What is everyone currently using? - What method or "system" are you using?

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

Postby Stretto » Sat Jul 21, 2007 12:59 pm

What method(s) or "system" of teaching is everyone currently using to teach piano?

If you are using various books and materials for each individual student, what are you using right now with current students?

How are things going teaching with the materials you are currently using?

If you are a student, what materials are you learning from right now?




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Postby jenscott90 » Wed Jul 25, 2007 7:29 am

I finally switched from my Alfred's series to Piano Adventures (Faber & Faber). I like the format, the order concepts are presented and the fact that although they begin with a "position" type of approach, they also counterbalance that with plenty of movement around the keyboard so the kids are not "stuck" on just one or two pentascales (C and G).

I like the supplementary materials, as well, and had been using them periodically before I switched over.

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Postby LK123 » Sat Jul 28, 2007 11:26 am

Hi all!

I am currently using the Faber and Faber, as well as the Celebrate Piano series for some of my kids (the younger beginners).

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Postby Stretto » Mon Jul 30, 2007 2:02 pm

Thanks for the replies.

What I'm doing mainly right now is starting students out with a lesson book in a method for primer and level 1 along with supplemental material. The most recent student, I used the old Glover Piano Library as that is what she had books from that her mom used as a child. I actually found that easier to teach from than Alfred's, the newer Bastien version, and Faber and Faber (although I haven't taught from Faber and Faber officially other than the supplemental pieces and I've heard lots of teachers really rave about teaching from it). With my daughter, we settled on Teaching Little Fingers to Play which I think has neat pictures for the younger ones and I like the tuneful pieces, etc. I think I like the Glover and the Teaching Little Fingers to Play partly because it starts out reading notes on the staff right away and although I'm sure there are some negative things that can be said about the "both thumbs on middle C" approach these two books utilize, it seems easier to learn note recognition this way. These methods seem weaker on reading by interval and chords perhaps, but I find that is really simple to add to teaching. It seems to only takes one explanation at one lesson for most of the students I've had to "get" intervals. One thing that I can't stand is books that start students out reading without the staff for quite a while at first. But I suppose there are reasons for this that I am not aware of?

During of after level 1 or 2 of a method, I recently have had students use a classical piano literature series as they're mainstay required book and then still any supplemental music they wish to learn. One classical piano lit. series I like is Masterwork Classics by Jane Magrath published by Alfred's in levels 1 - 10. These books come with a cd. I started my last couple students on level 2 in these books after they completed level 1 in lesson books and forgoing lesson books. I'm not sure how this will work out long term. So far I've found it so much easier to teach from the classical piano literature pieces because there is so much more I find I can say about a piece than those pieces in a method's lesson book. I feel more in my element teaching this way. If someone was diehard against classical music, however, I would probably keep them in a method longer or some supplemental books of styles they liked in levels and supplement with materials too and try to sneak in some classical here and there rather than make them do the classical book. One way or another, I feel at least one "required" book that moves in a graded manner and hopefully matches a students interested as best as possible is important and then of course, they can learn anything else they wish alongside.

Other good classical piano lit. series I've looked at are Bastien's classical piano lit. series and Everybody's Perfect Masterpieces.




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Postby jenscott90 » Tue Jul 31, 2007 7:19 am

Stretto, I've felt the same way sometimes, asking, "How long are we going to have these kids work without the staff?" For me, it depends on their age and ability to incorporate several concepts at the same time. I think, for the younger students, there needs to be some time for them just to get the eye-hand coordination down, recognize which finger is being asked for and recognize the patterns going up and down. Add rhythm to that and dynamics and Sheesh!! That is quite enough. They need time to internalize some of that before going on.

That said, I think the older beginners don't need all that time and can go on after one or two lessons this way. As I say, it depends on the child, but in general, I tend to skip some of that when they get older, or simply use the older/later beginner books. There are just so many things to get your head around with NO previous knowledge of music.

One thing that makes my life MUCH easier is the music program at school. I know what they are doing, for the most part, and I find that if they start piano in second grade, they have had a lot of the basic music notation and rhythm work already introduced and I only have to do some reinforcement with them to incorporate it into a lesson! The music teacher and I are friends, and I feel free to go to her and ask what they are learning at any time, so that's a nice collaborative relationship to have.

I think the publishers have to leave room in the beginning of these primer books for young, inexperienced students who may even be a little on the slow side to catch on. I just give older students more pieces or skip a piece here and there. (I don't skip the concepts!)

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Postby piano4kids » Tue Jul 31, 2007 7:27 pm

I love teaching young children. They are like sponges, but the material presented to them must in someway relate to their present knowledge base. That is why it is so difficult to teach from most standard books available today. I have taught for 12 years with a metnod where the noteheads are charicature of animals whose names start with the letters we commonly give to musical notes in the American system. It allows the teacher to build word clues that help the child remember where the note is located on the staff. It is so much fun and I have not lost a child since I started using this system.



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