Click on links to order:
Hal Leanard Piano Lessons available at amazon
My First Piano Adventure available at amazon
Advice on Purchasing a Piano/Keyboard
Prior to stage d (see below 'Program of Study') most students can practise the piano with an electronic keyboard. The most important aspect is that the keyboard has 'touch sensitivity'. Currently the best value for money keyboard is the 'Yamaha PSR E333'.
A good electric piano for beyond grade 2 is the Yamaha Arius digital piano (see on ebay). The difference between this and the PSR E333 keyboard is that it has weighted keys and larger number of keys - the same as a modern piano. It retails for around £700.
If you are looking to purchase an acoustic upright piano then I would recommend Yamaha and Kemble models.
The Practice Notebook
If you or your child are using a practice notebook there are some common elements that you should be aware of that I write into the book each lesson:
- Date of Last Lesson followed by a large circle.
Each time the student practises the work set for his/her age in minutes on a single day a tick should be entered in the circle. Often there will be a target set - if it is met, the circle will be stamped. The student should make a record of these stamps since the 50th stamp earns a small reward.
-A letter P in a circle followed by the name of practice material
This is the work to be practised. Often bullet points are written down to identify key areas of the work to be practised.
Important Information Regarding Music Exams
Music exams do not constitute a Program of Study - think of them as marker posts indicating a level of competence at a particular point in time. Studying for exams does not lead to progression (aside from learning to prepare and perform for a public recital). Therefore the student should be at least the level of the exam grade before preparation occurs. This will minimise any stalling of the students development. It will be expected that exam preparation work occurs IN ADDITION to the student's 'Program of Study' so as to not impede progression. For a clear guide as to the readiness of a student to sit an exam please see the section entitled 'Program of Study' below.
How to Enter Associated Board Exams
Entering yourself or your child for Associated Board Exams is very simple.
Be aware that the entry deadline to take the exam just before Easter (around 28Feb-2April known as PERIOD A) is in late January, to take exam before the Summer Holidays (around 6 Jun - 2 Jul known as PERIOD B) is a date in early May and to take the exam just before the Christmas Holidays (around 7 Nov - 10 Dec known as PERIOD C) is a date in mid September.
1) Register at https://onlineforms.abrsm.ac.uk/uk/registrationForm.asp
2) Log in and click on 'Make Entries and View Saved Entries'
3) Click on 'New entry during periods A, B or C' and follow the steps online to register for the exam.
The fees for practical grade exams is published here:
Program of Study
I have listed what I consider to be my Program of Study with regard to you or your child's progression on a scale from a-z. This is a very approximate guide and it can be used to calculate the ABRSM Grade your child should be working toward.
a Me and My Piano bk1 (age 5-9)
a Tunes for 10 fingers bk1 (age 4-9)
a-b Complete Piano Player book 1
a-d Piano Lessons Book 1
b Me and My Piano bk2 (age 5-9)
b Tunes for 10 fingers bk2 (age 5-9)
c-d Complete Piano Player book 2
e-f Complete Piano Player book 3
e-h Piano Lessons book 2
g-h Complete Piano Player book 4
i-j Complete Piano Player book 5
i-l Piano Lessons book 3
m-t Czerny studies
m-p Tunes you've always wanted to play.
m-p The Library of Easy Piano Classics 2 (AMSCO)
q-u The Library of Piano Classics (AMSCO)
v-w Mozart/Haydn Sonatas. Bach keyboard work
x-y Chopin Mazurkas
z+ Beethoven Sonatas, more complex repertoire and Studies
ABRSM Grade readiness.
c+:Prep grade ready
e+: Grade 1 ready
g+: Grade 2 ready
i+: Grade 3 ready
m+: Grade 4 ready
q+: Grade 5 ready
v+: Grade 6 ready
x+: Grade 7 ready
z: Grade 8 ready
As an example, if you are 1/2 of the way through 'Piano Lessons book 1' you are roughly at stage d and are ready to tackle the 'prep grade' examination.