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Posts Tagged ‘Keyboard Kids Complete’

Freebie Friday LOGOAbout six months ago I began FREEBIE FRIDAY over at PianoTeacherPress.com  Every Friday I offer a free excerpt from one of my Piano Teacher Press products.  I was recently looking over the wide variety of products that I’ve given away and I thought it should be something more widely known to my loyal readers and your piano teaching friends.

Not only do I give away a FREE excerpt each week but I provide a short commentary on the selection explaining how it can benefit a student in your studio.  To find out what we’re offering this week please click [here] on our FREEBIE FRIDAY LINK.

Here’s a smattering of what you have been missing by not being part of our FREEBIE FRIDAY GIVEAWAY!!

BK1A_00A OUTCOVER (COLOR)If you have difficulty getting the very young preschool student to read music KEYBOARD KIDS reading method may be your answer.  Our reading method introduces one music symbol at a time in a leisurely paced manner where young students are never overwhelmed.  Suzuki teachers have found KEYBOARD KIDS as a great supplement to introduce their young students into reading music notation.  I have used it for a over quarter century and it has been a great success.  One week I offered The Cool Ghoul as a FREEBIE FRIDAY GIVEAWAY.

SAMPLE - The Cool GhoulEach symbol on this page was introduced individually before The Cool Ghoul appears in their book.  … the quarter note (walk note), the rest, the bar line, the staff line, the treble and bass clef, the time signature (only the top number is given at this stage of learning), the double bar; even the fingering and the stem direction of the notes were introduced as in individual concept.

Reading is introduced to students as STEPS and SKIPS and students are given assignment pages to cement this critical reading concept into the students thinking.  This is introduced from the very beginning.  Students are taught to underC000-COLORIZED My Very First Theory Book (Cover)stand notation where reading becomes a natural process.

To help students understand STEPS and SKIPS we have My Very First Theory Book.  This book gives students exercises to help students think in steps and skips.  One FREEBIE FRIDAY I offered a page that helps student think in steps; not through notation, but through the alphabet.FF - SAMPLE The Next Letter

NOTICE:  This page gives the student the musical alphabet where “A” follows “G”.  After students gain mental facility in learning to think ahead one (musical) alphabet letter; students are given pages to help them think one step backwards.  The same exercises are repeated for skips.

These little exercise is a very good one to help students in doing simple thought exercises in basic reasoning and is one of the ways where understanding music is very beneficial for mental development.

This book provides a very good supplemental book to the KEYBOARD KIDS series of reading books.

Another week I also used The Cool Ghoul as my Freebie Friday Giveaway but this time as part of an exercise designed to build a students rhythmic skills.  This exercise is found in our Discovery Piano System – THEORY Book 1.00-FC THEORY_Middle C - COLOR Book 1  I will speak in more detail about The Discovery Piano System in a subsequent blog about our Freebie Friday program.  In THEORY Book 1 there is a section of nearly a dozen pieces that have student and teacher play in ensemble.  One player is the pianist and the other provides a rhythmic background played on a common rhythm instrument.FF - SAMPLE The COOL Ghoul

In this example the rhythm player must play on those beats where the piano player rests, almost always on beat 2.  On the first exercises of this rhythm section of THEORY Book 1 the rhythm part emphasizes the easier skill of playing on the downbeat (beat 1).  This exercises begins to develop the skill of having the student learn to feel an offbeat.  Even though the exercises are designed around simple concepts they are designed in a progressive manner where success is most easily achieved.  Students discover musical concepts in an almost seamless stream of little steps.

As I hope you can see our FREEBIE FRIDAY Giveaways not only give you free music but they give you pedagogical information where you can use the free excerpts and maybe even give you some ideas you can use in your own studio teaching.  To join our growing list of FREEBIE FRIDAY teachers go [HERE]– find the RED BUTTON that looks like the link below (which will be red and not purple) and in your correspondence write – SUBSCRIBE FREEBIE FRIDAY. FREEBIE FRIDAY BUTTONBe on the lookout for future blogs that go over all that we’ve been giving away each FREEBIE FRIDAY!!

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I would like to invite all parents with pre-school children to consider my Keyboard Kids – CYBER PIANO Program.

Between the explosion in online learning and the ever growing interest in homeschooling I’m ready to begin a pilot program that combines these two ideas where parents become the child’s first piano teacher.  Imagine yourself giving your child their first piano lessons under the guidance of an experienced piano teacher!

The concept of online education is one that’s only going to expand.  The following quote is from an article How Tech Is Changing College Life

Community college students are less digitally connected than students at four-year schools, but more and more people are making the Internet their education gateway. Twelve million students take at least one class online today — in five years, that number is projected to exceed 22 million. By 2014, analysts say, more than 3.5 million students will take all of their classes online.

