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Piano Curricula

CURRICULUM: “The subjects comprising a course of study…”, Oxford American Dictionary.

Here is a brief presentation of our products and how they are integrated into beginning, intermediate and advanced curricula.

Beginning Piano Curriculum Materials

Classic Series: Volume 1 Beginning Basics for the Piano

This holistic method book takes the student from absolute beginner to playing music on the grand staff, hands together, white keys only, with dynamics and articulation. Within its 5 Workshops are theory and writing activities, finger technique, music, and more. As a single method book, Classic Series: Volume 1 eliminates the need to keep buying the separate,smaller method books of other publishers to achieve the same results, saving time and energy. The supplemental books and products for Volume 1 enhance progress not just through this book, but through the entire Intermediate Curriculum as well.

Piano Practice and Performance

Beginning in the first Workshop of Volume 1, students are referred to certain sections of the Piano Practice and Performance book which introduce the exercise balls, basic posture, practice routines and other important habits. These points are the most important in any beginning student’s education, regardless of any other materials used. If there is any one product that could be considered “most important”, it is this one.

Exercise Balls

Use of the Exercise Balls begins in the first Workshop of Volume 1. They are an easy, effective way to warm-up and are explained here and in Piano Practice and Performance, which includes helpful photographs.

Ear Training CD: Middle C to C

Pitch recognition drills begin in the first Workshop of Volume 1. These may be done with a qualified partner per the book’s instructions, or alone using this convenient compact disc. These drills utilize only the white key pitches from Middle C to the next C above and are carried on through the 7th ear training session, entitled “Middle C to C, White Keys Only, Faster”. This session is then maintained until the sharps, flats and naturals are learned in Workshop 2 of Classic Series: Volume 2.

Music Instruction Forms: 1-Year Journal

The 1-Year Journal is the ideal tool for writing clear, concise assignments and recording progress throughout the year. Journals are purchased on an as-needed basis, typically once a year, and serve all instrumentalists at any level of instruction. Not just for teachers, self-study teens and adults can use these forms for the sake of clarity and adherence to goals.

Wittner MT-50 metronome

Use of the metronome begins in the second Workshop of Volume 1. It is a valuable tool for developing the student’s inner pulse and for controlled increases in tempo.  This MT-50 is the lowest-price, dial-adjust metronome on the market and completely reliable.

Beginning Curriculum Duration

Rate of progress is determined by factors such as natural aptitude, learning ability, practice schedule and discipline level. Students typically take 6-12 months to complete Volume 1 and the related sections of its accompanying materials. Follow the guidelines found in Piano Practice and Performance to ensure good progress.

Beginning Curriculum Cost (determined by the selected Pack)

Beginner Essentials Pack (the 3 “vitals” for the beginner student):

Beginner Essentials Pack, our beginner piano books and piano curriculum.

Beginner Complete Pack (all 6 products for the beginner student):

Beginner Complete Pack, our beginner piano books and piano curriculum.

For a 6-12 month curriculum, these discounted Packs with free shipping are a great value! Keep in mind the longevity of some products. Piano Practice and Performance, the Wittner metronome and the Exercise Balls will also be used throughout the Intermediate Curriculum and beyond.

Why some products are excluded from the Beginner Essentials Pack
  • The Ear Training: Middle C to C compact disc is not needed if the student has a qualified partner with whom to practice the pitch recognition drills at the keyboard, as described in Volume 1 and Volume 2.
  • The 1-Year Journal is not required as assignments and commentary may be written in any notebook. Yet for only $7.95, it is a helpful tool for clarifying tasks (how to do them, in what order, for how long) and logging one’s systematic progress over an entire calendar year (52 lessons).
  • Some individuals already own a metronome or device which contains one. Digital pianos typically have a built-in metronome. (If you do not have one, check out our MT-50 – a great metronome at a great price.)

Intermediate Piano Curriculum Materials

Classic Series: Volume 2 Intermediate Basics for the Piano

The student continues on where Volume 1 leaves off, advancing into intermediate music containing intervals, chords,key signatures, the damper pedal, eighth, tripleted, sixteenth and dotted note values and more. Volume 2 is also a holistic method book containing theory and writing activities finger technique and music. Within this book the student begins new paths of development which extend beyond the completion of Volume 2.

Essential Piano and Keyboard Technique

Essential Piano and Keyboard Technique is begun after completing the five-finger Eighth Note Workouts in Workshop 1 of Volume 2. Upon completing the section on key signatures in Workshop 3 of Volume 2, the student is then ready to begin the wrist turning exercises on page 34 of Essential Piano and Keyboard Technique and the various scales that follow. This book is continued through Volume 2 and well into the future as a long-term, comprehensive reference for building advanced keyboard technique. The page entitled “How to use this Book” offers helpful advice and recommendations.

