Royal Conservatory of Music – Materials

Once students have mastered the piano basics, they will then be exposed to the materials we use from The Royal Conservatory of Music.  Depending on which level of basic method books were used, will determine which level they will enter the RCM program.  Each student is unique and encouraged in their individual journey of music.

Royal Conservatory of Music – Materials

       

There are 10 levels available for our use.  The student will need the following materials at each level.

  • Piano Repertoire
  • Piano Etudes Four Star Ear Training and Sight Reading
  • Technical Requirements
  • Theory book.

Complete sets are available, but they can also be purchased individually.  These books correlate nicely in a gradual manner. Without realizing, students improve and become more advanced players.

Depending on the student and when they entered the RCM program, we sometimes us Mark Sarnecki’s Theory Book, which is also from the Royal Conservatory of Music.  Check with you instructor to select the right level and materials for you.

Highest Quality

We strive towards excellence and with high quality materials to work with, we are confident the student will make progress.  Click the above links to order your materials today.

Piano Teaching Method Books

Here at The Academy of Piano, we use high quality piano teaching materials that reinforce basic teaching concepts.  The brand new beginner would be assigned the Primer Level of Faber & Faber Piano Adventures. There are four books that correlate with each concept taught in the lesson book.  The theory book has fun puzzles and exercises giving the student practice at grasping each concept.  The technic and artistry book gives the student exercises to perfect these areas to perform the pieces in the Performance book like an artist.
The Primer Level introduces the keyboard, note values, and the grand staff. Students play in Middle C Position and C Position through recognition of steps and skips, and learn letter names independent of finger number. Musicianship is built through the use of dynamics and coloristic experimentation with the pedal.

 

Level 1 Faber & Faber Piano Adventures

Level 1 Lesson Book introduces notes on the grand staff, beginning chords, and the concept of tonic and dominant notes. This level reinforces reading skills and helps the student to recognize intervals up to 5ths. Musicianship is encouraged with the use of legato and staccato touches. The 5-finger approach is presented here in a fun, fresh way.

 

 

 

Level 2A Faber & Faber Piano Adventures  An introduction to eighth note rhythms are introduced while the student works with 5-finger transposition, basic harmony, and musical phrases. Exploring the keys of C, G, D and A major and minor 5-finger positions helps build their interval reading skills that were introduced in the earlier level.  The engaging repertoire reinforces key concepts and encourages students to play with musical expression through varied dynamics and tempos. Some of the selections include well-known classics from the great composers.

 

 

 

Level 2B Faber & Faber Piano Adventures

This level has a systematic approach to scales, primary chords (I, IV, V7), and transposition for the keys of C, G, and F major.  Students will find the pieces in this level satisfying.

 

Level 3A Faber & Faber Piano Adventures

This level introduces 3/8 and 6/8 time signatures and triplets. Students will learn to play the chromatic scale, the dominant 7th, one-octave arpeggios, and explore various keys.

 

 

 

Bastien Music Flashcards

  • 72 general music cards with answers on the back of each card
  • All the commonly used notes on the bass clef and treble clef including leger lines
  • All the major and minor keys on bass and treble clefs
  • Intervals and music signs

Conclusion

Faber & Faber Piano Adventures go up to level 5.  Rarely will a student at The Academy of Piano go through all levels.  Most will go through 3A then transfer into materials from the Royal Conservatory of Musics program.  Some students will be ready to make this transition as early as level 2A.  Each student is evaluate individually and guided for their own progress.  Each student is required to have one set of Bastien flashcards.  Along with these basic materials, students are given supplemental pieces for Halloween, Christmas, formal recitals as well as thematic recitals. Click on the links above to order your materials today.

The Great Debate: Digital Piano vs. Acoustic Piano

My training on the piano took place before the age of technology, so there wasn’t a debate on whether I should have a digital piano or an acoustic piano. My family were not musical, so when it came to purchasing a piano, they did what most families do when they have a child wanting to take lessons. They looked for a used piano that would fit in a small section of the house. It was a spinet. At the time, I was excited because it was mine and “new” to me. My piano instructor had a beautiful grand piano. Quickly, I discovered it was a challenge in producing the same quality of technique and tone on my piano that seemed relatively easy on my teachers instrument. I vowed to myself, I would own a quality grand piano of my own some day.

