Category: Piano Pedagogy

The Young Beginner: Keys for Connecting – My First Piano Adventure

What is this world of the young beginner? It is fun, fantasy and exploration. Seriousness? Teacher-driven rules? Tight control? These close down a young learner’s intrinsic interest. Not only is this young beginner’s world substantially different than the adult world and qualitatively different than ages 7-8, the young beginner does not “meet us halfway.” 4-5 […]


Level 1: Articulation and the Wrist

An essential concept of Level 1 is beginning articulation, specifically legato and staccato. These terms are so familiar to us as music teachers that we might overlook the importance of these touches in developing technique and musical expression. Perhaps you have noticed that there are no articulation marks at the Primer Level—no slurs and no […]


Level 2B: The Power of Primary Chords

Perhaps the favorite application of music theory in piano instruction is the teaching of I, IV and V7 chords in that familiar cluster surrounding the root-position I chord. This aspect of piano pedagogy is a guiding concept for Level 2B of Piano Adventures® and the corresponding ChordTime® Piano series. This simple chord formula is favored […]


Level 3A: The Role of Review

We’ve all seen an occasional precocious student move up the levels with impressive speed. We regard this speedy progress through the method as a reliable predictor of future success… and we are thus seduced. The high-numbered level makes the teacher look good and the parent beam with pride. So we tend to push students, hoping […]


Level 3B: Playing Fast

This is what the student has been waiting for—a chance to play fast. “Now I can really show off!” Then we tell the student, “The first lesson in playing fast is … slow practice.” We’ve just taken the wind out of their sails. Well … almost. There are secrets to playing fast. And if we […]


Level 4: Lyric Playing and “Personal Sound”

At Level 3B, we appealed to the student’s interest in fast playing. At Level 4 the student learns lyric playing—the ability to project and beautifully shape a melody. We positioned lyric playing after fast playing because it requires more mature expression. We like to discuss the excitement of speed and the expressive quality of lyric […]


Level 5: The I-IV-V Tapestry

As we read and create music, we weave through a I-IV-V tapestry of primary chords. At Piano Adventures® Level 5, we ensure that the student can see and feel this structural tapestry for each tonal piece. Scales “Why learn scales?” students ask. Our answer? A scale reduces 88 keys to seven. Five keys are eliminated […]