Clavier Companion - July/August 2017 - 32
The rote songs are very patterned, incorporate the technique exercise, and use the full range of the keyboard. Some
sound very impressive and others are quite expressive, thus
providing more advanced performance pieces while the students learn easier reading pieces. The first rote song in Book
2 Repertoire cleverly incorporates every technique learned in
After three years of teaching Piano Safari, my
students and I are still having a great time. I would like
to share my experiences with two ten-year-olds who
have studied with me for a couple of years.
Elise transferred to me with a year of previous lessons
and immediately loved the rote and technique pieces.
She was very expressive in her playing and graceful in her
movements; however, she was reluctant to read. In Level
1 of Piano Safari every piece begins on treble G and bass
C. No other notes are used for the first note, thus limiting
the student's decision to whether it is right hand treble G
or left hand bass C. I think it reassured her that she knew
the beginning note of each piece and then she could read
by direction and intervals. Her confidence grew, and she
moved quickly through the reading in Level 1. The Sight
Reading and Rhythm Cards continue to reinforce concepts
thoroughly, and provide daily reading practice for Elise. My
weekly assignments include at least four cards, each with
a short four-measure reading exercise and four-measure
rhythm exercise. The cards are a regular lesson activity and
the rhythms can provide structure for improvisations.
Brady came to my studio after having completed Book 1
of Piano Safari. He loves to play and was delighted to spend
the year in Level 2. Although he excels at tapping and counting the rhythm patterns each week in the Sight Reading and
Rhythm Cards, he has trouble transferring his rhythm knowledge to the pieces. Teacher duets that are provided for most
pieces and classical duets such as Diabelli's "Scherzo and
Trio" help him hear and feel the pulse.
Level 3 was not yet available during Brady's third year
of study. Although I chose music that would continue the
curriculum of rote, technique, classical, folk, and reading
pieces, along with the Level 3 Sight Reading and Rhythm
Cards, the material was not as cohesive as Piano Safari,
and neither Brady nor I were as engaged in the lessons.
Level 3 arrived and he is again excited about playing and
loves the primarily classic music in Book 3 Repertoire.
Interspersed levels of difficulty
One of the reasons Brady and Elise have been
successful with Piano Safari is that pieces of varying
levels of difficulty are interspersed throughout each
book. Fisher and Knerr explain that this is:
* To provide appropriate levels of reinforcement.
* To provide both the challenge and motivation
necessary for students to progress.
"Safari Friends" from Piano Safari, Level 2.