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#932843 - 05/20/04 03:38 PM Best Book 4 Beginner Adults
kbdguy Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/13/04
Posts: 78
Loc: Pennsylvania
I am starting to teach beginner adult students. What do you suggest? I am not impressed with some of the childish, boring piano pieces some publishers offer. Who's putting out the best adult course right now?


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#932844 - 05/21/04 01:54 AM Re: Best Book 4 Beginner Adults
petros Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 05/12/04
Posts: 17
I teach full time and I can't stand the Alfred books, their arrangements are in poor taste. The only book I really like using is this:

"Accelerated Piano Adventures
for the Older Beginner"
by Nancy and Randall Faber

"Featuring the proven, pedagogical approach set forth in the basic piano method, Accelerated Piano Adventures® for the Older Beginner continues the tradition of learning music through discovery, creativity, and adventure. Book 1 of the accelerated series combines the Primer Level and Level One of the basic Piano Adventures method, and Book 2 combines Levels 2A and 2B."

Gear owned: Yamaha P250, P120 and P90. Stand: Quik-Lok WS-550
EV SXa360 powered speakers

#932845 - 05/21/04 08:45 AM Re: Best Book 4 Beginner Adults
obrother Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/07/04
Posts: 182
Just my opinion, doesn't mean it would work for you:

I teach mostly children but many adults. The song selection, in my opinion, is less important than the process being used to teach the notes. By that I don't mean that adults should be force fed an unpalatable menu. Rather, my point is that whether you are teaching adults or little children, you are teaching beginners (usually).

I have taught group adult classes at a local college, as well as in private, and I can only say that they seem to concur that it's ok to start them on a children's book. In fact, when asked for feedback, they agree that it is their preferred way. This doesn't mean you treat them like children, obviously, or that you teach them necessarily the same way. But, the basics of note-learning does not change just because you are 40 as opposed to 7.

I use the Edna Mae Burnham step by step method (Willis publishing). It's a fairly modern looking book nowadays...but it is written for youngsters. As I've posted elsewhere, it starts at middle C position and teaches only one note at a time and slowly (but not too slowly) branches out from there. It does not teach one whole position in one sitting. I, personally, abhor methods that do that - it's not for everybody.

Yes, I segue into other books and whatnot after they've gone through a couple/few of these books. But the student is thankful, by then, that they've learned basic middle C, Low C, and G positions, for example, before we get to a different slightly more grown up method. The point of teaching beginner piano,in my opinion, is not to teach all recognizable songs right away, but to teach notes in an easy and quick way so they can move on.

Yes, some adult students might be able to handle an accelerated or adult method. My experience, has been that adults prefer not to be 'expected' to learn at a higher,faster standard than kids. Many of them think they are too old, too dumb, too whatever. And, they just don't want to fail. They are usually thrilled when I tell them I'm using the same book for them as a 6 year old. It's easy, fun, they progress quickly..and mission accomplished. For me, anyway. I have used many accelerated or adult beginner books. I just don't start with it, I use it to supplement down the road.

All I can say is to ask you to try to find that book. It's not as popular as some others...but it is readily available. It makes teaching fun and easy...for teacher and student..whether they be adult or child. Hope it helps.

#932846 - 05/21/04 11:17 AM Re: Best Book 4 Beginner Adults
kbdguy Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/13/04
Posts: 78
Loc: Pennsylvania
Obrother and Petros...thank you so much for your input. I find both of your opinions helpful.

#932847 - 05/21/04 12:25 PM Re: Best Book 4 Beginner Adults
SEK John Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/29/03
Posts: 13
Loc: Lenexa, Kansas
The link below should take you to a thread in this forum titled LESSON BOOKS . It covers more than just adult methods, but is probably worth a read. For what its worth, I'm a beginner and teacher has me using the Faber Adult series. My wife uses the Older Beginner book referenced above. They seem to use the same method to teach, but the Adult series seems to have fewer kids type graphics, etc. The Adult book has lesson, theory, practice music, etc. all in one spiral bound book (versus separate books in the older beginner series)...my wife wishes hers was all integrated into one book.


Hope this helps.

