20Q & As for Piano Literature Book 2

About the Level

  1. How does the leveling coordinate with standard periods of classical music?
  2. What keys are used in Piano Literature Book 2?
  3. At what level of the Piano Adventures method could a student begin Piano Literature Book 2?
  4. Is there a Correlation Chart for Piano Literature Book 2 pieces to Level 3A and Level 3B?
  5. Should a student be doing any harmonic analysis?
  6. Do you recommend transposing any of the pieces?
  7. There is a Dictionary of Musical Terms at the end of the book. Should a student know all the terms?

About the Music Periods

  1. Why is it important to divide the book into Baroque, Classical, Romantic, and Contemporary music?
  2. How does studying musical form help to teach and learn the pieces in Piano Literature Book 2?
  3. Should a student play these pieces by memory? How can I help my student memorize a longer piece?
  4. What are musical characteristics of the Baroque Period?
  5. What are musical characteristics of the Classical Period?
  6. What are the musical characteristics of the Romantic Period?
  7. What are the musical characteristics of the Contemporary Period?
  8. Are there any duets in the book?

About Technique

  1. Are there technique exercises or a technical “regimen” you could recommend for Piano Literature Book 2?
  2. Should every piece be learned to a high-performance standard? And, should the student learn every piece?

About Online Support

  1. What are the Adventure Learning Videos? Are they available for pieces in Piano Literature Book 2?
  2. Are there audio performances with scrolling scores for Piano Literature Book 2?
  3. Is it possible to teach these pieces via Zoom through screen sharing? What are some ideas?

About the Level

1. How does the leveling coordinate with standard periods of classical music?

The selections in Piano Literature Book 2 are divided into the Baroque, Classical, Romantic, and Contemporary periods. In general, within each period the pieces become longer and more challenging.

2. What keys are used in Piano Literature Book 2?

The key range in this collection is quite attainable for early intermediate students:

Major keys are C, G, D, F, and a bi-tonal piece of A major with A major.

Minor keys are Am, Cm, Em, and Gm.

These expanding keys continue the student’s understanding of scale and chord relationships. Analyzing form, harmony, and the skill of transposing are key ingredients for building musicianship.

3. At what level of the Piano Adventures method could a student begin Piano Literature Book 2?

A student could start Piano Literature Book 2 at Level 3B, Level 4 and Level 5 depending on the student’s interest and ability.

4. Is there a Correlation Chart for Piano Literature Book 2 pieces to Level 3A and Level 3B?

Yes! The Piano Literature Book 2 Correlation Chart lists every composition in the book. It then links each composition with pieces in the 3B Lesson Book based on similar characteristics.

There is a wide path into classical literature, so the compositions are also correlated with pieces in the Level 4 Lesson Book.

Making musical connections between the Literature pieces and the Method pieces can be quite helpful in lesson planning. It gives teachers the opportunity for “musical chats” with the student—to compare form, keys, harmony, accompaniment patterns, and phrasing.

The Correlation Chart offers musical connections for classical adventures!

5. Should a student be doing any harmonic analysis?

At this later elementary level, harmonic analysis can focus on:

  • cadence points at the end of sections (tonic or dominant).
  • movement to the relative major or minor.

Surprise your students with this interesting harmonic activity!

  • First review I, IV, and V7 blocked chords in the key of the piece.
  • Then ask the student to play the RH melody harmonized with blocked primary chords for a section of the piece.

Students will be amazed at the simplicity of the harmony. They will also slowly begin to see single LH bass notes as part of a larger harmonic framework.

Here are a few suggestions to harmonize with blocked chords:

Piano Literature Book 2

King William’s March (pp. 4-5)

Harmonize mm. 1-8 with I, IV, and V7 chords in D major.

Dance in F Major (pp. 14-15)

Harmonize all of it with I, IV, and V7 chords in F major.

Old French Song (p. 36)

Harmonize mm. 1-16 with i, iv, and V7 chords in G minor.

6. Do you recommend transposing any of the pieces?

Transposition demands new skill as the student begins transposing using the full major/minor scale, complete with hand shifts. Using the “ear,” thinking intervals, seeing rhythmic and melodic patterns, and relating tonic and dominant to transposing all build theory understanding.

Consider assigning just 4-8 measures of a piece.

Here are a few suggestions:

Piano Literature Book 2

King William’s March (pp. 4-5)

Transpose mm. 1-8 to C major.

Menuet en Rondeau (p. 8)

Transpose mm. 1-8 to D major.

Air in D Minor (p. 10)

Transpose mm. 1-8 to A minor.

Dance in F Major (p. 14)

Transpose mm. 1-8 to G major.

7. There is a Dictionary of Musical Terms at the end of the book. Should a student know all the terms?

The teacher may choose how much to use the Dictionary of Musical Terms in a formal way. Aim for the student to be familiar with each term.

