Why have more than one primary piano method book?
As a private music instructor having good set of piano books in your arsenal is essential. I’ve taught out of quite a few piano books for beginners and these are my top 4. The below primary books are for your younger aged students, these are beginner piano books for 5 year olds or around that age. Depending on how young you accept your students! I will have a later post about books and resources if you want to teach pre-school students as well!
I LOVE teaching this age because they are just so fun! Kids taking piano lessons around this age are just starting to be little creatives and writing their own stories and just generally engaging in the joy of music. I always feel inspired when I’m teaching my younger students about simple joys in keys.
Depending on what books you add to your teaching resources some come with board games, theory games, improvising games and lots of really fun duets!
When I started teaching I was teaching in a studio that only had one option. The Bastien Primer Method Books, I used their early books, where their primary books were split into two books, Primary A and Primary B.
Although it was a great place to start when I started teaching out of method books, I quickly started to notice that it didn’t always fit my student. Some students absorbed knowledge like a sponge while others needed more supplementary lessons and materials. Although it’s a wonderful book I found since it really only had a “one-note” feel to it and pace it, I quickly realized the need to have more options for different learning styles. I have more on learning styles and finding a teacher that fits students in this post.
The Basien primary books at the time really only fit a small percentage of my students. Thus I started including the Faber & Faber’s Piano Adventures! My exploration in different engaging piano books has gone beyond from there.
When you teach that very first lesson and you start teaching out of different books, it is vital to notice how your student is learning. Each of these 4 books that I review has different strengths for the different students that you will encounter. Each has very different and specific qualities that you may want to choose over other books.
I think one of the more difficult things to do when you first start teaching as a private music teacher is finding the tools that fit you, your student, and your teaching style the best.
I hope this post helps narrow down some of the mysteries that is teaching piano in a private music studio!
1. Faber’s Piano Adventure Books
These books have to be by far my favorite books to teach out of. I love the pacing of their books. They are easy to understand for students and wonderful to teach out of for teachers.
They also do a great job of splitting their content through different books. So that the lesson book doesn’t feel overwhelming. THere’s a separate theory book, technique and artistry book as well as various performance books. They all fit in whatever level that you teach out of. Faber’s Piano Adventure books go from Primary to Level 5.
If you are a theory focused teacher you can teach out of the theory and lesson books and your students are supplemented with wonderful material.
If you are a teacher and your studio is technique focused their books on technique and artistry have fun games and duets and short stories to help your students implement various techniques.
What Student is Faber and Faber Piano Adventures For?
These primary books are half and half. The first half of the books is working with finger recognition numerically and then later with letters. The second half is all about reading notes.
Why is that important?
This primary book is for your students that are quick learners, perhaps even a littler older on the younger spectrum. around 2nd or 3rd grade is the age that I have found these books work perfect for.
The cons of the Piano Adventures:
Here is my one and only gripe with this particular primary book, they teach notes in a skipping fashion. First learning middle C and then skipping to Treble G and then to Bass clef F. I have found some of my students get mighty confused trying to navigate their way around notes.
I have typically moved students to different books once I reach this half of the book. I have found my older-younger students do well after the first little learning curve.
2. Wunder Keys Piano Books
Let me tell you I feel sad that I ONLY JUST RECENTLY discovered these “wunderful” people and books!
My students are in love with these books. They are incredibly light hearted and have fun little snippets stories that go along with each lesson.
Each lesson is written as though it was a comic book episode and with recurring characters my students love seeing them throughout their lessons.
This company is innovative, every other lesson comes with a unique board game that goes along with the lesson! It’s a great combination of on bench practicing and off bench playing and pacing. Plus all of the materials are included in the book, other than having your own dice it’s all included and a great supplement or a main book for your younger piano students.