Times have changed, especially with pianos. If and when you get to the point of making a decision on the purchase of an acoustic or digital piano, you may want to take some time to research which option would be best for you. Here are some factors to consider in making your selection.

Definition of Good Quality

Let’s place money to the side for a moment. First and foremost, you will want a piano of good quality. This can vary and depends upon the quality of materials used in making the piano. There are three levels of quality for both acoustic and digital pianos, the Entry Level, Mid Range and High Quality. No piano is made to last forever and should not be purchased as an investment.

Acoustic Pianos

All acoustic pianos are considered a live instrument. Meaning, when they are played, there will be vibrations creating a more intimate interaction of energy between performer and instrument. Most acoustic pianos play their best when they are brand new. With time, they lose vibrancy. The hammers and strings are constantly changing. Just like vehicles need maintenance, so do acoustic pianos. They should be tuned and voiced every six to twelve months along with other types of service through the life of the instrument. An Entry level piano should last for about 5 years. Mid range pianos last 10 to 20 years and High Quality should last between 40 and 50 years. PROS: These instruments have more of an intimate interaction and are timeless, aesthetically appealing to the eye, provide more inspiration for the true artist and composer.

Digital Pianos

A good digital piano is not one that can be picked up and placed under the arm when carrying, nor purchased from Sam’s Club. Digital pianos do not have the same energy and interaction as acoustic pianos and usually only last 20 years. These pianos don’t have to be tuned, but do need electricity to be able to play. There isn’t any resale after owning it for 5 years. You might be able to find an Entry Level under $1,000 at a reputable company. These pianos at this level will have older technology. They may or may not have weighted/resistant keys. Mid Level digital pianos will not have as many features as the high quality digital pianos. You could find one between $2,000 and $3,000 that would be decent. They are better than old used acoustic pianos and comparable to the cheapest entry level acoustic piano. High Quality digital pianos have long wooden keys with the latest technology ranging $4,000 to $5,000. They are the closest replica to a grand piano. PROS: You can use these with headphones. They never need tuning or voicing and you can record on them.  

Which Piano is Right for You?

First, evaluate your nature. Are you the type of person who is willing to maintain and keep regular maintenance of an acoustic piano, or are you the type of person that will be neglectful of these details? Second, what type of person will be using the instrument? Student? Adult? Artist? Composer? Professional? When I’m asked what type of piano should a family purchase, I recommend the best piano they can afford. I compare wood workers to my piano students. A wood worker can do so much more with good quality tools than just basic or dull tools. So the student can do so much more with a good quality instrument. A reputable piano company will want to learn as much as possible about you, to find the piano that’s right for you. They won’t sell you a piano just to make a sale. A reputable piano company will often offer financing and have a program for upgrading in the future.

Understanding Whole Steps and Half Steps on the Piano Keyboard

When looking at a piano keyboard you will see both black and white keys.

What is a half step?

If you play any key on your piano, the very next key, up or down is called a half step.  There are no keys between the first key you play and the second key.

What is a whole step?

Two halves make a whole.  Once again, play a key on your piano, now move up or down by two keys.  The distance from the first key to the second is a whole step.  You should only have one key between your first and second key.

Why are half steps and whole steps important?

Music is made of patterns which are based off scales.  Scales are patterns that work together to create sounds.  Depending on what type of sound you want to create may be determined by which scale structure you choose.

Ready, set, go.

Now that you understand half steps and whole steps you are ready to learn about piano scales.  Check out our How to section.  There you will learn how to play various scales and chords. 

Calendar for 2019 – 2020

This is our schedule for the school year.  You will find all the information you will need for performance classes, rehearsals and recitals listed.

