Favorite Piano Methods for Young Beginners. – Piano Teacher in D.C. & Baltimore

Every piano teacher has preferences on which piano methods to use for each age group, and as a piano teacher living in D.C., I definitely have my top picks for young beginners. After years of experience, I have compiled my own hybrid method that draws from the top piano curriculum resources to create a personalized method for students who are between four and six years old. The key to all of these methods is that the pieces are short and engaging. As a student’s regular reading skills develop, music reading becomes easier and faster as well, but picking the correct materials for lessons with young students is so important to maintain interest and avoid frustration.
My top picks:
1. Music for Little Mozarts: This curriculum is published by Alfred and written by Barden, Kowalchyk, and Lancaster. I cannot say enough good things about this method! Pieces are usually one line (between 4 to 8 measures) and perfectly tailored to the reading comprehension of a four to six year old. Major perks of this method include a sequential story with each piece and lively characters (Beethoven Bear and Mozart Mouse) that provide music history lessons. I usually use the Recital and Lesson books and go through all four levels.
2. My First Piano Adventure: This curriculum is published by Faber (part of the Hal Leonard network) and is written by Nancy and Randall Faber. These books in particular are targeted towards pre-reading, and utilize lots of colorful illustrations. The exercises are very interactive between the teacher and student, and I feel they lend themselves to fun games I can make up with the students as I go. I usually use just the Lesson book, though the Writing book is a solid music theory resource that I use occasionally. Another big perk of this book is that it comes with a CD, so students can listen to the songs and play along.
3. Progressive Piano Method for Young Beginners: This curriculum is published by LTP Publishing and written by Turner and Scott. Though this is not my personal top choice, I have worked with students that have these books after taking lessons with a previous instructor, and I have stuck with them, because they do have many merits of their own. This book also comes with a CD, and there are supplemental song books that accompany each level, which is great when recital time comes around! Sometimes, I even just pull from the supplemental books for extra pieces that vary from Faber or Alfred to add variety.
Young beginners hold a very special place in my heart, as each student at this age is so unique and able to absorb a tremendous amount of knowledge. They challenge my creativity as a teacher, and with the help of the great curriculum that I mentioned above, I find it to be an easy and greatly rewarding experience.