The ways in which students learn the piano vary. Some have primarily learned to play the piano through guided lessons and a series of method books. Others have learned through adapted teaching styles that are unique to a particular teacher and a very lucky few have become masters of the instrument through simply listening and watching others play the piano and through their own experimentation. Many of the piano teachers at The California Conservatory in both our Santa Clara and Redwood City locations use the Faber Piano Adventures lesson book series. Today, we are going to briefly discuss why our piano teachers love this teaching method and use it for many of our piano lesson students.
Approach to Reading
To introduce students to the keyboard, the location of the notes, and begin teaching the basics of playing the instrument, many piano lesson teaching methods capitalize on teaching through particular hand positions such as the C position. Though these methods can be effective, many students become frustrated wondering what hand position they are in and struggle to know what the notes are on the keyboard. These problems can be crippling to a student’s advancement. According to the Faber website, the ability to read music is developed by: discreet note recognition, intervallic reading, and a multi-key understanding. Faber’s Piano Adventures aims to develop and integrate each of these skills.
Each piece that is included in the Piano Adventures is arranged and written for the piano; this pianistic arranging is considered the hallmark of this method. Why is this important? Having a pianistic arrangement of each piece included in the method allows each piece to look and feel right while being played on the piano, and allows for a relaxed wrist as the student plays. Additionally, the student will become familiar playing the full range of the piano as well as with the damper pedal and the integral gestures, motions, and phrasing that allow a student to play the piano technically well and with musical expression.
In addition to including music that promotes proper technique and style, the pieces used in this method are also musical. As a result, students begin early on to express their own musicality as they play. Not only can this provide the student more enjoyment, but it also aids in developing those gestures, motions, and phrasing mentioned above that allow the student to begin to play with proper style and technique. Also, students begin to hear and will learn to listen for the sounds and musical phrasing that are what truly makes music.
As a result of each piece’s musicality, students tend to enjoy playing the pieces that they are assigned in the Piano Adventures. When students enjoy what they are playing they are more apt to discipline themselves to practice and master each piece. Too many parents have known the plight of unsuccessful piano lessons and their children’s reluctance to practice. Learning to play the piano and developing a love of music isn’t for everyone. However, having a piano lesson method that not only trains the mind and muscles, but also captures the heart of the student is crucial for successful teaching and mastery of the piano and, really any instrument.
Faber’s PreTime® to BigTime® Piano Supplementary Library is made to supplement the Piano Adventures method and provide students more pieces that interest their particular music tastes. Pieces are written at a variety of skill levels to correlate with the Piano Adventures method and include popular pieces as well as rock n’ roll, classics, jazz and blues, ragtime and marches, children’s songs, hymns, and more.
Our piano teachers have seen that Faber’s Piano Adventures method has not only successfully taught many of our students the techniques and fundamentals of piano playing, but has also instilled a love of music and the piano itself. If you are looking for piano lessons in the Santa Clara and Redwood City areas, visit our website to learn more about our piano teachers and the supplemental music classes The California Conservatory offers!