The Discovery Piano System
The Discovery Piano System begins with a a series of 10 books. The books are short anthologies of repertoire. The ten books progressively cover materials for average age beginners (age 6-7) to the early intermediate level.
Book 1A contains the easiest of elementary pieces. Book 5B contains the most advanced composiitons (early intermediate). The Discovery Piano System will prepare your students for the demands of the easy classical repertoire of Bach, Schumann, Bartok and Kabalevsky.
The Discovery Piano System can be used as a method but the teacher must supply "the method" as the books only contain short 1 to 2 page compositions. The Discovery Piano System can also be used in conjunction with any piano method as a great supplement of interesting compositional materials.
Many teachers have commented on the very lyrical and musical quality of the selections. The Discovery Piano System not only contains many of my original compositions but utilized many folk songs, some common and some not so common. There are also several arrangements of familiar classical themes found throughout the volumes.
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The Discovery Piano Stytem is the program I designed for beginners 6 and older. There are 5 levels in the The Discovery Piano Stytem series. The series is much more than a series of compositions of progressive difficulty. The series presents a huge variety of interest in the way the compositions are arranged. This places greater demands on the reading skills of the performer.
The Discovery Piano System contains a great deal of folk music. Not only are there American Folk Songs and Patriotic Songs but there are many folk songs from many countries; beautiful melodies that are unknown to American children. When I was getting my college education there was a revival of interest in folk songs. Major educators were admonishing students to bring to their student's attention the natural enduring beauty of folk songs. We were also encouraged to made sure these melodies, that seemed to spring directly from the well of human experience, were interestingly arranged. Being one who liked to dabble in composition I arranged scores of folk songs from all over the world. I tried to imitate what I learned from the music I was learning and studying only bringing the technical and musical demands on a student's level. The Discovery Piano System also contains many compositions I wrote for my students to answer the specific needs that came up in their musical development. There are also arrangements of some of the great moments found in the masterworks of the great composers.
To help the student to deal with the reading demands I wrote something unique to most standard piano methods. I wrote a READING METHOD to accompany The Discovery Piano System books. The READING METHOD gives students a progressive series of exercises to methodically introduce a thorough "phonics" of sounds, shapes and forms encountered in reading music. The READING METHOD fully develops the concepts begun in MY FIRST THEORY book from the KEYBOARD KIDS series. Students are exposed and drilled in the basic "shapes" found in music until these "shapes" become part of the students visual and aural vocabulary when reading ther music assignments. All my students realize a dramatic jump in their reading ability after going through the READING METHOD series of books.
The Discovery Piano System series also contains THEORY BOOKS. The THEORY BOOKS are a little bit different than the ones I've seen that accompany other piano methods. The exercises in the theory books are not simply designed to teach theory facts, but rather, show the students those fact in the context of a musical composition. After we learn the fact that, for example, a C chord comprises the notes C, E and G, we look at excerpts of musical composition and see the many ways a composer can creatively utilize those three notes. This method of learning theory enhances understanding.
CLASSICAL ANTHOLOGIES also accompany The Discovery Piano System series. My CLASSICAL ANTHOLOGIES is a graded repertoire of classical music. The first book of the series begins at a mid elementary level. The unique feature about my CLASSICAL ANTHOLOGIES is that I take several of the classical pieces in each book and arrange a folk song in imitation of the classical composition. These little mini units are called Theoretically Speaking. Each mini unit begins with a Theoretically Speaking page that explains what musical concept is being shared between the two (or more) pieces.
For example - A classical piece may feature syncopation so I will take a folk song, such as Cockles and Mussels, and arrange it is a similarly syncopated way. When students compare the two pieces they see how techniques found in classical music can be applied to other more familiar music . Then students can better understand the effects of syncopation in a way they can more readily grasp. Another feature of these mini units is that they often contain a WRITE ON! exercise and a PLAY ON! exercise. The WRITE ON! exercise give the students to apply the lesson of the unit by writing out a short arrangement of the topic of the unit; for example, in the above example the student would write out a short syncopated version of a folk song in the same style as the classical piece and the folk song piece. The PLAY ON! assignment is where the student plays the exercise they just written, completing the assignment.
A major theme running through all The Discovery Piano System series of books is not only to have a graded series of a wide variety of diversely arranged compositions and arrangements but also to have a repertoire that promotes, in uniquely creative ways, musical understanding.