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 … Read More

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 … Read More

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 … Read More

By Dr. Julie Knerr

You may remember the first lesson video of my new 5-year-old student. He started in September and is just flying through Level 1, thanks to his awesome mom who makes him practice diligently! Plus, he’s just a bright and eager student. In fact, after just 2 months of lessons, he started Unit 3 and got on the staff! What an exciting day Staff Day is. This video shows a few of the activities I use to introduce reading sames (unisons) and 2nds on the staff as well as his first (unedited) attempt at playing My Dog Fritz. I hope you enjoy this window into the lesson of a fabulous little student!


Introduction by Dr. Julie Knerr

We are pleased to announce the release of two new books, Diversions Books 1 and 2 by Juan Cabeza! Juan is from Spain, and last year he emailed us to express his delight with Piano Safari, as he had begun using it in his teaching. As a thank you gift, he sent us Piano Train Trips, which had been inspired by his use of Piano Safari. We were pleased to meet such a gifted composer and teacher and have been privileged to make his books available in the U.S. and around the world.

As you will see as you listen to and peruse his new books, Diversions Books 1 and 2 are an ideal supplement to the late elementary and early intermediate student’s study. The student … Read More

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 … Read More

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 … Read More

By Dr. Julie Knerr

As a follow up to my blog post, Super Awesome Sight Readings Part 7: Ingredient #4 – Note Names, here is a video clip of one of my students who completed Phase 10 of my Note Name sequence yesterday. She was working on playing all 35 cards in 75 seconds or less. After much work, she did it in 59 seconds!!!! She was so proud of herself. From here, she no longer has to practice her note name flashcards. Instead, I will continue to supplement with theory worksheets, sight reading, new pieces, and other activities and games for making sure she does not forget the note names.

Look at her go!!

By Dr. Julie Knerr

In the final blog post in this series, we will focus on #4 of the four ingredients that lead to confident and fluent music reading:

Ingredient #1. Patterns and Theory
Ingredient #2. Contours and Intervals
Ingredient #3. Rhythm
Ingredient #4. Note Names

Note Names are important. They are just not the only key to reading music.

We introduce note names by tying the treble and bass clefs together using the Skips Alphabet. This video shows the process.

Once students understand the process shown in the video above, they get to get their name on the Note Name Chart, which they really look forward to!

Students start with Phase 1, saying the Space Note Cards. I give them only the space notes from a stack of Note Name Flashcards (I use the Bastien Note Name Cards). … Read More

By Dr. Julie Knerr

Decorating the Piano is one of my favorite activities for teaching White Key Names. This can be done in Private, Partner, or Group Classes, and at the end of this post, I will tell you about a way to make it a self-directed activity specifically for Partner Lessons or Group Classes.

I usually do this activity at the interview or very first lesson. Through this, I gain information about the child, including:

Whether the student knows the letters of the alphabet
How the student responds to my directions
If the student can distinguish between groups of two and three black keys
If the student has the attention span to decorate the entire piano.

I can use this information as we move forward with piano lessons.

Materials You Will Need for Decorating the Piano

8 … Read More