises etc can be incorporated into your own style of teaching - but do stop me if I need stopped!!
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Postby Mins Music » Fri May 21, 2004 6:33 pm

Ursie wrote:I think I may buy this one. ...but do stop me if I need stopped!!

Add it to your collection Ursie. There are some very good kinesthetic activities she not only describes but illustrates well. I'm sure you'll find her methodology useful to add to your own style :)
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Postby drewnchick » Thu Mar 30, 2006 12:23 pm

Guest wrote: For children, I use the Clark books along with the Keyboard Town, Technic Tales Books 1 and 2, and Pedal Books by Louise Robyn.


Hi "Guest" :)
I also like the Music Tree and Louise Robyn books. In fact, I just started using the Louise Robyn books, but have had some trouble finding them...do you have any suggestions?

I also use, depending on student, Faber, Thompson, or Schaum. I find that "quicker" students tend to do well in the Thompson, while the students who are slower to "catch on" do better with Faber. I'm very careful to make them read all their notes out loud to me before we ever play the piece.

I had one student start out with Faber, then we switched to Thompson book 1 because she really liked the pieces better.

I've also done Alfred's "Music for little Mozarts" with a preschool class, which I think is great for teaching music fundamentals, but not so great for teaching piano playing.
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