How To Choose a Piano Method

Playing the piano is good for the soul so you should learn how to work those black and white keys so at the end of a really long and harassing day out in the world, you can head for home, pour yourself a glass of wine and start playing to let the stress ebb away.

If you are serious about learning to play the piano, involve your kids in the process.

Here are ways to choose piano methods for kids and adults:

For kids:

  • Alfred Method – This method is a heavy use of photos and graphic images to teach the Five Finger Position of piano playing. The downside is that beyond the Five-Finger Position playing, students will draw a blank when presented with a music sheet that they have to read notes from to be able to play. Most recent developments in this method include the use of software and CDs to explain the method. You have to know that this method is only the beginning of your child’s exposure to piano playing. He must take more lessons learning from different methods as he gets better.
  • Bastien Method – This is a fun way for the young to learn technique. Even more advisable as the introductory method for kids who have no experience in music. Your kids will love the way piano playing technique is taught visually through the use of pictures and graphics. Piano teachers who go by this method use the “A Line a Day” series that involves 4-levels of introduction to sight-reading.
  • Music Tree Method – This is also known in proper terms as the Clark Method. This is a fantastic method for teaching kids how to play as a member of an ensemble. Aside from this, they will learn how to read intervalically, count phrases, define forms, and progress to masteral methods of playing.
  • Faber and Faber – This method also uses graphics but is best for a child who wants to practice play. This basically supplements the main piano lessons with practice pieces that your child can use on his free time.
  • Pace Method – Introduces the student to classical piano playing. This is the more challenging method which teaches your child to read notes both advanced and basic and challenges her to be as creative as she can be in her musical approach. This method also discourages position playing as the main skill to hit the keys while playing the piano.
  • Robyn Method – Uses intervallic and single note reading that students sing out loud while playing the exercises. This is done without the use of position playing. If this is the method that will be taught to your child, he will be asked to hit the exact note both vocally and musically. This is also an introduction to pedal playing although some music teachers might feel that the pedal playing style employed by this method needs much updating.
  • Suzuki Method – A Japanese method of instruction that involves exposure to multiple composers which has been proven to help improve note reading and listening by ear comprehension. This method is what you want your child to learn to get over performing in front of a huge audience because it exposes your child to different pocket performances until she is ready for a huge venue. If the instructor tells you she teaches this method, then she must show you proof that she completed her study from a recognized Suzuki-teaching music institution.

For adults:

  • Play by Choice – You can expect to learn to read individual chords, notes, and intervallic relationships while playing the keys following melodic contouring rather than position playing. You will be exposed to various musical genres and at the end of each session, you will be asked to play the pieces of your choice.
  • Bastien Method – If you would rather learn to play the piano your own leisure and as a hobby, then this is the method for you. This method uses position playing a lot which isn’t a stretch to learn. However, the downside here is that you won’t have much of a repertoire to choose from.

There are many other methods for adults such as the Pace and Rote methods. Ask your piano teacher about which method will fit you and your child’s age. One thing is for sure, your child may become bored in the long run but you won’t!


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