Monthly Archives: March 2012

The Latest in Piano Teaching Methods

As a clarinetist, I am often envious of all the different method, technique, and even performance books available to pianists. With everyone having different teaching and learning styles, it makes sense to have different method books available. And in that spirit, I would like to introduce you to a few new additions to two popular piano method book series.

At the beginning of March, Helen Marlais released the Grade 3 books for the Succeeding at the Piano series. A relatively new addition to the piano method “family,” (although Marlas is not), Grade 3 is a welcome addition to the series. Grade 4 is scheduled to be released sometime next year, and that will complete the series. From the FJH Music Company, “Grade 3 expands on the concepts introduced in earlier levels and teaches new ones, such as: new time signatures of 3/8, 6/8 and cut time; compound meter; triads and inversions; IV chord and I-IV-I cadence; I-IV-I-V7-I in C, G, and F Major; syncopation; intervals of a 7th and an octave; alberti bass; triplets; swing rhythm; chromaticism; and the three forms of the minor scale in the key A and D. Healthy technique resulting in tension-free playing, conventional and intervallic note reading, engaging music by six leading composers establish a passion for playing piano.”

Each level in the Succeeding at the Piano series includes a lesson, theory and activity, recital and Christmas book. As an extra, you can also get a sticker book and flash card friend set for each level. A teacher guide is available for the preparatory and grade one book.

The next new addition to the piano method family is the second edition of Level 2A and 4 of Faber Piano Adventures series. The second edition of these two levels follows the new editions of the Primer and Level 1 books. With additional pages and studies, both the Level 2A and 4 will expand upon the changes made in the previous levels and continue in a natural evolution (don’t worry, you can continue using first edition and second edition books together). Most exciting for Level 4 is the introduction of a Level 4 Technique and Artistry book. The aim of this book is to combine the real “secrets to virtuoso playing with the objective of artistic performance.” While all of Level 2A second edition books have been released (lesson, theory, technique and artistry, and performance) and are available in stores, the Level 4 Theory book will be released in July 2012. The Level 4 Theory book will be the last second edition book released for 2012.

A couple “extras.” Piano Adventures has also recently released a Primer Level Teacher’s Guide. This is an attractive book that includes a DVD with Nancy Faber demonstrating teaching techniques with students. Also, we now have updated PreTime and BigTime, Popular, Rock’n Roll, Jazz & Blues, and Kids’ Songs books. Stop by either Gist locations in Louisville and Lexington to see these exciting new additions to the Succeeding at the Piano and Piano Adventures series!

FJH Music introduces level 3 of the Succeeding at the Piano method series by Helen Marlais

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