The end of the year is already here. This is a good time to look back and see which of the ideas and resources I have found throughout 2016 are working better in my classes. I’ve crafted a list with things I’ve found and used, though most of them have not necessarily been created or conceived in 2016, I’ve just happend to find them during this year.
Here is the list, notice that they’re not ordered according to their importance, because they are all materials that I use almost daily, I just had order them in some way:
1 Intervallic Reading
Although this list is not ordered by importance, I recognize that this discovery has changed each and every one of my classes. There is no class in which I do not use this method for reading. I started using it with a few students and, seeing the incredible results obtained, I have been incorporating intervallic reading to all my little pianists.
With this method, the students learn only a few landmark notes and from there, they read according to the intervals that are forming. I will make a post dedicated only to this topic because it is really amazing the benefits that are obtained. I use the Sight Reading Cards of Piano Safari.
2 William Gillock
I´ve already talked about Gillock’s work in an earlier post. Gillock is for me, without a doubt the best composer of pedagogical pieces for piano: pieces in baroque, classic, romantic or modern style and for all levels. Here is an example:
3 The Art of Piano Pedagogy
In 2016, I have also discovered Facebook groups for piano teachers. It’s been a source of a lot of new ideas for me, I have discovered plenty of new composers and methods, and enjoyed very interesting debates about all kind of subjects related to piano pedagogy. There are several interesting piano groups but the one I like most is The Art of Piano Pedagogy.
4 Technique Trainer by Jackie Sharp
Jackie Sharp’s book of technique is amazing. The way she explains the technique so clearly, focused on every important aspect of the movements, and its attractive presentation make this book a must have for every piano teacher.
5 Elissa Milne’s 40 Piece Challenge
Elissa Milnes’ challenge is gaining more and more followers, me among them. When they have to prepare 40 pieces during one academic year, students become more motivated, improving their reading and memorizing skills. I’ve been trying the challenge with my own students since september and ,so far, it has proven a big success. I must confess I have reduced the challenge to 30 pieces. Next year I’ll be going for the 40, though many of my students will reach this number during the present year.
If you’d like to learn more about it, you can read my post about the 40 piece challenge.
6 Piano Train Trips and Divertudios
When I began to look for material to carry out the challenge of the 40 pieces, I found an infinite number of pieces and very interesting composers, but not too much repertoire of more modern studies. That’s why I decided to create my own material. If you have been following my blog, you probably know Piano Train Trips, my first book. At this moment, I have just finished my two books of Divertudios, 60 progressive studies divided into two volumes to be released, hopefully, during January 2017.
7 Discovering repertoire
The amount of repertoire that is now specifically created for piano students is simply wonderful. I have discovered so many jewels during these last months that I would not be able to choose one composer over the others (well, my beloved Gillock deserved his own section). Here is a list of composers and an example book by each of them (if you click on the name of the book you’ll be redirected to a sample video):
- Jennifer Linn: Les Petites Images
- Elissa Milne: Little Peppers
- June Armstrong: Toy Box
- Paul Sheftel: Patterns for Fun
- Ben Crosland: Easy Beans
- Paula Dreyer: Little Gems for Piano
- Melanie Spanswick: Snapchat
- Martha Mier: Jazz, Rags & Blues Book 1
This is a project made mainly by two pianists from the University of Iowa, Alan Huckleberry and Jason Sifford, UIPIANOPED. They have created a Youtube channel that works like a database in which they include a lot of recordings made by themselves of piano pieces written for students. From traditional repertoire such as Diabelli, Heller, Türk, Bach, Czerny and Kabalevsky among many others, to books by contemporary composers such as Martha Mier, Jennifer Linn, Timothy Brown, Elvina Pearce … where I have discovered a great amount of repertoire.
9 Piano Adventures
Piano Adventures is a piano method that goes from initiation to piano to an intermediate level, all graded by levels. Its creators are a prolific marriage, Nancy and Randall Faber, with more than 300 publications. Although the method is primarily designed for children, it also has interesting initiation books for adults. His books of technical exercises and sight reading are worthwhile as well.
10 Piano Safari
This year, Piano Safari has become my favorite method for beginners. An animal is assigned to each main pianistic movement, in order to teach and explain the technique, in a very innovative way. In this video you will be able to see the different technical exercises and their corresponding animals.
With this post, I’m closing year 2016, looking forward to 2017!
Happy New Year!