By Katherine Fisher

During the summer, when life is quieter and the hustle of the school year is on pause, I try to catch up on my reading and take time to think more deeply about education and some of the issues we face as teachers. I recently came across an article by Dorthy Sayers entitled “The Lost Tools of Learning” and am inspired to share a quote here:

“Is not the great defect of our education today—a defect traceable through all the disquieting symptoms of trouble I have mentioned— that although we often succeed in teaching our pupils ‘subjects,’ we fail lamentably on the whole in teaching them how to think: they learn everything, except the art of learning.”

This point struck me and caused me to reflect on the methods … Read More

by Dr. Julie Knerr

Here is a very short video of using Flarp to help students feel their strong fingertips and form a good piano hand (fuzzy house). Flarp is available at Michaels, Walmart, and other stores. And it’s only $1.

by Dr. Julie Knerr

Happy New Year!! Here is the latest installment of B’s piano lesson.

by Dr. Julie Knerr

Last night at my monthly Studio Class, after a rousing game of Flamingo Bingo (I’ll write a blog post about that), I had the kids gather around the table to review terms. Even though these children are all in Piano Safari Level 2, I reviewed the terms from Level 1, and they thought it was the best thing ever to call out the answers. “QUARTER NOTE!!!!! TA!!!!! 1 BEAT!!!!” Who knew quarter notes were so exciting (Secretly, I wish I was from the UK or Australia so I could call talk about “crotchets” and “quavers” instead of quarter and eighth notes. Those are such fun words!)

It was an extremely easy studio class segment for me to teach, as all I had to do was flip … Read More

By Dr. Julie Knerr

Some students come to us with naturally strong, relaxed hands with firm fingertips. They may take a bit of work to form a good piano hand shape, but the process is relatively easy. For other students (I estimate 70%), more intensive and long term work is required to help the child find the coordination between strong fingertips, relaxed non-playing fingers, thumb on corner, tall bridge, rounded hand shape, relaxed shoulders, and everything else that goes into a good piano hand. For B, our featured Level 1 student, this work is ongoing.

I generally use the Introduction and Unit 1 of Piano Safari Level 1 as a chance to let students find their arms, discover their fingers, and build basic coordination. If the student has a naturally good piano … Read More

By Dr. Julie Knerr
Below is the latest installment in the continuing journey of B, a 6-year-old student, in Piano Safari Level 1. I hope you enjoy!

by Dr. Julie Knerr

 Why Partner Lessons?

Partner Lessons are a great way for students to begin their piano study. Not only is it more fun to learn with another person, but it is a great way for teachers to generate more income.

Both Katherine and I have taught many pairs of partners in the past. I am currently teaching only one Partner Lesson due to the transition in my teaching this year, but I hope to have many more duo pairs in the future!

Variety in Pieces

Piano Safari lends itself well to Partner Lessons, due to the variety in pieces. Because some children are more visually oriented, while others are more aurally inclined, the mixture of Reading Pieces and Rote Pieces appeals to both kinds of learners and allows students … Read More

by Dr. Julie Knerr

I hope you are enjoying watching “B’s” Videos about her journey through the first stages of Piano Safari Level 1.

I thought it would be nice to follow a student through Piano Safari Level 2 also.

Introducing “S.” She is 8 years old and has had a year of piano. She just finished Piano Safari Level 1, and below shows excerpts from her first lesson in Piano Safari Level 2.


This video shows the progress of B, a 6 year old beginner. Highlights in this video:

B has a lot of confidence at the piano “This is so easy!”
B graduates to Unit 1
B’s first Reading Piece and Sight Reading Cards

Enjoy seeing her progress.

by Dr. Julie Knerr

Above is B’s second lesson video. Again, the lesson was 45 minutes long, and this 14 minute video is excerpted from that.

You will notice that B has found her Lion Paw Arm! The next step will be to work toward making it easy and consistent for her to access her arm weight.

Also, her rhythm is steadier than last week, and she retained what we learned in Lesson 1 very well.

New in this video are:

Hungry Herbie Hippo on the Black Keys, a Rote Piece

Finger Number introduction through decorating her hands with rings
Pre-reading practice on the whiteboard