If you read of the greatest musicians you will find that most began very young AND many were given their first training by one of their parents.  Mozart’s first teacher was his father.  Chopin’s first teacher was his mother.  I’ve been teaching young pre-school age children since the 80’s.  I have always been most successful when the parent accompanied the lessons to provide support and reinforce my instruction between each lesson.

I have found that many courageous home schooling parents feel confident to teach their child almost any subject EXCEPT MUSIC.  In that field they don’t feel confident.  My Keyboard Kids – CYBER PIANO Program is going to fix that.

What I am going to provide you is my Keyboard Kids Method Books 1 and 2 and My First Theory Book.  These books are geared for 4-5 year old beginners.

For an article on my Keyboard Kids go HERE. I will also provide Powerpoint presentations that accompany the Keyboard Kids Books that will give you detailed instruction on how to cover each and every page of the Keyboard Kids series.  If you don’t have Powerpoint you can obtain a free run-time version that will play Powerpoint files HERE.  Just follow the links.

Keyboard Kids – CYBER PIANO Program will also provide you, as part of the program, a weekly online consultation that you may use any way you wish.  We can use any of the free online video conferencing available; e.g. Skype.  I can A) answer any of the question you may concerning your teaching of the Keyboard Kids Curriculum OR B) I can give personal instruction to your child OR C) a combination of each.

If you’re interested in Keyboard Kids – CYBER PIANO Program and want MORE INFORMATION you can eMail me at dan@pianoteacherpress.com and if you live in the Wexford, Cranberry,Gibsonia area north of Pittsburgh call Piano Lessons PLUS at (724) 935-2840.

For more information about other exciting programs offered at Piano Lessons PLUS point your browser HERE!!  or HERE!! We not only offer piano lessons at our studio on Route 19 at 11565 Perry Highway in Wexford but we offer a variety of plans that keep your traveling down to a minimum.  Check that out HERE!! or HERE!!

Piano Lessons PLUS

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(724) 935-2840

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Begin teaching your own little Mozart!!

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Middle C Repertoire is a piano method for teaching beginning piano students.

It is also a great supplement for using with other methods as the book is simply an anthology of pieces in a progressive order.

The Middle C Repertoire Series of books grows out of my pre-school piano method — Keyboard Kids.  This pre-school method centers on the concept of teaching the student to read music as steps and skips and combines it with more traditional methods of note memorization.

In Middle C Repertoire I’ve purposely introduced musical vocabulary that immediately gives students the tools to learn to think musically about their piano studies.  After introducing several compositions using    2-4     3-4     and    4-4    time signatures we have a simple song called THEME.

With the introduction of the composition THEME a conversation can begin with your student about  themes and how composers use them to build their compositions.  As a note of interest it is at this point that I introduce my students to examples of art compositions for students to grasp on to the various musical concepts that are evoked in the titles of the compositions in the Middle C Repertoire Series.  The example I use for THEME is Peter’s Theme from Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf.  I thought it to be an excellent way to introduce students to the concept of theme.  Whenever Prokofiev has Peter featured in his musical story we hear Peter’s Theme.

Maybe with a recording of Peter’s Theme you could better grasp the effectiveness of using musical examples to make a teaching point.

Another departure that Middle C repertoiree Book 1 uses is that everything is in the English language.  Tempo’s are marked as Moderate Speed or Fast Speed, not Moderato or Allegro.  Loud is marked with an “L” and soft is marked with an “S”, not “f” or “p”D.C. al Fine is marked F.B. to End (from the beginning to the end).  In Middle C Repertoire Book 2 the traditional Italian language is used.  But, in this first volume students, who are often at the most elementary levels in their reading skills, are first introduced to these common markings in English.

Middle C Repertoire does not create lyrics for every composition.  Occasionally it does.  When the concept of song is introduced, then lyrics are essential.  This is another occasion when a music example is most appropriate.  Keeping with the humorous nature of I Forgot My Brain Today I introduce students to Aaron Copland’s arrangement of I Bought Me A Cat.

Since the concept of theme was introduced early in the book we can explore how these themes can be manipulated by composers.  The Theme and Variation can now be logically introduced, expanding the student’s concept of theme.  Not only does the simple piece study Theme and Variation form it also explores Time Signatures.  Each variation is based on in different key signature.  I point out to the student that the FIRST NOTE of EACH VARIATION plays the THEME TONE.  When students see this they all seem to have a “light bulb moment”.  They begin to see that music is not so mysterious and is something they can truly understand.

To finish the lesson on Theme and Variation I play Mozart’s Theme and Variations on Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.  I only play the very beginning of each variation.  I stop the recording at the end of each variation and ask the student if they can hear Mozart’s disguise of the THEME.  Most students do very well; but there are some variations that are difficult for students to follow.  I use this as a lesson that music is something that must be studied and if they put forth their best effort they will be able to understand the music of these great geniuses even better.

