1. Why is the Accelerated Course a good start for the older beginner?

The Accelerated 1 Books open the “world of piano” to older beginners through wholistic learning. As students learn a great variety of pieces for correct rhythm, notes, and dynamics, they also explore improvisation, sightreading, and musical analysis.

Note names are presented in easily accessible “sets of notes” while also learning to read by intervals and musical patterns. Different ways to decipher the “musical code”create strong music readers.

In addition, playing the “ultimate instrument” is made more adventurous with teacher duets and colorful orchestrations for a great ensemble experience—from a race car rally, to “Surprise Symphony” sounds, to a hard drivin’ blues.

Wholistic leads to artistic!

2. What is the best age to begin the Accelerated Course?

The age span for Accelerated 1 Books is 11 through 17-year-old beginners. The Accelerated 1 Books move at a faster pace than the Primer Books from Basic Piano Adventures. The older beginner is more adept intellectually than a young beginner and able to focus for a longer period of time. In addition, many older beginners have had some music background from school, and in some cases, play a second instrument or sing in a choir.

The books feature tasteful artwork and the titles span the 11-17 age group well. Sample titles include “Amazing Grace,” “Pep Rally,” “Water Lilies” and the classic “Eine Kleine Nachtmusik.”

A valuable feature in the Lesson Book is the opening “Getting to Know You” page. Here students can relay information about the type of piano at home, if anyone else in the family plays a musical instrument, music classes at school, if they can play any tune “by ear,” and much more. (See below.)

Accelerated 1 Lesson Book

Getting to Know You (p. 4)

3. Do I need to use all four core books: Lesson, Theory, Technique & Artistry, and Performance?

The four core Accelerated 1 Books form a set for wholistic learning and correlate by page number. The Theory, Technique & Artistry, and Performance Books give fresh perspectives for concepts in the Accelerated 1 Lesson Book. It is possible a teacher could substitute a different solo book than the Performance Book. However, the precise tie-in of concepts in the core books is hard to beat. The older beginner student is making connections—connections that form the “musical mind”—and the more efficient these connections are made the better.

The core books address things easy to miss in lessons: ear-training, sightreading, improvisation, and importantly, technique for continuing skill and artistry. Taking the time for deeper learning using the four core Accelerated 1 Books prepares students for success in Accelerated 2 Books.

4. How do I fit all four core books into a lesson?

The three most important books are the Lesson Book, the Theory Book, and the Technique & Artistry Book. A 30-minute lesson allows about 10 minutes per book. A 45-minute lesson, recommended for the older beginner, offers a time advantage for using all four books.

If time is short, consider demonstrating the Performance Book piece while the student watches the music. Give a few pointers, then assign to learn at home as an “independent study.” This gives the teacher an opportunity to see what is easy and what is challenging at the next lesson.

For the Theory Book, the teacher might do the first example on a page with the student, then assign to complete at home. With careful lesson planning and efficient use of lesson time, the four books can be implemented, even if one book is not covered in some lessons.

5. What is the reading approach in the Accelerated 1 Books?

The reading approach covers these basic areas taking the student from sound to sight.

See samples below.

  • First, exercises on the full keyboard away from the staff orient and prepare students to read on the staff.
  • Second, basic rhythms are introduced to play at different metronome speeds. This focused presentation of only rhythm lays the foundation for reading the note values on the grand staff.
  • Third, pre-reading notation introduces intervals of a second and third. This functions as beginning technique. Familiarity of the “feel” of seconds and thirds brings ease when reading the same notation on the staff. Larger intervals (2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, and octave) are introduced later in the book.
  • Fourth, “sets of notes” are introduced gradually with discreet note names. Within this set of notes, students read basic rhythms (#2 above) that use intervals (#3 above) and that now create musical patterns.

