About the Level

FunTime Piano Books span both Level 3A and Level 3B in the Basic Method.

The name “FunTime” gives students a chance to:

  • have” fun” applying the many things learned so far.
  • have more “freedom” at the keyboard as a result.
  • be a bit more “fearless” with reading and technique basics already established.

And that’s fun!

2. When could a Level 3A-3B student start a FunTime Book?

Many students could begin a FunTime Book as early as UNIT 5 in the 3A Lesson Book. At this point the interval of a 7th, cut time, 6/8 time signature, triplet, ledger lines, and swing rhythm have all been presented.

FunTime Disney Book

Do You Want to Build a Snowman? (p. 9)

FunTime Popular Book

Star Wars (Main Theme) (p. 4)

FunTime Christmas Book

Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer (p. 12)

FunTime Classics Book

Theme from Scheherazade (p. 24)

FunTime Kid’s Songs Book

Yellow Submarine (p. 8)


Note that minor scales are formally presented at Level 3B (p. 6). However, students have learned the concept of “minor” much earlier with 5-finger minor scales in Level 2A (p. 48).

What if the student chose Disney’s “Ev’rybody Wants to Be a Cat” (p. 4) in E minor? And what if the student hasn’t learned the E minor scale? The teacher should feel free to teach the piece. Simply tell the student that although the key signature shows G major, the student will soon learn that every major key has a related minor key—like related family.

Ask the student, “What do you think the relative minor key might be? Let’s look at the first measure and last measure for the mystery tonic or home note.”

Once the student names “E”, play back and forth between G major and E minor chords. Notice the two shared chord tones (G and B). Demonstrate the piece in swing. Guide the student through the piece with your own special touch.

Level 3B Lesson Book

Key of A Minor (p. 6)

FunTime Disney Book

Ev’rybody Wants to Be a Cat (p. 4)

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

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

This motivational element sparks the desire to practice. Choices for starter FunTime Books could be Disney, Faber Studio Collection (a sampler of many styles), and Christmas.

FunTime Disney Book

Be Our Guest (p. 12)

FunTime Faber Studio Collection

Misty (p. 22)

FunTime Christmas Book

Angels We Have Heard on High (p. 22)

4. Which concepts are included in FunTime Books?

  • Major keys mostly C, G, F, and D major.
    Minor keys mostly A minor, D minor, and E minor.
  • I, IV, and V7 chords (major) with varying accompaniment patterns.
    i, iv, and V7 chords (minor) with accompaniment patterns.
  • 16th-note rhythm patterns.
  • Interval of a 7th and 7th chords; G7, D7, A7 and more.
  • Chord inversions: root position and 1st and 2nd inversions.
  • Cross-hand arpeggios.
  • Connected pedaling.

5. Could I use a FunTime Book instead of the method?

FunTime Books are designed as supplementary repertoire to be used with Level 3A and Level 3B. They offer a variety of pieces that appeal to mid-intermediate students while enhancing musicianship skills.

  • FunTime Books might be used at the end of Level 3B to consolidate skills before moving up to Level 4.
  • A FunTime Book could be used to slow down the pace of instruction when the student is working in Level 3B.
  • A FunTime piece could be a special “challenge piece” for a student in Level 3A.
  • A teacher could assign a FunTime song independently to check how students apply what they know.

6. How is the damper pedal used in FunTime Books?

Pedaling is liberally used at FunTime level to give an artistic, pianistic sound.

FunTime Music from China Book

The Flowing Canal (p. 9)

Connected pedaling creates a flowing, underwater sound.

FunTime Disney Book

Remember Me (p. 14)

More skilled connected pedaling for a singing RH melody.

FunTime Studio Collection Book

Misty (p. 22)

Short pedal marks give splashes of color.

FunTime Christmas Book

God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen (p. 10)

Extended pedaling creates a bravura introduction and ending.

7. Could students transpose FunTime pieces?

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

FunTime pieces are more difficult to transpose than pieces at previous levels. Rather than an entire song, consider assigning 4-8 measures of a piece.

FunTime Christmas Book

O Christmas Tree (p. 8)

Transpose mm. 1-8 to D, G, or F.

FunTime Disney Book

Cruella de Vil (p. 6)

Transpose mm. 1-8 to G major.

FunTime Studio Collection Book

In The Mood (p. 20)

Transpose mm. 1-6 to C major.

FunTime Popular Book

The Lion Sleeps Tonight (p. 6)

Transpose mm. 9-16 to G or C.

Students become “keyboard smart” with short transposition workouts!

8. Are there any kind of warm-ups for FunTime pieces?

Yes, warm-ups can be done with two benchmarks as a guide.

1: Warm-ups for Scale and Chord Technique

  • Play the scale and primary chords for any piece. Warm up with
    The Ultimate Scale Warm-up (2B Lesson Book, pp. 28-29). Memorize and play often.
  • A primary chord progression (I- IV- I –V7-I) may also be played in different octaves going up the keyboard. fortissimo to use the damper pedal to practice connected pedaling.
  • Play an Alberti bass pattern for the primary chords of the key. The LH plays the Alberti pattern 3 times while the RH plays a tied blocked chord.
  • Play the I, IV, and V7 chords in syncopated rhythms in various keys—hands together!

The teacher and student can have fun thinking up their own chord exercises to play and transpose.

2: Warm-ups for Challenging Passages in the Piece A challenging passage from the piece may be used creatively as a technique exercise. The passage might be played in different octaves, at varying metronome speeds, with changing rhythm, or changing dynamics.