Here are a few ideas:

  • Simply ask questions. “What does Allegro mean? Review as needed.
  • Draw symbols. “Draw the symbol for cut time.”
  • Demonstrate concepts on the piano. “Play an A minor scale Adagio going up and Vivace going down.

Musical terms can be fun to review through telling, drawing, and demonstrating.

Dictionary of Musical Terms (pp. 46-47)

About the Music Periods

8. Why is it important to divide the book into Baroque, Classical, Romantic, and Contemporary music?

Organizing the book into these sections has these advantages:

Each piece is set into a specific period of music history. Teachers can coach students to see musical influences from one period to the next. They can also see new compositional techniques emerge as composers sought fresh ways of musical expression.

Students that study several pieces from a certain period (Baroque, for example) start to understand the characteristics of Baroque music. This nourishes their intellect in listening, learning, and even loving Baroque music.

Students may start to develop their own tastes based on a personal connection to a specific composer, or a certain stylistic sound at the piano.

9. How does studying musical form help to teach and learn the pieces in Piano Literature Book 2?

Everyone understands the layout of their own dwelling place. It is key to navigating our way around. Musical form is a kind of “layout of the dwelling place of the notes.”

Though the above metaphor is a little unusual, teachers may enjoy exploring it with their students, along with the traditional AB and ABA forms.

Introduction or “Entryway”

“The Bear” or Waltz Macabre” each have a very brief opening. Seeing these short introductory measures as the “entryway” or “foyer” prompts quick learning and memorization. It also offers the concept of a good beginning as one “steps into the piece.”

The Bear (p. 40)

Waltz Macabre (p. 41)

Main Theme or “Family Room”

Almost all pieces have a main theme: Menuet en Rondeau” and Écossaise”. There’s Sonatina in G Major” and The Happy Farmer”. And many more!

The main theme “family room” is truly the heart of the home. It is in the “home key.” Its melody and mood set the stage for the rest of the piece (house). It should be performed with certainty no matter what the dynamic mark. We know exactly where we are!

Menuet en Rondeau (p. 8)

Écossaise (pp. 18-19)

Sonatina in G Major (pp. 20-21)

The Happy Farmer (pp. 34-35)

Second Theme or “Office/Kids’ Area off the Living Room”

Many pieces have a secondary theme or “B” section that is connected to the main theme. There is a similarity in the surroundings, yet things have changed.

Development or ‘Back yard”

A lot is happening here! Some “slides and swing sets” and interesting things to enjoy. Though a development section is rare in Piano Literature Book 2, students can look forward to development sections in the next volumes.

Coda or “Garage”

A resting place. The Coda is also rare in Piano Literature Book 2. Yet we do see it in the ending of “Sonatina in G Major” and the contemporary pieces, “Waltz Macabre” and “Yiki”. A good ending is just as important as a good beginning.

Studying musical form develops a student’s “musical mind.” By taking a broader, structural look at the piece we see the notes are not the whole. The notes form the activity in each room.

Sonatina in G Major (p. 21)

Waltz Macabre (p. 43)

Yiki (p. 44)

10. Should a student play these pieces by memory? How can I help my student memorize a longer piece?

The following may be helpful teaching points for the Baroque section.

  1. Decorative notes such as trills or mordents.

Note: The teacher may coach the student to add these at the end of sections for “baroque seasoning.” Though these may not be written in the music, this was common practice at that time—a kind of pleasing “decoration.”

  1. Dance-like articulations for Baroques dances: minuet, air, bourée.
  2. Terraced dynamics for echo effects between repeated passages.
  3. Counterpoint, where two or more musical lines weave together —literally “note against note.”
  4. Popularity of binary and rounded binary musical forms.
  5. Use of the harpsichord. (Try pieces on a digital piano using the harpsichord setting for historic fun!)

For Download:

  • Piano Literature Book 2: Standard Periods of Music Chart
    Enjoy having it on hand at lessons for an easy reference!

The Periods of Music History (p. 2)

11. What are musical characteristics of the Baroque Period?

The following may be helpful teaching points for the Baroque section.

Note: The teacher may coach the student to add these at the end of sections for “baroque seasoning.” Though these may not be written in the music, this was common practice at that time—a kind of pleasing “decoration.”

  1. Decorative notes such as trills or mordents.
  2. Dance-like articulations for Baroques dances: minuet, air, bourée.
  3. Terraced dynamics for echo effects between repeated passages.
  4. Counterpoint, where two or more musical lines weave together —literally. “note against note.”
  5. Popularity of binary and rounded binary musical forms.

6. Use of the harpsichord. (Try pieces on a digital piano using the harpsichord setting for historic fun!)

For Download:

  • Piano Literature Book 2: Standard Periods of Music Chart
    Enjoy having it on hand at lessons for an easy reference!

