Monday, August 10, 2009

Favorite Piano Methods

Today, over at the Music Matters Blog Natalie has posted about her preferred piano methods, and asked us to share our opinions. My opinion was a bit long-winded to post in the comments section, so I figured I'd post it over here for y'all to read and share!

My preferred method for teaching piano is the Faber Piano Adventures program. I really like the firm pedagogical standpoint it comes from... And my students like the fun illustrations, the theory books (I've never ONCE had a student complain about an activity in these books!), and the music that is actually EXCITING to play! Generally when I teach out of these books, I only use the Lesson, Theory and Technique books - not the Performance books. I'll explain that later...

For my younger students, I choose (without a doubt!) the Faber My First Piano Adventure books. These books have worked miracles with the many little ones that I've taught. When I teach out of this method, I do use both books (Lesson and Writing) as well as the CD, but I do not use a lot of supplementary activities. I find that I simply do not need them.

Now, all of that being said, I do have a student that is currently using the Alfred Basic Piano Library. I don't think that it's a bad piano method (it's the way I learned), but it certainly is not my favorite. When I teach out of these books, I only use the Lesson and Theory books (although I have been known to use only the Lesson book with this series, just writing out activities for the student to complete).

How do I make up for the missing books?

The short answer for the missing "Technic" book in the Alfred series is this: pentascales and chords. I truly feel that my students time is better spent learning and practicing their scales instead of the exercises provided.

As far as the performance books go, I choose to go without, because I would rather devote the time to supplementary material that meets the needs that each of my students have. Most often, I look for music that I can provide them with free of charge. Making Music Fun has tons of supplementary music that my students LOVE to play - mostly simplified classics. I also let them know that if they want to purchase any supplementary book that goes along with their level and method, I will gladly teach them to play it!

I must admit, I am somewhat non-adventurous when it comes to supplementary books, but I'm always looking for more! What elementary or early intermediate music do you use to supplement your lesson books?


Natalie Wickham said...

Great thoughts, Rebecca! Do you subscribe to any of the new release clubs? That's a great way to try out new supplemental materials. I currently just subscribe to the FJH New Release club, but I know several of the other publishers have them as well. Might be a way to edge toward the more adventurous side of trying supplementary materials! :-)

Brenda Muench said...

Making Music Fun is such a great site! Thanks for introducing me to it.

Joy M. said...

I also am a fan of the Piano Adventure series. I find that the pieces are very imaginative and lend themselves well towards a future in classical or church music (or both). I usually use the Lesson and the Performance books, and substitute the Theory books with Kjos' "Fundamentals in Piano Theory." They are a good price for the size of the book. To supplement these books, I usually choose a book of hymn arrangements and/or classical pieces. Of course, it's a little different for each student, but that's my general course of things. =] I enjoyed visiting your blog!

-- Joy M. |