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In the l980’s Marie and her husband moved back home to Central Florida to pastor, and Marie had to once again start her piano studio from scratch.  This time she decided to open a music school.  Her decades of teaching experience paid off as the studio grew. Soon there were over 200 piano students and 10 teachers....including Flo, her lifelong friend. 

Because we were accepting students younger and younger, we realized that many of the beginners needed simpler music than offered by any available method.  We also decided that one-concept-at-a-time was the best way for younger and average students to understand piano and develop finger dexterity.  The children taught us that familiar tunes motivated them to practice more and made learning piano enjoyable.  It was a lengthy process to collect all the necessary skills and put them into order to create a suitable method for the children, choose their favorite tunes, write “bridge” pieces to connect them together, learn computer programs to publish the music, decide on animals to help teach the letters and notes, and have Flo’s mother draw the pictures to make the pages look fun.

It was worth the work, however, because the new “method” greatly helped the retention rate of the students at the music school.  One of the keys was that the students were left in one position long enough to really assimilate it into their thinking instead of switching them to something new as soon as they had learned a concept.  Many teachers had input (including those in other states who found us through students moving, in addition to those at the music school), so a wealth of teaching experience contributed to the method.

Year by year we added traditional and classical pieces for the children to enjoy as we developed 7 method books plus the holiday and hymn books.  We made a Bingo game and Board game to use at our own piano parties.  To reinforce the theory sections that are right in the method books, there are flash cards, a wipe-off board, and PAWS.  To motivate practice there are stickers, an autograph book, and practice charts.  And to keep it all together (and safe from dirt and rain) a tote bag with nametag.  These were all created for and tested on our own students because for us, our students are the bottom line.  

Thanks for reading our story.   It isn’t over because we are still teaching piano to children and working to make PHONICS 4 PIANO the best method it can be for the children and their teachers.

Enjoying the music and the children,  Marie and Flo

 

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