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Bastien, Faber, Alfred? #2798514
01/04/19 05:50 PM
01/04/19 05:50 PM
Joined: Sep 2006
Posts: 1,952
USA
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chasingrainbows Offline OP
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I found some older threads on these method books. Over the last few years, I 3 transfer students came to me with Bastien Level l books. All were around 7 years old, had good hand position, were good note readers, understood sharps, flats and could play 8th notes. I've stuck with Faber for a few reasons (music more appealing, doesn't move too fast for the average student I get, highly regarded local conservatory uses Faber and Music Tree). I've used music from Alfred (not much) and Bastien (maybe 1 song per level). But keep going back to Faber, supplementing with pop, classical, movie themes, etc., -- whatever they are interested in.

Most of my students barely practice. They all take 30 minute lessons. Many are still reading by finger numbers after 2 years of lessons ! 8th notes are introduced in Level 2A of Faber, but I introduce that earlier. Despite counting, using words, clapping, etc., their sense of pulse is sketchy. I can't imagine these kids getting through Bastien.

What methods do you use and please let me know why.


Piano teacher, BA Music, MTNA member
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Re: Bastien, Faber, Alfred? [Re: chasingrainbows] #2798631
01/05/19 04:12 AM
01/05/19 04:12 AM
Joined: Jul 2012
Posts: 121
United States
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RyanThePianist Offline
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All my students who are ages 5+ (about 10 students) use Alfred Premiere, which was the method book suggested by my college professor. I have one student I use Faber with because their parents expressed that the two kids she has are competitive, so I had one use Alfred and the other Faber. I prefer Alfred over Faber for a few reasons, but please take this with a grain of salt as I only have Faber Primer Book, but I do own the full Premiere course.

1) I find the accompaniment of Premiere much more enriching and full compared to the music in Faber. Faber, from the first few pages, has whole tone scales, and overall a bit more dissonances than I'd like for a beginning student to listen to. Premiere's music really considers the name of the piece and brings it more to life than Faber does. I've had as young as a 6 year old tell me the music sounded pretty from Premiere books 1A and 1B. I've sightread every piece from about level 4 to level 6 to get a feel for what I'd teach, and I can say I thoroughly enjoyed the music. I have a 15 year old (transfer student) express how he really liked Manhattan Blues from Level 5 that he's working on now. I never fail to find the solo music or accompaniment as uninspired.

2) I find the pages of Alfred Premiere more easy on the eyes than Faber. Faber's illustrations have A LOT of sharp edges, while Premiere has more more curved and rounded pictures to feel more relaxed. Faber uses more darker colors, while Alfred uses lighter ones as well, almost water paint-like.

3) I really like how Alfred introduces the Landmark system of reading. I do not know if Faber does this, and I do not see this method in the Primer. I'm currently teaching DEF above middle C from Faber, and I'm surprised the book didn't say much about using Middle C and Treble G to find nearby notes DEF. It just full-force taught DEF. Of course, I can just teach the concept anyway even if it's not directly stated to teach it in the book, but I think it would be nice if it was supported more like in Premiere. The review pages at the beginning of Premiere's books always emphasize identifying Landmark notes to stress the importance.

4) Theory: I like how Premiere's Theory books DIRECTLY coincides with the material taught, like a true homework book should (at least that's how I treat it as). Faber's Theory is more "fun activities" oriented that honestly take too much time when I could be focusing on the necessary topics or reviewing old ones. I make my own fun activities, such as improvisation on black keys, or fun activities that review past concepts. Premiere is fun as well, but I feel it's more focused on the information. Perhaps this is more of a style preference.

Again, I only own the Primer of Faber, so perhaps I may be wrong with some of the above; however, I believe the initial stages of piano education are important, and Alfred Premiere hits it right on the nail for me.


Novice Private Piano Teacher

BA Music, Biology Minor

Yamaha G3, Yamaha P-515
Re: Bastien, Faber, Alfred? [Re: chasingrainbows] #2798632
01/05/19 04:12 AM
01/05/19 04:12 AM
Joined: Aug 2007
Posts: 8,227
Orange County, CA
AZNpiano Offline
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Orange County, CA
If your students barely practice, then no method will work for them.

I've been using Alfred Premier with most of my students, and now I found that the Premier Express books are even better. Older beginners appreciate the fact Alfred took out the dumb pictures for the Express books.


Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member
Re: Bastien, Faber, Alfred? [Re: chasingrainbows] #2798783
01/05/19 02:50 PM
01/05/19 02:50 PM
Joined: Oct 2009
Posts: 135
Canada
pianist_lady Offline
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I use Piano Adventures as it seems to work well with the average student, and most students seem to like the pieces. There's a lot of supplemental material, so it's easy to work "horizontally" if a student needs a slower pace. The ones who actually practice can zip through it and still not miss any concepts. I don't love the Level 1 book, but have taught it enough to find ways to make up for those deficiencies. The creative activities (like improv, composition, lead sheets, etc) that are suggested in the lesson books can be useful as well. I played through Alfred Premier and did not find the music as interesting.

Originally Posted by RyanThePianist

3) I really like how Alfred introduces the Landmark system of reading. I do not know if Faber does this, and I do not see this method in the Primer. I'm currently teaching DEF above middle C from Faber, and I'm surprised the book didn't say much about using Middle C and Treble G to find nearby notes DEF. It just full-force taught DEF. Of course, I can just teach the concept anyway even if it's not directly stated to teach it in the book, but I think it would be nice if it was supported more like in Premiere. The review pages at the beginning of Premiere's books always emphasize identifying Landmark notes to stress the importance.


Faber does use Landmark Notes... though for some students it doesn't seem to matter how many times we trace over the G line, they still don't get it!

Originally Posted by chasingrainbows


Most of my students barely practice. They all take 30 minute lessons. Many are still reading by finger numbers after 2 years of lessons ! 8th notes are introduced in Level 2A of Faber, but I introduce that earlier. Despite counting, using words, clapping, etc., their sense of pulse is sketchy. I can't imagine these kids getting through Bastien.


Do you have any ideas why they aren't practicing? Is it something you think you can change, or do they just come in with the expectation of not doing any work? Just curious, as I'm trying a couple things in my own studio to raise level of practice.


Private piano teacher
B. Mus., M.Mus. (piano performance & pedagogy).
Re: Bastien, Faber, Alfred? [Re: chasingrainbows] #2798817
01/05/19 04:45 PM
01/05/19 04:45 PM
Joined: Dec 2017
Posts: 388
USA
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Andamento Offline
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USA
So far, of all the methods I've used (and there have been many), Piano Safari is my favorite and is what I'm using now. Some reasons I find it a good method:

1) The order of intervals introduced and the length of time a given interval or interval combination is emphasized before moving on to new intervals

For background, I'll tell you that after some pre-staff work on black keys for the first unit of the book, then white keys for the second unit, the staff is introduced in the third unit, and uses intervals of a unison and 2nd with landmark notes Treble G and Bass C (space two).

In the fourth unit, intervals of a unison and 3rd are used. (No seconds; students only have to note the direction of change, if any, up or down. Each piece in this unit uses only line notes or only space notes.)

The fifth and final unit of Level 1 contains reading pieces consisting of unisons, 2nds, and 3rds. So it's a very incremental approach to reading intervallically, and all the reading pieces in Level 1 begin on a landmark note.

Level 2, with its six units, proceeds as follows (unisons are included): 2nds and 3rds beginning on landmark notes; 2nds and 3rds beginning on various notes on the staff; 3rds and 5ths, adding sharps and flats; 2nds, 3rd, and 5ths, adding the dotted quarter / single eighth rhythm (eighth-note pairs were already introduced in Level 1); 2nds and 4ths; and 2nds, 3rds, 4ths, and 5ths.

Level 3 introduces 6ths, 7ths, and 8ths (not super-close together), but the main focus of the units is a particular key signature: CM; am; GM; em: FM; dm. More meters and rhythms are introduced at this level, as well, including sixteenth notes, 6/8 time, etc.

The first student of mine to start with this method is almost finished with Level 3 now, and is playing better after 2 1/2 years of study than any previous student I've had.

2) The various types of pieces included

The Reading pieces are the main part of the method, but there are also a few Rote pieces, some Improvisation pieces, and the occasional Challenge piece. While rote pieces, when overused, can make learning to read more difficult, their judicious use hasn't, in my experience, hampered reading ability. On the contrary, they expose students to using much more of the keyboard than the limited middle range with 10 or fewer notes on the staff. I'm finding that my most advanced Piano Safari student--the one almost finished with the series--is more comfortable with her supplementary reading pieces that break beyond a limited range of notes than were previous students who had studied in other methods. She's not playing Rote pieces anymore (Piano Safari doesn't have any at Level 3), but I feel that her experience with Rote pieces in the past 1) increased her enjoyment of playing because of the variety of interesting sounds possible, 2) helped her get accustomed to moving to different parts of the keyboard during a piece, and 3) assisted in her ability to find patterns in her music. (The Rote pieces were highly patterned, and Level 2 helped with the transition from finding patterns on the keyboard to finding them on the printed page. Level 2 Rote pieces, in other words, were best taught through a combination of rote and reading, I found.)

