15Questions and Answers for PreTime Piano
- Why is this level called PreTime Piano?
- When could a student start a PreTime Book?
- Which is the best PreTime Book to teach first?
- Which concepts are included in the PreTime Books?
- Should a student start at the beginning of a book, or is it okay to skip around?
- Do the PreTime Books use sharps, flats, and naturals?
- Could I use a PreTime Book instead of the method? How do I use the PreTime Books with the Primer?
- How many PreTime books should a student do before moving to PlayTime Piano (Level 1)?
- Should students recite note names as they play?
1. Why is this level called PreTime Piano?
“Pre” means preparatory.
PreTime Books are effective preparatory books in three ways:
- They help confirm a clear understanding of basic rhythms.
- They offer a great start to note reading using a limited set of notes.
- They provide a smooth transition to more challenging material at Level 1.
PreTime Piano uses fun, often familiar, songs of 8—16 measures.
“Pre-dict” success with PreTime Piano!
2. When could a beginner start a PreTime Book?
A beginning student could start a PreTime Book at the end of UNIT 7 or UNIT 8 in the Primer Lesson Book.
UNIT 7 covers steps, skips, and Bass F up to Treble G.
Primer Lesson Book: UNIT 7 sample pages
Hey, Hey, Look at Me (p. 52)
Riding on an Elephant (p. 54)
UNIT 8 presents the C 5-finger scale in the bass clef. This completes the set of notes used in PreTime.
Primer Lesson Book: UNIT 8 sample pages
Football Game (p. 58)
Copy Cat (p. 60)
I Just Can’t Wait to Be King (p. 4)
PreTime Classics has great classic melodies and balances well with the Primer.
Ode to Joy (p. 4)
PreTime Christmas offers holiday and sacred songs for the season.
We Three Kings of Orient Are (p. 12)
4. Which concepts are included in the PreTime Books?
- Keyboards that show hand placement.
- Songs spanning Bass C to Treble G.
- Basic rhythms using quarter, half, dotted-half, and whole notes.
- Mini-keyboards to show occasional sharp and flat keys.
- Teacher Duets that give ensemble experience and add harmonic color.
5. Should a student start at the beginning of a book, or is it okay to skip around?
PreTime Books begin with the easiest pieces first. Most teachers opt for starting with the first pieces for a smooth roll-out.
However, if the student is eager to begin a particular piece, the teacher may “seize the musical moment.” Explain any new notes or terms and you are off on a new adventure!
6. Do the PreTime Books use sharps, flats, and naturals?
PreTime Books do indeed have some flats and sharps—actually more flats than sharps! The flatted key is often the LH finger 2 on B-flat. Students learn quickly that a “flat tire goes down” and that the flat symbol means to go down/lower to the closest key. Keyboards alert students to flatted notes, encouraging preparation.
PreTime Disney Book
Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious (p. 8)
PreTime Christmas Book
Over the River and Through the Woods (p. 16)
7. Could I use a PreTime Book instead of the method? How do I use the PreTime Books with the Primer?
- A PreTime Book might be used concurrently with the Primer Lesson Book as a “special reward.”
- PreTime Books might be used at the end of the Primer level to consolidate skills before moving to Level 1.
- A teacher could also assign a PreTime piece for independent study to check how students apply what they know.
8. How many PreTime books should a student do before moving to PlayTime Piano (Level 1)?
PreTime Books can also be sightreading material for Level 1 or Level 2A 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.
9. Should students recite note names as they play?
Recognizing steps and skips and learning specific note names are very important goals of early piano lessons.
Naming notes aloud, with regularity, is certainly a strategy that yields good results. Often this is best done by chanting note names before playing. This gives full attention to the task without the added complexity of rhythm and technique.
- Create a game by taking turns. The teacher sets the tone by chanting the first measure. Without pause, the student picks up the second measure and continues to chant. Go back and forth.
- Teacher and student could play “Note Detective.” The teacher might ask, “Find two measures where the note names are C-E-G-E.” Although not naming notes, a student is finding specific notes and recognizing a melodic pattern.
By keeping note-naming fun and upbeat, students learn, discern, and “take their turn” deciphering the musical code.
About the Styles
10. Why are there so many styles in PreTime Piano?
Having lots of easy songs to play is part of learning to read music—and loving it.
There are 11 PreTime styles from which to choose!
The variety of styles allows beginners to choose the book that’s most appealing to them. In the process students build skills, develop independent learning, and enjoy being able to make choices!
11. Could a PreTime piece be used for a recital piece?
PreTime songs can be great choices for recitals! They are short and offer a departure from the regularity of the method book. The duets give added flourish and flair!
Consider doing a medley of several PreTime songs. The teacher creates a short bridge to the next song by playing four measures of the next duet (or creates something original) to “set the stage.” A little practice together and you’ll be ready to wow the audience!
About the Rhythm
12. Do PreTime Books have 8th notes?
PreTime Books do not use 8th notes except in two familiar songs.
PreTime Kids’ Songs
Happy Birthday to You (p. 20)
Silent Night (p. 18)
13. Do the PreTime Books have audio orchestrations?
Play-along backing tracks for select PreTime Piano publications are available inside the Piano Adventures Player app.
14. Why do songs have duets? Should a teacher always play the duet?
Optional teacher duets are a valuable feature of the PreTime Piano series. Playing duets “right from the start” gives beginning students a great ensemble experience! Students quickly learn the vital role rhythm plays in music making.
- Duets develop the student’s ear through rich harmonies and active rhythms.
- A duet brings out the character of the piece. The duet can be used to demonstrate the rhythmic feel or “groove” of the song. The student might clap a steady beat while listening to the teacher play.
- The teacher should always feel free to add LH octaves and more fun “filler notes.”
- The duets are helpful for first recital performances. They also offer the opportunity for parents and students to play together.
15. Could students make up their own introductions and endings to a PreTime song?
Yes! Encourage students to “horse around” at the piano and make up their own introductions and endings. Do this with PreTime 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!