About the Level

1. Why is this level called ChordTime Piano?

The name “ChordTime” suggests exactly that—to play chords!

The level presents primary chords (I, IV, and V7) in three keys:
C major, G major, and F major.

ChordTime Books support 3 musical outcomes:

  • to bring C, G, and F major scales with primary chords into a student’s “musical toolkit.”
  • to recognize I, IV, and V7 chord accompaniments: blocked chords, broken chords, waltz chord pattern, etc.
  • to play these chords with confidence in different musical settings.

ChordTime presents pianistic, chord-oriented, mid-elementary repertoire.

2. When could a Level 2B student start a ChordTime Book?

The Level 2B Lesson Book presents I, IV, and V7 chords at these points:

Key of C Primary Chords (p. 51)

Key of G Primary Chords (p. 54)

Key of F Primary Chords (p. 62)

Many students can begin ChordTime earlier because of the format. The books are organized into 3 sections by key: C major, G major, and F major. Each section begins with Chord Warm-ups using the primary chords of the key.

A teacher can teach these chords at any point using the warm-ups.

ChordTime Disney Book

Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious (p. 4)

ChordTime Popular Book

Star Wars (Main Theme) (p. 14)

ChordTime Christmas Book

Deck the Halls (p. 24)

Student interest is the key ingredient. If the student learns primary chords first through the ChordTime Warm-ups, when the student arrives at UNIT 9 in the 2B Lesson Book there is usually an enthusiastic, “Hey, I already know that!” And confidence gets a boost!

3. Which is the easiest ChordTime Book to teach first?

The best ChordTime Book to start with is the one that appeals most to the student.

A student might be excited to play blockbuster songs that are familiar and fun. For this, ChordTime Disney could be a good choice.

ChordTime Disney Book

Be Our Guest (p. 8)

Bella Notte (p. 16)

How Far I'll Go (p. 26)

Another good choice might be ChordTime Popular. “Popular” suggests something fun for everyone.

ChordTime Popular Book

Lean On Me (p. 4)

Heart and Soul (p. 10)

Can You Feel The Love Tonight (p. 26)

ChordTime Christmas offers holiday favorites. Try starting in mid-October. See if the student can learn the entire book to enjoy over the holidays!

ChordTime Christmas Book

Silent Night (p. 4)

Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer (p. 14)

The Twelve Days of Christmas (p. 26)

The teacher should be aware that certain musical styles, by their nature, present more rhythmic challenge: ChordTime Classics, ChordTime Rock ’n Roll, and ChordTime Jazz & Blues.

ChordTime Classics Book

Theme from Trumpet Concerto in Eb (p. 6)

ChordTime Rock ‘n Roll Book

Wipe Out (p. 16)

ChordTime Jazz & Blues Book

Watermelon Man (p. 24)

4. Which concepts are included in ChordTime Books?

  • The complete C, G, and F major scales.
  • I, IV, and V7 chords with varying accompaniment patterns.
  • The pattern, and the
  • Cross-hand arpeggios.
  • Connected pedaling.

5. Should a student start at the beginning of a book, or is it fine to skip around?

The teacher may enjoy assigning a specific piece that seems “just right”—even if not in the exact order of the contents.

It is always advisable for the student to know the scale and primary chords of any piece before learning it. Generally, students find the order of the sections (Key of C, Key of G, Key of F) a good progression. And within these sections pieces are loosely organized according to difficulty.

However, the “right piece at the right time” can offer adventure! The well-chosen piece sparks enthusiasm, encouraging the student to rise to the musical occasion.

6. Could I use a ChordTime Book instead of the method?

ChordTime Books are designed as supplementary repertoire to use with Piano Adventures Level 2B. They offer a variety of pieces that appeal to mid-elementary students while strengthening reading and rhythmic skills.

  • A ChordTime Book might be used concurrently with the 2B Lesson Book as a “special reward.”
  • ChordTime Books might be used at the end of Level 2B to consolidate skills before moving to Level 3A.
  • A teacher could assign a ChordTime piece independently to check how students apply what they know.

7. How is the damper pedal used for ChordTime?

Pedaling is used in two ways in ChordTime pieces to give touches of musical color.

Several measures of a piece may be pedaled to give a more fluid sound.

ChordTime Hits Book

Try Everything (p. 14)

Connected pedaling is taught in the 2B Lesson Book (pp. 36-37). ChordTime pieces offer an opportunity for students to hone their “listening and foot technique” for clean, artistic pedaling.

ChordTime Disney Book

Circle of Life (p. 18)

8. Should students do the Chord Warm-ups for each key?

It is highly recommended that students do the Chord Warm-ups for each key. The American playwright and poet Paul Schmidt reminds us that “Repetition is a form of change.”

