Sep 5 2004, 10:58 AM
I am about to start teaching beginner piano to a 5 year old. I've not taught this age or level before, and it's an awfully long time since I was a beginner myself (and I started older than that anyway). Can anyone recommend the best book to start off with? So far I have whittled the possibilities down to Chester's, Me & My Piano, and Ministeps. I would appreciate any thoughts as to which of these would be the best, or indeed whether I should choose something completely different.
Sep 5 2004, 11:59 AM
Claire - I think you have a good set there.
I would also consider Tunes for ten Fingers (Oxford) which is excellent for the very young age group. Maybe slightly better presented than M&MP. Chester is visually very clear, with only one tune per page, and information / writing alongside: I do sometimes find that I would like more than one tune at some points, and for this reason I find M&MP and Tunes for TF a little more flexible than Chester.
Me and my Piano delays introducing left hand till part way through the book - which you may or may not feel is a good idea. (But looking ahead, book two of this series moves on rather too quickly for many 5-6-7 yr olds - I often change course-books at this point anyway once I get to see how a student copes with whatever book one we have used).
I'm less familiar with Ministeps but a have heard it highly recommended by colleagues. Afraid I have given you a fourth without crossing any off your list - so have not made your task any easier, but good luck anyway!
Sep 5 2004, 12:08 PM
I have just started to use Piano Discoveries with a 6 year old.
I am using the off stave starter ( first time I have used one) which I think is good for younger children as it leaves note learning until a bit later.
I find that as she has a small hand I don't do too much playing at a time but mix in with listening games.
Another off stave starter I have been looking at as I was given a free sample copy is Piano Adventures.
I really like the look of that one too as it aims to avoid strong finger number association by using different hand positions.
I didn't like Me and my Piano because of the way it is one hand until half way through, then the other.
I like Tunes for 10 fingers a lot, but think it is better from about 7/8 year old.
Sep 5 2004, 08:09 PM
I use Bastien Piano Basics for really young pupils. I like the fact that it uses pre-staff notation for about the first half of the book, and it's clearly laid out with one tune per page, large print and colour illustrations. I also like the fact that the first 2 books move at a very gradual pace, and there's not too many finger numbers. It does use American note values, and don't find that a problem, but know other teachers who do-I think it's a case of finding a book you feel comfortable working with. I like the material and layout in Me and My Piano, but get frustrated with the large amount of finger numbers written in. I have used Fun for 10 Fingers for games and additional sight reading material, I haven't used Tunes for 10 Fingers much, but do like the material in it.
Sep 13 2004, 09:24 PM
My son was 5 when he showed interest in the piano. He loved seeing the children I taught and listening outside the door! So I decided to let him have a go. Some of my pupils use Mini-Steps but find it 'old fashioned'. I tend to use these along with another book (say from age 7~9).
I gave my son the Bastein Primer A for young beginners. Showed him where to put his hands and gave a brief introduction of 'music'. He has studied the book alone (I sat in twice!) and can play all the tunes correctly and in time. He'snow gone onto Primer B but wan'ts to be 'BUSTED' now instead!
Luckily I own a music shop and have tiny electric guitars + bass guitars coming in suitable for 6+.
Good luck with the teaching, hope you find a solution
PS ~ I offer 10% Teacher Discount and am accessible via the web plus don't charge for postage!!!!!
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