15Questions and Answers for PlayTime Piano
About the Level
- Why is this level called PlayTime Piano?
- When can a student start a PlayTime Book?
- Which is the best PlayTime Book to teach first?
- Which concepts are included in PlayTime Books?
- How can I maximize the pedagogical value of PlayTime Books?
- Could I use a PlayTime Book instead of the method?
- How many PlayTime Books should a student do before moving up to ShowTime Piano (Level 2A)?
About the Styles
About the Rhythm
- Level 1 of Piano Adventures does not use 8th notes. PlayTime Books do. How should I teach these?
- When are 8th notes introduced in the Accelerated Course?
- Why do the pieces have duets?
- Do PlayTime Books have audio orchestrations?
- Is it okay to add extra notes or chords to an arrangement if the student is able to do this?
- Could students make up their own introductions and endings to a PlayTime song?
1. Why is this level called PlayTime Piano?
“PlayTime” invites the students to take part in two playful actions:
- “Play the notes” with a greater variety of rhythms, articulations, and dynamics.
- “Play around” at the piano with more enjoyment and confidence.
“PlayTime” means exactly that—time to play and have fun!
2. When can a student start a PlayTime Book?
A student could start a PlayTime Book at the end of UNIT 6 in the Level 1 Lesson Book.
UNIT 6 covers slurs, staccatos, sharps, flats, f, mp, and p, rests, and intervals (2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th).
Lesson Book 1: UNIT 6 sample pages
Russian Sailor Dance (p. 41)
Boogie on Broadway (p. 44)
An eager student could explore PlayTime at the end of UNIT 3 where slurs, staccatos, and Bass C notes up to High Treble G are covered.
Lesson Book 1: UNIT 3 sample pages
Mozart’s Five Names (p. 23)
The Juggler (p. 25)
3. Which is the best PlayTime Book to teach first?
The best PlayTime Book to start with is the one that appeals most to the student.
Choices for starter books might be PlayTime Disney, PlayTime Kids’ Songs, and PlayTime Christmas.
PlayTime Disney is a great choice that offers exciting blockbuster songs.
Part of Your World (p. 4)
PlayTime Kids’ Songs has engaging tunes and fun Teacher Duets.
Let’s Go Fly a Kite (p. 8)
PlayTime Christmas offers well-loved holiday and sacred songs.
Jingle Bells (p. 4)
Books with more 8th notes due to the demands of the genre are: PlayTime Jazz & Blues and PlayTime Rock ’n Roll.
4. Which concepts are included in PlayTime Books?
- Keyboards to show hand placement for some songs.
- Songs spanning the grand staff, yet remaining mostly within Middle C and C 5-finger scale “positions.”
- Sharps and flats.
- 8th notes in some songs.
- Teacher Duets that give ensemble experience and add harmonic color.
5. How can I maximize the pedagogical value of PlayTime Books?
PlayTime Books can be used to:
- Have students find and point out measures that repeat, before or after playing the piece. This builds pattern recognition.
- Go through the entire book and have the student find the starting position for each piece as a note-reading exercise. This builds independent learning.
- Have students scan the page and find the loudest dynamic mark. The softest. This builds the ability to quickly scan the score.
- Have the student find and name the highest note in the music. The lowest. This reinforces reading vertically across the grand staff.
- Have the student circle the 8th notes and decide on a counting method.
- Have the student do the count-off when playing with the teacher duet.
- Use the dictionary at the end to strengthen understanding of musical terms.
6. Could I use a PlayTime Book instead of the method?
PlayTime Books are designed as supplementary repertoire to use with Piano Adventures Level 1 Books. They offer a variety of pieces that appeal to elementary students while strengthening reading and rhythmic skills.
- A PlayTime Book might be used concurrently with the Level 1 Lesson Book as a “special reward.”
- PlayTime Books might be used at the end of Level 1 to consolidate skills before moving to Level 2A.
- A teacher could also assign a PlayTime piece to learn independently to check how students apply what they know.
7. How many PlayTime Books should a student do before moving up to ShowTime Piano (Level 2A)?
This is entirely up to the teacher. Many teachers and students enjoy learning one or more PlayTime Piano Books to explore musical styles during Level 1.
