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03 Mar 2010

Which piano method is right for me?

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Confused by all the piano methods out there? I don’t blame you! I came across a great article that scratches below the surface on the most popular methods and I have highlighted the main points below.

Traditional Piano Methods

Still the most widely taught, traditional piano methods are the books you’ll find at your local music store. These books and programs teach you to play piano by learning to read music. “That’s logical,” you might be thinking. “What other way could there be?” Actually, there are many other ways to learn piano. And to learn to read music, for that matter.

Traditional piano methods all teach piano playing and music reading at the same time. Beyond that common link, though, there are differences. Each method approaches introducing musical concepts, rhythm, theory, and piano technique differently and every piano teacher has his or her own opinions!

Simply Music

I discovered Simply Music by hearing a student play. Amazing, rhythmically complex music. My jaw dropped. I asked how long the student had been taking lessons. “Oh, about six months!” came the cheerful reply. Other adults were also shaking their heads in wonder. I transitioned all of my traditional students, over time, to this method. The parents of my students, who were initially very skeptical of a delayed-music-reading approach, are delighted. My students are practicing without being asked. Many of them are composing and improvising on their own.

Ages: 5 to 105! Kids, teenagers, and adults.
Best Feature: immediate access to self-expressive piano playing – 2 hands! Also, parental involvement and ease of learning.

Suzuki Method

The Suzuki Method is probably the most recognizable alternative piano method. In my journey away from traditional methods, I researched becoming a Suzuki teacher. I eventually decided that the Simply Music approach fit better with my teaching philosophy.

However, I respect and admire the Suzuki method. In a nutshell, this approach begins with imitation: watching the teacher (and other students), listening, and repeating. Parents are involved, and kids start young into the program – even as young as three.

Ages: children
Best Feature: natural learning style, good parental involvement

To read the article in full, click here.

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