By Dr. Julie Knerr Hague

In our Lesson Planning Webinar, I referenced a series of five paintings my mom made to highlight the phases it takes to bring a painting from sketch to beautiful work of visual art. This mirrors the phases student pass through when learning a complicated piece, from learning the notes and rhythms to refining and polishing all the details of articulation, dynamics, pedal, and style, leading to the creation of a beautiful work of sound art.

I commissioned my mom to create this series of paintings to explain this process to my students, especially those entering the intermediate phase of study, when their pieces become longer and more complicated.

This was my first week of teaching for the new school year, and I explained the painting progression to my …

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We are so excited about the launch of our latest release, Piano Safari Friends! This book is a piano method for our youngest students, ages four to six. Students who complete Piano Safari Friends are well set up to continue into Piano Safari Level 1. In case you missed our recent webinar exploring Piano Safari Friends, below is the replay video. As you will see described in the video, some highlights of this innovative series include:

Follow the Leader Pieces. This innovative new type of piece allows our youngest students to be successful at their first attempts at playing the piano in great sounding pieces!

Rote Pieces. In keeping with our philosophy of the importance of Rote Pieces for beginning students, newly composed Rote Pieces are included in each unit of the …

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By Dr. Julie Knerr Hague

Hello! I wanted to share an idea for using the Sight Reading Cards that has had great success in my studio this semester. I noticed that many of my students have phones, and they LOVE THEIR PHONES!

So I decided to offer them the option to audio or video record their Sight Reading Cards at home and text them to me throughout the week. I listen to the text and either text back “Pass” (sometimes with confetti or a smiley face) or give them instructions on how to improve and ask them to text me again. I only do this with students who are competent to work on their Sight Reading Cards at home on their own or have a parent to help them, usually when they …

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By Dr. Julie Knerr

At the beginning of the new school year, I realized that some of my students who are in Piano Safari Level 3 were a bit rusty after the summer with their technical patterns. Level 3 works through the keys of C, Am, G, Em, F, and Dm. But since students can spend a year or longer in Piano Safari Level 3, it is easy to forget the earlier keys as they progress through Technique Book 3 if they are not reviewed. I devised a beginning of the year technical review that worked really well for my students who are nearing the middle to end of Piano Safari Level 3 that I thought I would share with you.

It is simple, but something about gray blobs you fill with …

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By Dr. Julie Knerr

I trust all of you have settled into your new school year routines with your students! I wanted to share with you some things I am doing this year with my students. It’s nothing fancy, but I find that new charts and organizational structures are very motivating for students, and help me to gauge how the student is progressing throughout the year.

Parent Teacher Conferences

I had Parent Teacher Conferences with all my students the second week of lessons. I have not done this before, but I thought it would be helpful to set expectations for the new school year and talk with each parent alone. During the first 15 minutes of the student’s lesson, I asked the student to practice in my studio while the parent and I …

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By Dr. Julie Knerr

Happy New School Year!!!

My students begin Tuesday, and I am excited to see them again! As you begin your school year, we wanted to highlight the features of the Piano Safari Method for the Older Student.

Piano Safari for the Older Student is designed for what age student?

Ages 10 through Adult beginners. It would also work well with an adult student who took piano as a child but needs a refresher course. The books can be adapted for use in both private lessons and group classes.

What is included in the Older Student Pack?

The Older Student Pack is made up of two correlating books.

The Repertoire & Technique Book features pieces in a variety of styles and textures as well as the Animal Techniques from Piano Safari Level 1. However, we have …

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Julie and I kicked off the new academic year with a trip to the eastern coast of Maine! We began every day with a Piano Safari planning meeting in the most idyllic coffee shop one can imagine, Sea Folk Coffee. In addition to perfect coffee and pastries, we had a wonderful view of Rockport Harbour from our table. The windows were open and we always had a wonderful sea breeze. Who could not be inspired at a place like this? My husband, Chris, and our two children also joined us.

We were able to finish planning Piano Safari for the Older Student Level 2, and have many exciting new ideas to implement in 2018-2019! It seems that several new projects grow out of every completed project.

The afternoons were spent exploring!

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By Dr. Julie Knerr

This week in my studio is the last week of lessons (aside from some snow makeups) and the week before the recital (which is this Saturday). What to do during this last lesson? Have a piano zip line!

It’s easy to do. It took me about 10 minutes to set up. I strung yarn around my dining room and clothes pinned directions to the yarn. The children follow the yarn with their finger and do what each sign says.

Here is what my dining room looks like now. Haha. I don’t think I’ll be eating dinner in here this week. It is adjacent to the living room (to the right), which is adjacent to my piano room.

After the first sign said they had to play their recital pieces three …

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By Dr. Julie Knerr

We have released new editions of the books in Levels 1 and 2, and we have updated the Piece Cards for Level 1 and Level 2 to match the new artwork in the books.

What are Piece Cards?

They are a motivational supplement for Piano Safari Levels 1 and 2 that have the name for each piece on a card.

Piece Cards are available for purchase, and you may affix them to the free downloadable Unit Maps. The Unit Maps are also available on the Teacher Guide Pages.

The new version of Piece Cards are in black and white to allow students to color the cards as they are assigned and to highlight Elisa Lara Campos’ beautiful artwork.

Because art is important to life (as is music), and children love to color!

Benefits of …

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By Katherine Fisher

We are excited to release the 2nd Editions of Repertoire Book 1, Repertoire Book 2, and Technique Book 2! One important things to note is that the Sight Reading & Rhythm Cards and Theory Books remain unchanged.

Here is a list of what is new in each book:

Repertoire Book 1:

The inclusion of Improvisation Pieces to accompany each animal technique (these are currently contained in Animal Adventures as well).
Contains several new Rote Pieces (taken from Pattern Pieces 1)
Contains a few new Reading Pieces
Slightly different order of pieces
Beautiful new interior illustrations
Updated fonts and layout
Larger size: 9 x 12 in. instead of 8.5 x 11 in.
Length increased to 133 pages

Repertoire Book 2:

Contains several new Rote Pieces (taken from Pattern Pieces 2)
Practice and analysis suggestions are added for many of the pieces
Slightly different …

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