“Piano Safari is the only method I know of that is based on this experiential and playing-based philosophy. Instead of reading music notation being the core, students are taught to develop beautiful technique, a sense of musicality, freedom to explore, discover, and create, an internal rhythmic pulse, and proficient sight-reading through a rich musical selection of rote pieces, improvisation experiences, guided compositions, and excellently sequenced reading skills.”
-Natalie Weber, Independent Piano Teacher and author of Music Matters Blog, Wichita, KS
“Oh, my goodness, ladies .. I am sorry to sound like a broken record, but I have to tell you again what a ball I am having with your books! I have not had this much fun teaching in a long, long time. Every turn of the page is a new adventure. The students are creating music at the piano right from the start, focused on artistry and creativity and the simple joy of music making.”
-Kathleen Merwin, Independent Piano Teacher, Hudson, OH
“Yay Safari! Everyone needs to check this fabulous method out. I am speaking from a professional point of view as a fellow teacher and also as a father of a seven year old using this method. It is creative and expansive. It teaches sound and articulation right from the get go, and my daughter has made progress far beyond my wildest dreams. Much farther than I did at her age! Julie and Katie have hit a home run with Piano Safari!”
-Ted Shure, Independent Piano Teacher, Cuyahoga Falls, OH
“Piano Safari is like a melting pot of the best piano methods out today. Dr. Julie Knerr and Katherine Fisher searched for the best and most important technical exercises and musical ideas and transformed them into a clear, fun safari-based piano method. The combination of rote and reading pieces immediately submerses students into different sounds and colors not found in most early piano methods. Student’s ears are developed early on by playing rote pieces, and their reading is so sound with the flashcards that it is easy to transition to more difficult pieces later on. With my piano students (4-6 year olds in groups and young students in private lessons) I see more confident playing, better sound, comfort at the instrument, a better understanding of how to use their bodies/arms/hands, and a more musical approach to pieces. It is amazing to see students so young come away with such a solid foundation after using Piano Safari, and I truly believe that my students are better musicians because of this method.”
-Alexandra Jones, Faculty, Centre for Musical Minds, Frisco, TX
“Piano Safari has become my go-to method for starting young piano students. Its seamless blending of rote and reading helps build students’ confidence and allows their playing to “sound like a real piano player” right from the beginning. What student doesn’t love to play a giant glissando (as in Fred the Fish) or use the pedal for atmosphere (used in Outer Space) within the first few lessons? I also appreciate the effective use of animals to teach the techniques needed to make solid piano sounds happen. I highly recommend this series to any teacher interested in building strong technique and a love for piano playing in his or her studio!”
-Wendy Blackwood, Faculty, Athens Community Music School, Athens, OH
“I have been searching for years for a method that really satisfied me. Specifically, I was looking for books that not only offered a way of teaching technique (arm/hand technique, not scales, etc.) in a fun, easy manner, but that incorporated songs more exciting than those in middle C position offered in first level books. Over the years, I’ve had countless parents confess that their kids, or even they themselves as children, found lessons boring in the past. Perhaps this is why so many students leave lessons with less than 3 years of study!
While there are many wonderful components to this method such as the sight reading cards, the true gem is found in the technique and rote pieces. I use the Technical Exercises and Rote Pieces book to supplement other methods, even for beginners in middle school and they LOVE them. Students don’t realize they are learning or “working” because their assignments are fun. They get to play songs all over the piano from the first lesson. I have a 5th grade boy who, when he passes a song, never wants to review for fun because he can’t wait to get to the blue book (Level 2). Using stuffed animals as a prop for younger kiddos takes the fun to the next level. They hug those animals like a best friend and are so excited to show Mr. Zechariah Zebra or Mr. Tree Frog how well they can play their song.
For anyone just starting out using this method, I would highly recommend you read the free essays offered on this site. They are full of great pedagogical advice and fun teaching suggestions. Two of their suggestions I have great success with are using “Mr. Fuzzy” to teach a good piano hand and incorporating “review” pieces as an assignment. Once students pass a song, don’t just move on. Ask them if they want to keep playing it for “fun” or “be done.” I was shocked at how much my students choose to keep playing music they love. It was such a simple concept that I never even considered.
Piano Safari offers a strong foundational and yet fun and fresh approach to piano teaching!”
-Amy Chaplin, Studio 88, Bluffton IN