The Periods of Music History (p. 2)

12. What are musical characteristics of the Classical Period?

The following may be helpful teaching points for the Classical section.

  1. Well-balanced, elegant melodies.
  2. Symmetrical “question and answer” phrases.
  3. Use of sonata and sonatina (“little sonata”) forms.
  4. “Homophonic” textures of melody plus accompaniment.
  5. Simple harmony that stays within the key known as diatonic
  6. Only occasional passages of counterpoint.
  7. Use of contrasting moods.

For Download:

  • Piano Literature Book 2: Standard Periods of Music Chart
    Enjoy having it on hand at lessons for an easy reference!

The Periods of Music History (p. 2)

13. What are the musical characteristics of the Romantic Period?

The following may be helpful teaching points for the Romantic section.

  1. Programmatic titles such as Gurlitt’s “In the Garden.”
  2. Song-like melodies with richer, colorful harmonies.
  3. More dramatic dynamics and use of accents.
  4. Greater use of the damper pedal for expressivity.
  5. Little use of counterpoint.
  6. Movement away from sonatinas to other musical forms: mazurkas, marches, preludes, descriptive programmatic songs.

For Download:

  • Piano Literature Book 2: Standard Periods of Music Chart
    Enjoy having it on hand at lessons for an easy reference!

The Periods of Music History (p. 2)

14. What are the musical characteristics of the Contemporary Period?

The following may be helpful teaching points for the Contemporary section.

  1. Music that is less lyrical than in the Romantic period.
  2. Use of cluster chords and dissonant sounds.
  3. Use of “bitonality” (two key centers played at the same time).
  4. Use of percussive effects; staccatos, sforzando, other accents.
  5. More accidentals and passages outside the primary key.
  6. Use of ostinato as a compositional tool.

For Download:

  • Piano Literature Book 2: Standard Periods of Music Chart.
    Enjoy having it on hand at lessons for an easy reference!

The Periods of Music History (p. 2)

15. Are there any duets in the book?

There is a pleasant history of four-hand duets and classical piano literature. Young Amadeus Mozart and his sister Nannerl come to mind!

In that spirit, one four-hand duet has been included in each collection: Literature Books 1, 2, 3 and 4. (Many duets are in Preparatory Piano Literature.)

Duets also create a fuller “musical picture” for the classical style.

Piano Literature Book 1

Waltz for Four Hands (pp. 24-25)

About Technique

16. Are there technique exercises or a technical “regimen” you could recommend for Piano Literature Book 2?

To explore technique for Piano Literature Book 2, consider these:

1. Level 3B Technique & Artistry Book

Unique “Technique Secrets” and exercises pair well with Piano Lit Book 2. The Piano Lit Book 2 Correlation Chart may guide the order of learning.

Here are some sample pages:

Level 3B Technique Secrets (pp. 2-3)

Graceful Ski Run (p. 6)

LH/RH Octave Bounce (p. 20)

Arpeggio Whirl (p. 26)

Czerny’s Allegro (p. 37)

2. Level 4 Technique & Artistry Book

This book also has unique “Technique Secrets” and exercises to use with Piano Lit Book 2. It is a bit more advanced than Piano Lit Book 2, but can still be a good choice for technical and artistic partnering. The Correlation Chart may guide the order of learning.

Here are some sample pages:

Level 4 Technique Secrets (pp. 2-3)

Scale Toccata in C (p. 6)

Virtuoso Chord Patterns (p. 16)

Inner Voices (p. 24)

Left Hand Finger Races (p. 36)

3. Piano Adventures Scale and Chord Book 2

This book presents one-octave scales in all major and minor keys.

Each scale uses a Scale Routine.

    • The scale is played hands separately with a crescendo and
    • Without stopping, the scale is played in parallel and contrary motion.
    • Pedaled Primary Chords create a rich harmonic ending to the Routine.

Each Scale Routine leads to a Scale Challenge.

    • Each Challenge presents a new pianistic scale pattern as a workout.
    • This scale pattern is transposed to other keys.
    • The student’s technique grows in practicing and transposing scale patterns found throughout classical piano music.

One-octave major/minor arpeggios are also included in the book.

Here are some sample pages:

G Major Scale Routine and Scale Challenge (p. 7)

F Major Scale Routine and Scale Challenge (p. 14)

Minor Arpeggios for RH (p. 48)

Chord Progression and Harmony (p. 52)

17. Should every piece be learned to a high-performance standard? And, should the student learn every piece?

Ideal and perfect performances may not be realized at this early level of “dipping our toes” into the classics. However, artistic performances can certainly be achieved.

Most important is to introduce the refined classical sound to the student’s ear. To understand that classical music is based on easily learned theory concepts; major and minor scales, simple musical form, and symmetrical phrases. It can even be transposed around the keyboard!

