2010 MTNA Conference – Monday Early Morning

Even with an 8:00 a.m. start time, the Exhibitor Showcase highlighting the much-anticipated new piano method by Helen Marlais was full! The method is called Succeeding at the Piano and is gorgeous! Dr. Marlais is an engaging presenter and quickly captured the attention and interest of all in attendance as she worked her way through the new materials.

The Lesson and Technique Book incorporates simple technical exercises to enable students to build excellent musicianship and technique right off the bat. She employs a discovery method to encourage students to think about musical sounds before the corresponding terminology is actually introduced. Little green boxes after many of the pieces encourage students to assess their playing.

Dr. Marlais also mentioned that she likes to introduce aspects of musicianship as early as possible, introducing phrasing as early as page 33. Intervals are also introduced very early, to reinforce good reading skills (intervals of a 2nd through 5th are introduced before the student ever begins playing on the staff). The flashcards that correlate with this level contain lots of intervallic reading excerpts as well.

After going through the Lesson and Technique Book, Dr. Marlais gave a quick overview of the Recital Book and the Theory and Activity Book and then through all of the Grade 1 books .

Each session attendee received a packet from FJH containing the three books (Lesson and Technique, Recital, Theory and Activity) of both the Preparatory and the Grade 1 levels. The method is made up of lots of folk tunes, time-tested classics, jazz-inspired duets, and solos by composers such as: Timothy Brown, Kevin Costley, Mary Leaf, Helen Marlais, Edwin McLean, and Kevin Olson.

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