Music Tree Method : LUSENET : Everything About Teaching and Learning the Piano : One Thread

Does anyone have any opion about the Music Tree Method? I don't seem to hear alot about it. I love to use it and want to know if anyone else does. Also, does anyone know if they still publish the adult Music Tree Method? I saw it once at a music store a couple years ago, but now our local music store cannot seem to find it anywhere.

Thanks Renee Knutson

-- Renee Knutson (, March 17, 2001


Hello Renee, I use The Music Tree method books and I love them too. My students who began with Music Tree can read better than students who started with Faber and Faber. I believe it's because they learn intervallically instead of using hand positions. I'm especially glad Frances Clarke and her staff have given us the new format and more colorful books. The adult book is called Keyboard Musician. But I haven't had success with it. The adults don't like the unfamiliar music. I have found it is best to teach beginning adults the same way I teach beginning students: with children's method books.

Angie Hampton, Kansas

-- Angie Hampton (, March 18, 2001.

I also use Music Tree. I've found that it gives a really thorough reading base, so I have used the yellow and red books, and then switched to Faber level 1 with great results. It seems like this approach would slow progress, but the students I did this with arrived at late elementary level the same time as those started with Faber. And they were stronger readers. I think Faber is great because of all the great songs, but Music Tree is safer at the beginning, especially for those kids who are not naturally gifted in the reading area.

-- Julie2 (, March 18, 2001.

If you like Music Tree, some interesting supplements could be:

1. "Music Pathways" -- Discoveries A, and Solos A (Carl Fischer)

Olson's book starts with some clusters to form hand position, then moves on to some 2-3 lined staves similar to the end of Time to Begin. The music isn't that strong, but it's a great book to have in your library to "force" intervallic reading! He also starts with reading 3rds FIRST, which are easier visually to identify. Another unique feature is how Pathways introduces LOW C & HIGH C early on, giving the child two easy-to-identify LANDMARKS and also experience in reading those "scary" high & low ledger lines.

An added bonus are some pieces which only use finger 3 moving up and down the black keys.

2. Clark's Side By Side is a perfect companion to Time to Begin; also includes known tunes like Row Your Boat, This Old Man, and Twinkle Twinkle.

3. Alternatives to the Workbook A (or Activities Level 1) is Clark's book "Music Maker" part A. This is very similar to the old Workbook A but without Chip & Bobo, AND it has wonderful "blind flying" drills to help learn keyboard topography BY TOUCH!

(Music Maker & Side by Side are available through Warner Bros.)

-- John Bisceglia (, March 20, 2001.

Personally, I love the Music Tree series. I've used it very successfully for 15 yrs. Until the latest revision, MT was not as highly marketed as some other methods (Faber, Alfred, Bastien). However, with it's absorption into the Warner Bros. company a few years ago, there is a stronger marketing push. I'm glad of this as I believe it is one of the finest methods available. I start every student in the MT because it does not lock a child in to a set hand position. The approach to reading is intervalic from a given landmark starting note. Fingers never end up playing the same keys page after page which is often the case in other current methods. To introduce new concepts, pieces (Discoveries) are short and to the point, but are followed up with lots of additional reading and playing experiences for reinforcement. I use the Activities books in conjunction with the main MT books but also use the Side By Side books and other supplementary collections of Poe, J. George, LF Olson, Hal Leonard Piano Solos, and Faber). There are also cd accompaniments available if you like using them.

I have also used the Keyboard Musician book with beginning adults. However, I believe the book is due for a revision (at least updating the cover and general layout). It's not geared for the adult who just wants to learn to play RH melodies with LH chords. This book is for the adult or older beginner who really wants to learn how to read and play the piano to its fullest extent.

MT is a great method. Not as glitzy as others, but solid as a rock. Concepts are presented and reinforced in a very natural manner. There is also a companion book on Teaching the Music Tree too that is helpful.

Hope this was helpful.

-- Gretchen T. (, March 23, 2001.

One of the best advantages to The Music Tree is that students are able to use any supplement book from any method relatively quickly. Using the "landmark" system, Middle C and C position and G position (what most supplements use) are easily found.

I think the proof of the method is in the recitals. My Music Tree students are able to play more difficult pieces than their peers who are using Alfred or Bastien or Hal Leonard. While some of this can be attributed to the work ethic and talent of the student, I believe that the method is also a significant part of that improved progress.

At the beginning, students who use The Music Tree appear to be progressing slower than their peers, who are already playing Old MacDonald and other familiar tunes. But after about six months, they surpass the other students.

Teaching from The Music Tree is sometimes a tough sell to the parent, who may be expecting John Thompson or Leila Fletcher or John Schaum or any number of other Middle C Methods, but The Music Tree helps me train better musicians, as well as better pianists.

-- James King (, June 11, 2001.

James, I couldn't have said it better myself.

Gretchen in IL

-- Gretchen T. (, June 12, 2001.

How do you get people to look past the Chip & Bobo illustrations? (ROLLEYES)

-- Music Educator (, June 12, 2001.

I don't even draw their attention to them (except for younger kids). What the 2 characters are actually asking the student to do is rather inventive. I usually just ask the same things myself. The Chip & Bobo guys have never been a problem with any of my students. In fact, some of my older elementary kids that do notice seem to get a kick out of them. It's like giving stickers to my middle schoolers. They love getting them. It's a real kick and I would have never expected it.

-- Gretchen T. (, June 12, 2001.

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