What is a good curriculum for beginning

piano students?

By Jo Ann Vick


For beginning piano students, there is nothing else that works as well for me as Alfred's Basic Piano Course. There are a series of books, but the core is made up of 6 books:

  • †   Lesson Book
  • †   Ear Training Book
  • †   Recital Book
  • †   Theory Book
  • †   Technic Book
  • †   Notespeller Book

Lesson Book - The Lesson Book is the core of the Basic Piano Course and should be used as the basic
instructional tutor for all students. I use this book in conjunction with the other core subject books,
plus any supplemental books I feel will enhance students' experiences at the piano.

Ear Training Book - The Ear Training Book reinforces each concept presented in the Lesson Book
and specifically focuses on the training and development of the ear. Rhythmic, melodic and intervallic
concepts are drilled throughout the book and each page is designed to be completed using approximately
five minutes of the lesson time.

Recital Book - The Recital Book congratulates students for a job well done by providing correlated repertoire to the Lesson Book that is based on concepts they've already learned. As a result, the pieces are quickly mastered.

Theory Book - The Theory Book makes music theory homework truly fun with spelling games, matching games, note value quizzes, fill-in-the-box challenges, interval target contests, triad puzzles and term matching games that students can easily master on their own. Tasteful use of colorful diagrams and illustrations on each page reinforce every new musical idea presented in the Lesson Book. Also, students play pieces that they help write!

Technic Book - Piano students need to warm up and develop technical dexterity even at early stages
in their training. To keep things simple, Alfred's Technic Book provides an ingenious way to improve
technical facility in incremental steps. Students are given only four short exercises at a time.
As a new exercise is assigned, a previously learned exercise is dropped, so that by the end of each book,
they've rotated their way through a total of 40 technical drills without feeling overwhelmed.
Each book is correlated to pages in the Lesson Book.

Notespeller Book - Students needing to review and improve their note-naming and interval-naming skills
will benefit greatly from this well-prepared Notespeller Book. The book provides a variety of written
activities that reinforce the note reading concepts presented in the Lesson Book. It correlates page-by-page
with the Lesson Book, but may also serve as an effective supplement to other piano methods.

Additional Alfred books are available at each student's level (1A - 6) such as "Top Hits!", "Merry Christmas!",
and "Fun Book" that let you branch out and play songs you know and love, arranged with care and creativity. These books make practice more fun and rewarding.

Jo Ann Vick is a private piano instructor with 20 years of training and performing experience
and has a home based studio in Frisco, Texas. Her mission is to develop in others, a love
for playing the piano. Her website is located at

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