How do you know if a particular book or approach is helping a student? Well, when the student tells you that they think the book has really helped them, that’s a pretty good indication. If only all students would just come right out and say so!
One of my older beginners has been using Scales, Patterns and Improvs Book 1 by Barbara Kreader this year and commented several weeks ago that she could see that it had really helped her in a number of different areas. It’s not her favorite thing in the world, but seeing the benefits for herself has motivated her to keep working through it. I used the book with a piano camp group one summer, but this was my first time to use it for an individual lesson. Here are some of the specific areas she mentioned:
- Listening – since she tends naturally to be more visual than aural, playing along with the CD helped her hear the different parts and how they fit together.
- Theory – each unit focuses on one key and has an improv exercise, a scale, chord progression, arpeggio, and a short piece in that key. She said this helped her understand the different keys much better.
- Rhythm – this is an area that has been more challenging since Day One, so using this book helped her come a long way in being able to keep the beat going and in working toward accurate rhythms.
This was so helpful for me to know! I can use her input when I start using this book with other students – which of course I’m going to now! And perhaps this will be one way that I can start addressing my technique troubles that I mentioned yesterday. We’ll see!