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#2071081 - 04/25/13 11:14 PM After the Method Books
CleverName Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/02/11
Posts: 122
Hello All,

While acknowledging that each student's needs will be unique and vary greatly (I'm not suggesting a sweeping "formula" for all students!), I'm curious what some of the paths you begin taking are with your students once they have finished their method books (Faber, Alfred's, whatever).

Generally, I get them on a steady diet of scales/arpeggios, Bach Inventions, and begin picking pieces from collections like "Classics to Moderns," "Masterwork Classics," etc. I try to start exposing them to different time periods and styles. I find it to be a very exciting time-while I've been supplementing the methods with other repertoire all along, it's the first time they're going to really begin working on "real" music full time. It's also, admittedly, a little scary for me as a teacher. There's no longer a "guide" helping me along and keeping me on track, ensuring I'm not overlooking something major. And the world of early intermediate literature is so incredibly vast! There are unending possibilities, it seems, and I'm sometimes worry if I'm choosing the correct one for a particular student.

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#2071088 - 04/25/13 11:19 PM Re: After the Method Books [Re: CleverName]
Polyphonist Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/03/13
Posts: 7777
Loc: New York City
1) Sight-reading.
2) Sight-reading.
3) Sight-reading.
_________________________
Regards,

Polyphonist

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#2071091 - 04/25/13 11:27 PM Re: After the Method Books [Re: CleverName]
Minniemay Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/09
Posts: 1702
Loc: CA
I start standard literature before they are out of method books. In fact, I usually leave method books after level 2, sometimes level 3.

You might check out the Celebration Series. It's a wonderfully diverse series of literature books that comes with a very thorough Teacher's Handbook. It encompasses elementary literature through level 10.
_________________________
B.A., Piano, Piano Pegagogy, Music Ed.
M.M., Piano

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#2071100 - 04/25/13 11:42 PM Re: After the Method Books [Re: Minniemay]
AZNpiano Online   happy
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5590
Loc: Orange County, CA
Originally Posted By: Minniemay
I start standard literature before they are out of method books. In fact, I usually leave method books after level 2, sometimes level 3.

I find that the methods I most frequently use (Piano Adventures, Alfred Premier) do have sufficient "standard" pieces in them, that I don't supplement repertoire when students are still in method books. I tend to stay past book 3, though, unless the student is somewhat talented. I've had to take several students all the way through book 5 or 6.

In my experience dealing with transfer students, I've found that a lot of teachers take the kids out of method books far too quickly and give them pieces that are way too difficult for them. Some teachers bypass methods altogether and go straight to the Preparatory Level books from various series (Keith Snell, Celebration Series, etc.). It's just madness.
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Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member

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#2071138 - 04/26/13 12:37 AM Re: After the Method Books [Re: CleverName]
Minniemay Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/09
Posts: 1702
Loc: CA
It really depends on the student. I don't use mainstream method books, but most method books have "candy" music -- not a diet I want my students on. I add books like Developing Artist Prep Level, Exploring Keyboard Lit, Pathways to Artistry, or something similar.

I have 3 students in Music Tree 2A right now and they each have a different classical supplementary book and a lighter book (like Olson's Five Finger Fun and Boyd's Jazz Starters).

I'll keep a student in a method book longer if I think it is valuable for them.
_________________________
B.A., Piano, Piano Pegagogy, Music Ed.
M.M., Piano

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#2071932 - 04/27/13 03:33 AM Re: After the Method Books [Re: Minniemay]
Michael_99 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/28/12
Posts: 935
Loc: Canada Alberta
nice helpful thread. I wondered what the next step was after I complete the John Thompson method books, in a couple - or more years. It is not often discussed - so thanks for the discussion. I have made a note.

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#2071953 - 04/27/13 05:31 AM Re: After the Method Books [Re: Michael_99]
AZNpiano Online   happy
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5590
Loc: Orange County, CA
Originally Posted By: Michael_99
nice helpful thread. I wondered what the next step was after I complete the John Thompson method books, in a couple - or more years. It is not often discussed - so thanks for the discussion. I have made a note.

You have to realize that John Thompson books go really fast, and by the end of that "method," you're supposed to be playing classical sonatas and Chopin nocturnes.

Ha!
_________________________
Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member

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#2071958 - 04/27/13 06:30 AM Re: After the Method Books [Re: AZNpiano]
Gary D. Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 4814
Loc: South Florida
Originally Posted By: AZNpiano
Originally Posted By: Michael_99
nice helpful thread. I wondered what the next step was after I complete the John Thompson method books, in a couple - or more years. It is not often discussed - so thanks for the discussion. I have made a note.

You have to realize that John Thompson books go really fast, and by the end of that "method," you're supposed to be playing classical sonatas and Chopin nocturnes.

Ha!

