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Method books: which level before piano exam?


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#1 semplice

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Posted 20 May 2019 - 22:36

Just wondering which method books you use and - more importantly - which level your students reach before you enrol them for Prep Test or Grade One? Why do you consider that series and level a good preparation? 

 

Do you have them continue with their method book alongside the early exams? 

 

 

 


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#2 Latin pianist

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Posted 21 May 2019 - 05:51

I don't teach every student the same way, but generally I would use Tunes for Ten Fingers, More Tunes for Ten Fingers, Piano Adventures Level I lesson Book, PA Level 2a and 2b or Accelerated PA book 2 in place of the last 2 for an older child. Then I would use some old grade 1 pieces before starting the current ones. Piano time pieces book 2 has a few suitable pieces if you don't have a collection of old exam books. Also Encore book 1.And I wouldn't have exclusively used Method books. I use Dozen a day and other material. I don't generally use the Prep Test but I think you could start that after PA Lesson book 1.I particularly like Accelerated Piano Adventures book 2 before exam work as it introduces changes of hand position and lots of musical detail.
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#3 The Great Sosso

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Posted 21 May 2019 - 10:19

I think one of the great things about individual tuition is that you don't have to take the same track with all students.  So it's difficult to say what I do, because it's different for different people, but I do have a general approach.

 

I use method books - usually Piano Adventures, either Accelerated Piano Adventures, if the student is established on another instrument, or the Piano Adventures Primer if they are young/a complete beginner.  At the end of the Primer I take a view.  If the student is progressing slowly, I will move on to Piano Adventures Book 1, but if they are picking things up really quickly, I'll move to something like Piano Time Pieces, so off method and onto repertoire.  Alongside this I would use something like Adventures with the Keyboard Monster, to focus a little more on technique and expressiveness without worrying about notes so much.

 

At the end of PA book 1 I take stock again, and either continue with the method if they are still inching along, or onto one of the repertoire books - eg Upgrade 0-1 if they are progressing well.

 

Once "off method", I tend to secretly introduce some grade 1 pieces along the way, to gauge whether the student is up to tackling grade 1 yet.  I don't usually do the Prep Test as I have found it is a bit of a blind alley.

 

 

Hope that helps.

 

TGS X


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#4 Latin pianist

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Posted 21 May 2019 - 10:25

I have found that after grade 1, students enjoy PA Lesson book 3 and I begin to introduce grade 2 material. I haven't used any further on PA books but might do that along with other material particularly for a younger student.
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#5 maggiemay

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Posted 21 May 2019 - 10:34

As others have mentioned, students are not all the same, and I don’t think I have an identifiable path, really.

I do find Piano Adventures level one is particularly good at the just-post-beginner stage, and gets most students on the way to reading.

I generally don’t use a tutor book beyond grade one - but I wouldn’t say never.
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#6 zwhe

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Posted 21 May 2019 - 14:12

It really depends on the pupil, but as a rough guide, a first tutor book leads into pre-grade 1 exams. I use piano adventures, and most of my pupils are teenagers or adults. I find that at this age many progress quickly through accelerated book 1. If they have gone through with no problems (including reading the music), I will go straight onto repertoire books such as classics to moderns, upgrade, microjazz etc. and then straight to grade 2. If they have struggled, then we do accelerated 2, then some repertoire, then grade 1. The little ones work through my first piano adventures then book 1. This leads nicely into Trinity initial (never done AB prep) if they are mature enough and want to take an exam. Again, if they are doing well, they then go onto repertoire, otherwise book 2. I have one finishing piano time pieces at the moment (and learning scales etc), then we will do some pieces at more of a grade 1 level before beginning work on the exam. About half my pupils don't do exams at all. I think its very important a child doesn't fail their first exam, so its best to be cautious and leave it late if in doubt.


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#7 Aquarelle

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Posted 21 May 2019 - 21:15

Like others I have no set route because it depends on the child and also because I have a number of sibling groups and don’t always like them to have the same book. I  mostly use Piano Adventures up to the end of Lesson book 1.  I also use Ministeps to Music which has been revamped and is now called Step by Step Piano course (E M Burnham of Dozen a Day fame) – up to book 4.

 

After these I often use “The Joy of first Year  Piano”. This is not a tutor book but the pieces progress methodically rather like a tutor book and lay  very good foundations for Grade 1. I like them because the styles are varied, the print is sufficiently large and clear – and the children enjoy this book. Then it’s on to Grade 1  level material. At this point I don’t always continue with a tutor book but if I do, it’s more often from the Step By Step  series or sometimes PA Lesson book 2, though I’m not very keen on that one. I’ve found, however, the Lesson Books 2 and 3 do help weaker pupils.

 

Whenever possible I avoid the Prep Test and I am waiting with impatience for the new Initial grade.


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#8 ma non troppo

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Posted 21 May 2019 - 21:55

As others have said, I don't have a set path. It really depends on each student and how they are progressing, what motivates them, what they need to learn etc. It is one of the luxuries of individual and private tuition that we can tailor all that we do to the individual. No one tutor book suits everyone - you need to evaluate and move with your observations. It's fine to start with a vague plan but we need to see what nourishes each student. I use many different methods. When I use a tutor book I often flip over a lot and or supplement it with other material. You just have to see how it goes and be open and mindful I think.
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#9 ma non troppo

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Posted 21 May 2019 - 22:03

Also, like Aquarelle I don't do the prep test - I just don't see the point. If I use Piano Adventures with children I only use Primer and Level 1, or with older children the Accelerated ones. I am not sure I would use an initial grade... I'm really not convinced that we need pre Grade 1 exams... even though Grade 1 piano is a bit ridiculous.
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#10 jenny

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Posted 22 May 2019 - 08:39

As others have said, I don't have a set path. It really depends on each student and how they are progressing, what motivates them, what they need to learn etc. It is one of the luxuries of individual and private tuition that we can tailor all that we do to the individual. No one tutor book suits everyone - you need to evaluate and move with your observations. It's fine to start with a vague plan but we need to see what nourishes each student. I use many different methods. When I use a tutor book I often flip over a lot and or supplement it with other material. You just have to see how it goes and be open and mindful I think.

 

I agree very much with you. Having a vague plan can also apply to lessons - although I do plan all my lessons ahead, I often change these plans because of something cropping up during the lesson that can send it in a different direction.. Or even by how the pupil is feeling on that day. I feel we always need to be flexible - no two pupils are the same and all will progress at their own rate. It's up to us to be sensitive to this and to adjust accordingly.     


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#11 Norway

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Posted 22 May 2019 - 08:45

No set path but usually Me and My Piano book 1 followed by my own vocab controlled arrangements which gradually introduce more notes and rhythms, throwing in occasional pieces from other books according to the student's needs and tastes.


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