Think: basic rhythms to notes to intervals to musical patterns

Accelerated 1 Lesson Book

Orientation to the keyboard

Wind Chimes (p. 7)

The Music Alphabet (pp. 8-9)

Basic rhythms

The Rhythm Flag (p. 10)

Sets of notes and intervals

Reading 2nds with D-E-F (p. 20)

Jump Shots (p. 42)

Locomotive Rhythms (p. 43)

Dreamscape (p. 50)

Guide Note Pinball (p. 54)

English Minuet (p. 55)

G Pentascales (p. 86)

Note: Sharps, flats, naturals, and chords are introduced within this framework.

6. How and when are 8th notes introduced?

Eighth notes are introduced on page 36 of the Accelerated 1 Lesson Book. Up to this point there have been no 8th notes. Instead, these early pages emphasize a natural, rather quick pulse with basic rhythms. This creates a more flowing approach to rhythm with an emphasis to play “over the bar line.” (All too often, if 8th notes predominate from the very first lessons, the result can be a plodding, arhythmic sound—something to avoid.)

Once students have learned a basic set of notes and can maintain a strong, rhythmic pulse, then 8th notes are introduced formally with patterned songs, theory activities, and technique with five-finger scales and exercises.

See examples.

Accelerated 1 Lesson Book

Patterned composer pieces, arranged

Waltz (p. 49)

Musette (p. 88)

Accelerated 1 Technique & Artistry Book

Technique exercises with 8th notes

Finger Fanfare (p. 30)

Accelerated 1 Theory Book

Theory activities

Rhythm Workout (p. 62)

7. What is the best way to count 8th notes for the accelerated student?

Teachers may use a “combo approach” to count 8th notes. The first two counting methods may be used as introductory in the beginning. Then quickly move to metric counting.

  • Syllables, such as “ta” for quarter notes and “ti-ti” for two 8th notes.
  • Descriptive words, such as “walk” for quarters and “run-ning” for 8ths.
  • Numbers for metric counting: 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 +

With 8th notes on the scene, routinely choose 4-8 measures of a piece to tap and count aloud with the student, subdividing the beat.

“1 + 2 + 3 + 4 +”

The teacher may model these measures and the student then imitates. Or, the student and teacher may tap and count aloud together.

This strategy creates an easier, “bite-sized” entrée into metric counting. Without laboriously counting the entire piece aloud, students can develop fluency with short, focused counting exercises.

Accelerated 1 Lesson Book

French Minuet (p. 37)

Sugarfoot Rag (pp. 74-75)

8. Are chords taught in Accelerated 1 Books?

Yes, I and V7 chords are taught in the Accelerated 1 Lesson Book. Chords are prepped with a good selection of pieces that use a blocked 5th to build the arch of the hand. Tonic and dominant is also presented as a lead-in to the I chords.

Accelerated 1 Lesson Book

Blocked 5th pieces as “prep.”

Bagpipes (p. 56)

Forest Drums (pp. 66-67)

Intro of tonic-dominant notes.

Two-Note Flight (p. 76)

Forest Drums (pp. 66-67)

The I chord is built root-3rd-5th.

Chord Crossings (p. 78)

I’ve Got Music (pp. 80-81)

The V7 chord is prepped through the interval of a 6th as the outer “shell.”

Harmony Sounds (p. 82)

Trumpet Tune (p. 83)

The final Lesson Book piece in G major with I and V7 chords.

Polovtsian Dance (pp. 92-93)

9. How is the damper pedal used in Accelerated 1 Books?

Pedaling is occasionally used in Accelerated 1 Books for the entire piece to create a sustained, impressionistic sound. It is also used to give touches of musical color, such as for an introduction or ending.

Accelerated 1 Lesson Book

Pedal held throughout the piece.

Fife and Drum (p. 18)

Chinese Dragon (p. 62)

Accelerated 1 Performance Book

Pedal held for a few measures as color tones.