Yes, they go really fast, and for most people they absolutely kill reading. One of the worst method books ever...
_________________________
Piano Teacher

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#2071964 - 04/27/13 06:56 AM Re: After the Method Books [Re: CleverName]
pianopaws Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/18/13
Posts: 71
Loc: North Carolina, USA
I like the Developing Artist series by Faber and the Masterwork Classics series by Alfred for students just coming out of method books. I also usually supplement with a jazz, popular, or hymn book depending on what the student is interested in. We continue to work on scales, arpeggios, and chords as well as any specific techniques that might present themselves in their music.

For advanced high school students, I like them to start building their music library. So we will start to get collections such as the Bach Inventions, Beethoven Sonatas, etc. so that by the time they leave me they have their own library to continue with, whether in college or for their own enjoyment.
_________________________
M.M., Piano performance and pedagogy
Member, MTNA and NCMTA

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#2072057 - 04/27/13 11:07 AM Re: After the Method Books [Re: CleverName]
dumdumdiddle Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/16/06
Posts: 1267
Loc: California
I move out of method books at around Lev 3 or so and do a mixture of classical repertoire, sightreading, solo sheets, and contemporary repertoire (Bober, Vandall, Alexander, etc....). Some of my favorites at this level:

Developing Artist series, lev prep on up (FJH)
Snell series, lev prep on up (repertoire and etude books)
Just For Fun, bk 1 & 2 (Bober)
PA Recital Solos, lev 2B, 3A, 3B (Faber)
Jazz and Blues (Robert Schultz)
In Recital w/Jazz, Rags, Blues series (FJH)
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Music School Owner
Early Childhood Music Teacher/Group Piano Teacher/Private Piano Teacher
Member of MTAC and Guild

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#2072500 - 04/27/13 11:08 PM Re: After the Method Books [Re: Gary D.]
Michael_99 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/28/12
Posts: 935
Loc: Canada Alberta
Gary D. , I have read your post, here:


Originally Posted By: Michael_99
nice helpful thread. I wondered what the next step was after I complete the John Thompson method books, in a couple - or more years. It is not often discussed - so thanks for the discussion. I have made a note.

You have to realize that John Thompson books go really fast, and by the end of that "method," you're supposed to be playing classical sonatas and Chopin nocturnes.

Ha!

Yes, they go really fast, and for most people they absolutely kill reading. One of the worst method books ever...

_________________________
Piano Teacher


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thanks for the feedback.

I spent days at the music store going through all the method books for piano. The only one I found was John Thompson that I could relate to. There were lots of coloured music method books but they were not like John Thompson. I have learning problems and I am dyslexic but I just love the books. The tunes are great. I review the pieces everyday that I have learned. It may be that it will get so difficult to do that I will not be able to do it. But I am very, very strong willed and not a quitter. I failed grade and grade 3 in school, so nothing I ever tried to learn was easy. Everything for me to learn is very slow and difficult.

Bit at the moment I am loving play the tunes in Book 1.


But if anyone knows of a better book than John Thompson, just let me know and I will buy it and work through it.

I will buy any method book at any cost that will teach me piano.

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#2072505 - 04/27/13 11:16 PM Re: After the Method Books [Re: CleverName]
Polyphonist Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/03/13
Posts: 7777
Loc: New York City
The best method book is a teacher.
_________________________
Regards,

Polyphonist

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#2072544 - 04/28/13 12:30 AM Re: After the Method Books [Re: dumdumdiddle]
AZNpiano Online   happy
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5590
Loc: Orange County, CA
Originally Posted By: dumdumdiddle
In Recital w/Jazz, Rags, Blues series (FJH)
These are really good. Highly recommended.
_________________________
Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member

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#2072631 - 04/28/13 04:54 AM Re: After the Method Books [Re: CleverName]
musicpassion Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/30/12
Posts: 1153
Loc: California, USA
Originally Posted By: CleverName
I'm curious what some of the paths you begin taking are with your students once they have finished their method books (Faber, Alfred's, whatever).

That's where the fun starts. Actually the fun hopefully starts on day one, but I'm using a hyperbole to express my enjoyment as a teacher when a student gets past the method books. About the method books... I do use method books, while assigning other pieces the whole way through. How far I require them to work in the method books depends on the student. I've used many different method books, including the Alfreds, Faber, Piano Town, Thompson (don't like it much), David Carr Glover (really don't like this one), Bastien, and Schaum. If you're wondering why so many... for one thing I when I accept a transfer student I don't neccessarily take them out of book they're working in.

I find that taking them out of the method books too early can be a detriment to their reading ability. It is frustrating when I take on transfer students that can play a two pieces pretty well, but can't read anything.

So after the method books... I think the ability to judge the difficulty level of a piece is a critical skill for teachers working with students at this level and above. You want to stretch and grow their skills, but not burn them out. That can be a difficult balance to strike.

The various examination systems can be a benefit in this area, as they will "grade" the difficulty level on a lot of pieces.

