what method books are you using?

Posted by: shy

what method books are you using? - 05/25/10 11:07 AM

our local music schools seem to have something against teachers who do not follow method books step by step (maybe they feel insecure to hire such teachers)

the only method book i'm familiar with is Thompson's, which I use to improve students' reading skill

I would like to know everyone's suggestion. My target is kids from 5 to 10.
Thank you blush
Posted by: Ebony and Ivory

Re: what method books are you using? - 05/25/10 11:10 AM

I use Bastien, Alfred, Faber and Noona (not in that order). I also like Piano Celebrations.

I don't have siblings use the same books, it's easy to tell them that some are harder than others if one child passes up another one. I also like to mix-up the technique, lesson and performance books depending on the child's strengths/weaknesses. I don't use theory books because I hand out worksheets each week.
Posted by: Morodiene

Re: what method books are you using? - 05/25/10 12:17 PM

Faber & Faber is a very popular method. I sometimes use Hal Leonard, but I don't like it as much.
Posted by: John v.d.Brook

Re: what method books are you using? - 05/25/10 01:05 PM

Originally Posted By: shy
I would like to know everyone's suggestion. My target is kids from 5 to 10.
Thank you blush


Hi, and welcome to the teachers' forum. Although I have used all the previously mentioned methods, my current favorite is Piano Town, written by Keith Snell and Diane Hidy, and published by Kjos.

Younger and more imaginative students love to follow the adventures of the "piano students" who live in Piano Town (the illustrations). Pedagogically, it is quite sound, but doesn't hold the teacher's hand unnecessarily.

John
Posted by: Smallpiano

Re: what method books are you using? - 05/25/10 03:05 PM

I use Piano Adventure and Keith Snell Piano repertoire together. https://www.burtnco.com/snell.a5w
Posted by: Lollipop

Re: what method books are you using? - 05/25/10 03:46 PM

I use Piano Adventures. But I recently moved one of a set of twins into Alfred's new Premier Piano (level 1) and am liking it a lot so far.

I supplement with all sorts of things, depending upon the need of the particular student.
Posted by: shy

Re: what method books are you using? - 05/25/10 04:29 PM

Seems like Faber's Piano Adventures is really popular! I'll check on Piano Town and Alfred as well.

Thank everyone for great the input!
Posted by: LawtonPianoTeacher

Re: what method books are you using? - 05/25/10 05:38 PM

I've been lurking for a long time, so I think it's time I post something!

My favorite by far is Alfred's Premier Piano Course. Alfred has solved the biggest problem with its original series--it doesn't teach positions, so it forces students to read the notes and look at the fingering for each song. I also use Piano Adventures and Piano Town. I plan to start my next student with the new Helen Marlais series titled Succeeding at the Piano just to test it out. It looks rather promising.
Posted by: John v.d.Brook

Re: what method books are you using? - 05/25/10 06:12 PM



Nice to have you on board. Welcome to the forum.
Posted by: Stanny

Re: what method books are you using? - 05/25/10 06:59 PM

I'm using primarily Piano Adventures, followed by a few siblings in Alfred Premier. I'm trying out the Marlias series this summer. She's speaking at our MTNA state convention next weekend.
Posted by: Minniemay

Re: what method books are you using? - 05/25/10 08:15 PM

I love Music Tree. So solid pedagogically and the students and I can be so creative with the pieces. I certainly get good readers with strong technique.
Posted by: Sparkler

Re: what method books are you using? - 05/25/10 08:28 PM

Originally Posted By: Minniemay
I love Music Tree. So solid pedagogically and the students and I can be so creative with the pieces. I certainly get good readers with strong technique.


I love Music Tree too, but, I have not used it past the 2nd level. The primer level seems a little slow, but when the kids catch on they do get excellent reading skills! I do sometimes skip over some of the assignments/pieces depending on the student.

I also love that there are only 2 books in each level - lesson book and theory (Piano Adventures gives me an aneurysm because I feel like I'm flipping back and forth between 5 books).

My 2nd choice is Piano Adventures. I like both Music Tree and Piano Adventures because they encourage students to think beyond C hand position fairly quickly.
Posted by: Minaku

Re: what method books are you using? - 05/25/10 10:28 PM

I use a mishmash of everything, but my favorite method is Music Tree. The concepts are rock solid, but of course you too must have an excellent understanding of what Music Tree is trying to accomplish. I leave Music Tree once we get past green book because the rudiments should be established by then, and I'm itching to get to repertoire. Time To Begin (the primer) is the best primer book I have ever seen, however. Both the lesson and activity books are spot-on. Side By Side, the supplementary book, is also fantastic.