The Improvisation pieces are a lot of fun, and the Challenge pieces offer a reasonable stretch with music that can be studied for a bit longer. I like for students to have a variety of pieces that are slightly different in level and length of time studied, and the way Piano Safari puts together the different types of pieces has been as interesting for me, the teacher, as it is for the students!

3) Piece cards

This is a fun add-on that I used with my daughter early on. Piano Safari publishes little cards with the name and picture of each title from Levels 1 and 2, When she'd polish a piece, we'd tape the corresponding card to a tri-fold display board, as a visual record of her progress. I also ordered an extra set of cards for her to draw out of a Ziploc bag to see which piece(s) she would review for the day. It's a good and fun way to keep pieces alive that were once learned. She had a "Draw" baggie and an "Already Drawn" baggie, and when all of the cards in the "Draw" baggie were gone, she'd put the "Already Drawn" cards into the "Draw" baggie and start again. Etc.

There's more I like about Piano Safari, but this comment is long enough! I just really like this series, and the philosophy behind it. smile

Re: Bastien, Faber, Alfred? [Re: Andamento] #2798831
01/05/19 05:30 PM
01/05/19 05:30 PM
Joined: Dec 2017
Posts: 388
USA
A
Andamento Offline
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Joined: Dec 2017
Posts: 388
USA
Originally Posted by Andamento
So far, of all the methods I've used (and there have been many), Piano Safari is my favorite and is what I'm using now. Some reasons I find it a good method:

1) The order of intervals introduced and the length of time a given interval or interval combination is emphasized before moving on to new intervals

For background, I'll tell you that after some pre-staff work on black keys for the first unit of the book, then white keys for the second unit, the staff is introduced in the third unit, and uses intervals of a unison and 2nd with landmark notes Treble G and Bass C (space two).

In the fourth unit, intervals of a unison and 3rd are used. (No seconds; students only have to note the direction of change, if any, up or down. Each piece in this unit uses only line notes or only space notes.)

The fifth and final unit of Level 1 contains reading pieces consisting of unisons, 2nds, and 3rds. So it's a very incremental approach to reading intervallically, and all the reading pieces in Level 1 begin on a landmark note.

Level 2, with its six units, proceeds as follows (unisons are included): 2nds and 3rds beginning on landmark notes; 2nds and 3rds beginning on various notes on the staff; 3rds and 5ths, adding sharps and flats; 2nds, 3rd, and 5ths, adding the dotted quarter / single eighth rhythm (eighth-note pairs were already introduced in Level 1); 2nds and 4ths; and 2nds, 3rds, 4ths, and 5ths.

Level 3 introduces 6ths, 7ths, and 8ths (not super-close together), but the main focus of the units is a particular key signature: CM; am; GM; em: FM; dm. More meters and rhythms are introduced at this level, as well, including sixteenth notes, 6/8 time, etc.

The first student of mine to start with this method is almost finished with Level 3 now, and is playing better after 2 1/2 years of study than any previous student I've had.

2) The various types of pieces included

The Reading pieces are the main part of the method, but there are also a few Rote pieces, some Improvisation pieces, and the occasional Challenge piece. While rote pieces, when overused, can make learning to read more difficult, their judicious use hasn't, in my experience, hampered reading ability. On the contrary, they expose students to using much more of the keyboard than the limited middle range with 10 or fewer notes on the staff. I'm finding that my most advanced Piano Safari student--the one almost finished with the series--is more comfortable with her supplementary reading pieces that break beyond a limited range of notes than were previous students who had studied in other methods. She's not playing Rote pieces anymore (Piano Safari doesn't have any at Level 3), but I feel that her experience with Rote pieces in the past 1) increased her enjoyment of playing because of the variety of interesting sounds possible, 2) helped her get accustomed to moving to different parts of the keyboard during a piece, and 3) assisted in her ability to find patterns in her music. (The Rote pieces were highly patterned, and Level 2 helped with the transition from finding patterns on the keyboard to finding them on the printed page. Level 2 Rote pieces, in other words, were best taught through a combination of rote and reading, I found.)

The Improvisation pieces are a lot of fun, and the Challenge pieces offer a reasonable stretch with music that can be studied for a bit longer. I like for students to have a variety of pieces that are slightly different in level and length of time studied, and the way Piano Safari puts together the different types of pieces has been as interesting for me, the teacher, as it is for the students!