The Spanish Guitar (p. 10)

Clock Tower Bells (p. 11)

10. Do students transpose in Accelerated 1 Books?

The word “transpose” means to “put across or over.” Most transposing occurs in Accelerated 2—once students have learned a wider selection of 5-finger scales.

However, in Accelerated 1, once the student learns the G 5-finger scale, many pieces may be transposed to C as the teacher wishes. Even this simple transposition yields important results.

  • It highlights theory as students apply new scales to familiar pieces.
  • It develops technique through pattern recognition in other keys.
  • It strengthens reading by interval.

(Note: Teachers can teach other 5-finger scales earlier at their discretion.)

Accelerated 1 Lesson Book

Hard-Drivin' Blues (transpose to C, p. 89)

Toccatina (transpose to C, pp. 90-91)

Accelerated 1 Performance Book

The San Francisco Trolley (transpose to C, pp. 34-35)

March of the English Guard (transpose to C pp. 36-37)

11. What are the Technique Secrets and how do they help?

Technique at the piano requires more than finger muscles. It involves sophisticated body motion between the body, arm, wrist, and finger. We call these motions “technique gestures.”

At each level of Piano Adventures, the student is introduced to level-appropriate Technique Secrets that promote fluent playing while preventing bad habits. These “secrets” are used as daily warm-ups for the exercises that follow in the book. This combination of secrets and exercises leads to an Artistry Magic Piece at the end of each unit. These pieces allow the elementary student to demonstrate artistry based on fine technique learned earlier.

Accelerated 1 Technique & Artistry Book has 9 Technique Secrets, each with a unique name.

Part 1

  • Rounded Hand Shape
  • Firm Fingertips
  • Correct Thumb Position
  • Arm Weight
  • Relaxed Wrist

Part 2

  • Finger Independence
  • Light Hand Bounce
  • Light Thumb
  • Wrist Float-off

Check out book pages below.

Accelerated 1 Technique & Artistry Book

Technique Secrets—Part One (pp. 4-5)

Technique Secrets—Part Two (pp. 28-29)

Check out sample videos here.

12. When should I use the Accelerated Book 1 Sightreading and how?

The Accelerated 1 Sightreading Book builds confident readers in two ways: recognition of individual notes and perception of rhythmic and melodic patterns.

And for the older beginner, learning music quickly for confidence is essential. Consider beginning the Sightreading Book promptly for “note immersion.”

The book is organized into sets of 5 exercises, for 5 days of practice. Each set presents variations on a piece from the Accelerated 1 Lesson Book. Play one exercise a day, completing one set per week.

Students may begin the Sightreading Book as early as “My Invention” on p. 19.

Here are several ways to use the Accelerated 1Sightreading Book.

  • Teachers listen to the sightreading example for just “Day 1” at the lesson. Assign the next pages of the 5-day set to sightread at home. At the following lesson, the teacher might choose one sample “Day” from that set to hear. Then assign the next set.
  • If teaching 30-minute lessons, teachers might consider using the Sightreading Book in place of the Performance Book.
  • Some teachers enjoy using the Sightreading Book at the lesson to introduce a new note or piece. The student then learns the correlating Lesson Book piece at home as an independent study.
  • The Sightreading Book can be used as a final end-of-level project. Before starting Accelerated 2 Books, take several weeks to assign multiple pages of the Accelerated 1 Sightreading Book, along with a ShowTime Book. Students can enjoy a change of pace in their practice routine, while celebrating all the notes they have learned.
  • Note: For reading support, Piano Adventures Flashcards are also available.

Accelerated 1 Sightreading Book

Chart Your Progress (pp. 2-3)

English Minuet (sample set, pp. 54-56)

13. Is it okay to add extra notes or chords to an arrangement if the student is able to do this?

Yes, feel free to do so!

  • Add more chords (or a simple LH 5th) in certain measures.
  • Create a hands-together passage with the LH notes played an octave lower.
  • Create an ending by playing the last line an octave higher—or lower.
  • Explore different dynamics and write them in the music.

