Let's talk about the Piano Adventures method by Nancy and Randall Faber! Is this the right choice for you or your kids as you begin lessons?
Of the traditional piano methods, Piano Adventures is by far my favorite!
And I've seen and used a lot of method books in my years as a piano teacher. Nancy Faber is an award-winning composer and pianist, and her husband Randall Faber is a performer and lecturer, with advanced degrees in education and human development.
Who better to write a piano method? :-)
What I like most about the Piano Adventures method:
Here's a quote from the Fabers' website that gives some insight into their teaching philosophy:
The Fabers advocate piano study not only for personal expression and performance success, but also as a vehicle for the student's creative and cognitive development. Their philosophy is reflected in their writing, their public appearances, and in their own teaching.
The method books for children consist of the following:
Each level has the following method books available: Lesson, Theory, Performance, Technique & Artistry, Popular Repertoire, and Christmas.
In addition, the Fabers have just released another Performance series called Gold Star Performance. You can also get CD's and MIDI bundles with accompaniments for the Lesson and Performance books. There's nothing like playing along to a full accompaniment on a CD - so fun!
Here's my favorite part of the method: the Fabers have written a book series of books called PreTime to BigTime Piano. These books directly correspond with the levels above, and are filled with fun music in tons of styles:
When you consider all the great music that's available for every level of the lesson books, you'll realize Piano Adventures has far more music available than other beginning methods, where students often don't get the chance to play such a wide variety of styles.
When I taught with this method, I used the Lesson, Theory, and Technique & Artistry books as my core curriculum.
I let students choose from the additional books (the PreTime to BigTime books) as well as the Performance or Popular Repertoire books.
Kids loved the Jazz & Blues, Popular, and Rock 'n Roll books. :-)
The Accelerated Piano Adventures for the Older Beginner method books consist of two books (1 and 2). Book 1 combines the Primer Level and Level One of the basic Piano Adventures method. Book 2 combines Levels 2A and 2B.
Students can then move on to Level 3 and beyond.
The Adult Piano Adventures books also consist of two books (1 and 2). These longer books combine lessons, theory and technique. Book one focuses on learning music reading, and book two focuses on chords and reading lead sheets.
There are CD's and Christmas books to go along with each.
As I mentioned earlier, as traditional methods go, Piano Adventures is my favorite.
My students were most successful with this method when I taught traditionally, and had the most fun practicing - because the music is so great.
I have read other piano method reviews online that criticized the fact that the Fabers choose to unfold musical concepts over a longer period of time than other methods ("...they've taken four books to do what other methods do in two!").
For me, this is far from being negative. It's GOOD. And I believe it's one of the reasons students are more successful.
Piano playing and reading music are new languages. You just can't introduce a concept, play two short songs, and then think that one's conquered in one week of practice. It doesn't work that way.
So, if you're set on traditional piano lessons, my recommendation is: use the Piano Adventures method!
If you want to find out more about my favorite piano method, click here!