I’ve seen it time and time again – cautious, yet well-meaning, parents purchasing portable keyboards to see if their student is going to “stick with” piano lessons. …and I can understand why. Pianos (and piano lessons) are expensive. Nobody wants to invest thousands of dollars into a fleeting fancy. Most parents are willing to support their child’s musical hobby as long as they have some indication that their child seriously wants to play.
That is where most parents go wrong.
In 2009, Apple informed that World that – no matter what we want to do – “There’s an app for that.” …and never has that slogan rang more true than today. It would seem that nearly every business has its own app. Almost every product has it’s own accompanying software. Kids can even scan their Happy Meal toys and incorporate them into custom-made software. There’s an app for everything!
Especially since Bluetooth technology has simplified and stabilized the connections between devices, the trick now is to find the BEST app for your particular… APPlication.
As a music educator for over 17 years, including running my own piano studio, I have often been up to my shoulders in music books. But, until recently, I never realized how many options there were for supplemental piano materials (outside of traditional method books).
We recently conducted a Materials Questionnaire among our piano teachers, both local and in-house, and were quite surprised at the results. This was especially true when it came to supplemental piano books and supplemental series.
One of the supplemental series that was highly rated – and is a personal favorite of mine – is Alfred’s Famous and Fun Collection. For each level, the series contains genres like pop, rock, classics, Christmas music, Jewish songs, and duets.
These colorful books give students a little extra enthusiasm to practice. Many of the books include songs that students have previously heard and the arrangements are entertaining and easy to learn. As an added bonus, the duet parts fit well with each piece and are fun to play. These books work nicely for both young students and adults.
Another popular supplemental series for both young students and adults is the Faber Pre-Time through Big-Time collection. Like the Famous and Fun books, the Faber series also includes books focused on pop, favorites, classics, jazz and blues, rock, hymns, Christmas music, and ragtime/marches.
These books are delightful as supplemental materials, especially if a student is already playing in the Faber Piano Adventures series. The books include a wide variety of songs with simple and enjoyable arrangements. For more variety, Faber also has the Faber Studio Collection which includes pieces from all the genres for each level.
Are you interested in more traditional supplemental material? A few classical books that topped the list were Hanon, Melodious Masterpieces, Classics for the Developing Pianist, Journey Through the Classics, specific composers like Bach and Debussy, and specific compositions such as sonatinas and inventions.
Whatever your supplemental materials preference, there is lots to choose from. And remember, if we don’t have it in the store, we can order it for you. You can also go to Gist’s website and Order Piano Takeout.
Best of luck in your material exploration!
If you’re a member of our Partners In Education Program and you have students between the ages of 10 and 18 who can play a Christmas song or a Jim Brickman song, you will want to pay close attention to this blog. Your students could win the unbelievable opportunity to perform with five-time platinum-selling pianist, Jim Brickman – LIVE ON STAGE!
Read more about the program by clicking here.
[UPDATE] Signups are closed now, but we have a wonderful selection of students who will perform for Jim on Saturday, November 5. The program will begin at 10am and run until about noon.
Jim is looking for a great performance, original ideas and features from The Roland LX-17 included in the performance. The song must be a Christmas song or a Jim Brickman tune. If you’d like to schedule a private coaching session in Louisville with James before November 5, contact him at 502-451-1831 x200. James is available this week from 10am – 6pm (except for Tuesday).
Jim will chose one or two students to perform with him… but all performers will get to meet Jim in person and will have a wonderful, uplifting experience. Don’t let YOUR kids miss out on this once-in-a-lifetime memory!