Most teachers will say that their choices of books are the best. Amongst teachers, we often debate on which book is the best. But if we really think about it, this debate is pointless. We should be supporting each other’s ideas rather than trying to bring each other down. When I think of music books and authors, I think of people who put a lot of effort into creating a book for teachers and students. I don’t think of them as competition. It’s quite the opposite.
The Faber series is my absolute favorite. I know that not everyone will like it, but it has its advantages. For example, I would start a young child on the Faber series because the characters and activities are fun enough for their age. I don’t exactly use their primer level books because I just haven’t tried it before. I’ll use their Book A, Book B, and Book C pre-reading books. And then, I’ll continue onto their level 1, level 2, and etc. I’m so lucky that I stumbled upon the Faber books. The authors, a husband and wife, did such a great job on introducing all the techniques. I’m a huge fan of the Faber series, so I might be pretty biased when it comes to critiquing other book authors.
I will say this… if you are looking for a series of books that are tested and virtuous, the Alfred series is for you. You can’t go wrong with using Alfred. The series has been out longer than I can remember. They’ve lasted very long among all the new competitors. I have many students that started on the Alfred series and there’s nothing wrong with that. Each teacher has their own reasoning and method to the books that they choose. It’s important to know that we are not wrong in the kind of books that we choose. Just because a teacher is using Faber, it doesn’t mean that they don’t know anything about the piano.
The Alfred series consists of methodical approaches to learning the piano. It consists of many texts and some activities, but it is just not as interactive as the Faber series. I’ve found that Alfred is also very trustworthy. I’ve never doubted their approach and I teach my students to trust the author of the book. I would never want to teach them to hate other authors because that is not the kind of attitude I want in my students.
Here we go, I think Bastien is one of the most controversial series among all of them. Not gonna lie, I’m not a huge fan of Bastien. I actually started ONE of my students on Bastien because I was enticed by the cover of the book. It was really well illustrated, but the material inside was horrible. I’ve spoken to numerous other piano teachers and they all agree. We never use Bastien if we can help it. I use their other book, the sight reading method, and that has worked for me. I can’t switch my student out of Bastien now, but I’ve told them that I highly regret choosing this author. My student had trouble with reading notes and the book doesn’t help to reinforce this skill. On the contrary, it inhibited his ability to read notes. I’m not saying that it’s all bad because I do love their sight reading series. I use their sight reading book every day, so that’s not a huge loss.
You’ve probably seen this really cute piano book cover before. And I agree, it’s pretty enticing for young children. I actually started one of my first students on this course and to be honest, I never finished the book. My student loved it though. And when I started to get more recommendations, I had another student that went through this series. They also loved it, but her note reading skill just wasn’t high enough. I wondered if it was the book… I couldn’t tell. I have yet to report more information on this series. If I have time to test out the effectiveness of this book a little more, then I will let you know. However, for now, that’s as much information as I have.
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