Clavier Companion - July/August 2017 - 28
Method reviews return!
Method reviews return!
by Rebecca Grooms Johnson
In 2009, Clavier Companion began
a series of reviews exploring all of
the major piano methods published
at that time. Two years later, the
series concluded and we had
covered twelve major methods!
(You can access these articles
collected into a special digital
issue on the claviercompanion.com
website.) Since then there have
been no new methods premiered
by any of the major publishers.
There are now, however, several
These methods may have a new
system of publication, but they
are interesting and pedagogically
worthwhile. In this ongoing series,
we will explore some of these
methods. The format will be the
same as the 2009-2011 series: each
review will begin with the Associate
Editor's overview of the core books,
providing basic information about
Written and published by Katherine Fisher and
Additional contributing composers: Wendy Lynn
Stevens and Christopher Fisher
the method's approach to reading,
rhythm, theory, and other aspects
of pedagogic interest. Following
the overview, two independent
teachers who use this method
extensively will give practical
insights into their day-to-day use
of the method with their students.
The series' authors will also be
given the opportunity to respond
in the following issue. So...let's get
Not all students will need all the steps-they can be
adjusted to each student's age and pace of learning.
Suggestions are given for additional age-appropriate
learning activities. Occasionally, the Guide recommends
how many teaching steps to cover in each lesson on a
piece. Some group lesson activities are also provided.
* Video clips provide help for rote and technique pieces
in Books 1 and 2. Some contain reminder videos for the
parents' use at home, some are instructional videos to
review concepts introduced in the lessons, and some have
performance videos with children playing the finished
piece. Videos also present instructional sample activities
using the Sight Reading and Rhythm cards for Books
1 and 2. Several performance videos are presented for
K AT H E R I N E F I S H E R & J U L I E K N E R R
his series currently includes
Repertoire Books 1, 2, and 3; Technique
Books 2 and 3; Sight Reading and Rhythm
Cards Levels 1, 2, and 3; and Listening CDs
for rote pieces Levels 1 and 2. The authors recommend the series for beginners age four through ten.
There is an enormous amount of information on the
pianosafari.com website that includes
* An extensive online Teacher's Guide with sequenced
teaching suggestions for each page of Books 1 and 2.
(The Teacher's Guide for Book 3 is not yet completed.)
* Twenty-two Mini Essays explain the authors' philosophy
on various pedagogical topics, along with Knerr's session,
"152 Strategies for Effective and Efficient Teaching," from
the MTNA 2016 National Conference.
Meticulously sequenced, this series reflects the teaching
philosophies of Frances Clark, Marvin Blinkenstaff,
Suzuki, Kodály, and other influential past and current
pedagogues. Rote pieces and improvisational activities
are interspersed throughout Books 1 and 2. All technical
exercises in the first two levels are taught by rote.
Supplementary "Sight Reading and Rhythm" cards
reinforce concepts and are correlated with each unit
of all three levels. There is an extensive online teacher's
guide for the cards in Levels 1 and 2. In Level 3 there are