3) Piece cards

This is a fun add-on that I used with my daughter early on. Piano Safari publishes little cards with the name and picture of each title from Levels 1 and 2, When she'd polish a piece, we'd tape the corresponding card to a tri-fold display board, as a visual record of her progress. I also ordered an extra set of cards for her to draw out of a Ziploc bag to see which piece(s) she would review for the day. It's a good and fun way to keep pieces alive that were once learned. She had a "Draw" baggie and an "Already Drawn" baggie, and when all of the cards in the "Draw" baggie were gone, she'd put the "Already Drawn" cards into the "Draw" baggie and start again. Etc.

There's more I like about Piano Safari, but this comment is long enough! I just really like this series, and the philosophy behind it. smile


Edited (too late) to clarify this statement: "The first student of mine to start with this method is almost finished with Level 3 now, and is playing better after 2 1/2 years of study than any previous student I've had."

Should say: "...is playing better after 2 1/2 years of study than any previous beginning student I've had."

In other words, I've had students progress to intermediate and advanced levels, in case it sounded like no student I've had ever got beyond a beginner level. That would be pretty depressing if none, including the ones who were with me close to a decade, ever got beyond method books. Yikes.

Skills-wise (technically and artistically), she plays with more knowledge, facility, and sensitivity than the other third-year students I've had.

Hope that's clearer!

Re: Bastien, Faber, Alfred? [Re: AZNpiano] #2798871
01/05/19 07:56 PM
01/05/19 07:56 PM
Joined: Sep 2006
Posts: 1,952
USA
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chasingrainbows Offline OP
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Joined: Sep 2006
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USA
Originally Posted by AZNpiano
If your students barely practice, then no method will work for them.

I've been using Alfred Premier with most of my students, and now I found that the Premier Express books are even better. Older beginners appreciate the fact Alfred took out the dumb pictures for the Express books.


Thanks, AZN. I will check out the Premier, I think I have all of those books.

Yes, if they barely practice, nothing will work. But I believe that if the music is catchy, they may spend some time at the piano. I'm not a fan of Level 1 yet all my students love Haunted Mouse, The bubble, Boogie on Broadway, Russian Folk Dance, to name a few. Level 2 is better, and the Performance books have great pieces in them.


Piano teacher, BA Music, MTNA member
Re: Bastien, Faber, Alfred? [Re: chasingrainbows] #2798874
01/05/19 08:00 PM
01/05/19 08:00 PM
Joined: Sep 2006
Posts: 1,952
USA
C
chasingrainbows Offline OP
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chasingrainbows  Offline OP
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Joined: Sep 2006
Posts: 1,952
USA
pianistlady, there are those golden few that practice all their assignments, practice more on school breaks, and really enjoy their music. but they are the exception. As is often stated, most kids are there b/c parents need a babysitter while they shop, want to add piano to the kid's resume, etc. They all seem to enjoy the lessons, but go home and forget about piano, despite my initial explanation to them and parents about the necessity of practice in order to progress.

They practice more as recital time approaches. I've entered them in Festivals and they worked more than normal, but once those events pass, they find every excuse not to practice.


Piano teacher, BA Music, MTNA member
Re: Bastien, Faber, Alfred? [Re: chasingrainbows] #2798876
01/05/19 08:00 PM
01/05/19 08:00 PM
Joined: Sep 2006
Posts: 1,952
USA
C
chasingrainbows Offline OP
1000 Post Club Member
chasingrainbows  Offline OP
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Joined: Sep 2006
Posts: 1,952
USA
pianistlady, there are those golden few that practice all their assignments, practice more on school breaks, and really enjoy their music. but they are the exception. As is often stated, most kids are there b/c parents need a babysitter while they shop, want to add piano to the kid's resume, etc. They all seem to enjoy the lessons, but go home and forget about piano, despite my initial explanation to them and parents about the necessity of practice in order to progress.

They practice more as recital time approaches. I've entered them in Festivals and they worked more than normal, but once those events pass, they find every excuse not to practice.


Piano teacher, BA Music, MTNA member
Re: Bastien, Faber, Alfred? [Re: chasingrainbows] #2798877
01/05/19 08:01 PM
01/05/19 08:01 PM
Joined: Sep 2006
Posts: 1,952
USA
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chasingrainbows Offline OP
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chasingrainbows  Offline OP
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Joined: Sep 2006
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USA
Andamento, I understand! smile

I will check out Piano Safari.


