6 Years and Older
Instead of using just one piano method book with all students, at KeyNotes Piano Studio the individual student is matched with one of several method books. This is because I intrinsically believe that each student is unique and will benefit most from an approach that suits his or her learning style. One of two Methods is used for this age group:
Piano Adventures has set a new standard for a new century of piano teaching. It is fast becoming the method of choice at leading university pedagogy programs and major teaching studios around the world.The music of Piano Adventures is eminently musical. A method can only be as good as its music, and the music of Piano Adventures shines. The course dovetails technique and artistry so the teacher may bring out maximum expression in the student’s playing. Parents notice the musicality; students thrive on the musicality. The PreTime to BigTime Piano Supplementary Library correlates with Piano Adventures to provide a broad selection of music to meet each individual student’s interest at the precise level of difficulty. With styles that include Popular, Rock ‘n Roll, Classics, Jazz & Blues, Ragtime & Marches, Children’s Songs, Favorites, Hymns, and More Popular, teacher and student can choose the style that best suits the student’s interests and abilities, and be assured that it is arranged to meet the pedagogical demands of the level. PreTime to BigTime offers the right fit between student interest and student repertoire.
Alfred’s Premier Piano Course is an intervallic method that uses landmark notes to teach reading but does not go so overboard on the landmarks that it creates drudgery for the student. Rhythm is taught through groups of rhythm patterns to help students feel the flow of the meter. In order to play musically, students must learn using these patterns, rather than thinking of individual note values. Lesson, Performance, Theory, Assignment, and Christmas books, as well as flash cards, MIDI disks, Technique, and a unique At-Home Book are available at the early levels. Since this method is still being written, some of the extra books such as the Technique book are not available yet at all levels.
I place a great deal of emphasis on music theory as a part of learning piano. At KeyNotes Piano Studio, theory is taught one-on-one, not by sitting in front of a computer. Existing theory books from the two above-mentioned courses are complemented with additional worksheets available on the studio’s website, and elsewhere.
I have been lucky to have as mentors some of the most prominent concert pianists of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, and I understand the importance and double meaning of technique. Piano technique is our control over our instrument; but it is but a means to an end: music. Technique without musicality can be achieved by a robot, but the music it produces will not speak to us, humans.
I work diligently to convey the building elements of technique to all of my students, regardless of their current level of ability at the instrument.
Technique consists of two critical elements working hand in glove. The ability to identify a work’s critical expressive qualities and the musical problems these pose, and to realize the first and solve the second by those mechanical/physical means specific to both the player and the instrument played (in our case, the piano), with the least possible effort expended for the greatest possible yield of expressive effect appropriate for both the work and instrument in question.
These two are mutually dependent and cannot be separated. Any definitions of technique—and there are very, very many—that only address the mechanical and physical, completely miss the point and are severely misleading, resulting invariably in a performance practice that sounds as mechanical in execution and devoid of musical intelligence as the single element it addresses to the exclusion of everything else.
Lessons for this age group rage from 45-minutes to 1 hour long. In addition, students perform in group classes, master classes, recitals, festivals and competitions.