Monthly Archives: March 2011

Piano Adventures – Second Edition

Graphic Copyright by Dovetree Productions, Inc. Used with permission. 

Piano Adventures, the beloved series by Nancy and Randall Faber, is now available in a 2nd edition. That is good news to me, because I am always interested in anything new from the Fabers. As soon as I received the news about the 2nd edition I ordered copies and I was pleasantly surprised when I received the books a few days later. 

Teachers who use Piano Adventures are curious as to exactly what is new. It is worth noting that this is a second edition, not an entirely different method. The things you love about Piano Adventures, the wonderful music and creativity, are still there. According to their website, only the Primer and Level One books will be updated.  

The Primer Level begins as it did in the first edition but there is an updated table of contents that spans two pages. Each piece is listed in a table that shows the correlating pages in the Theory, Technique, Performance, and Sightreading books.  Sight-reading! Yes, now there is a sight-reading book to accompany the series, but it is not available yet, so I can’t review it here. It should be available in a few weeks.

Most of the graphics are the same, but there are some changes in color and size. For example, in The I Like Song, the keyboard finger graphic was enlarged and moved to a more prominent position. At the beginning of the book, a page was added to work on finger numbers and firm fingertips. More color was added to the pages to emphasize student instructions.

The Pecking Rooster and Hen now get their own page and a helpful piano graphic. Throughout, some of the Discovery and other creative elements at the bottom of the pages are different. I noticed that “home note” is used a lot for the word “tonic.” My favorite 3 note song in the entire world, My Invention, is still there!

Some of the titles or words to the music are different. The title to Russian Sailor Dance was changed to Russian Folk Song, using the words from My First Piano Adventures to help with the dotted half note rhythm. Your students will be happy that Once There Was a Princess is now Princess or Monster.  

Moving along to Level One, the beginning was refined to help with a smoother transition for students who are coming from My First Piano Adventures Book C. The pedagogy was updated to reinforce note-reading skills. Grumpy Old Troll, one of my favorite pieces in this book, now has words. There are a few new pieces, and there is more emphasis on famous composers.

The theory books were changed to correlate more with the Lesson book, both in artwork and material. There are more improvisation activities and ideas. The Performance and Technique books were updated in a similar manner. As far as I’m concerned, the Technique books are one of the best parts of the Piano Adventure series, and if you don’t use them, check them out.

A teacher guide to the Primer Level will be available in June. According to the cover of the Lesson Book, it will include pedagogy, lesson plans, duets, and best yet, a “DVD of model teaching for each piece.” This is an exciting new addition for piano teachers.

To read more about the new edition, go to Piano Adventures Second Edition. Be sure to check out the interactive Piano Adventures Custom Correlation Chart. You can also find information on how to sign up for their new release program.  

Congratulations to Nancy and Randall Faber, production coordinator Jon Ophoff, and the rest of the team for this successful new edition of Piano Adventures!



Filed under Music Reviews

Follow the Bunny Trail – an Easter season worksheet

Follow the Bunny Trail

I promised another Easter season activity, and here it is. I wanted to make something for my younger students. They had to learn the entire grand staff for our state theory exam, and of course they need constant review for it to become part of their long-term memory. They are too young for the One Minute Club, so I approach it differently for them.

When I made it, I was thinking how my cute husband used to put out “bunny tracks” around their Easter baskets for our children when they were young, and how much fun that was. With that in mind, I made tracks for students to label note names. The hardest part was drawing the bunny!

My students  seem to like it, so I hope you will, too. In fact, one of my older students saw it and asked if she could do it while she waited. She said, “Mrs. Paradis, I just LOVE all the things you make,” and that really made my day!

By the way,  my web wizard was able to add a search engine to my website, so please try it out and let me know if it helps you wade through the hundreds of pages I have posted over there!


Filed under Holiday Activities and Worksheets, Note Identification

Don’t miss the new blog, PianoAntics

Anne’s logo [used with permission]

Anne Crosby Gaudet can do it all. She is a fine composer, artist,  crafter,  web designer,  computer animator, video maker,  piano teacher, and performer. She is also extremely creative. I’ve loved looking at her videos, music, printables, and tutorials on her website for a long time and I’ve always intended on blogging about it, but you know how time seems to get away from us.  

Anne and I have more in common than our French Canadian last names. Anne shares my passion that teaching music is more effective and fun if students use manipulatives and hands-on activities. Her material is so colorful and creative that I want to move up to Canada so I can take lessons from her!

Thanks to ComposeCreate, my friend Wendy Stevens’ blog, I discovered that Anne has started a brand new blog,  PianoAntics, where you can see more of her creativity in action. Everything she does is top-notch, and if you have never checked out the material on her website,  you’re really missing out. In addition to all her games and on-line tutorials, she has a complete beginning piano method for pre-school available for download.

Recently she blogged about a  new recording gadget for an iPhone, complete with an audio of her performance of a Bach prelude.


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Filed under Music Reviews, Teaching Business

Easter Season Games and Printables

Front                                                            BackEaster Egg Hunt

You might have seen this game last year, but I am posting it again for teachers new to this site. You will have to print on both sides, so be sure to adjust your printer settings carefully before you start. Cut them out and hide the eggs around your studio. Your younger students will be so excited when you tell them they are going on an Easter egg hunt!  When they find an egg, they clap or tap the rhythm. If your students can’t clap 8th notes, print only the first side and write in the rhythms you want to use. It is a fun diversion and a nice treat at the end of a lesson. Plus, students get to practice reading rhythms! If Easter eggs are not appropriate for your students, give me a suggestion and I might be able to come up with something else.

As an aside, and coming from a music education specialist,  *quarter, quarter, two eighths, quarter*, is the easiest rhythm pattern for children to clap. It is the first rhythm clapping pattern I start with. Just because eighth notes are not in beginning piano books doesn’t mean you  have to wait for the second or third year of piano to learn them.  Students can learn all sorts of rhythm patterns before they actually play them in their music, using syllables or words to clap the rhythm.

Here are some more Easter season activities from my website, including two composing activities for beginners. In the Music section of my website, you can also find some beginning hymns you might be able to use. I also have a Mother’s Day composing printable.

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Filed under Composing Activities, Easter, Games, Group lesson ideas, Holiday Activities and Worksheets, Rhythm