I like this series quite a bit. They offer up a good way to get a child started on piano, and the pieces are a whole lot more interesting than the boring Leila Fletcher series that I was tortured with as a child.
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87 of 87 people found the following review helpful
Piano Teacher Loves these BooksMarch 18 2010
Monica L. Boyd
- Published on Amazon.com
I've been teaching for over 12 years and I use the Faber Piano Adventure series, starting with Primer level for young students, usually 5-7 years old. For younger students, (preK/K), see Music for Little Mozarts by Alfred. For more information see piano and voice teacher drives 2 you web site.
The primer level starts slowly, but shows overall good use of the keyboard, even before the student starts learning the note names. Working on the black keys for a few weeks gives young fingers the opportunity to play sooner, and gain coordination. These books come in a system that you can self select, definitely start with the Lesson book. I always recommend the recital book for extra songs (no one wants to play or hear the same four to eight measure song over and over again for a week between lessons, too much repetition leads to boredom). I love the Popular Repertoire series in all the levels of the books. Just look at the covers for names of the songs. They are all well known tunes the students love. These have come and gone out of print, but have recently come back into print.
I use the Faber books as a bridge with another series called Alfred Basic Piano library. If students find Alfred's pace challenging, Faber helps fill in the gaps. It also teaches "Middle C position" where both thumbs are on middle C (the singing range of most young children), on the staff earlier in the primer level. This allows use of the fabulous set of Faber books in the Pre-time (primer), Playtime (level 1 five finger melodies), Showtime (level 2A-just outside the comfort zone), Chordtime (2B-wait for fingers to mature to play 3 note chord progressions-but are really the best in the series), Funtime (3-more challenging) and Big Time (usually used around level 4-5). These come in a variety of genres like Classical, Popular, Jazz, Ragtime, Rock, Children's Favorites, Hymns, (Hebrew Favorites only in Chordtime), I like to use as many as possible in the early years and then focus in on what student shows an interest in for later study.
Later versions of the Faber books teach higher notes on the treble staff that Alfred misses. But the Alfred books are very good at teaching intervals sight reading. My feeling about these books is that you want more books that keep the pace nice and even, if there are a few songs that seem too similar, and the student is ready to move on, move on, but more often than not, the extra songs give a student many opportunities for sight reading, which is really what I try to teach. Try starting 5 min per year old for the lesson and 1 song per year old per week, and see how it goes. A five year old can sit and play for 1/2 hour on about 5 short pieces, with some singing, clapping, and other activities. Whereas a nine year old can sit for about 45 minutes, and has no problem with 9-10 songs a week.
Give your child the gift of reading music as you would reading books.
59 of 59 people found the following review helpful
My favorite piano methodJuly 24 2011
- Published on Amazon.com
I have been teaching piano lessons for 13 years and highly recommend the Piano Adventures series. I have used several different method books, including Alfred, Bastien, and David Carr Glover. As a piano student, I learned music on the David Carr Glover method, and that was initially my first choice when I started teaching. I actually tried Piano Adventures last of all the methods, but when I finally did, it immediately became my favorite method.
Areas where Piano Adventures excels above other methods:
*APPROACH TO NOTE READING: As every teacher knows, some beginning piano students are ready to start reading notes from the staff on their first lesson, and others need it to be broken down in a very slow, step-by-step approach. The Piano Adventures method offers this breakdown in a comprehensive, thorough way. It not only moves slowly enough for the students who struggle the most, it also teaches the notes independent of finger number, which saves the teacher from having to break a bad habit later. (Notes on the staff are introduced about halfway through the primer level book.) Even for students who can learn the staff right away, the preliminary material is so valuable that I usually choose not to skip it with them.
*TECHNIQUE: The tips and technique helps in the Piano Adventures books are not only solid and necessary, they are easily understandable and easy to implement. The authors use word pictures, diagrams, and explanations in a very effective way. This not only helps students to use better technique, it also makes you a better teacher of good technique.
*MUSIC: The songs in Piano Adventures are more fun to play! They sound better. Students like them more. The duet parts are more satisfying and interesting to the teacher. True musicality is encouraged right from the very beginning, so that children learn to play artistically, not mechanically.
*APPROACH TO MUSICAL CONCEPTS OTHER THAN NOTES: Bar lines are not introduced in the first few pieces, which helps to avoid the common mistake students make of viewing them as stop signs. Time signatures, dynamics, and other concepts (such as staccato and legato) are introduced step by step, but not too early, so that children can develop a solid grasp of playing each one before moving on to the next. Sight reading is built right into the curriculum. Ear training is offered in the Theory books. These two skills are essential for all musicians to develop, but all too often, it is easy to overlook them in the busyness of the lesson. Since they are right there in the book (no need to purchase separate sight reading and ear training books), it saves cost and incorporates naturally into the student's skill set.
*UNIVERSAL APPEAL: Before trying Piano Adventures, I would have a first lesson without books, and then determine which method to use based on what I evaluated in the student's learning style. For quicker learners, I would choose Glover, for slower learners I would choose Alfred. (After using Bastien for one or two students, I just plain didn't like it at all.) However, with Piano Adventures, I have a method that I can trust to work with practically any student of any skill level.
All in all, I truly think that the Piano Adventures books result in students who play better, practice more successfully each week between lessons, and enjoy the instrument more. Fantastic job, Faber & Faber!
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
Fantastic beginner seriesApril 14 2012
Trade Winds Traveler
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I ordered this lesson book, along with the Primer Level Technique and Artistry, Theory, Writing Book, Performance and Popular Repertoire books for my five and six year olds, to start them out on the piano. I am teaching them myself and decided on this curriculum because of its great reviews. I am enormously pleased that I did.
Within the first few lessons my children were playing songs independently on the piano, and when I play the teacher's accompaniment along with them, and sing along with the provided lyrics, my kids feel like accomplished musicians. They are proud of themselves and eager to learn more.
I really like how this curriculum is set up to teach musicianship in a holistic sense, right from the start. The first few lessons get them acquainted with the patterns on the keyboard, and exploring the different sounds it can make. The first ten pages or so have the students playing exclusively on the black keys, which are easier for the children to identify (they are not expected to know the names of the notes at first; once they know the number of each finger and LH/RH, a picture is provided to help them find the right positions, and they are only expected to use two or three fingers on each hand). The only tricky part about this is that I had to play the teacher's accompaniment in keys with five or six flats, which I haven't done in more years than I care to say, so sometimes I was the one making all the mistakes. But the kids flew right through those lessons and mastered them easily.
They are next introduced to the names of the white keys, and it is not until half way through the book that they are introduced to reading music on staffs. I use the Lesson Book as my primary resource, but include the similar-skill pages from the other books I purchased to enhance their learning. My kids love the written activities that support their work on the keyboard, which are appropriate and fun for kids this age.
I really appreciate how musicianship skills are incorporated right from the beginning: we are only a third of the way through the Primer Level, and my kids already have a musical vocabulary that includes piano (soft), forte (loud), quarter note, half note, whole note, repeat sign. There are exercises that teach sight reading, ear training, dexterity and strength training, and even composition. My kids feel empowered by the skills they are learning through this curriculum and I am confident they are getting a solid introduction to musicianship in general, not just piano playing.
This curriculum gets five stars from me.
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
Great primer book.Dec 22 2008
J. M. Russeau
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This was requested by my 7-year-old son's piano teacher. It is the perfect pace for a beginning piano student.
12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Great 1st learning piano BookOct. 9 2007
- Published on Amazon.com
This is a clear and easy to understand book for very beginners of piano. It makes learning fun and enjoyable.