About the Level

1. What are the contents of Preparatory Piano Literature?

See the title listing below.

Preparatory Piano Literature

Table of Contents (p. 3)

2. Do “Prep Lit” pieces go outside a 5-finger position?

The 12 pieces in Preparatory Piano Literature each remain in a 5-finger range—and retain all the sounds of classic style. So teachers can enjoy the ease of teaching these well-crafted, little classic gems to elementary students.

Preparatory Piano Literature

Allegretto, Little March (p. 4)

The Hero’s March (p. 13)

3. What else makes this collection preparatory?

The collection is preparatory for standard piano literature in 3 ways:

  • The pieces have passages in parallel motion to build finger coordination.

Five-Note Sonatina (p. 6)

  • The pieces have passages of imitation for finger independence.

Echoes (p. 5)

  • The pieces explore dance-like articulations for rhythmic vitality.

Ancient Dance (p. 12)

4. Does Prep Lit include dotted-quarter notes and 16th notes?

There are no patterns or notes in the book.

5. At what level of Piano Adventures could a student start Preparatory Piano Literature?

A student could start Preparatory Piano Literature in Level 2A at UNIT 7 where minor 5-finger scales are presented. Students can then recognize the major or minor 5-finger scale used in the pieces. Students are also equipped to transpose the pieces to major and minor keys.

Lesson Book 2A, UNIT 7

Major and Minor Sounds (p. 48)

A “fast” student could also start Preparatory Piano Literature earlier in Level 2A at UNIT 2 where transposition is introduced using major 5-finger scales.

Lesson Book 2A, UNIT 2

Ice Cream (p. 18)

A Level 2B student could begin Preparatory Piano Literature right in UNIT 1. The independence of the hands and suggestions for transposition offer a great review while delving into classical music!

6. Is there a chart of correlating pages from the method to the pieces in Prep Lit?

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

There is a wide path into classical literature, so the compositions are also correlated with pieces in the 3A 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!

7. Do you recommend transposing the pieces?

Transposing is highly recommended. So much so that transposing assignments are given with almost every piece!

The benefits of transposing are well known— using the “ear,” thinking intervals, and relating tonic, dominant, and leading tone to transposing all build theory understanding.

Transposition suggestions are shown at the bottom of the piece.

Preparatory Piano Literature

In an Old Castle (p. 9)

Ancient Dance (p. 13)

Minuet (p. 19)

8. There are 8 duets in the book. Why duets?

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, duets have been included to enrich the experience of playing these tiny classics.

Duets require rhythmic precision as well as attention to balance, dynamics, and articulation. They also create a fuller “sound picture” for the classical style.

Bring on the duets!

Preparatory Piano Literature

Five-Note Sonatina (p. 6)

Country Ride (p. 10)

The Hero's March (p. 13)

9. Should the student learn every piece in the book?

A good question! Ideally, yes. The pieces have been carefully chosen, and there is something to be gained pianistically from each.

However, if a piece is skipped, it can certainly be briefly “visited.”

The teacher and student might:

  • Say the composer’s name, note the dates, and read a short paragraph from “About the Composers”.

About the Composers (p. 2)

  • Listen to the teacher play as they both count aloud (1–2–3–4) during the performance. The student might clap on every downbeat as a rhythmic activity.
  • Then guide the student to observe 3 characteristics of the piece.

For “Sonatina” sample characteristics might be:

—The RH is in Treble C Position.

—Lines 1, 2, and 5 have the same notes.

—There is an echo in Line 3.

Sonatina (p. 18)

  • Have the student sightread the piece s-l-o-w-l-y hands together. Even if it is tricky! Or, have the student play just the RH while the teacher plays the LH.

10. Could an older beginner or adult study out of Prep Lit? At what point in the Accelerated and Adult method books could a student begin?

Yes, certainly. The older beginner could start in Accelerated Book 1 at UNIT 12. Intervals, sharps and flats, notes in Treble C position, and musical form have been presented. UNIT 12 presents the 3 G pentascales for a good entry point.

Accelerated Book 1, UNIT 12

Interval Study in G (p. 87)

Musette (p. 88)

The adult learner could start in Adult Piano Adventures Book 1 at UNIT 9. The same concepts have been covered as noted above.

Adult Piano Course, Book 1, UNIT 12

G Pentascales Warm-ups (p. 97)

Musette (p. 98)

About Technique

11. My student has a small hand. Are there octaves?

Preparatory Piano Literature has no octaves and the music lies well for the small hand. The largest interval is a fifth.

12. What keys are used?

Students will be pleased that only 3 keys are used: C major, G major, and A minor. Accidentals are rare.These straight-forward hand positions make it easier to explore elements of balance, finger coordination, and articulation inherent in classical music.