Piano teacher, BA Music, MTNA member
Re: Bastien, Faber, Alfred? [Re: chasingrainbows] #2798889
01/05/19 09:07 PM
01/05/19 09:07 PM
Joined: Aug 2007
Posts: 8,227
Orange County, CA
AZNpiano Offline
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AZNpiano  Offline
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Joined: Aug 2007
Posts: 8,227
Orange County, CA
Originally Posted by chasingrainbows
Yes, if they barely practice, nothing will work. But I believe that if the music is catchy, they may spend some time at the piano. I'm not a fan of Level 1 yet all my students love Haunted Mouse, The bubble, Boogie on Broadway, Russian Folk Dance, to name a few. Level 2 is better, and the Performance books have great pieces in them.

I think the music in Alfred Premier is much more interesting. However, each book/series has its share of clunkers.

In general, if students only practice pieces they find interesting, good luck getting anywhere.


Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member
Re: Bastien, Faber, Alfred? [Re: chasingrainbows] #2798904
01/05/19 10:09 PM
01/05/19 10:09 PM
Joined: Jul 2012
Posts: 264
USA
missbelle Offline
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USA
I use Piano Adventures. I always use the Lesson Book, matching Theory book, and the Technique/Artistry book. The Performance book I used to call optional, but I have found it is a good bonus book, for horizontal reinforcement, for bonus music, and for recital choices.
. I am so familiar with the music. I can call out the count or the note names without even looking. some songs that I do not care for a very much turn out to be favorite ones of my students, and vice versa.
I tell them that not every song has to be mastered, just the concept that is presented.
.

As for the not practicing, I was speaking with my husband today about a new idea.
Lessons begin again next week. starting before Thanksgiving, I typed out a series of questions, one per week, for all levels of students, and taped it into their assignment notebook right over the date, slightly sticking out like a bookmark.
The questions were simple. Who listens to you the most over Thanksgiving break? What was your favorite piece to work on this week? Did you have any trouble counting? If so which piece? what is your favorite time of day to practice?
my homeschool students had no problem with this, and thought the questions were great fun. Many of my after school students had weeks of no answer. So, my new idea is this:
I will, for three weeks in a row, tape in a small form that says something like, "if this form is not signed then I do not wish to have assignments and examples written out for my student. I will expect only the page numbers and minimal, if any, explanation."
I will do the same form for 3 weeks in a row. I will date each new and unsigned form for 3 weeks.
after three weeks, I will note and record which students did not have a form signed, and spend more lesson time doing board work and Theory during lessons. They are doing absolutely no practice at home and I am simply a well-paid music babysitter. I will save my hands and not take so much time to write out lessons that are not being read.
no matter what series you use, be familiar with what you are teaching, and ask your students to explain to you the lesson. It is often quite interesting to hear their interpretation.
🙂


Learning as I teach.
Re: Bastien, Faber, Alfred? [Re: chasingrainbows] #2798915
01/05/19 11:01 PM
01/05/19 11:01 PM
Joined: Jan 2018
Posts: 2,992
In the Ozarks of Missouri
NobleHouse Offline
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In the Ozarks of Missouri
As students (both my son and I) have used all three. Both of us hated the Alfred (very boring music). When my son was 6 or so, he really enjoyed the Bastien. Now at 28, he says the music in the Faber is much superior (obviously just his opinion). I have always liked the Faber as well. Both the children's versions as well as the Adult Beginner series.

Just thought I would throw in a non teacher - but student perspective for what it is worth. crazy


[Linked Image]
Re: Bastien, Faber, Alfred? [Re: NobleHouse] #2798932
01/06/19 01:04 AM
01/06/19 01:04 AM
Joined: Aug 2007
Posts: 8,227
Orange County, CA
AZNpiano Offline
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Orange County, CA
Originally Posted by NobleHouse
As students (both my son and I) have used all three. Both of us hated the Alfred (very boring music). When my son was 6 or so, he really enjoyed the Bastien. Now at 28, he says the music in the Faber is much superior (obviously just his opinion). I have always liked the Faber as well. Both the children's versions as well as the Adult Beginner series.

Just thought I would throw in a non teacher - but student perspective for what it is worth. crazy

I'm assuming your hatred of Alfred is aimed at old Alfred, not the Premier piano course. Old Alfred suffers from some pedagogical problems, mostly in its over-reliance on hand positions.

Piano Adventures is a solid series, but Alfred Premier is better. MUCH better, in terms of music and the teacher accompaniment.


Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member
Re: Bastien, Faber, Alfred? [Re: chasingrainbows] #2799022
01/06/19 09:07 AM
01/06/19 09:07 AM
Joined: Oct 2009
Posts: 135
Canada
pianist_lady Offline
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Originally Posted by chasingrainbows
pianistlady, there are those golden few that practice all their assignments, practice more on school breaks, and really enjoy their music. but they are the exception. As is often stated, most kids are there b/c parents need a babysitter while they shop, want to add piano to the kid's resume, etc. They all seem to enjoy the lessons, but go home and forget about piano, despite my initial explanation to them and parents about the necessity of practice in order to progress.

They practice more as recital time approaches. I've entered them in Festivals and they worked more than normal, but once those events pass, they find every excuse not to practice.


That sounds typical. Perhaps you can experiment a little on the non-practicing ones and try different activities, method books etc., since they aren't doing much on their own.


Private piano teacher
B. Mus., M.Mus. (piano performance & pedagogy).
Re: Bastien, Faber, Alfred? [Re: AZNpiano] #2799075
01/06/19 12:09 PM
01/06/19 12:09 PM
Joined: Sep 2006
Posts: 1,952
USA
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chasingrainbows Offline OP
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chasingrainbows  Offline OP
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USA
Originally Posted by AZNpiano
Originally Posted by chasingrainbows
Yes, if they barely practice, nothing will work. But I believe that if the music is catchy, they may spend some time at the piano. I'm not a fan of Level 1 yet all my students love Haunted Mouse, The bubble, Boogie on Broadway, Russian Folk Dance, to name a few. Level 2 is better, and the Performance books have great pieces in them.

I think the music in Alfred Premier is much more interesting. However, each book/series has its share of clunkers.

In general, if students only practice pieces they find interesting, good luck getting anywhere.


True, but they still do a much better job on pieces that appeal to them, and learn them quicker as well.


Piano teacher, BA Music, MTNA member
Re: Bastien, Faber, Alfred? [Re: chasingrainbows] #2799183
01/06/19 06:08 PM
01/06/19 06:08 PM
Joined: Jul 2012
Posts: 121
United States
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RyanThePianist Offline
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Posts: 121
United States
I find many students have no idea what to do at home when their teacher says for them to practice. Until I properly teach how to practice, I usually tell students "play this song 3 times a day and work on your trouble spots". I find my kids enjoy writing tally marks after each play through so they can see their progress. This at least ensures they'll play the song every day, and at least get them started to think about those places that could use more work so we could focus on those places in lessons. All my students are taught to count aloud while playing as well, so if their parents notice they are playing without counting, they know their child is doing something wrong.

For my older students, I usually ask that they learn a piece to a specific measure. One of my methods is to set small, achievable goals for the week so that the students feels a sense of accomplishment after finishing... and that they can actually practice something assigned. From here, I can set slightly larger goals.

Lastly, parental involvement is a huge factor when it comes to practice, especially for younger kids who aren't as self-motivated. I make this clear from day 1. Perhaps talk to the parents about the importance of practice as well.

Last edited by RyanThePianist; 01/06/19 06:10 PM.

Novice Private Piano Teacher

BA Music, Biology Minor

Yamaha G3, Yamaha P-515
Re: Bastien, Faber, Alfred? [Re: Andamento] #2799386
01/07/19 02:49 PM
01/07/19 02:49 PM
Joined: Sep 2006
Posts: 1,952
USA
C
chasingrainbows Offline OP
1000 Post Club Member
chasingrainbows  Offline OP
1000 Post Club Member
C

Joined: Sep 2006
Posts: 1,952
USA
Originally Posted by Andamento
So far, of all the methods I've used (and there have been many), Piano Safari is my favorite and is what I'm using now. Some reasons I find it a good method:

1) The order of intervals introduced and the length of time a given interval or interval combination is emphasized before moving on to new intervals

For background, I'll tell you that after some pre-staff work on black keys for the first unit of the book, then white keys for the second unit, the staff is introduced in the third unit, and uses intervals of a unison and 2nd with landmark notes Treble G and Bass C (space two).

In the fourth unit, intervals of a unison and 3rd are used. (No seconds; students only have to note the direction of change, if any, up or down. Each piece in this unit uses only line notes or only space notes.)

The fifth and final unit of Level 1 contains reading pieces consisting of unisons, 2nds, and 3rds. So it's a very incremental approach to reading intervallically, and all the reading pieces in Level 1 begin on a landmark note.

Level 2, with its six units, proceeds as follows (unisons are included): 2nds and 3rds beginning on landmark notes; 2nds and 3rds beginning on various notes on the staff; 3rds and 5ths, adding sharps and flats; 2nds, 3rd, and 5ths, adding the dotted quarter / single eighth rhythm (eighth-note pairs were already introduced in Level 1); 2nds and 4ths; and 2nds, 3rds, 4ths, and 5ths.

