By Dr. Julie Knerr

At the beginning of the new school year, I realized that some of my students who are in Piano Safari Level 3 were a bit rusty after the summer with their technical patterns. Level 3 works through the keys of C, Am, G, Em, F, and Dm. But since students can spend a year or longer in Piano Safari Level 3, it is easy to forget the earlier keys as they progress through Technique Book 3 if they are not reviewed. I devised a beginning of the year technical review that worked really well for my students who are nearing the middle to end of Piano Safari Level 3 that I thought I would share with you.

It is simple, but something about gray blobs you fill with …


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

Although stuffed animals are not necessary to teach Piano Safari, they do make things more fun, especially for our youngest students. Here are two short videos of a 5-year-old working on two of the Animal Techniques found in Level 1.

Lion Paw Technique

Larry the Lion is asleep, and when she plays a good Lion Paw arm, he wakes up scared! Kids love this!

Tall Giraffe Technique

This is my student’s first attempt at learning the Tall Giraffe Technique. First we play it non legato. Then we use Bumper the Tall Giraffe to add the graceful wrist lift in the Tall Giraffe Neck part.

If you have fun ideas for using stuffed animals, please share!


  
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 Julie Knerr

Technique Book 3 delves into the world of scales, chord inversions, and chord progressions. Students learn these common pianistic patterns gradually in the keys of C Major, A Minor, G Major, E Minor, F Major, and D Minor. As they are learning these patterns, they are exploring pieces in their Repertoire Book 3 in the same keys, and practicing using these keys in their Sight Reading Cards as well.

Our motto in Technique Book 3 is “Mastery through repetition.” Students become fluent and increase their tempo in scales by building up gradually through repetition. By the end of the book, they should have mastered these basic building blocks of music, so it is time to celebrate by playing the Technique Extravaganza.

 

The Technique Extravaganza is a student – teacher duet at …


By Katherine Fisher

This past fall when Julie and I were writing Technique Book 3, we decided to include Hanon Exercise No. 1. This was not a decision we made lightly. After all, there have been many impassioned posts on Facebook recently from teachers about either the benefits or drawbacks of students studying Hanon. It seems his exercises have become somewhat controversial in online discussions! With this said, we feel that the benefits far outweigh any negatives, so in this blog post I hope to explain our rationale about how Hanon may be used to enhance the technical development of early intermediate students.

First, we encourage students to play Hanon with multiple rhythmic and articulation variations. This prevents the dry and lifeless repetitions that so many teachers and students object to. We …