Compared to when I began piano lessons over 25 years ago, there are many more resources available, with thoughtful intentions on how to best teach music.
For young beginners, I use Piano Adventures, a series by the husband-and-wife team, Randall and Nancy Faber ( I met Randall at a piano workshop once, and he is a wonderfully engaging and informative speaker!). Their curriculum begins with “My First Piano Adventures” up to their level 5. Although I love their well-rounded approach to the piano, I also supplement with other material from various authors, depending on the needs of the learner.
Another method for very young beginners is Tales of a Musical Journey by Irina Gorin. I met Irina in the summer of 2015 in Indiana, USA, where she introduced her curriculum. I had first come across this method from the many Youtube videos she posted of young students playing the piano in an astoundingly relaxed and mature manner. She has recorded her students for several years, so it is easy to track her student’s progression through the years. Irina is also the organizer of the Carmel Klavier International Piano Competition and Festival for Young Artists. Her books are story-based and focus on technique and sound production from the first lesson.
A new method book series I discovered a few years ago is Piano Pronto. This series is by Jennifer Eklund in California and is currently unavailable in Canadian bookstores. You can order the book through her website. I have found this a very successful way of introducing note reading right from the first lesson. The pieces are all black-and-white, no pictures, so it works very well for any student at any age.
After students have a basic understanding of rhythm, note values, and note reading, students are ready for the Royal Conservatory of Music or Conservatory Canada curriculum. Both programs have 10 levels with the option of continuing on to receive an Associate Teacher or Licentiate diploma. These programs are designed to educate students with a broad range of music skills and benefits, which carry on subsequent careers.
Skills developed include:
- Performance Skills
- Poise and confidence
- Technical skills on the keyboard
- Eye-hand-foot coordination
- Music sight reading
- Rhythm and pulse
- Written and applied theory
- Listening and ear training
- Music terminology
Keep in mind that music exams may not be for everyone, and music lessons are be tailored to personal goals.