#932848 - 05/24/04 12:43 PM Re: Best Book 4 Beginner Adults
*www.mrronsmusic.com* Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 05/23/04
Posts: 12
Loc: Silver Spring, MD USA

I've been teaching for some time. I think that there is no particular book that specifically addresses the individual needs of any student.

Knowing that you are a competent teacher, just use your instincts and design lesson plans based on your student's skill level.

I personally believe, that the most important aspect of teaching music to students, is getting them to COUNT musically.

But, if I had to select a particular book to help students (young and old) to learn how to read, I would be CZERNY's "First Instruction in Piano Playing," Volume 445.

To your success,

Mr. Ron

#932849 - 05/26/04 09:23 AM Re: Best Book 4 Beginner Adults
Cindysphinx Offline

Registered: 02/14/03
Posts: 6416
Loc: Washington D.C. Metro
Hi, all,

Would it be OK for a former adult beginner who is happily wrapping up her 4th year of study to opine here? I think I might have a unique perspective that might be helpful.

By way of background, I had almost no piano knowledge when I began; I could read treble clef 20 years ago and couldn't read bass clef at all. My teacher started me off on a particular book by John Thompson "Adult Piano Book II." We also did one-octave scales, a sight reading book, Hanon Jr. We also did a bit of "Artistry at the Piano," IIRC.

I really liked this approach. She didn't give me anything that sounded like kids' music, and none of the books were illustrated. I worked on my note recognition at home with some software and internet sites and flash cards. I think if she had presented me with the same kid-stuff my kids were doing (they started at the same time I did), I would have wound up quitting in embarrassment. It would have made the mountain feel like it would be too hard to climb, you know?

The John Thompson in particular was useful for helping me stick with it; it contains simple arrangements of familiar classical pieces, so once I had mastered something, I wasn't embarrassed to play it in front of others. It was still Mozart, even if it was a really simple version. I think that is key, actually. There was no way I would have wanted to play "Go Tell Aunt Rhodie" in front of other adults.

I agree that the Alfred Adult series isn't that great. Before I started my lessons, I tried to learn piano about 15 years earlier with Alfred. I felt like all I was learning was how to pound out "When The Saints Come Marching In" with one chord in the left hand. I quit.

Anyway. I hope that helps.


[Edit: Now I remember that we also started with "Dozen A Day." I found the songs and illustrations off-putting, and I balked. We put it aside.]
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#932850 - 06/18/04 12:47 PM Re: Best Book 4 Beginner Adults
oakpianoclassic Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 04/07/04
Posts: 3
Loc: toronto, ontario, canada
I'm 34 years old and have been studying piano since January 2003.

My teacher started me with Accelerated Piano Adventures for the Older Beginner, Faber Method.

When I finished book one we changed to the Faber Method Adult all in One (Book 1 and 2 are available), I wish we had started there first.

#932851 - 06/20/04 06:04 AM Re: Best Book 4 Beginner Adults
LudwigVanBee Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/18/04
Posts: 83
Loc: USA
I'm a starting from scratch adult beginner. My first teacher started me on children's books and I detested them. They were awful. A year later I discovered from another teacher Bartok's Mikrokosmos. I love classical and his 6 volumes are for me perfect for a beginner. Bartok composed these gems for his son when he began teaching him as a child. I think they are even better for adults if you really love classical music. It was really disheartening when I learned that my first teacher had Bartok in her sheet music cabinet but had never even mentioned them. I had to get a new teacher after that.
_ _ ___________________________ _ _
"There are no shortcuts to anything worth doing." Beverly Sills

#932852 - 06/20/04 10:42 PM Re: Best Book 4 Beginner Adults
C-Dub Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/08/04
Posts: 40
As an adult re-learner, I'm finding this book to be fantastic:

The Piano Handbook: A Complete Guide for Mastering Piano by Carl Humphries

Most the adult practice books I looked at didn't appear likely to hold my attention for long, but this book is great (and looks beautiful too!). It starts with the raw basics and gets into jazz, rock, classical (of course), improvisation, etc.

I don't know what piano teachers think of the book or how it would fit into a formal training curriculum, but as an adult who hasn't played for many years, I'm finding it to be a great book. It also comes with a CD so you can listen to many of the practice exercises and play along with them. Highly recommended.


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