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#949163 - 10/25/04 09:50 AM Which book for a 6 year old?
alfredo Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 09/26/04
Posts: 10
Which book do you find best for starting a six year old?

I know of Thompson, Alfred, Bastien and Faber.
But which is best?

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#949164 - 10/25/04 11:01 AM Re: Which book for a 6 year old?
cranky woman Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/06/04
Posts: 282
Loc: Phoenix, AZ
Of those choices, hands down Faber. It is creative, fun and approaches teaching in a multi-key method as opposed to strictly Middle C (Thompson). I still use Alfred and Bastien as a supplement, but I prefer Faber. I've also begun using Frederick Harris' new Celebrate Piano Series, which I like also. It is an excellent multi-key approach and teaches intervallic reading as well. Faber, Celebrate, Alfred and Bastien are all "kid-friendly" and very appealing to young students.

Cranky Woman \:D

#949165 - 10/25/04 11:05 PM Re: Which book for a 6 year old?
alfredo Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 09/26/04
Posts: 10
OK, I tried the Faber Primer with a 6 year old tonight and I thought the beggining was terribly confusing. I don't see the point of struggling to interpet square boxes moving up and own with the fingers numbers 2 and 3 clustered on two black keyes. The graphic representation of that chore was most odd looking and unrelated to reading the staff, in my opinion.

I think I will check out the Harris book, I don't like the Faber Primer for the first section of pages. I do like it once it gets to notes on the staff. Notes floating up and down without the staff and finger numbers moving around the page in boxes is too strange looking, in my opinion.

#949166 - 10/26/04 06:06 AM Re: Which book for a 6 year old?
cranky woman Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/06/04
Posts: 282
Loc: Phoenix, AZ
All the primer books recommended (Faber, Harris,Alfred, Bastien,and Hal Leonard - I forgot to mention) begin with black key clusters moving all over the keyboard. The purpose of this is to give the student a grasp of keyboard geography and get them familiar with the keyboard. All of these primers do this.

Don't be discouraged about not being introduced to the staff yet. It is simply too much information for beginners to have to learn proper hand position, finger numbers, rhythm, and notes on the staff at the first lesson. That could be a sure way to set them up for overload and feeling as if piano is too difficult. Remember your student is only 6.

The staff is introduced after the student is comfortable with the other skills. I pulled out all the mentioned primers, and you're right, Faber does begin with boxing the finger clusters, instead of using notes ( the only one that does this). Their thinking may have been to give the student more time to process finger numbers and keyboard geography before introducing rhythm. 2 skills instead of 3 at one time. Are you using the lesson and Performance book together? I find it's helpful to have more than one book to study. The student receives more reinforcement that way.

Also, do you teach technic? Meaning 5 finger patterns and arpeggios (hand over hand)? These skills really help students get a sense of key as well as reinforce proper hand position and rhythm without having to read music. This will also help teach transposition. I have my students transpose their 5 finger pieces from the method books into familiar keys (5 finger positions that are similar to begin with, eventually being able to play them in all 12 keys).

If you're not happy with Faber, spend some time in a music store perusing the other methods and find one that works for you. I still stand behind all methods mentioned as they give the student time to process information a little at a time. Beware of a method that immediately jumps to fixed notes on the staff, within the first few pages (Thompson and Schaum). With the exception of Frederick Harris who teaches notes on a moveable staff, not fixed. Focusing on intervallic reading.

I still stand behind my choices and know that they work. I've used them all. Do spend time researching what works for you.

Good luck, and keep me posted on what you decide.

Cranky Woman \:D

#949167 - 11/01/04 05:33 PM Re: Which book for a 6 year old?
PianoMum9 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/19/04
Posts: 19
Loc: Surrey, BC
What Cranky Woman says ... goes for me too. I mostly LIKE the way F&F starts. If the student is really ready, they just whip through that section, and if they're an early beginner it gives you a chance to work on left/right, up/down a little before you confuse them with reading actual notes on the staff. Mostly you don't want to overwhelm the little ones with too much at once at first!

Does anyone else know "The Learning Tree" (I think that was the name) series? It was a great method for moving them around the keyboard. I stopped using the books mainly because they were a little expensive and I discovered Faber & Faber, but they were one of the most musical training series around.

#949168 - 11/02/04 07:36 PM Re: Which book for a 6 year old?
cranky woman Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/06/04
Posts: 282
Loc: Phoenix, AZ
I think you mean the "Music Tree". This is Frances Clark's method and very sound, although the music sometimes is a bit uninteresting. The new Celebrate Piano series by Frederick Harris is very similar to the Music Tree, but has better art work, 4 color printing, and a little more interesting music. It also can be a bit pricier than Faber&Faber.

(By the Way, Pianomum,I read your post regarding MYC and agree with your support of such a good program. We seem to be on the same wave-length \:\) )

Cranky Woman \:D


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