Anyway, back to the question at hand; I've used Music Tree, Faber and Faber (less and less now that I can pick what I want), Piano Town, Noona, Russian Piano School, Alfred Premier, and Mikrokosmos. Does Mikrokosmos count as a method?
Posted by: Minniemay

Re: what method books are you using? - 05/25/10 11:29 PM

As far as pacing in Music Tree, I tend to use the Discovery section at the lesson and the Using What You've Discovered section for the home assignment. I, too, like having just the 2 books. It's more fun for the student to have something else for supplementary work.
Posted by: Roxy

Re: what method books are you using? - 05/26/10 12:07 AM

I work more like Ebony and Ivory with many different method books and not the same books to the same siblings except maybe one or two. I try to also find the students strengths and weaknesses and taylor pick the books that will motivate each student to their maximum. I am not a real keen fan of Noona but have also used Steiner, Schuam, Faber, Snell, Bastien, Alfred,Fletcher, Glover also not in those orders. Certain artists books like Celebrate America Bk 1 and 2 or Spanish Songs Books 1, 2, and 3. Piano Solos we like to play, Book 1 & 2. Cream of the Crop Book 1 & 2. Are just a few. I do use theory books, but many different kinds of those as well. It helps there to be no gaps in the students knowledge and lends to more interest to have different books to choose from visually as well as factually.
Posted by: shy

Re: what method books are you using? - 05/26/10 08:46 AM

Millions of thanx for these wonderful feedbacks. It's amazing that everyone is willing to share these thoughts and experience. laugh
I'm probably gonna order Piano Tree and Piano Adventure first, and take a trip to the music store to see what they have there when I have the time.

And thank you John, for the warm welcome. smile
Posted by: Barb860

Re: what method books are you using? - 05/26/10 06:54 PM

Originally Posted By: LawtonPianoTeacher
I've been lurking for a long time, so I think it's time I post something!

My favorite by far is Alfred's Premier Piano Course. Alfred has solved the biggest problem with its original series--it doesn't teach positions, so it forces students to read the notes and look at the fingering for each song. I also use Piano Adventures and Piano Town. I plan to start my next student with the new Helen Marlais series titled Succeeding at the Piano just to test it out. It looks rather promising.


Has anyone started using the Helen Marlais Succeeding at the Piano method? I'm still waiting for my free shipment in the introductory offer. Was told today when I phoned the publisher that they are "back-logged" and will try to have the rest of their freebies shipped out by the end of next week.
I'm curious, has anyone used this method yet?

(my favorite is Piano Adventures series, combined with Pop if they request it, Masterworks Classics, and Celebration series.
Not the same for all students of course).
Posted by: CarolR

Re: what method books are you using? - 05/26/10 07:40 PM

I haven't had a beginner in 2 years! I have used N. Jane Tan, since I took her class for two years, as a foundation and then do lots and lots of branching off, to Snell theory and scales, repertoire all over the place, Christopher Norton, Celebration Series. But I'm starting a new student in the fall, and his mom (a pianist) has him started in Alfred. I'm kind of curious just to see what it's like. I think in general, I do a lot of more of just teaching through the repertoire, instead of following a book.
I looked at Piano Town today at our music store - remembering that John V. liked it. I didn't have much time, but it seemed the lesson book focused more on introducing notes and intervals than rhythms. Where does that come in?
Posted by: Selah411

Re: what method books are you using? - 05/26/10 10:32 PM

I absolutely adore Piano Adventures - but I only go up to book 2B. After that I transition them to Celebration series. Love how they set up that curriculum - I also have my students take NMCP exams which this particular curriculum prepares you for. Very high integrity...
Posted by: AZNpiano

Re: what method books are you using? - 05/28/10 03:26 AM

My beginner students are currently using different sets of books. A girl is using Hal Leonard; two boys and a girl are using Piano Adventures; and a pair of brothers are using hand-me-down copies of Bastien (horrible!!). I am experimenting as I go along, trying different activities and supplementary materials with each student.

I stopped using John Thompson years ago. It advances too quickly for most kids and the music is not very "modern" sounding.
Posted by: chasingrainbows

Re: what method books are you using? - 05/28/10 07:19 PM

Originally Posted By: Selah411
I absolutely adore Piano Adventures - but I only go up to book 2B. After that I transition them to Celebration series. Love how they set up that curriculum - I also have my students take NMCP exams which this particular curriculum prepares you for. Very high integrity...


