Until the beginning of this year, I had predominantly been using Piano Adventures Lesson and Theory books with other repertoire for my beginner students. In their lessons, we would always cover technique and I would jot everything in their music diary. Sometimes they would come back having done the work, sometimes they struggled to practice the exercises we had worked on and other times they forgot entirely to read their diary and only practiced what they wanted (which is also a lot better than not practicing!).
I use a very large variety of resources with my students to build their technique. We have flashcards, scales books, technique exercise books, white boards, magnets, comics, story books, music boxes and the list goes on. This year I have begun experimenting with the new Technique and Performance All-In-Two book in the Piano Adventures series. It is a companion book to their tutor series. Previously it was two separate books, so the students would have had four books and their note book to remember for each lesson. Now they just have to remember 2 books (Lesson & Theory and Technique & Performance) and their music diary.
I have found these books to be very successful with two groups of students. Those who are doing tutor books (or beginners if you will) and students who are sitting for AMEB exams have all benefited.
For my beginner students they now have the Technique & Performance book to match the level they are on within the series. There are several technique builder exercises that explicitly go through the technique required (this aligns with the pieces in their lesson and theory book). Assisting them to refine the skills that are required for their repertoire. Whilst the Lesson Book song may take them several weeks to complete, they are also finishing several extra smaller and easier “pieces” (technique exercises). The students feel successful and happy to be moving forward and “finishing” songs, whilst they are constantly reinforcing the skills required for the more complex piece in their lesson book. It is win-win.
These books have allowed the student to have all the information and instructions with them at home for their practice. Unlike my notes in their music diary, they now have the complete exercises written with instructions and variations. They can explore transposing, touch, and colour in their music all with these exercises. Parents can support the student at home because they also have all of the information.
The books also include repertoire for performances, songs that would be entertaining at concerts. Crowd pleasers!
The biggest win for me with these books came this week when a student said, “Carly, this bit here is JUST like that bit I was practicing in the other book!”. We have connection! As a teacher, there is nothing more rewarding than a student making the connections for themselves. When they can see how this relates to that and the concept has been “processed”.
How I use these books with my exam students is a post for another day. Today I just wanted to share with you a teaching “win” and how much I’m enjoying these new books.
Have you used these books?