Consider having students memorize the Chord Warm-up.

The teacher might also ask students to create their own variations. A small adventurous twist can enliven even a Chord Warm-up!

9. Could students transpose pieces from ChordTime?

When the student begins transposing outside the 5-finger position, transposition takes on new significance. Using the “ear,” thinking intervals, and relating tonic, dominant, and leading tone all build important theory skills.

Rather than transposing an entire song, consider assigning a section of a piece.

ChordTime Popular Book

Lean On Me (p. 4)

After learning the primary chords in G, transpose mm. 1-8 to G major. The required F# will showcase the key!

ChordTime Classics Book

Largo (p. 10)

Transpose mm. 1-8 to G major.

ChordTime Christmas Book

Joy to the World (p. 6)

Transpose the entire piece to C major.

Students become “keyboard smart” with short transposition workouts!

10. How could I maximize the pedagogical value of ChordTime?

  • Have students memorize all the Scale and Chord Warm-ups. Then make up their own variation of the warm-up!
  • Have students scan the page and point out measures that repeat (before or after they play the piece). This builds pattern recognition.
  • Have students name the I, IV, and V7 chords aurally. Or write them in for a section. Tell students that Roman numerals are always written below the grand staff. This builds harmonic analysis.
  • Have students transpose a short section of the music (4 to 8 measures).
  • Have students find the highest note in the music. The lowest. This builds the ability to quickly scan the score.
  • Have students do the count-off to set the tempo.
  • Use the dictionary at the end to strengthen the meaning of musical terms.
  • Choose 4-8 measures to tap and count aloud “1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + .” The teacher may model and the student imitate. Or student and teacher may tap and count together. This reinforces metric counting.

About the Styles

11. Why are there so many styles within ChordTime Piano?

The best way to “get good” at playing chords is to play chords. Lots of them!
Different styles may use chords in different ways:

This variety builds musicianship. There are 14 styles from which to choose!
Christmas, Classics, Disney, Favorites, Hits, Hymns, Jazz & Blues, Jewish Favorites, Kids’ Songs, Music from China, Popular, Ragtime & Marches, Rock ’n Roll, and the Faber Studio Collection.

Why so many styles? In addition to offering a “carousel of chords,” the variety allows students to choose the book that’s most appealing to them. And that reinforces independent learning!

12. Do ChordTime Books have audio orchestration? Do they promote the style being studied?

Play-along backing tracks for select ChordTime publications are available inside the Piano Adventures Player app.

Enjoy interactive accompaniments for Popular, Classics, Christmas, and Hits collections. These accompaniments give students a feel for various stylistic sounds: classical orchestral sound, rhythmically-driven pop sounds, and beautiful Christmas orchestrations.

Keep watching for more support in this growing collection!

13. Could a ChordTime piece be used for a recital?

ChordTime pieces can be great choices for recitals! They often find a place on “themed” recitals with the variety of repertoire.

A student might play a piece from the method book or a literature piece from Developing Artist Book 1. Then bring on the applause with a crowd-pleasing selection—complete with chords!

About the Rhythm

14. Some ChordTime pieces use swing rhythm. How do you teach this?

  • Begin with a C major scale, ascending and descending. The teacher demonstrates, chanting a long-short pattern:
    JAZ—zy, JAZ—zy, JAZ—zy, JAZ—zy, etc.
    The student imitates hands separately.
  • As a follow-up point out the word “swing” in the tempo mark of the piece. “All 8th notes will be played in swing.”
  • Ask the student to listen as you play the piece (or part of the piece), using straight 8th notes, then swinging the 8th notes. Can the student hear the difference?
  • Challenge a student with an ear-training activity. Have the student listen with eyes closed. Play/improvise a short melody using straight or swing rhythm. Can the student tell the difference?

The ChordTime Book that uses the most swing rhythm is Jazz & Blues. Check out these two jazz standards.

ChordTime Jazz & Blues Book

Ain't Misbehavin (p. 10)

Tuxedo Junction (p. 18)

Other ChordTime Books have just an occasional piece in swing.

ChordTime Christmas Book

Rockin Around the Christmas Tree (p. 12)

ChordTime Popular Book

Heart and Soul (p. 10)

ChordTime Hymns Book

Go Tell it on the Mountain (p. 14)

15. 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 LH notes played an octave lower.
  • Create an Introduction using a cross-hand arpeggio on the dominant.

A piece in the key of C could begin with an Introduction using the G (dominant) cross-hand arpeggio from low to very high on the keyboard. Then begin the piece.

  • Create an ending with a final cross-hand arpeggio on the tonic chord.
  • Create an ending by playing the last line an octave higher.
  • Explore different dynamics and write them in the music.

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