Clavier Companion - July/August 2017 - 33
* To generate the mental and physical connections among
the ears, eyes, fingers, and imagination that comes from
playing pieces in a variety of textures, types, and levels.
* To provide variety in how students learn pieces in order
to accommodate different learning modalities.
I have been pleased that the method has prepared Brady
and Elise well for the Kansas Music Teachers Association
syllabus program with few additional materials needed.
Teachers may be concerned that only three major and
three minor keys are introduced in the series. However, the
theory presentation is thorough and other keys could easily be
introduced. Technique Book 3 includes scales, primary chords,
and chord inversions in the keys of C Major, A Minor, G Major, E
Minor, F Major, and D Minor, with a unit devoted to each key in
the Sight Reading and Rhythm Cards. Students build technical
fluency in the six keys through playing Alberti bass, waltz,
stride, and broken chord accompaniment patterns.
I met Fisher and Knerr when they consulted with me as they
wrote the method. This series meets and goes beyond my
expectations of the pedagogy I want in the perfect method.
Jerome Bruner's spiral curriculum is evident in the use of
sophisticated musical concepts throughout the method and
the appropriate challenge for motivation. Dynamic levels,
tempos using Italian terms, and articulations that include
pedal are incorporated into the pieces. Opportunities for
transfer of learning are built into the method. Brady, for
example, was learning primary chords in root position and
inversions, and chord progressions. He had an "aha moment"
when he discovered a chord inversion in his repertoire.
Piano Safari is adaptable for very young students needing
a slower learning pace. I thoroughly enjoy teaching fiveand six-year-olds as they "teach me" to enjoy each moment
of making music together. They often want to play their
own compositions using patterns they have learned from
the book and each student is eager to play five or six songs
for the studio recital. Knerr's supplemental composition "I
Like Bananas" is a hit. "I Like Coffee," a rote duet in Book
1, has been an entertaining ensemble piece for many Piano
Safari teachers' studio recitals.
Please join us in using this method and energize your
studio as we have! ▲
Rebecca Grooms Johnson, Ph.D., NCTM,
is a nationally respected leader in the field
of piano pedagogy. She is an experienced
independent teacher and university
professor. Active in the Music Teachers
National Association, she has served as
President of the OhioMTA, National Chair
of MTNA's Pedagogy Committee, Chair
of the National Certification Commission, Vice-President,
President-Elect, and President. She is currently ImmediatePast President of MTNA, and publishes a tri-annual feature
article in American Music Teacher titled "What's New in
Lizbeth Atkinson holds a B.M. from Brigham
Young University in Piano Performance and
Pedagogy where she studied piano with
Dr. Douglas Humpherys. She is a member
of the National Federation of Music Clubs,
a judge for the National Guild of Piano
Teachers, and served on the board of the
Central East District of the Ohio Music
Teachers Association. She is an MTNA Nationally Certified
Teacher of Music, and was recognized as CEOMTA Teacher
of the Year and OhioMTA Teacher of the Year.
Dr. Sylvia Coats, Ph.D., Professor Emerita
of Music at Wichita State University,
authored Thinking as You Play:
Teaching Piano in Individual and Group
Lessons, published by Indiana University
Press. Her credits include performances
and recordings with the Sotto Voce
Trio and presentations at conferences
throughout the United States and internationally in
Scotland, Brazil, Greece, Italy, Malaysia, and China. She
has held many offices in MTNA including the 2015-2017
national secretary treasurer.