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 …


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 …


By Dr. Julie Knerr

The following video is an 18-minute condensed video of a 45-minute lesson of this 5-year-old’s very first piano lesson! A bit of background about this student. He just turned 5 in May. His mom is a piano teacher. Dad is also a musician. He has been taking early childhood music classes for a few years. He is homeschooled and is doing Kindergarten/1st Grade work. As you will see, he is very enthusiastic, well-behaved, focused, and he learns quickly. In other words, a dream student!

Everything you see in the video is real-life lesson! Bloopers, mistakes, and triumphs are all included. During the first lesson, I am assessing a student’s concentration, rhythmic sense, pattern recognition, physicality, and ability to follow directions. As you will see, he is above average …


By Dr. Julie Knerr

From experience, I know that Rain Forest Mystery, the Rote Piece corresponding to the legato Tree Frog Technique (from Piano Safari Level 1 and Animal Adventures) can be a challenging piece for both students and teachers. Over the years, I have fine-tuned my presentation of this challenging piece. It now involves teaching portions of the piece over the course of two to three lessons as well as creating a story with the stuffed animals to show the dynamics. In this 7-minute video, you will see this joyful and enthusiastic 7-year-old student learning the second half of the piece (she learned the first half the week before). Enjoy!


By Dr. Julie Knerr

We had a terrific time in Baltimore! Thank you to all who came to our sessions and visited our booth. It was so much fun to meet new teachers and see familiar faces!

One of the highlights was meeting Sally and Angie from the UK in person (and their red elephant). They are from the Curious Piano Teachers, and if you haven’t gotten to know them, check out their site and join this exciting learning community!

Katherine and I presented a session called “Rote is Not a Four-Letter Word. The Role of Rote Teaching in the Development of Reading, Technique, and Artistry.” Some teachers asked if we could put a brief outline on our blog, so here it is!

We presented our new paradigm for rote teaching, to replace the reputation rote teaching has …


  
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 Katherine Fisher

Among my favorite Rote Pieces from Piano Safari Level 2 is the dynamic “African Safari” by Wendy Stevens. I am currently teaching my daughter piano (teaching your own children is another blog post for another time!) and she recently learned this piece. We both enjoyed working on it together because there are so many ways to use animal imagery in the learning process. Julie told me she uses the word “elephant” for the RH opening measures:

I like using this animal because it is a reminder for students that the starting note is “E,” and also that they should play the RH with vigorous tone. After three “elephants,” I add the lyrics “calling on the telephone, telephone” to the next two measures:

My favorite part is the somewhat tricky RH …


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 piano …


By Dr. Julie Knerr

We thank everyone who attended our Piano Safari Summer Institute this past weekend in Athens, Ohio. It was a wonderful, pedagogy-packed event. We really enjoyed meeting teachers from OH, KY, PA, NC, NY, IL, VA, AL, and even Australia. If you missed it, don’t worry! We have another summer institute planned for Saturday, July 23 in Westport, Connecticut. Here is the Registration page. We would love to have you join us!

One of the topics we discussed at the Piano Safari Summer Institute was how teaching Rote Pieces in the beginning of study, alongside a systematic reading system, can enhance not only a student’s motivation and aural training, but also their Concentration, Confidence, Keyboard Orientation, Reading (yes, it’s really true!), Pattern Recognition, Rhythm, Technique, and Artistry.

In this blog post, I would like …