What is the "best" methos of teaching students from k- 8th grades?

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i am currently using the Alfred methods, but would like to find something more diverse, without using positions right away. The use of different musical styles and improviation would be ideal. Any suggestions?

-- Mandy Hanson (hansonmandy@hotmail.com), December 27, 2001


I have wanted an answer to your question for a long time. Despite the tremendous trove of teaching materials that Alfred publishes, I have struggled mightily at times with Alfred's insistence on hand position.

I certainly cannot say which piano method is the best because I have not researched it thoroughly. However, my favorite method these days is the Faber and Faber method. Faber does not lock the students into one hand position. In fact, the Fabers encourage using different fingers on the same song from the beginning. The songs are imaginative. Another advantage of the Faber method for six and seven- year-olds is that the staff notes are taught slower, not ten notes at once as Alfred does in all of its books.

That's about all, except that I have also tried, on a much more limited basis, the Hal Leonard books. They might also work for you.

Hope this helps.


-- Barclay Megathlin (bamnkam@bellsouth.net), December 28, 2001.

Faber & Faber and Hal Leonard have some of the most interesting music, and I would HIGHLY RECOMMEND using the corresponding CD or GM disk (Hal Leonard now includes the CD AND BOOK for $7.95!). Clark is great to have in your lending library, since it provides some of the most diverse hand placements. Both Clark and Hal Leonard have improvisation opportunities on their CDs.

Be sure to check out Faber's Performance Books and HL's Piano Solos books as well (My students love Book 1, esp. boys, and it offers an improvisation "solo section" within one piece), as well as Faber's extensive PreTime to BigTime supplemental library.

-- John Bisceglia (bisceglia2000@yahoo.com), December 29, 2001.

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