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 …


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 …


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 …


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 …


  
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 can be a …


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). They must …


By Dr. Julie Knerr

In this blog post, I will focus on #3 of the four ingredients that lead to confident and fluent music reading, Rhythm:

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

I have long had a hunch that rhythm was an important component for good sight reading. All the good sight readers I have ever known have an excellent sense for rhythm. I am blessed to be included in this camp. I don’t know how it happened, but I have always been able to understand almost any rhythm immediately. In fact, when I was 8, I was in a weekly theory class with three other little girls. We had a book of rhythms to tap, and we were supposed to practice them ahead of time before …


By Dr. Julie Knerr

In this blog post, we will focus on #2 of the four ingredients that lead to confident and fluent music reading, Contours and Intervals:

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

Intervallic Reading Approach

Piano Safari uses an intervallic reading approach. This means that students are trained to read the intervals and see the relationships between the notes, rather than reading by note name one note at a time.

We have found that of all the reading approaches, the Intervallic Approach produces the highest percentage of students who become confident and competent music readers.

In Piano Safari Level 1, students begin with pre-staff reading (the importance of which will be discussed in another blog post), and then move onto the staff.

2nds, Unisons, and Landmarks

After the pre-staff …


By Dr. Julie Knerr

In Part 3, I presented 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

From the beginning of a student’s piano study, we need to establish the idea that music is not a random collection of notes. Instead, music is made up of logical patterns.

In the beginning of study, this is accomplished by teaching students Rote Pieces that are related to patterns on the keyboard. This may seem strange to say that teaching Rote Pieces actually helps students learn to read, but it is true! Students who have been taught patterned Rote Pieces at the beginning of study look for patterns in their Reading Pieces and Sight Reading Cards, because they are trained …