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. Also, there has been an explosion in materials, articles, and resources online. I enjoy exploring various methods as they are created, but here are the books I use most often for beginners:
- 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. They also publish beginner books for teens and adults.
- 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.
- Piano Pronto. This series is by Jennifer Eklund in California and is currently Canadian bookstores (Long and McQuade) and on her online store. 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.
- More: In addition to these books, I often supplement with composing activities, and music from other composers, such as Supersonics, pop music, and other music of interest to the student.
After students have a basic proficiency in rhythm, note values, and note reading, students are ready for the Royal Conservatory of Music , Conservatory Canada or Canadian National Conservatory of Music. These 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.