Have a little adventure. Add your own touch to the song!

14. Are there lead sheets in Accelerated 1 Books?

Yes, there are two lead sheets in the Accelerated 1 Theory Book. The first lead sheet, “Jingle Bells” is in the key of C and uses I and V7 chords. The second, “Gavotte” is in the key of G and also harmonizes with I and V7 chords.

Note: Roman numerals are used for this lead sheets as the student is learning this terminology. A teacher could additionally teach the chord letter names if they chose: C and G7, and G and D7.

Accelerated 1 Theory Book

Jingle Bells Lead Sheet (pp. 56-57)

Gavotte Lead Sheet (p. 61)

About the Accelerated 1 Student

15. How long should an older beginner practice?

Ideally, a student should quickly be practicing 30 minutes a day. You may have heard the witty piano slogan, “The best players are on the bench.” The accelerated student can easily understand this wisdom.

A practice assignment can include as many pieces as possible for that unique individual, theory page(s), and Technique & Artistry exercises. The Performance Book and/or Sightreading Book can round out a wholistic practice assignment.

Consider having a practice section for review pieces or “just for fun” pieces, if you like. These allow the student to bring a piece to a higher level of performance. The teacher can also assign songs to be memorized. Finally, review pieces invite creative ventures, such as making up a new ending to a song.

Other motivational repertoire is addressed in Question 17.

16. How is creativity integrated into Accelerated 1 Books?

There are many opportunities to compose and improvise in Accelerated 1. These activities are integrated throughout the level and bring support to new concepts.

Accelerated 1 Theory Book

Improvisations with a teacher duet.

Soft, Tinkling Bells, Deep Rich Gongs (p. 3)

Carefree Day Improv (p. 41)

First composing activities.

First Composition (p. 12)

Composing a Theme a la Beethoven (pp. 32-33)

Compose Your Own Musette (p. 60)

17. What music can Accelerated 1 students play for extra fun?

The PreTime to BigTime Piano Library is a 6-level library of motivational, supplementary piano pieces in varied styles— from Popular and Jazz & Blues to Classics, Christmas, and RagTime.

The faster pace of Accelerated 1 spans two of these levels: PlayTime Piano (Level 1), and for the second half of the book, ShowTime Piano (Level 2A).

A student could start “PlayTime” around Unit 1 in the Lesson Book.
See books and song titles for PlayTime Piano.

PlayTime Piano Series (11 styles)

A student could start “ShowTime” around Unit in the Lesson Book.

See books and song titles for the ShowTime Piano.

ShowTime Piano Series (12 styles)

Both PlayTime and ShowTime Books offer effective repertoire in 3 ways:

  • They help with understanding basic rhythms with 8th notes.
  • They offer great reinforcement of notes and intervallic reading.
  • They prepare students for a smooth transition into Accelerated 2 Books.

See books and song titles for the ShowTime Piano Books.

Students may also enjoy the Accelerated 1 Christmas Book with “sightreading stocking stuffers, and Accelerated 1 Popular Repertoire Book.

18. Should an Accelerated Book 1 student be in a scale book?

To explore 5-finger technique—and depending on the progress of the student— the teacher could consider the Piano Adventures Scale and Chord Book 1. Or, it’s also fine to wait until Accelerated 2 where 5-finger scales are presented more fully.

For those interested, the books present major and minor 5-finger exercises with a 5-step routine:

  • play legato forte and piano.
  • play staccato forte and piano.
  • say the letter names.
  • play by memory.
  • improvise using the scale with the Teacher Duet.

Some sample pages:

Piano Adventures Scale and Chord Book 1

Major 5-Finger Scales (p. 8)

Major Cross-Hand Arpeggios (p. 16)

Minor 5-Finger Scales (p. 23)

Minor Cross-Hand Arpeggios (p. 31)

19. Can I teach an Accelerated 1 student online? What are some teaching tips?

Yes, it is completely possible to teach the core Accelerated 1 Books in an online lesson, such as Zoom.

