A method book is a curriculum for piano learning where the material is put in a specific order to facilitate learning. These are textbooks for piano learning--and there are many different options nowadays.
So how do piano teachers decide which method book to use for beginners? Is it the price of the books? The illustrations and pictures? The number of books included in the method? The repertoire included? The teacher's familiarity with it because it's the method he used to learn piano as a kid? Or a combination of all of the above?
While these could all play a part in selecting a method book, the knowledgeable piano teacher familiar with Bruner's The Process of Education looks for and knows that the most important aspect is how concepts are taught and sequenced. And why are concepts and its structure important? Because learning properly sequenced concepts makes the subject easier to understand, easier to remember, easier to transfer, and it narrows the gap between the basic 5-finger pattern and Beethoven's Waldstein Sonata. We won't go into the details here, but needless to say, this was about the time I realized a piano performance degree from a music conservatory along with a natural interaction with children did NOT automatically qualify me as a good piano teacher. There is so much more to educating your child than the ability to play piano and amicability.
Now armed with this knowledge, which piano method book is the best? Honestly? None. There isn't a "best" piano method because students don't all fit into one "best" student mold. Different kids have different personalities, abilities, learning style, and at different developmental stages cognitively. Sorry to disappoint if you came here looking for a definitive "best" piano method book. The truth is it takes serious work and study into a method because the best method book is the one the teacher knows the best. And I'm not talking about a used-it-when-I-was-little way, not even a have-taught-it-for-the-last-decade way, but know it best in terms of knowing the method's strengths and weaknesses for different types of students and learners. A piano teacher should know how to best supplement the weaknesses with other materials and how to make adjustments for different students.
I use the Celebrate Piano! Method books. I'm most familiar with this method book because of my pedagogy studies with Dr. Mitzi Kolar, one of the authors of the method book, and gained insight into the learning concepts and strategies in this method and the reason behind how concepts are taught and sequenced. And while no method book is perfect, this one comes close.
"If you are a creative teacher, you can teach any type of student with any method." - Dr. J. Mitzi Kolar
What are some of your experiences with piano method books? Have kids or students that have gone through a method? Talk about it in the comments section!
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There is a proper form in lifting weights, in shooting a basketball, in running, and swimming, for maximum efficiency. And guess what, it's the same for how we sit at the piano. While we aren't getting ready to lift the piano, we are still dealing with an instrument many times our weight and size. So here are 5 tips to help you find the best sitting position at the piano to maximize efficiency and minimize fatigue--very important since I require my students to practice 6 hours a day. Just kidding.
One important thing to keep in mind before starting. A person's height is not the determining factor of how high the bench should be. Everybody is proportioned differently; torso length, arm length, and leg length all contribute to the final sitting position.
One of the things I ask in my initial interview/trial lesson with new students is whether they have a piano to practice on at home or not. Yes, I know, seems like a silly question, but you'd be surprised how many people think about starting piano lessons without even having an instrument to practice on at home.
Now when it comes to what kind of a piano, while some parents understand the importance of having a real piano--upright or grand--for their child's piano development, some parents don't. It doesn't help that sellers of digital pianos sometimes tout the newest and best digital pianos as just as good as a real piano minus the hassle of regular tuning.
Here are 4 reasons why having a real piano to practice on is paramount in your child's piano development.
FreshStart Piano Studio in Irvine offers piano lessons for beginners between the ages of 4-adults and a fresh start for intermediate & advanced students. Enroll in piano lessons now!