FunTime Disney Book

Ev'rybody Wants to Be a Cat (p. 4)

God Bless Us Everyone (p. 21)

FunTime Popular Book

Moonlight Sonata (p. 28)

FunTime Christmas Book

Carol of the Bells (p. 21)

FunTime Classics Book

Eine Kleine Nachtmusik (p. 6)

FunTime Favorites Book

Song of the Volga Boatman (p. 9)

About the Styles

9. Why are there so many styles in FunTime Piano?

The budding pianist must “get good at crunching notes”— hundreds, if not thousands! The flute or clarinet, for instance, is a single-line instrument. One note at a time. Not so the piano!

The pianist must read not only horizontally but vertically—notes stacking upon one another that change at a fast pace. It is the nature of the instrument!

Playing many pieces at a well-graded level continues to build facile reading skills. This is imperative for moving into harder piano literature.

There are 13 FunTime styles from which to choose!

Christmas, Classics, Disney, Favorites, Hits, Hymns, Jazz & Blues, Kids’ Songs, Music from China, Popular, Ragtime & Marches, Rock ’n Roll, and the Faber Studio Collection.

Having lots of songs to choose from is part of the “fun time” at the piano. Choosing the book most appealing to the student reinforces independent learning and musicianship.

10. Do FunTime Books have audio orchestrations? Do they feature the style being studied?

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

Enjoy interactive accompaniments for Popular, Classics, Christmas, and Hits. 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!

11. 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 a LH 5th, triad, or 7th chord.
  • “Jazz up” any rhythm you like!
  • Make your own Intro and Ending using beginning and last measures as the creative material.
  • Explore playing LH bass notes in octaves as a final low note on the tonic. Or add LH octaves for certain short passages to give a more advanced sound.

FunTime Christmas Book

Silent Night (p. 7)

FunTime Rock ‘n Roll Book

Howl at the Moon (p. 18)

FunTime Jazz & Blues Book

Tuxedo Junction (p. 6)

Or play an entire piece with LH octaves!

FunTime Popular Book

Pachelbel Canon (p. 26)

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

12. Could a FunTime piece be used for a recital?

FunTime 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 Developing Artist Piano Literature Book 1 or Book 2. Then pull out a FunTime piece of the student’s choice to close with a fun finale!

About the Rhythm

13. Are 16th notes used in the FunTime Books?

Yes, 16th notes are used in some of the FunTime Books, but not all. The following FunTime Books have no 16th notes: Hits, Kids’ Songs, Music from China, and Ragtime & Marches.

16th notes are included in the following FunTime Books:

FunTime Christmas Book

O Christmas Tree (p. 8)

Let It Snow (p. 28)

FunTime Disney Book

God Bless Us Everyone (p. 21)

Colors of the Wind (p. 17)

FunTime Studio Collection

Swing Low, Sweet Chariot (p. 19)

FunTime Christmas Book

I’ve Been Working on the Railroad (p. 24)

FunTime Hymns Book

Jesus in the Morning (p. 6)

Swing Low, Sweet Chariot (p. 14)

Standin’ in the Need of Prayer (p. 28)

Pachelbel Canon (p. 26)

Moonlight Sonata (p. 29)

The FunTime Books with the most 16th notes are Classics with 8 pieces and Jazz & Blues with 6 pieces.

FunTime Jazz & Blues Book

Royal Cat Blues (p. 27)

Frankie and Johnny (p. 20)

The Piano Playin’ Chocolate Eater’s Blues (p. 18)

Dallas Blues (p. 16)

The St. James Infirmary (p. 14)

Love Potion No. 9 (p. 11)

FunTime Classics Book

Overture to the Barber of Seville (p. 30)

Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy (p. 28)

Light Cavalry Overture (p. 22)

Musetta’s Song (p. 20)

Brahms’ Waltz (p. 16)

Toreador’s Song (p. 14)

Theme from the ‘Unfinished Symphony’ (p. 12)

Eine Kleine Nachtmusik (p. 6)

14. If the student hasn’t learned 16th notes in the method, should I still teach the piece?

Sixteenth notes are “officially introduced” in the 3B Lesson Book (p. 54).

If the student is learning a FunTime piece that has 16th notes before this, the teacher should feel free to teach it. The use of 16th notes in FunTime Books is quite accessible.

Teach the 16th notes by demonstration. “These are 16th notes. Think of them as twice as fast as 8th notes. Here’s how this passage sounds.” Take turns between teacher and student. Play the passage slowly then gradually faster to the desired tempo. This usually does the trick!

Counting metrically (1 e + a 2 e + a, etc.) is not really recommended. Feeling the 16th-note pattern within the context of the piece and relying on the ear is usually an easy solution.

15. Some FunTime pieces use swing rhythm. How do you teach this?

Swing rhythm is a fun concept to teach. Swing rhythm is taught in the 3B Lesson Book with “Barrelhouse Blues,” (p. 45).

A student may learn swing rhythm prior to this using these steps:

  • Begin with a 5-finger scale, ascending and descending. The teacher demonstrates chanting this long-short pattern. This student imitates hands separately, then hands together.

JAZ—zy JAZ—zy JAZ—zy JAZ—zy Hold 2-3-4.

  • As a follow-up, point out the word “swing” is usually in the tempo mark.
  • Ask a student to listen as you play the piece (or a section) 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. Student identifies.

The FunTime Book that uses the most swing rhythm is Jazz & Blues with 6 pieces. Next in line would be FunTime Hymns with 5 pieces in swing, followed by Kids’ Songs and Rock ’n Roll, each with 3.