I love the pacing and the way they teach through out this book. The way the structure their lessons has to be one of my favorite’s. It basically goes like this:
First, they introduce what the lesson is through a short little comic strip and they have maybe a little interactive box for you and your student to play a little game or do a wee bit of theory
second, they introduce the “Practice Pathway” there is usually about three different exercises that focus on different skills they are learning in the lesson
Third, they have the lessons songs! sometimes they also include a board game that goes along with the lesson! I typically save this for the start of the next lesson, as it’s a great review of the previous week’s lesson!
What Student is Wunder Keys Primary Best For?
This is for the student that is a HUGE visual learner, a student that loves stories! Also a student that requests a lot of time off of the bench.
Students that want to play more “games” if you are a tablet user and want to include more off screen time in your lessons, this is a prefect book.
For the student that is struggling with reading music, this book takes the pace down to learning ONE note at a time in each hand. Perfect for students that learn the alaphbet quickly and then struggle when applying it to reading music.
3. Bastien Piano Books
Eek! I love the art in these books! They were the first books that I REALLY started teaching out of. This was the only books they offered at one of the first music studios I got hired by in college! They were a great starting place, if you are just getting started building your studio I recommend adding these bad boys to your book arsenal!
They are easy to read and easy to teach out of. Great for students to learn out of.
I also love their teaching pace. It’s relatively gradual so be prepared for quite a bit of repetition but sometimes that’s what our students need!
What Student is Bastien Piano Books For?
This is a book for your students that are aged 5 or 6 possibly into 1st grade.
The pacing on these books are a nice gradual pace but take it at a nice interval, your younger students that are extra clever will enjoy the speed that these books take.
Pros to the Bastien Piano Books
- The art is so fun
- It has a nice gradual pace throughout both of the primer books
- they teach INTERVALS IN THE PRIMER BOOKS
- Space on pages to include notes on your own lessons, and notes for students and parents (if you don’t use a lesson note book for each of your students)
- Duets! Yay
Cons to the Bastien Piano Books
- They split the primer books into two books, A and B which can be frustrating.
- The theory book doesn’t always pace and line up with the lessons you are teaching or it gets to be way to hard of a technique along with the lessons. which can cause a great deal of confusion in your student unless you bounce around in the book.
- The end of both of the books and can feel a little bit like the authors were rushing, and you may need to go over a few lessons at the back of the book.
4. Teaching Little Fingers To Play
This is a wonderful book for your younger students! each page is set at a consumable pace for youngsters and you can take it at any pace that works best for you student to student. It also comes with many supplementary books that include an entire book for Disney tunes! See below! I mean who doesn’t love to play a good Disney classic?
Their books work along with their primary books, but be aware that some are scaled a little more difficult than pieces in the primary book and may need to be taught following going through the primary book.
This was actually the primary books that my little brother learned out of, and he says he has many fond memories playing along with their little characters.
For teachers, there is a lot of text page to page so be prepared for a wee bit of reading.
The other interesting thing this particular book does, is it complexly nixes out all the other first steps that the other primary books start off with. Using big letters and finger numbers. But lesson one in these books jumps right into learning middle C. Each page introduces one note at a time hand to hand.
What Student Is Teaching Little Fingers To Play For?
This book is a fantastic book to jump to if for example you finished the first half of the Piano Adventures Primer Lesson book and you want to continue the pace that the Faber books set initially.
This is a fantastic book to start on if your student has a little bit of the fundamentals already or has learned violin at school or has a different base in music.
Or finally perhaps your student is that beautiful sponge we all love in our studios! In which case drop them into this book and be prepared for a wild but satisfying ride as your student will excel in learning to read music first.
Cons to Teaching Little Fingers To Play
- Each page is multiple lessons at once. you’ll have to teach them finger recognition and note reading at the same time.
- there is a lot of text, and notes page to page so a little bit of reading up previously before each lesson might be needed so you’re not spending a lot of time re-reading each page each lesson
- The pace can be a little fast for some students be sure to flip through one of these books after the first lesson to make sure they are a good fit.
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