Students may not remember every classical piece studied, but they can remember the theory gleaned through adventurous teaching that builds understanding.

About Online Support

18. What are the Adventure Learning Videos? Are they available for pieces in Piano Literature Book 2?

Adventure Learning Videos for the Literature Books are currently being created.

The Piano Literature Book 2 will feature close-ups of the hands with simple text that taps the student’s “musical mind” with theory analysis and technique tips.

Please check back!

The Adventure Learning Videos can be useful in different ways.

  • The teacher has the student watch a Piano Literature Book 2 video at home for a piece presented at the lesson. Since it offers unique practice support, the video reminds the student of key musical points for a successful next lesson.
  • The teacher may assign a new Piano Literature Book 2 piece not presented at the lesson. This fosters independent learning. Students “adventure” on their own and grow in confidence in their ability to learn.
  • The teacher may invite the parent to view the video with the child at home. Thus the parent joins the learning process and may learn as well.
  • The teacher shares an Adventure Learning Video at a Zoom lesson. The student reads the text aloud in order to participate as well as watch.
  • The teacher shows the video at a group lesson to introduce the piece.

The Adventure Learning Videos will also be available for each Lesson Book of the Basic Piano Adventures method. Check back to explore videos for the Level 3B and Level 4 Lesson Book.

19. Are there audio performances with scrolling scores for Piano Literature Book 2?

A musical example is often worth a thousand words. We are pleased to include audio recordings of the selections by pianist Randall Faber. Access audio via the code on the inside front cover of your book.

In addition, Piano Adventures Teacher Atlas members can cue up the audio recordings directly from the onscreen pages. Just click the music note icon next to each title.

Videos that display the notated score in synchronization with the audio are also available. See the Repertoire Library inside Faber Technique & Artistry Online and assign videos for study via the Student Link feature.

20. Is it possible to teach these pieces via Zoom through screen sharing? What are some ideas?

Yes, it is completely possible to teach Piano Literature Book 1 in a Zoom lesson.

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 Piano Literature Book 2!

Here are two concepts for teaching Piano Literature Book 2 in a Zoom lesson.

  • Have the student become very familiar with the score before
  • Accomplish this through questions that require active responses from the student. Keep the discussion light, upbeat, and “congratulatory” for correct answers.

Let’s apply this to the Classical piece, “Prelude in A Minor”.

Prelude in A Minor (pp. 12-13)

  1. The title of this piece tells us it is in A minor. What is the tonic, dominant and leading tone in the key of A minor? (Coach as needed.)
    “Yes. A is the tonic, E is the dominant, and G# is the leading tone.
    We know the leading tone is always a half step below the tonic. Easy!”
  2. Play an A harmonic minor scale for each hand? (Coach as needed.)
    “Good!”
  3. Look at the first section. What do you notice about the LH?
    “Yes, it is essentially all A.”
  4. What broken chord is in the last measure of the A section?
    “Yes, A minor.”
  5. Listen to me play the A section. (Do) What am I doing with the RH?
    (Play the A section slowly, playing the RH notes as blocked chords.)
    “Yes, I played the RH notes together. We call that blocking chords.”
  6. Your turn! Play the A section slowly with RH blocked chords. Then repeat the section playing them as broken chords. Use the pedal, too!
    “Very good. That’s the idea.”
  7. Assign the rest of the piece. Or if you like, continue with more questions.
    (Continuing)
  8. Look at the LH for the B section. What is the line under the first LH note?
    “Yes, a tenuto mark. We give just little emphasis to this note.”
  9. Would you play just the LH notes? Notice there is a tenuto mark on every other Notice also the descending line of the LH part.
    “Good reading. That’s quite different from the A section, isn’t it? There the LH remained on A throughout.”
  10. Almost to the end of the questions! Tell me, where does the LH play an octave on E?
    “Yes, at measures 20-21.”

What note is E in the key of A minor—tonic, dominant, or leading tone?
“Yes, the dominant.”

And does it resolve, as we say,” to the tonic?
“Yes, it does, so typical of Classical music.”

  1. Who is the composer? What were his dates? Did you know that Johann Christian Bach was Johann Sebastian’s son? Can you do some math and figure out his life span? (Have a brief discussion if you like.)
  2. In its original meaning, a prelude was a piece that was played before something else, like a ceremony or service. For fun this week, play the Prelude first in your practice!

This kind of energetic back and forth using screen sharing keeps the student focused on the score and follow-up playing. The teacher’s role is to pique the student’s “musical mind” through questions.

This method is not new, but very old, dating all the way back to Socrates and his student Plato. This system of learning was known as the “dialectic method.” A teacher asks questions to help the student define terms and make clear and correct observations. The student may also actively ask questions.

Perhaps in our modern time, dialectic and digital directions can go hand and hand for proactive piano teaching!