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#26617 - 08/08/03 02:01 PM What do you use for young young students?
Gretchen Offline
New Member

Registered: 07/31/02
Posts: 10
Loc: Minnesota
Hello! I was wondering what people use for Kindergarten age and younger students. Especially students who are "young at heart and maturity." I've used PA, HalLeonard, Bastien's Invitation to Music, and long ago - Alfred Prep Course. Has anyone used Music for Little Mozarts? Do you need training in it? I don't understand all the extras you seem to need to teach that method - including the marketing kit. Is the method meant for teachers who want to target that age group? I began piano lessons as a four-year-old (with Brimhall.) I believe in teaching youngsters that age and as a former early childhood and kindergarten teacher, I like the kids that age. I just want some materials that I really believe are at the right level. Thanks for any input.
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#26618 - 08/08/03 02:12 PM Re: What do you use for young young students?
John Offline
Star Member

Registered: 03/29/01
Posts: 2444
Loc: Bellingham, WA
I'm beginning a full Preschool Piano program in the Fall for ages 4-6, and use these:

(closed position)
Sing & Play (Stipes) ~ Books 1-2, supplemented with TONS of well-known Folk Songs that use specific "beginner" melodic and rhythmic patterns.

(when hands are ready for open position)
Music Makers: At The Keyboard (Musikgarten) ~ Books 1-2, continuing with supplements that move around keyboard and maybe something like Hal Leonard's Piano Lessons/CD packet for Book 1.

A Google search will point you in the right direction if you want these materials.

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#26619 - 08/08/03 04:09 PM Re: What do you use for young young students?
Jalapeņa Offline
Star Member

Registered: 02/20/03
Posts: 1143
Loc: New Mexico
I agree with John that the Sing & Play curriculum is good. Whatever you do, don't use Music for Little Mozarts (MFLM). It stinks. Pieces are positional, & the lyrics to some of the pieces are dreadful. Examples:

The G Song, Again! (p. 20, MFLM Lesson Book 2): G, G, left hand G, finger 4 can play on G.

The F Song, Again! (p. 22, MFLM Lesson Book 2): F, F, we've arrived, left hand F with finger 5.

How, I wonder, could the authors of MFLM write such lyrics? Do they not know that such lyrics can implant in students' minds that certain notes are always played by certain fingers?

Also, the accompaniment CDs are not good. The accompaniments are too complex for young children to play along with. The accompaniment CD for Music Tree Time to Begin (MT TTB) is much better.

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#26620 - 08/08/03 05:04 PM Re: What do you use for young young students?
alidoremi Offline
Star Member

Registered: 03/11/02
Posts: 2103
Loc: California
Kids Kindergarten age and younger need something different than the traditionally-structured private lesson. Their attention spans are shorter, they need movement, singing, and a music lesson that is
experiential . They learn through play much more than through direct instruction.

I haven't taught MFLM program, but one of it's creators is Christine Barden, former curriculum writer for the Yamaha program (www.yamaha.com). Also check into Harmony Road Music (www.harmonyroadmusic.com/) and Music For Young Children (www.myc.com/) for age-appropriate curriculum.

[ 08-08-2003: Message edited by: alidoremi ]

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#26621 - 08/08/03 07:33 PM Re: What do you use for young young students?
Jennifer Offline
Star Member

Registered: 06/05/02
Posts: 1367
Loc: AZ
I teach MFLM. I'm going into my second year with it and have really enjoyed it. I have to agree the lyrics to the lesson books pieces are horrible, but I don't have them even look at those-(we don't even sing them...) I just have them play the songs. The songs from the Discovery Book is the one's we sing in class...

I honestly don't know if I'll do all 4 levels with the MLFM method books mostly because I'm not an Alfred fan in the way that they get "stuck" in a position so quickly. And I want to try to prevent that if I can.

Anyway, no- you don't need any special training to teach MFLM. You just need to invest in the books and products. They have teacher handbooks, which are a nice guideline. I actually add (or even take away) stuff to my lessons that have nothing to do with their program. So it's nice that way.

The marketing kit is just that- a book of ideas for how to market MFLM for your studio. It's not a necessity but is nice to have. I actually didn't get mine until 6 months into teaching it. They weren't out when I started.