Selah, is that the name of the Method "Celebration Series"? Who is the publisher? Thx.
Posted by: BLUEPIANIST

Re: what method books are you using? - 05/28/10 07:24 PM

I love the music tree for children under the age of 8. Some of my other beginners are using piano adventures. One is using Bastien.
I agree ugh>>>> but good for a very slow learner that need a lot of reinforcement. I have 2 students in the fourth book of the alfred series. Next year I plan to introduce the the celebrate series. I doubt any of this helps....::)
Posted by: ToriAnais

Re: what method books are you using? - 05/28/10 09:25 PM

I loveeee Piano Adventures. Can't stand Bastien. I'm very curious about Piano Town but haven't ever seen it in Australia. I'm thinking I might order myself a copy from the states so I can check it out.
Posted by: Minniemay

Re: what method books are you using? - 05/28/10 10:23 PM

There are two series that are quite different from each other.

One is Celebrate Piano, a piano course that takes the student from the very beginning to early intermediate level.

The other is Celebration Series: Perspectives. This is a graded piano literature series, not a "method" as such. It has 11 levels, Preparatory through Level 10. Each level (except the Preparatory Level) has a repertoire book, an etude book, and a student workbook. There are also CDs available for each level and there is a fabulous Teacher's Handbook. The series is associated with the Canadian version of RCM.

They are both published by Frederick Harris.
Posted by: Lollipop

Re: what method books are you using? - 05/29/10 10:09 AM

I haven't ever used the Celebration Series but would be interested in looking at it. It doesn't seem to be available at my local music store, so I am looking at online options. When you transition from PA to Celebration, how do the levels match up? Do you move from PA 2B to Primer Celebration? Or to level 1? Or do the grades match up pretty well?
Posted by: Minniemay

Re: what method books are you using? - 05/29/10 10:21 AM

I have a student working in PA2B transitioning to Celebration Series Preparatory Level. There is no primer as it is not a method series. If you haven't used it before, I would strongly recommend you purchase the teacher's handbook (make sure you get the one for the current series: Perspectives). It's a bit pricey, but it's worth every penny and you will learn tons from it.
Posted by: sarah_elizabeth

Re: what method books are you using? - 05/29/10 03:25 PM

Originally Posted By: Barb860

Has anyone started using the Helen Marlais Succeeding at the Piano method? I'm still waiting for my free shipment in the introductory offer. Was told today when I phoned the publisher that they are "back-logged" and will try to have the rest of their freebies shipped out by the end of next week.
I'm curious, has anyone used this method yet?

(my favorite is Piano Adventures series, combined with Pop if they request it, Masterworks Classics, and Celebration series.
Not the same for all students of course).


I've used it for about a month with two students. It was an especially great fit for one of the boys, I think, and so far I'm quite pleased. I especially appreciate the fact that they get out of C position in a hurry. The technique sections do a great job of explaining beginning piano technique in an easy-to-grasp way, too.
Posted by: Yvonne Nadine

Re: what method books are you using? - 05/30/10 10:07 PM

I like to use Piano Adventures. I like the speed they move at and the emphasis on interval reading. I also like that they don't stick in "Middle C" position and move around some. One of the negatives I've found with the method is that it takes until level 2A to introduce eighth notes. I always wind up introducing eighth notes a lot sooner. I also tend to use a lot of material from other methods as supplement, mainly Alfred's. Another negative (to me) is that the theory books aren't long enough so I end up supplementing with worksheets and such. I've also used the Accelerated Piano Adventures and find that this works well for exceptional students and older students as the books progress faster.
Posted by: scotpgot

Re: what method books are you using? - 04/15/11 11:37 AM

I've been taking a good long look at the Celebration Series. Are there any more people that have used it in the last 10 mos. or so? It definitely seems like something to start AFTER 2B/3 or so of, for example, Piano Adventures (which I love).

Took a look through the Teacher's Handbook, though, and don't quite like the hand-holding. Of course, I don't HAVE to use it.

Looking for opinions...
Posted by: John v.d.Brook

Re: what method books are you using? - 04/15/11 12:25 PM

Originally Posted By: CarolR
I looked at Piano Town today at our music store - remembering that John V. liked it. I didn't have much time, but it seemed the lesson book focused more on introducing notes and intervals than rhythms. Where does that come in?