Using that and other resources I think most teachers develop their "toolbox" of pieces to teach particular aspects. For example your student needs to further develop their understanding of the classical era (they should already have foundations laid by this point) some of my "toolbox" pieces here are Clementi's sonatinas. Of course there are others. Schumans' "Ablum for the Young" contains many gems in the romantic era. Almost all of my students (who stick with piano) will study Bach Invention(s) at some point. But they might not be ready for that right after the method books.
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Pianist and Piano Teacher

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#2072632 - 04/28/13 05:01 AM Re: After the Method Books [Re: Michael_99]
musicpassion Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/30/12
Posts: 1153
Loc: California, USA
Originally Posted By: Michael_99
I spent days at the music store going through all the method books for piano. The only one I found was John Thompson that I could relate to. There were lots of coloured music method books but they were not like John Thompson.

But if anyone knows of a better book than John Thompson, just let me know and I will buy it and work through it.

I will buy any method book at any cost that will teach me piano.

There is no magic bullet of course.

It sounds like you are an adult learner? You seem to have an adult awareness of your learning style at any rate.

Anyway, adult students are the one place I'm using the Thompson books right now in my teaching. Adults seem to really like the Thompson books. I also assign another method book to work alongside the Thompson.
_________________________
Pianist and Piano Teacher

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#2074261 - 04/30/13 02:52 PM Re: After the Method Books [Re: CleverName]
Bluoh Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/20/11
Posts: 421
Loc: Canada
Sometimes students like to try jazz or pop, that's always good fun. ; )

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#2074269 - 04/30/13 03:00 PM Re: After the Method Books [Re: musicpassion]
AZNpiano Online   happy
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5590
Loc: Orange County, CA
Originally Posted By: musicpassion
for one thing I when I accept a transfer student I don't neccessarily take them out of book they're working in.

I find that taking them out of the method books too early can be a detriment to their reading ability. It is frustrating when I take on transfer students that can play a two pieces pretty well, but can't read anything.

I sometimes have to switch these students to a different set of method books, or take them to method books for the first time! It never ceases to amaze me what these kids don't know. Reading is just ONE problem. Hello, rhythm? Dynamics? Legato? Fingering?

Why would teachers take students out of method books without all the fundamentals in place?
_________________________
Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member

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#2074310 - 04/30/13 03:36 PM Re: After the Method Books [Re: AZNpiano]
musicpassion Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/30/12
Posts: 1153
Loc: California, USA
Originally Posted By: AZNpiano
Originally Posted By: musicpassion
for one thing I when I accept a transfer student I don't neccessarily take them out of book they're working in.

I find that taking them out of the method books too early can be a detriment to their reading ability. It is frustrating when I take on transfer students that can play a two pieces pretty well, but can't read anything.

I sometimes have to switch these students to a different set of method books, or take them to method books for the first time! It never ceases to amaze me what these kids don't know. Reading is just ONE problem. Hello, rhythm? Dynamics? Legato? Fingering?

Why would teachers take students out of method books without all the fundamentals in place?


True. I should have just written "they don't have any skills at all".
_________________________
Pianist and Piano Teacher

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#2074602 - 04/30/13 11:35 PM Re: After the Method Books [Re: CleverName]
Minniemay Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/09
Posts: 1702
Loc: CA
I find the music in most method books to be inferior, but I cover things thoroughly after taking students out of method books. I look at what the books cover technically and conceptually and cover those things with better repertoire.
_________________________
B.A., Piano, Piano Pegagogy, Music Ed.
M.M., Piano

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#2074736 - 05/01/13 04:47 AM Re: After the Method Books [Re: Minniemay]
AZNpiano Online   happy
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5590
Loc: Orange County, CA
Originally Posted By: Minniemay
I find the music in most method books to be inferior

And that's why I find Alfred Premier to be so stellar! Their music actually works!! Very attractive writing. Many pieces written in the modern styles (e.g., swing, pop, rock, and jazz). They intentionally wrote music that appeals to boys and girls. And their theory books are excellent, too (I just wish the theory books would have more pages). It does take them quite a bit of time to get to "the classics," but even those pieces are sprinkled in quite nicely, in a logical order.

Beyer, Schaum, and John Thompson were the methods of choice where I came from. I learned piano in spite of those books.
_________________________
Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member

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#2076859 - 05/03/13 08:51 PM Re: After the Method Books [Re: CleverName]
malkin Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/18/09
Posts: 2754
Loc: *sigh* Salt Lake City
Interesting contrast between this thread and the one on ABF asking if studying with your teacher is structured and progressive.

Thanks teachers!
_________________________
A good student is one who makes the teacher feel like a good teacher.

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#2076911 - 05/03/13 11:35 PM Re: After the Method Books [Re: CleverName]
Minniemay Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/09
Posts: 1702
Loc: CA
Method books are tools. Competent teachers can devise their own methods using various materials. Just because one gives up a prescribed method book doesn't mean the teacher is neglecting fundamentals.
_________________________
B.A., Piano, Piano Pegagogy, Music Ed.
M.M., Piano

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