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 changed the titles for the Technique Exercises rather than using animal names. For example, the Tall Giraffe Exercise is called the Non Legato Articulation in the Older Student Book.

The Sight Reading & Theory Book features Sight Reading Exercises similar to the Sight Reading & Rhythm Cards from the children’s method, but in book format. Theory pages provide written reinforcement for concepts presented in the Repertoire & Technique Book.

Is the pedagogical sequence the same as the main Piano Safari Method?

Yes. We believe that the same process of teaching Rote Pieces alongside intervallic Reading Pieces is pedagogically sound for students at all ages. The pace is quite a bit faster than in the children’s method, but the reading approach is the same:

  • Unit 1. A short Pre-Staff Unit on Black and White Keys
  • Unit 2. 2nds and Unisons
  • Unit 3. 3rds
  • Unit 4. 2nds & 3rds combined beginning on Landmark Notes
  • Unit 5. 2nds & 3rds beginning off Landmark. Note Names on the Staff
what makes these books different from other older beginner methods?

Unique features of the Older Student books include:

  • Rote Pieces to develop aural literacy
  • Reading Pieces alongside learning Rote Pieces to develop visual literacy
  • Systematic and sequential intervallic reading approach
  • Improvisation Pieces
  • Technique based on my dissertation research
  • Early introduction of syncopated pedal. Older students can reach the pedal easily, and adding pedal opens new worlds of sound.
  • Eighth notes from the beginning
  • Audio Tracks for Rote Pieces (see the code on the title page)
  • Reminder Videos for home practice of Rote Pieces and Technique Exercises.
  • Pieces with a variety of textures and sounds that will appeal to older students.
  • Variations for some pieces allow for different ability levels in group classes and for ensemble possibilities. This makes the books versatile and useful for private lessons and group classes.
How much of the book overlaps with the children’s method?

We have chosen the pieces that will appeal to older beginnings from the regular Piano Safari Method Levels 1 and 2 and then added 44% new pieces. So, for example, if you have an older beginner (age 11) and a younger sibling (age 7), you could use the Older Student Pack with the 11-year-old and the regular Level 1 Pack with the 7-year-old. There will be some overlap, but the pacing and order of pieces is considerably different.

Why pre-staff with Older Students? Can’t they just start right on the staff?

Some older students will be just fine beginning on the staff. But have you ever had an adult student who was timid, had a negative experience learning music when young, or who views reading music as an impossibly indecipherable task? I know I have! Often the adult students are much more self-conscious than 6-year-olds. So while many older beginners would be just fine beginning on the staff, we believe that the basics of reading should be presented carefully and sequentially to allow every student to feel successful at their first attempts at reading notation and to build confidence. A short pre-staff segment of study allows students to build the cognitive, rhythmic, technical, and visual skills necessary to read well. No need to rush the beginning stages! When it comes to reading, slow and steady wins the race!

Can I see sample pages?

Yes, you can. On each product page, there is a slideshow to view sample pages.

Older Student Repertoire & Technique Book

Older Student Sight Reading & Theory Book

Is there a teacher guide?

Yes. It is here.

Will there be more levels?

Yes! We are working on Older Student Level 2 and plan to release it in January, 2019. Older Student Level 3 will follow.