By Dr. Julie Knerr

I have a new batch of little Piano Safarians this year. They are a bunch of wonderful kids! Since my pianos got tuned last week (so excited!), I decided to get some new video clips.

The following is a video of one of my 6-year-olds with his first yellow Level B Sight Reading Card (pre-staff on white keys). A bit about this student. He started piano lessons on January 10, so he is at the beginning stages. His parents both play the piano, and he is very creative, has great ears, and draws great pictures of dinosaurs!! He is currently writing an 8-part-epic book series about dinosaurs. He loves to improvise and create his own music, always wants to learn the Teacher Accompaniments to his pieces, and loves to add …


By Dr. Julie Knerr

This past week I had two young students play the Improvisation Piece “Thunderstorm Over the Prairie” found in Piano Safari Level 1.

They both came up with great, but extremely different, improvisations.

Thunderstorm Number 1

The student below is 6, almost 7, and she recently started studying with me as a transfer student. She had not done any improvisation before, so was a bit hesitant to create music for the beautiful art she colored at home:

But as you will see from the video, by the end of the piece, she was starting to understand that she can create sounds at the piano to create a great sounding piece.

Thunderstorm Number 2

The second student is 6 years old. She has studied violin for several years and started piano in October. She is extremely …


By Dr. Julie Knerr

Although it is fun to try different methods with different students, there is something very satisfying about mastering a single method. I find that when I teach the same pieces to dozens and dozens of students, I am better able to hone the art of teaching than if I am constantly teaching different pieces (although I enjoy that too).

Before my 5-year-old student came today, I gave some thought to what I wanted to accomplish. It’s amazing how even three minutes of actual deep thought can make a lesson so much better! I decided that I was going to try a new way of breaking down “Ode to Joy” into manageable chunks, because after teaching a piece to dozens and dozens of students, a teacher can begin to know the pitfalls of …