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How I use Technique and Performance books for Exam Students.

A few weeks back I wrote about the Piano Adventures All-in-Two Technique and Performance books and why I like them for my beginners. Well, I also have started using the Piano Adventures Technique and Performance books with some of my intermediate and AMEB (Australian Music Examination Board) students.

I have been starting the Preliminary grade students around the Level 2A Technique and Performance book as the material is easy for them to read and not confronting. I find that it gives them extra exercises to practice skills in a short and concise manner. The books also have instructions on the technique for students to refer to when playing at home. Essentially you could start from the beginning of the book and work your way through with the student. However, for examination students in particular, I find that my next method works well.

When the student chooses a piece from the exam books, it is useful to assign some technique exercises that relate directly to that piece. For example: In the AMEB Series 16 Preliminary book, List B No.2 is James Hook’s Gavotta. The exercises from the All-in-Two Level 2A Technique and Performance book that would be very useful are those teaching light thumb action (“Run and Hop”), shaping phrases and wrist floats (“Beethoven’s Phrases”, “Brave Knight” and student favourite “Semitone Sleuth”).

Preliminary Grade and Technique and Performance book 2a

AMEB Series 16 Preliminary Grade Gavotta and Piano Adventures Technique and Performance book 2A Run and Hop are a good match up!

I have found that students learn and retain information best when they think it is relevant to them. If they are not studying from the method lesson book alongside the Technique and Performance book, they may not immediately see the correlation between the things they are studying. If you can tie in the exercises from the Technique and Performance (or Technique and Artistry from Level 2B-5) book and discuss the elements within their exam songs, it becomes relevant to the student, they know the “why” of what they are working on.

As another note, Level 2B also aligns with the AMEB Preliminary and 1st Grade technical work requirements with the piece”House of Mirrors” using C major in contrary motion and practicing preparing the thumb under gesture. So you can utilize the books as you feel your student is developing.

Currently I have a Fifth Grade student working on the Level 3B and will soon start on the Level 4 book. She uses the books for sight reading as well as technique and artistic development exercises.

Finally, these books help add to the tally of pieces the student learns for the year! My students use the pieces to add to their 40 Piece Challenge total! They are quick and easy wins and the books are very affordable. So everyone is happy!

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