Level 3 introduces 6ths, 7ths, and 8ths (not super-close together), but the main focus of the units is a particular key signature: CM; am; GM; em: FM; dm. More meters and rhythms are introduced at this level, as well, including sixteenth notes, 6/8 time, etc.

The first student of mine to start with this method is almost finished with Level 3 now, and is playing better after 2 1/2 years of study than any previous student I've had.

2) The various types of pieces included

The Reading pieces are the main part of the method, but there are also a few Rote pieces, some Improvisation pieces, and the occasional Challenge piece. While rote pieces, when overused, can make learning to read more difficult, their judicious use hasn't, in my experience, hampered reading ability. On the contrary, they expose students to using much more of the keyboard than the limited middle range with 10 or fewer notes on the staff. I'm finding that my most advanced Piano Safari student--the one almost finished with the series--is more comfortable with her supplementary reading pieces that break beyond a limited range of notes than were previous students who had studied in other methods. She's not playing Rote pieces anymore (Piano Safari doesn't have any at Level 3), but I feel that her experience with Rote pieces in the past 1) increased her enjoyment of playing because of the variety of interesting sounds possible, 2) helped her get accustomed to moving to different parts of the keyboard during a piece, and 3) assisted in her ability to find patterns in her music. (The Rote pieces were highly patterned, and Level 2 helped with the transition from finding patterns on the keyboard to finding them on the printed page. Level 2 Rote pieces, in other words, were best taught through a combination of rote and reading, I found.)

The Improvisation pieces are a lot of fun, and the Challenge pieces offer a reasonable stretch with music that can be studied for a bit longer. I like for students to have a variety of pieces that are slightly different in level and length of time studied, and the way Piano Safari puts together the different types of pieces has been as interesting for me, the teacher, as it is for the students!

3) Piece cards

This is a fun add-on that I used with my daughter early on. Piano Safari publishes little cards with the name and picture of each title from Levels 1 and 2, When she'd polish a piece, we'd tape the corresponding card to a tri-fold display board, as a visual record of her progress. I also ordered an extra set of cards for her to draw out of a Ziploc bag to see which piece(s) she would review for the day. It's a good and fun way to keep pieces alive that were once learned. She had a "Draw" baggie and an "Already Drawn" baggie, and when all of the cards in the "Draw" baggie were gone, she'd put the "Already Drawn" cards into the "Draw" baggie and start again. Etc.

There's more I like about Piano Safari, but this comment is long enough! I just really like this series, and the philosophy behind it. smile


Andamento, so sorry for not replying - been down and out with some nasty flu going around. I tried to go online and view Piano Safari on their website, and was unable to view the inside of any of the books. We don't carry that method in this area, so I would not want to buy yet another series, and end up not being happy with it. Right now, I have Faber, Alfred, Noona and Succeeding at the Piano methods.


Piano teacher, BA Music, MTNA member
Re: Bastien, Faber, Alfred? [Re: chasingrainbows] #2799415
01/07/19 03:58 PM
01/07/19 03:58 PM
Joined: Dec 2017
Posts: 388
USA
A
Andamento Offline
Full Member
Andamento  Offline
Full Member
A

Joined: Dec 2017
Posts: 388
USA
Originally Posted by chasingrainbows
Originally Posted by Andamento
So far, of all the methods I've used (and there have been many), Piano Safari is my favorite and is what I'm using now. Some reasons I find it a good method:

1) The order of intervals introduced and the length of time a given interval or interval combination is emphasized before moving on to new intervals

For background, I'll tell you that after some pre-staff work on black keys for the first unit of the book, then white keys for the second unit, the staff is introduced in the third unit, and uses intervals of a unison and 2nd with landmark notes Treble G and Bass C (space two).

In the fourth unit, intervals of a unison and 3rd are used. (No seconds; students only have to note the direction of change, if any, up or down. Each piece in this unit uses only line notes or only space notes.)

The fifth and final unit of Level 1 contains reading pieces consisting of unisons, 2nds, and 3rds. So it's a very incremental approach to reading intervallically, and all the reading pieces in Level 1 begin on a landmark note.

Level 2, with its six units, proceeds as follows (unisons are included): 2nds and 3rds beginning on landmark notes; 2nds and 3rds beginning on various notes on the staff; 3rds and 5ths, adding sharps and flats; 2nds, 3rd, and 5ths, adding the dotted quarter / single eighth rhythm (eighth-note pairs were already introduced in Level 1); 2nds and 4ths; and 2nds, 3rds, 4ths, and 5ths.

