Monday Mailbag – Piano Methods

I’ve been talking to other teachers to find out what curriculum (technique, method, theory, etc.) they use in their teaching. Could you list what curriculum you use in your studio?

This could be a long list! When I first started teaching, I used just about every method that I could find just so that I understood how it worked and could make an educated decision about what to use with my students. Even though I have favorites now, I still use different materials with different students. Interestingly, although philosophically I preferred the approaches of some of the curricula I tried, eventually I’ve settled on methods and supplementary materials that have the more appealing music. I think one of the best things you can do as a teacher is become so aware of the progressive concepts and techniques that you want your students to learn that you can use any curriculum to serve that end. Of course, that takes lots of experimentation and experience – but it’s something I’m always working toward.

For my core method books, my two favorite series’ are:
Faber Piano Adventures
Alfred Premier Piano Course

I usually use the Technique and Artistry book with the Faber series and the Performer book with the Alfred series, but I rarely use theory books with my students. However, we use a huge variety of supplemental books and various other technique and performance books as needed. I love trying new things, so my students are forever serving as my “guinea pigs”! Here are a few other technique series’ that I really like and have used quite a bit:

Expressive Etudes by Suzanne Guy
Beautiful Etudes by Victoria McArthur
Pathways to Artistry by Catherine Rollin
Burgmuller, Czerny, and Hanon by Ingrid Jacobson Clarfield

I’d love to hear what others think, though! What is your favorite method series? What do you like to use for technique and theory?

Remember, if you have a question you’d like to contribute to next week’s Monday Mailbag, leave it in the comments below or send me an e-mail sometime this week with Monday Mailbag in the subject line!

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