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Q: WHAT IS DIFFERENT ABOUT THE PHONICS 4 PIANO APPROACH?
A: PHONICS 4 PIANO is like the traditional methods of middle C approach with one difference….The process of playing and reading music is presented ONE CONCEPT AT A TIME.
   Ex:  Preread lessons in most series ask the student to remember three concepts at once.
                           1.   Finger numbers

                           2.   Names of keys

                           3.   Rhythms  

                                                    
PHONICS 4 PIANO PRESENTS THE SAME INFORMATION BROKEN DOWN INTO 3 STEPS.

*STEP #1.

Finger numbers and dashes (-) are used for rhythm. A student who has completed Book A and learned to play along with the CD can play smoothly and in tempo having played enough songs to develop the feel of the keys and to keep eyes on the page.  (Forty + years of teaching has taught us as piano teachers that students only look at the finger numbers at first anyway.) Click here for sample

*STEP #2.

Book B presents the letter names of the keys. Finger numbers are no longer shown. It is our experience that most students transfer from numbers to letters on the keys quite easily. Click here for sample

*STEP #3.

Halfway through Book B the preread notes and rhythms are introduced.


Example: The Quarter note is presented with a theory page and a song using only quarter notes.  Next the Half note is presented with a theory page, and 2 songs using only quarter and half notes. Dotted Half and Whole notes are each presented in the same way.

WHILE THIS PROCESS MAY TAKE LONGER FOR THE YOUNGER AND AVERAGE STUDENTS, IT WILL DEVELOP A GREAT SENSE OF CONFIDENCE AND LAY A STRONG FOUNDATION.

Q: DOES USING FINGER NUMBERS IN BOOK A PREVENT THE STUDENT FROM LEARNING TO READ MUSIC?

A: Not at all!!! We would compare it to babies crawling before they walk or children speaking before they learn to read.   By the time a student gets to Book C, where grandstaff is introduced in PHONICS 4 PIANO, finger numbers have not been used for a while.  The dreaded "finger numbers beside the note" issue occurs when students have failed to learn to read the notes on the grandstaff.  It is a completely different issue to be addressed.

Q: DOES PHONICS 4 PIANO TEACH THE MUSIC STAFF?
A: Yes! It is quite unique in that only one note is presented at a time.  An entire book (C) has been devoted to the 9 notes we believe children should learn first.  Middle C is presented with a theory page and 2 songs using only Middle C on the grandstaff.  Then D is presented with a theory page and 3 songs using only Middle C and D. The rest of the notes are
introduced one at a time and familiar tunes are used as much as possible with the limited
number of notes.

Along with teaching one note at a time beginning in the Middle C position, the visual aid of animal faces represent each note on the grandstaff.

Example: The note D is Dalton Dog…He is hiding under the bed.  Al Alligator is floating in the water, half in and half out.  Girard Giraffe is standing tall with his head up in the tree.
We keep stuffed animals in our own studio and use them to present the note. This creates excitement and another reinforcement of the note being learned that week.
Click here for sample page

BY THE END OF BOOK G THE STUDENT WILL BE ABLE TO READ ALMOST 3 OCTAVES ON THE GRANDSTAFF.


Q: CAN I USE PHONICS 4 PIANO WITH TRANSFER STUDENTS?

A: PHONICS 4 PIANO moves gradually through the learning process so it gives the teacher a good reference to see where the transfer student is and continue from there. There will be a familiar tune at most any level so you get off to a good start with the new student. A transfer student who enjoys practice that first week and comes back playing musically has had a good review to begin the new musical experience.

Q: CAN I USE PHONICS 4 PIANO AS A SUPPLEMENT?
A: If you have a student that is having trouble reading the notes, use Book C as a refresher.
For students who can read the grandstaff but are not motivated let them enjoy the familiar songs in a book on the appropriate level.

Q: DOES PLAYING FAMILIAR SONGS HINDER LEARNING TO READ NOTES ON THE GRANDSTAFF?
A: Since motivation is the key to getting a student to practice and stick with lessons ....and music is the best motivation, we have found that playing familiar songs is the key. Students who have a good ear will try to pick out tunes they know on the piano, but they would rather have the music. Since there are many pieces in each book, there are also plenty of unfamiliar tunes in PHONICS 4 PIANO that allow the teacher to make sure the student is reading the notes.

Q: CAN I USE PHONICS 4 PIANO WITH YOUNG STUDENTS?
A: Teachers can now accept 5-year-olds and older 4-year-olds who have good fine-motor skills because PHONICS 4 PIANO lets young beginning students work on rhythm, posture, hand position and other basics without the distraction of note reading.

Q: DOES IT ALSO WORK WITH OLDER STUDENTS?
A: Yes, by skipping some of the early pieces that are too easy, older students can enjoy playing familiar tunes right away. Many will go through Book A in a week, having a wonderful musical experience and developing their finger dexterity in the process.

Q: DOES PHONICS FOR PIANO REACH THE NATIONAL MUSIC STANDARDS?
A: Phonics 4 Piano correlates nicely with the National Music Standards for students in each group, moving from key names to Middle C Position on the grandstaff.

Q: HOW CAN PHONICS 4 PIANO BE USED WITH LEARNING DISABLED STUDENTS?
A: Concepts are presented at a rate that will keep the LDS from feeling overwhelmed. Young and older students can grasp a concept with ease. For the first time many LDS have a sense of “I can do this." PHONICS 4 PIANO fills the gaps for these special need students.

Q: HOW CAN I INCREASE MY ENROLLMENT WITH THE PHONICS 4 PIANO METHOD?
A: Teachers who use Book A realize that they have a tool that enables the addition of younger students to their enrollment (4 and 5-year olds) . There is a great demand for piano lessons for this age group but most teachers have not accepted younger students due to lack of a method that leads to success. The beginning pages of Book A have enough material and activities to give the 4 1/2 to 5 year olds a good start before needing to read numbers from left to right.