The composition MARCH! introduces students to eighth notes.  I have found that it’s best to introduce eighth notes as repeated notes until the rhythmic impulse is neurologically understood.  I also introduce the eighth note as a rhythmic group of THREE notes — the two eighth notes and the succeeding note.  The three note groups are marked in blue in the graphic.  Our ear naturally organizes these sounds into three notes so I think the best way to introduce the eighth note rhythm to students is in three note groups.  After the student has neurologically mastered the rhythm then the student can slowly be introduced into playing this rhythm with more complex step and skip patterns.

Middle C Repertoire also gives the student several opportunities to play the same composition in different keys.  Again, I feel this is very important because composers will often take their themes and reintroduce them in various keys.  It is important to get exposure in transposition early on because if it is delayed it becomes a bit of a struggle to learn the same music in a different key.

While students learn their compositions in Middle C Repertoire they are also learning all of the white key hand positions (five-finger scales) and chords.  They are thoroughly given exposure to various techniques they will encounter as composers manipulate their themes.

I have  been working on Middle C Repertoire for about 20 years and have been very pleased with the results.  I’ve dedicated a major part of my teaching career to the teaching of the very young student so this method is tailor-made for young students.  Most of my students playing Middle C Repertoire are in kindergarten or first grade.  The progression of materials best fit this age of student.  Through the summer of 2011 I will be making the Middle C Repertoire Method Books and accompanying Middle C Repertoire Theory Books  available for sale on at http://www.pianoteacherpress.com/


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I was recently browsing the net to see what other piano teachers were doing.  I always seem to find a great deal of creativity in the web sites of various piano teachers.  However, this time my eye noticed that many teachers simply refuse to take on a student that cannot read.  There’s also the issue of “sitting still” that gives many teachers pause concerning teaching the very young.  Maybe here’s an area when my creativity may prove helpful.

Since I first put out my shingle advertising myself as a piano teacher I’ve taken an avid interest in teaching the very young.  I’ve studied the young beginner very carefully.  I’ve also simplified musical concepts to the 4 – 6 year level. I have taught music to pre-schools exposing students to Beethoven, Mozart, Bach, and even Stravinsky.  The key is to bring the information to the student at their level of understanding and, at the same time, to their maturity in concentration.

I created Keyboard Kids, a pre-school piano course, to teach my young 4 – 6 years old students.  I also created Dan, Dan the Music Man, a series of music classes I have taught at various pre-schools.  In an effort to combine the best of both of these programs I’ve decided to create Keyboard Kids Complete.  Students will learn the basics of learning to play piano and how to read music AND they will also receive instruction on all the concepts I’ve taught in Dan, Dan the Music Man.

Here are some examples from the books of the activities in Keyboard Kids Complete.

The fundamental concept of reading music is very simple.  One note = One sound.   There is no need for staves, clefs, bar lines or any other music symbol.  The student is only given the symbol necessary to make a musical sound.  Other symbols are introduced one by one as we need.  Slowly but surely standard music notation is introduced to the student.  Students always comprehend every musical symbol on the music page.

Later …..

This is a page from about the middle of the students first book.  At this point the students understands line notes and space notes.  The student understands that when the music moves from a line to a space the music moves from one white key to the next adjacent white key.  The concept of the musical step, the basic principle of the scale, is firmly established.  The student also understands quarter notes, called walk notes and half notes, called hold notes.  The pacing of the Keyboard Kids Books is geared for the average 4 -5 year old and their shorter attention span.

Supplementing the students lessons in learning to read musical notation is a comprehensive and creative music readiness program.  The student music readiness program includes music appreciation, building rhythmic skills, building singing skills, building listening skills and much more.  A couple examples from my book — Dan Dan the Music Man’s Book for Increasing Musical Muscle.

All students need to develop basic rhythm skills.  This page of exercises teaches students to sense Basic March Rhythm.  The musical symbols are the same symbols covered in the Keyboard Kids Reading Books.  After students master the rhythm they learn to play the rhythm along with Rimsky-Korsakov’s famous  Procession of the Sardar using various rhythm instruments to add some extra interest in the learning process. Classical music is featured highly in Keyboard Kids Complete.

Keyboard Kids Complete also teaches students how to listen to music.  This is often done through a picture.  The picture teaches the music lesson.  The above picture contains a foreground (the old man) and a background (a window).  Music also often has a foreground (a melody) and a background (an accompaniment).  The student will be given a musical example, this time an art song of Franz Schubert called Hedge Roses.  This piece has a very distinct foreground melody sung by the voice.  It also has a very distinct background accompaniment played by the piano.  The picture gives a clear visual image of what the student hears in the musical example; and the student learns a little bit about classical music and art song in the process.

This little blog post only gives you a small smattering of what your child will learn in Keyboard Kids Complete.  For a free interview to answer all your questions please call me at (724) 935-2840.   Ask for Dan.

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