I attended an Alfred’s Premier Piano Course many years ago, and have just come across some notes I had taken from it. It was so long ago – they had just completed the first level – 1A (the red books), and were almost finished with the yellow 1B books. That’s how long ago – and how long I have been using this method for piano for.
I haven’t even kept information about the instructor, but I have a feeling her name was Carol, and she was blonde and extremely captivating.
She recommended the following:-
- Before going to the next level book, go through all the flash cards from the previous lesson. By doing this you can see what areas need to be brushed up on, but also remember to go through the flash cards with the books, as they are intended to be used.
- To assist with co-ordination, click you right hand, clap your hands together, then tap your left hand over a closed fisted right hand. We tried that. It was a little tricky!
- To assist with gross motor skills, make up a giant keyboard in your hallway. Kids will love the variation of this from sitting down for an entire lesson on a piano bench.
- Carol recommended a book titled ‘Teaching Piano’ by Max Camp (his blog is here: Max’s ‘Teaching Piano’ Blog). Apparently he goes into detail in reinforcing in piano students the motor skills they need to assist them in their piano journey.
- Don’t forget the Russian scale (when students are about Grade 3 level). Two octaves ascending and descending (similar motion), contrary motion out, two octaves down (similar motion), contrary motion out. Does that make sense?
- Change the rhythm of scales – left hand crotches, right hand minims. Play F Major against B Flat Major.
This Suite comprises of four songs: Peering Over Pikes Peak; Utah’s Zion; Distant Echoes of Carlsbad Caverns and Grand Canyon Fiesta. They are all beautiful pieces to play of Intermediate standard.
This is ‘Ocean Dreams’, another of Victor Labenske’s compositions as I can’t find any recordings of ‘Peering Over Pikes Peak’, however it is just as lovely to play as Ocean Dreams. They both use lots of rubato and overlapping pedal, and of course, lots of dynamics variation. Another one of Victor Labenske’s compositions is Moonlight Memories.