13. Are there technique exercises or a technical “regimen” you could recommend for Prep Lit?

To explore 5-finger technique, consider the Piano Adventures Scale and Chord Book 1. Here major and minor 5-finger exercises have a “5-step routine” to complete:

  • 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)

14. Does every piece need to be learned to a high-performance standard?

Ideal and perfect performances may not be realized at this early level of “dipping our toes” into the classics. However, notes and rhythms can be correct. Dynamics should always be encouraged.

What’s important is to introduce the refined classical sound to the student’s ear. To have fun with the Teacher Duets. 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!

About Online Support

15. What are the Adventure Learning Videos? How can a student use them?

Coming soon! These upcoming videos for each piece in Preparatory Piano Literature feature close-ups of the hands with simple text that taps the student’s “musical mind” with theory analysis and technique tips.

The Adventure Learning Videos can be useful in different ways.

  • The teacher has the student watch a Prep Lit 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 Prep Lit piece not presented at the lesson. This fosters independent learning. Students “adventure” on their own and grow in self-confidence.
  • 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 are currently available for the Primer Lesson Book of the Basic Piano Adventures method. View here.

16. Should students count the rhythm as they play?

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.

17. Is it possible to teach these pieces via Zoom? What are some ideas?

Yes, it is completely possible to teach Preparatory Piano Literature 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 Preparatory Piano Literature!

Here are some ideas for teaching Prep Lit in a zoom lesson.

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

Apply this to the first piece, “Allegretto”. These are sample ideas. Teachers can create original questions and responses.

Allegretto (p. 4)

Sample Zoom Questions for “Allegretto”

  1. How many measures are in this piece?
    “Good!”
  2. What’s unusual about the clef for the LH?
    “That’s right.”
  3. Is the same clef in the second line?
    “Correct again!.”
  4. What is the time signature and what does it mean?
    “Good, and we’ll keep at it.”
  5. What is the opening dynamic?
    “Good—forte!”
  6. Does the second line of music begin the same as the first?
    “It sure does.”
  7. The articulation in the first measure is two staccatos, then a half note.
    Is the articulation the same in the second measure?
    “Yes, indeed!”
  8. The piece begins p. In what measure does the dynamic change?
    “Yes, measure 5.”
  9. What is the new dynamic?
    “Yes, piano.”
  10. Is the sign in measure 4 a diminuendo or a crescendo?
    “Good! I won’t ask you to spell it.” 😊
  11. What do we call the curved line from m. 3 to m. 4?
    “Yes, a slur.”
  12. Do we have it for both hands?
    “Correct.”
  13. Look at the notes closely. Are the hands moving in the same direction—in parallel motion?
    “Yes, the hands are always going in the same direction.”
  14. Allegretto is the tempo mark at the top of the piece. Can you say that?
    Allegretto has two letters that are double letters. What are they?
    “Yes, two L’s and two T’s.
  15. Would you like to take a crack at spelling Allegretto?
  16. I’m going to play the piece. I’ll stop in one of the measures. Tell me in which measure I stopped.
  17. Optional: Screen share the Adventure Learning Video for Allegretto.
    The student reads the text that appears on the screen.
  18. Student tries out the piece, hands together or hands alone.

Assign the piece.

Special Questions

18. What if the student doesn’t really like classical music?

The goal of Piano Adventures is to “develop musical minds and hearts.” These are tender years to foster a love of piano. So, if the student is balking about learning classical music, it’s fine to carry on with the method (which has classics built into it) and pursue the many other opportunities for fun supplementary music. Consider a ShowTime Piano or ChordTime Piano book in the style of the student’s choice.

19. Are there creative activities I can do with Prep Lit?

Creative activities may be best pursued reinforcing theory basics of 5-finger scales.

The improvisation activities in the Piano Adventures Scale Book 1 are recommended.

The 5-finger scale is a “playing field” for creating within familiar limits.

For each 5-finger scale in Scale Book 1, an improvisation idea is provided to inspire imagery, character, and tempo.

While the Teacher Duet establishes meter and mood, the student can explore:

  • long notes and short notes.
  • forte sounds and piano
  • staccato and legato touches.
  • the use of rests.

Sample Teacher Improv Duets:

Piano Adventures Scale and Chord Book 1

Cm and Gm 5-Finger Scales (p. 8)

Improv ideas: A happy march, A starry night

F and B Flat 5-Finger Scales (p. 11)

Improv ideas: Hiking on a sunny day, Elephants playing

Cm and Gm 5-Finger Scales (p. 22)

Improv ideas: Trolls marching, Pirates dancing

Fm and B Flat m 5-Finger Scales (p. 25)

Improv ideas: Fall leaves, Horses strutting

20. 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 just a few ideas:

  • Simply ask questions. “What does Adagio mean? Review as needed.
  • Have the student draw symbols. “Draw a quarter note with an accent mark.”
  • Have the student demonstrate concepts on the piano. “Play some C chords with an accent on the last chord.”

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

Dictionary of Musical Terms (p. 24)