Level 3 introduces 6ths, 7ths, and 8ths (not super-close together), but the main focus of the units is a particular key signature: CM; am; GM; em: FM; dm. More meters and rhythms are introduced at this level, as well, including sixteenth notes, 6/8 time, etc.

The first student of mine to start with this method is almost finished with Level 3 now, and is playing better after 2 1/2 years of study than any previous student I've had.

2) The various types of pieces included

The Reading pieces are the main part of the method, but there are also a few Rote pieces, some Improvisation pieces, and the occasional Challenge piece. While rote pieces, when overused, can make learning to read more difficult, their judicious use hasn't, in my experience, hampered reading ability. On the contrary, they expose students to using much more of the keyboard than the limited middle range with 10 or fewer notes on the staff. I'm finding that my most advanced Piano Safari student--the one almost finished with the series--is more comfortable with her supplementary reading pieces that break beyond a limited range of notes than were previous students who had studied in other methods. She's not playing Rote pieces anymore (Piano Safari doesn't have any at Level 3), but I feel that her experience with Rote pieces in the past 1) increased her enjoyment of playing because of the variety of interesting sounds possible, 2) helped her get accustomed to moving to different parts of the keyboard during a piece, and 3) assisted in her ability to find patterns in her music. (The Rote pieces were highly patterned, and Level 2 helped with the transition from finding patterns on the keyboard to finding them on the printed page. Level 2 Rote pieces, in other words, were best taught through a combination of rote and reading, I found.)

The Improvisation pieces are a lot of fun, and the Challenge pieces offer a reasonable stretch with music that can be studied for a bit longer. I like for students to have a variety of pieces that are slightly different in level and length of time studied, and the way Piano Safari puts together the different types of pieces has been as interesting for me, the teacher, as it is for the students!

3) Piece cards

This is a fun add-on that I used with my daughter early on. Piano Safari publishes little cards with the name and picture of each title from Levels 1 and 2, When she'd polish a piece, we'd tape the corresponding card to a tri-fold display board, as a visual record of her progress. I also ordered an extra set of cards for her to draw out of a Ziploc bag to see which piece(s) she would review for the day. It's a good and fun way to keep pieces alive that were once learned. She had a "Draw" baggie and an "Already Drawn" baggie, and when all of the cards in the "Draw" baggie were gone, she'd put the "Already Drawn" cards into the "Draw" baggie and start again. Etc.

There's more I like about Piano Safari, but this comment is long enough! I just really like this series, and the philosophy behind it. smile


Andamento, so sorry for not replying - been down and out with some nasty flu going around. I tried to go online and view Piano Safari on their website, and was unable to view the inside of any of the books. We don't carry that method in this area, so I would not want to buy yet another series, and end up not being happy with it. Right now, I have Faber, Alfred, Noona and Succeeding at the Piano methods.


No need to apologize, CR. I understand--we've had all sorts of coughs and junk going around our household since the week before Christmas. Blech.

I don't think Piano Safari sells to stores anymore. In my area, one store carried it briefly a few years ago, but it sounded like they couldn't get it anymore. I order through the Piano Safari website, but I understand not wanting to buy a whole series without being able to page through the books to see what they're like.

Maybe you could inquire of teachers in your area whether they have some of the PS materials for you to look at? Our local association did a "Bring Your Favorite Curriculum (or supplementary music) Day" for a meeting last spring, where we talked about what materials we like using and could show samples of what we were talking about.

I'd be willing to show you what PS items I have if I lived anywhere near NJ. smile

Re: Bastien, Faber, Alfred? [Re: chasingrainbows] #2802506
01/16/19 01:23 AM
01/16/19 01:23 AM
Joined: Nov 2004
Posts: 1,683
Opus_Maximus Offline
1000 Post Club Member
Opus_Maximus  Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Joined: Nov 2004
Posts: 1,683
I'm another Faber person. I think the pieces are superior and catchy (Lonely Pine, Haunted Mouse, Sounds from the Gumdrop Factory, Russian Sailor Dance, etc).

Another reason is it avoids position playing from day 1 by having students play the same starting note with different fingers, so students internalize their hands can be anywhere. Bastien and the old Alfred course get kids stuck in positions.

I like the pedagogy of Alfred Premier as well - but the pieces just don't cut it for me. There tend to be less "Standout" pieces, and they all sort of sound similar to me. Not to mention some creepy stuff: (There is a bland song in level 1 that my student and I had a laugh about titled "I eat my peas with honey")

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