After completing Piano Adventures Level 1, some students benefit by learning several PlayTime Piano Books before moving up to Piano Adventures Level 2A and ShowTime Piano Books.
PlayTime Piano Books may also be sightreading material for higher-level 2A or 2B students. This can be done during a lesson with access to the Teacher Atlas. To do this you’ll need a subscription to the Teacher Atlas and an iPad to place on the piano.
About the Styles
8. Why are there so many styles in PlayTime Piano?
Having lots of songs to choose from is part of the “play for fun” at the piano.
There are 11 styles from which to choose!
Christmas, Classics, Disney, Favorites, Hymns, Jazz & Blues, Kids’ Songs, Music from China, Popular, Rock ’n Roll, and the Faber Studio Collection.
The variety of styles allows students to choose the book that’s most appealing to them. Multiple books make it possible and easy to hone skills, build independent learning, and enjoy being able to make choices!
9. Could a PlayTime piece be used for a recital piece?
PlayTime songs can be great choices for recitals! The pieces offer a departure from the regularity of the method book. The duets give added flourish and flair!
A student might play a piece from the method book by memory. Then use the book for a PlayTime finale and bring on the applause with a student-teacher or student-parent duet!
About the Rhythm
10. Level 1 of Piano Adventures does not use 8th notes. PlayTime Books do. How should I teach these?
Yes, 8th notes are used in certain selections in the PlayTime Books.
Teachers may use a “combo approach” of descriptive words and imitation.
- First circle the 8th notes in the music.
- Teacher and student chant “ta” for quarter notes and “ti-ti” for 8th notes.
Or, “run-ning walk, run-ning walk”
- Teacher demonstrates on the piano. Student imitates.
11. When are 8th notes introduced in the Accelerated Course?
In the Accelerated Book 1, 8th notes are taught earlier in UNIT 5.
Many students have learned 8th notes in school or with playing a second instrument.
Accelerated Book 1: UNIT 5 sample page
French Minuet (p. 37)
A teacher could wait until UNIT 6 where Bass C D E F G notes are introduced.
Accelerated Book 1: UNIT 6 sample page
Hungarian Dance (p. 47)
12. Why do the pieces have duets?
Optional teacher duets are a valuable feature of the PlayTime Books.
Duets give elementary students valuable ensemble experience for:
- playing the correct rhythm.
- maintaining a steady tempo.
- increasing an awareness of dynamics.
- starting and ending a piece together.
- develop the student’s ear through use of colorful harmonies.
- develop the student’s rhythm by playing against a more complex rhythmic background.
Use a duet to demonstrate the rhythmic feel or “groove” of the song. Students clap a steady beat as the teacher plays. The teacher should also feel free to add LH octaves and more fun “filler notes.”Everyone enjoys the PlayTime duets at recital performances. They also offer the opportunity for parents and students to play together.
13. Do PlayTime Books have audio orchestrations?
Play-along backing tracks for select ShowTime Piano publications are available inside the Piano Adventures Player app.
Enjoy interactive accompaniments for Popular, Classics, and Christmas collections. These accompaniments give students a feel for various stylistic sounds: classical orchestral sound, rhythmically-driven pop sounds, and beautiful Christmas orchestration.Keep watching for more support in this growing collection!
14. 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.
- Create a hands-together passage with LH notes played an octave lower for a fuller sound.
- Repeat a last line an octave higher.
- Play a final low note or high note on the “home note” (tonic).
Have a little adventure. Add your own touch to the song!
15. Could students make up their own introductions and endings to a PlayTime song?
Yes! Encourage students to “horse around” at the piano and make up their own introductions and endings. Do this with PlayTime songs as well as method book pieces.
Try some of these ideas:
- Play the first two measures up an octave. Slow down at the end for a “musical effect.” Lift hands and begin the piece where it is written.
- Play the last two measures up one octave, or continue up more octaves. Slow down at the end and get softer for an artistic ending.
- Consider a final, LOW forte note on the “home note.”
- Consider a final HIGH, forte note on the “home note.”
- Consider a final HIGH, piano sound on the “home note.”
Students will often have their own ideas. All the better!