Carol, sorry, I missed your question. Rhythms are introduced gradually as you progress through the series. By Level 2, students are routinely playing dotted rhythms. The biggest problem with methods like Jane's is that it requires huge amounts of parental involvement in the earliest stages, something which many parents simply cannot give. I have found that Piano Town motivates the students through the adventures of the kids living in Piano Town, and is structured so that the parents don't need to hover. Of course, progress is much slower when younger students are providing the primary motivation without mom & dad.
Posted by: Mary Williams

Re: what method books are you using? - 04/15/11 04:02 PM

I, too, am a fan of The Music Tree.

What I do is start with the pink Dozen a Day book, then transition to Music Tree Part 1.

This sequence seems to work with most every one of my students. As stated above, The Music Tree gives me fantastic results with reading and technique, along with expression and creativity.
Posted by: AZNpiano

Re: what method books are you using? - 04/15/11 04:28 PM

Originally Posted By: LawtonPianoTeacher
My favorite by far is Alfred's Premier Piano Course.

YES! It is so good. The more I use it, the more I like it.

To motivate uninterested students, Piano Adventures Gold Star Adventures is the way to go.

It's nice to revisit an old thread like this, to see how much (or little) I have evolved as a piano teacher.
Posted by: MrsCamels

Re: what method books are you using? - 04/16/11 12:50 PM

I LOVE the Kieth Snell books - solid classical repertoire. I usually move beginners to that series after about a year of lessons (starting with primary or level 1 depending on the student).

The downside is that it is strictly repertoire, so all technical instruction needs to be instigated by the teacher. The scale books and theory books that accompany this series are EXCELLENT. I find the higher level theory books to be excellent college preparation. Many students would be able to test out of theory 1 if they're really paying attention to the theory assignments.

As I progress to the harder levels, I sometimes stick to the 1 highlights book instead of using the separate baroque/classical romantic/20thc. books so that I can supplement with other pieces.
Posted by: pianoeagle

Re: what method books are you using? - 04/16/11 03:43 PM

I like to use either Alfred's Basic Piano Library or Alfred's Premier Piano Course, although I tend to prefer the latter. I've used Bastien and Piano Adventures, although I tend to prefer the Alfred books. I also like to supplement them with A Dozen A Day and the Keith Snell Classical Repertoire series.
Posted by: ll

Re: what method books are you using? - 04/16/11 04:20 PM

Main method book: "Music Tree: Time to Begin" and "Level 1."

Young ones get "My First Piano Adventures" or "Music for Little Mozarts" instead.

If needed, we'll continue to "Premier Piano Course" or "Piano Adventures" or "Hal Leonard," depending, for a very graded and slow pace. However, considering changing this to: "Music Tree: Time to Begin" to "Celebrate Piano" for pretty much anyone under the age of 10-12 as a standard.

If not needed, for classical repertoire (which I tend to move into immediately), Keith Snell all the way smile I use the standard 3-book route because it has pretty much every piece needed, and supplement the Contemporary portion generously.

All have:
Theory books: Keith Snell Fundamentals of Piano Theory
Sight-reading books: Line a Day for the method book kids, Four Star for those in repertoire

--

Pianoeagle, how do you deal with the Alfred Basic Library kids who get stuck in position playing?
Posted by: pianoeagle

Re: what method books are you using? - 04/17/11 09:43 AM

I have not had an overall issue with students getting stuck in position playing. During the first year, some students do have trouble starting the pieces in the right position (i.e. they get so used to having pieces in G Position that they don't realize that one song is in C Position). This is usually an easy obstacle to overcome when the student reads the note names out loud prior to playing.

Also, I introduce Keith Snell and supplemental repertoire early into the curriculum, along with scales (earlier than when Alfred introduces them). The supplemental repertoire fills in the gaps and allows students pieces of similar difficulty to their method books, but with perhaps some added concepts, i.e. 6ths, 7ths, minor key signature.
Posted by: PianoLessonGirl

Re: what method books are you using? - 04/18/11 07:07 PM

I have always enjoyed teaching with 'Teaching Little Fingers To Play', by John Thompson. After my students finish that first book, I move onto Nancy and Randall Fabers 'Piano Adventures'. I start with level 1, and move on at their pace. I have always had performing students, so I teach using the performance levels. Also, I would say that if there is something in the book that you don't agree with, don't worry about it, just skip that page or that song. You are the teacher, teach what you believe is best for your students! smile
Posted by: tdow

Re: what method books are you using? - 04/19/11 12:17 AM

I love the Piano Adventures series (and the My First Piano Adventures books) but only up until the 3A level. However, by that time they're usually ready to be out of method books anyway.