Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Adding Variety to Piano Practicing

I've incorporated 2 more piano book series into my kids' daily practicing schedule beyond the 4 Alfred's books that we use (find more details HERE for those).

Don't get me wrong, the Alfred's are GREAT but they just aren't always fun, catchy and/or familiar tunes.  Occasionally the songs are ones that the kids will really enjoy playing on their own, but mostly they are just drills.  Don't get me wrong, I'm totally okay with that as that is their purpose.  So that my kids have something "fun" and "familiar" to play and enjoy on a weekly basis, I've incorporated these extra series of books into their practicing:

The first one is PlayTime...

I've currently purchased the Popular, Classics, Favorites and Kids Songs books.  Find them on Amazon HERE.

And because I want my kids to learn how to play primary songs and hymns we sing at church, I've added these:

Find these on Amazon HERE.  These are the most beginner LDS primary and hymn piano songbooks I can find.  After we complete all of these (there are 3 books in this series, pictured above is the 2nd book), I'll advance the kids to this series:
Find these on Amazon HERE.

To ensure they stay "fun" I have my kids playing in a lower level than what they are working on in Alfred's.  This makes them easy and I'm okay with that.  As they advance in Alfred's, they'll advance with these books, just at the previous level so they will always be a level behind no matter what.  So I wouldn't start implementing these books until you've completed level C (in the prep course or its equivalent in the other courses). 

My kids have also outgrown our Friday Flashcards (details HERE).  So I'm trying to find a program to advance with them that we'd use just on Friday's.  I'm looking into these 2 online tools:

I LOVE this program!  The only downside is it requires a computer to sit at the piano (lucky for us it requires a digital piano which we have!).  Dragging my big desktop mac computer upstairs and getting it all turned back on and set up on the piano is a hassle.  I wish it had an iPad version...maybe it does and I'm missing something?

The other is

I haven't really looked into much this but to me it appears to be an online piano teacher so I feel it would be competing with what we are already learning in Alfred's.  But I love that an iPad will work with it.

Beyond the basics, both tools eventually will require a small monthly fee but because I'm not paying for a piano teacher, that's okay - as long as I feel we are regularly utilizing it.

Hopefully with some variety added into our daily practice regime, my kids will stay enthused about learning the piano!  If there are other piano tools that you use, I'd love to hear!

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