Mastering Intervals

This resource is specific to the subject of intervals, one of the most important subjects in music theory. The topics covered here are vital to the understanding of chord structures and boost improvisation, composition and sight-reading skills. The earliest entry point for this book comes when having completed the sharps, flats and naturals in Workshop 2 of Volume 2. Another entry point is the end of Workshop 3, where key signatures have been learned. (By this time, students have probably started the major scales and can thus begin to relate intervallic distances to scale degree distances.) A later entry point is the end of Workshop 4, where ledger line notes have been learned. In any case, some familiarity with double sharps, double flats and ledger line notes is needed going into this book. The provided glossary defines some of these terms. As a single study, Mastering Intervals typically extends well past the completion of Volume 2.

Piano Practice and Performance, Exercise Balls, Ear Training CD: Middle C to C, Music Instruction Forms: 1-Year Journal

It is assumed that these materials have been in correct and habitual use throughout Volume 1. Applicable sections of Piano Practice and Performance are referred to again as review and to help students entering at this curriculum level getup to speed on good practice habits and routines. New sections of Piano Practice and Performance are also explored as the student faces new challenges. After learning the sharps, flats and naturals in Workshop 2 of Volume 2, pitch recognition ear training continues, either with a partner or using the Ear Training: Middle C to C compact disc, now incorporating both the white and black keys from Middle C to the next C above (C4 – C5).

Intermediate Curriculum Duration

Rate of progress is determined by factors such as natural aptitude, learning ability, practice schedule and discipline level. Students typically take 12-18 months to complete Volume 2 and the related sections of its accompanying materials. Follow the guidelines found in Piano Practice and Performance to ensure good progress.

Intermediate Curriculum Cost (determined by the selected Pack)

Intermediate Essentials Pack (the 3 “vitals” for the continuing intermediate student):

Intermediate Essentials Pack, our intermediate piano books and piano curriculum.

Intermediate Complete Pack (all 8 products for the new or transfer intermediate student):

Intermediate Complete Pack, our intermediate piano books and piano curriculum.

For a 12-18 month curriculum, these discounted Packs with free shipping are a great value! Keep in mind the longevity of many products. Piano Practice and Performance, Essential Piano and Keyboard Technique, the Wittner metronome and the Exercise Balls will be used not just throughout the Intermediate Curriculum, but far beyond. Even the Mastering Intervals book will extend past the Intermediate Curriculum.

Why some products are excluded from the Intermediate Essentials Pack
  • It is assumed that the continuing student has already purchased Piano Practice and Performance and the Exercise Balls.
  • The Ear Training: Middle C to C compact disc is not necessary if the student has a qualified partner with whom to practice the pitch recognition drills at the keyboard, as described in Volume 1 and Volume 2.
  • The 1-Year Journal is not required as assignments and commentary can be written in any notebook. But for only $7.95, it is a helpful tool for clarifying tasks (how to do them, in what order, for how long) and logging one’s systematic progress over an entire calendar year (52 lessons).
  • Some individuals already own a metronome or device which contains one. Digital pianos typically have a built-in metronome. (If you do not have one, our MT-50 is the best value in dial-adjust metronomes.)

Advanced Piano Curriculum

After completing Volume 2, with progress continuing in Essential Piano and Keyboard Technique, Mastering Intervals, and Piano Practice and Performance, the student is well on his or her way to becoming an advanced pianist or keyboardist and can now tackle much of the intermediate sheet music and arrangements available on the market. Although inquiries have been made regarding a third method book (Classic Series: Volume 3 Advanced Basics for the Piano), no such book is planned at this time. There are numerous resources available to carry the student to even greater heights. Any competent teacher will know how to progress from here, keeping in mind the student’s own particular goals which can receive emphasis now that the student has mastered the basics of keyboard playing. Any self-study student who has made it to this level with good practice discipline, correct basic posture, etc., should seek a private keyboard instructor or school, if for no other reason than interpretation (though there are many other reasons). Keep in mind that both Essential Piano and Keyboard Technique and Piano Practice and Performance are long-term books. Only through years of exposure and adherence to its tips and strategies will the full potential of Piano Practice and Performance be realized. Technically, Essential Piano and Keyboard Technique is never “finished”; even after every technical exercise in the book has been mastered within the suggested tempo range, the student is expected to push speeds to ever-increasing limits over the years, keeping all technique musical with variations in dynamics, articulations and rhythm.

Teacher Assistance and Training

Wehrli Publications offers free, one-on-one assistance to teachers wishing to incorporate any of these materials or curricula into their teaching practice. This is a great way for both new teachers and experienced teachers looking for a better approach, to quickly become proficient in these materials. In addition to product details, valuable tips from decades of private instruction will be given. Assistance is available in-person or over-the-phone, by appointment only. For more information contact Wehrli Publications here.

Each product is excellent in its specific purpose and can be purchased individually. The best overall result is achieved when these materials are used in conjunction, as described in the above curricula.

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