As piano teachers, we’re always looking for ways to keep today’s piano students engaged and interested. It seems that today’s piano students are busier than ever—not only with increasing scholastic demands, sports, and other extracurricular activities—but now we find ourselves competing for our students’ time and attention against so many new distractions, such as the internet, text messaging, video games, etc! One of the most important things we can do as teachers is to be sure that our students keep studying music, and that they stay interested in their piano studies.
My Famous & Fun Deluxe Collections helps us teachers do just that, by providing arrangements of pieces that students know, love, and are motivated to practice. Each book in this series contains a mixture of well-loved selections drawn from Famous & Fun: Pop, Classics, Favorites, Rock, and Duets. When creating the Famous & Fun books, my main goal was to use a very careful leveling of concepts within each book, so that we teachers can successfully and easily use the materials. Below is a handy leveling chart that outlines the concepts within each of the five levels of the series (Early Elementary through Intermediate):
Whether I’m teaching a pop arrangement, classical piece, or duet, I have an activity that I like to use with my students to familiarize them with their new piece. I create a short “Composition Outline” that students can use to explore different concepts in the piece they’re learning. This outline can be a list of activities such as: mapping-out the form of the piece, putting a checkmark over measures with recurring rhythms, circling dynamic changes, identifying intervals and triads, etc. Doing this activity will help “demystify” any new piece before the student even plays the first note. This will lead to better sight-reading and more efficient practice. Click the image below to see how I might ask a student to mark-up the piece “Spring (from the Four Seasons).” (From Famous & Fun Deluxe Collection, Book 3)
Below are several sample pages from the Famous & Fun Deluxe Collections, Books 1–5. As you can see, there is a fun mix of pop, classics, favorites, and rock, which I hope both you and your students enjoy!
Arranger, Composer, Editor—Alfred Music