The best way to do this is through subscribing to the Teacher Atlas and using its screen-sharing capability. All books in the Faber Library are available for viewing and screen sharing—including the Accelerated 1 Books and the supplementary PlayTime Books and ShowTime Books.

Here are some ideas for teaching the Lesson Book in an online lesson.

NOTE: Have the student become very familiar with the music before playing. Accomplish this through questions that require active responses from the student. Keep the discussion light, upbeat, and “congratulatory” as the student answers.

Let’s apply this to the first Unit 3 piece, “Planetarium.” These are sample ideas. Teachers can create original questions and responses.

Accelerated 1 Lesson Book

Planetarium (p. 26)

Sample Online Questions for “Planetarium”

  1. Let’s take a look at the opening piece in Unit 3, “Planetarium.” At the top of the page it says, “Learning Bass Clef G.” Can you read the text below? (Student reads.)
    “Very good!”
  2. On the right staff we see Bass F in black and the new note G is on the space just above. I’m going to play F and G with my L.H. and then you copy me back. (Do)
    “Very good again!”
  3. Now I’m going to make up a pattern with these two notes. My first note will be F. Listen and copy me back. (Play F F G G l F ______l
    (Student copies.)
    “That’s it.”
  4. Can you make up a short pattern for me? (Student does.)
    “Nice pattern. I’ll copy!”
  5. Now let’s look at the piece and analyze the patterns.
    Name the opening two L.H. notes.
    “Right. F and G.”
  6. Play L.H. finger 2 on the F so you’re all set to play.
    Now name the first two R.H. notes.
    “Right, C and D.”
    Place your R.H. thumb on C.
    “Very good.”
  7. The first measure makes a pattern—two L.H. notes and 2 R.H. notes.
    Can you play the 1st line of music without pedal?
    “Good. The last note was Treble G—like a higher note in the sky.”
  8. Now play it pressing the damper down and listen to the sound.
    Take the repeat!
    “Very well done.”
  9. Look at the notes in the last line. It’s almost the same as the first line
    except for one thing. Can you spot it? How about playing the last line for
    me with pedal.
  10. Now look at the middle line of music. The first line was mostly quarter notes. But this line is all what kind of note?
    “Yes, half notes.”
  11. It starts forte on Treble G, then goes to mezzo forte. Listen to me play.
    Now you’re turn.
    “Very good.”
  12. Now you’re ready to play the entire song as a solo!
    “Good reading of patterns.”
  13. IF TIME: That went so well. Let’s do a creative. As you repeat the 1st
    line, can you move your hands up an octave? To the next higher F and C?
    Listen to me play. (Do, and also play the last 5th up the keyboard in higher

Did you hear how I made a special ending too with the last measure?
Would you like to try the creative?

“That was cool. Do you like it better than the written version? If so, practice it
that way at home. And feel free to try out little changes. Well done!”

About Accelerated 1 Audio Files

20. What are the audio files and how could I use them?

Orchestrated accompaniments for Accelerated 1 Books pieces are available in the Audio Cloud and Piano Adventures Player app. Have fun exploring with your students!

Preview a track a week before teaching it at the lesson. As you listen together, discuss the sound. Is the piece cheerful or sad? Is the tempo fast or slow? Can you name one of the instruments that is playing?

Playing with a background accompaniment demands correct rhythm, and can be more fun than using a metronome. Students learn to feel the meter and understand the need to “keep going.” Demonstrate with the practice tempo track and point to each note in time, or chant the lyrics, finger numbers, or note names.

Many of the accompaniments encourage free improvisation on the black or white keys. These extra measures offer opportunities to create original sounds.

The musical vignettes in this series introduce the student to a variety of musical sounds and ensembles, such as the marching band, chamber orchestra, jazz ensemble, rock band, and more. Which styles are your favorites?