When I was trying to decide what program I wanted to do in Early Childhood Music, I was looking for something that wouldn't cost a lot of money to invest in. I didn't want to be told what I can or couldn't do with the program. And it needed to be enjoyable for me to teach and keep the students interested and having fun! So far it's done all of these things.

One more thing I wanted to add is Piano Adventures is supposed to be coming out with a method geared for the younger students in this age group in the next year. If I remember correctly it will be called, "My First Piano Adventures". I can't wait until it comes out!

Good luck!

[ 08-08-2003: Message edited by: Jennifer ]
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#26622 - 08/09/03 01:41 PM Re: What do you use for young young students?
Jalapeņa Offline
Star Member

Registered: 02/20/03
Posts: 1143
Loc: New Mexico
The lyrics are not the only reason I dislike MFLM; but let me state that the lyrics can be a problem, even if you don't have the students look at them or sing them at the lesson. Case in point: My daughter, Little Pepper (now 5 years old) can read fairly well. She can also (thanks to the training I've given her) sightread rather well. She loves the MFLM & MT TTB books; she takes them off the shelf & sightreads the pieces, then goes back & reads the lyrics so she can sing while she plays. "Great!" you say. Yes, \:\) except for the lyrics in the MFLM books! Now I have to go through & white out the lyrics on those pages so she won't see them. Maybe the authors of MFLM figure that most preschoolers can't read & that the lyrics are not going to be a problem. I don't know what they think. All I know is that the lyrics stink!

Another problem I have with MFLM is the way they expect preschool children to play with all 5 fingers. I much prefer the Sing & Play way, where "playing is introduced using the whole hand, & then a closed hand position so that little, & often weak, fingers are not overtaxed. The closed hand position uses a large muscle movement & helps the young child produce a good, full tone."

The Sing & Play finger-play songs & hand-shaping exercises are also great. They "help prepare the child for open-hand position using, first, fingers 1 & 2, then fingers 1, 2 & 3, and, finally, all 5 fingers. Independent hands pieces are introduced only towards the end of the series."

The only problem with Sing & Play is that it is a group method. Since I don't teach group lessons, I have to adapt the method to make it suitable for private instruction. Fortunately, \:D the PA pre-primer method is supposedly going to use some of the Sing & Play concepts. I can't wait 'til the PA pre-primer is released so I can look it over.

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#26623 - 08/09/03 07:38 PM Re: What do you use for young young students?
Gretchen Offline
New Member

Registered: 07/31/02
Posts: 10
Loc: Minnesota
Thank you for all the great information. I'll be looking into some things that were suggested. I'm looking forward to the new PA for young ones.
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#26624 - 08/09/03 11:07 PM Re: What do you use for young young students?
Elbe Offline
Resident Member

Registered: 07/16/03
Posts: 321
Loc: The Great Northwest
I went to a Melody Bober workshop just yesterday and she showed a video of some very young future musicians being taught the Pre-Primer PA course. They were having a lot of fun learning rhythms on a big drum and using their bodies to swing and sway at the piano. There was a lot of singing. There were also props for technique such as rainbow shapes to learn how to arc the hands. In the past I've shied away from the 4-6 age group but this PA course might change my mind . Oh.. and it looks like the transition to PA Primer would be seamless.

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#26625 - 08/10/03 05:01 PM Re: What do you use for young young students?
Jennifer Offline
Star Member

Registered: 06/05/02
Posts: 1367
Loc: AZ
While we are on this topic. Has anyone heard of Pianimals? Anyone teaching this method? Has it been succesful? Do you like it? Curious of any experiences on this method...

If you have never heard of it, they have a website you can check out... http://www.pianimals.com/
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#26626 - 08/15/03 12:02 PM Re: What do you use for young young students?
Panotchr Offline
New Member

Registered: 07/30/03
Posts: 1
Loc: Salisbury, North Carolina
I was fortunate enough to see Randy Faber in Birmingham a couple of weeks ago. He was telling us about the new Faber series for preschool children. Not sure what I will use until then, but I am anxiously awaiting their product as it will probably be the best on the market as usual. I have MFLM to use for now.. but I am not as happy with it as I could be.

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