 

January 8, 2020                   

Rehearsal for Recital                  Steinway Piano Gallery
3:30 to 5:30 pm                                 113418 E. Nora Ave. Spokane Valley WA.  99216

 

January 11, 2020               

 Winter Recital                                Steinway Piano Gallery
 10:30 am                                               113418 E. Nora Ave. Spokane Valley WA.  99216

 

February 28, 2020             

Performance Classes                    Steinway Piano Gallery

Jr./Sr. High School at 3:15 to 4:00        113418 E. Nora Ave. Spokane Valley WA.  99216

Elementary at 4:15 – 5:00

 

March 9 – 13, 2020             

Music Artistry Program              Steinway Piano Gallery
Dates/Time TBA                                   113418 E . Nora Ave. Spokane Valley WA  99216

 

March 27, 2020                 

Performance Classes                      Steinway Piano Gallery

Jr./Sr. High School at 3:15 to 4:00        113418 E. Nora Ave. Spokane Valley WA.  99216

Elementary at 4:15 – 5:00

 

March 28 – 29, 2020         

Spokane Symphony                         Spokane Symphony Box Office
Joyce Yang – Pianist                                509-624-1200

 

April 6 – 10, 2020               Spring Break  

 

April 22, 2020                   

Rehearsal for Recital                       Steinway Piano Gallery
 3:30 to 5:30 pm                                       113418 E. Nora Ave. Spokane Valley WA.  99216

 

April 25, 2020                   

Spring Recital                                       Steinway Piano Gallery

10:30 am                                                     113418 E. Nora Ave. Spokane Valley WA.  99216

 

May 11 – 15, 2020             

Music Fest                                              Gongzaga University
10:30 am                                                       502 E Boone Ave. Spokane WA.  99258

 

June, 2020                         

Summer Schedule Begins                                       
TBA

 

What Customers Are Saying

“I started piano in the 4th grade.  The focus you have to have, the feelings of your fingers on the keys, reading sheet music, the sound, I fell instantly in love with all of it!  It became my little oasis!  The patience you have to have with yourself is the biggest thing I had to get used to while learning.  I would get frustrated, but Cheryl was always great at reminding me to take a deep breath, maybe stretch for a second, and get back to it.  If you can’t get it 5 times in a row perfectly you have to keep trying.  This has been the greatest thing to remember throughout my high school years, always keep trying.  It will come eventually, but don’t give up, no matter how frustrated you get.  Give yourself a breather and get back to it, because, that feeling of accomplishment, once you get there, is more than worth it.  Thank you Cheryl for always pushing me to do my best and to always keep trying.  I will take that with me throughout my whole life”.  Former Student ~ Grace Foeller

 

“Cheryl and The Academy of Piano have been a part of our lives for many years.  She is the absolute best of instructors.  The children’s skill with the instrument have steadily increased over time, but they have learned so much more.  They have a general understanding of music as a whole and through that she has helped me to instill in them work ethic, problem solving skills and emotional coping.  We delight to see her and the help that she gives us as our children grow”.  Parent ~ Caroline Warnick

 

Our Goals

Welcome to The Academy of Piano where you will learn to express yourself through the art of piano.

Our Focus

We are focused on providing high-quality teaching.  All ages and abilities are welcome.  We have two goals.

  • To provide students with knowledge and skills to create music.
  • To teach the student to communicate in an expressive and artistic manner.

Lessons

Each student receives an individual lesson once a week.  Lessons are given on a weekly basis, with the exception of Thanksgiving week, Christmas week, and Spring Break week.  Students are encouraged not to take more than four weeks off during the summer to continue making progress.

Performance

We have two major recitals annually.  They are held at Steinway Piano Gallery located in Spokane Valley, Washington, allowing enough room to invite family and friends.  During the school year, we also have several performance classes, also held at the Steinway location, which allows students to practice performing for each other.

Workshops

Each year we offer composition workshops during the summer.  Small groups of students are combined to learn the skills of writing music.  Students also participate in music artistry programs throughout the year as well as Royal Conservatory Exams.

If you have any questions, feel free to leave them below and we will be more than happy to help you.

All the best,

TheAcademyofPiano.com

Finding the Right Piano Teacher – For You or Your Child.

finding-a-piano-teacher-four-hands-piano-duet

Whether you have moved to a new location, your child begins asking or you, yourself, decide to act on your desire to learn how to play the piano, the daunting task of where to begin looms overhead.  How do you find the right piano teacher for you or your child?  You want someone who is qualified and yet inspires and encourages growth in this musical journey.

Ask Around

There are many ways to find piano instructors.  You can ask at your local piano store.  They usually have a list to choose from.  Your neighbors, friends or school teachers are also good resources.  Once you have a list of names with addresses and phone numbers, you will begin the interview process.  Not all teachers are created equal.

Questions To Ask The Prospective Teacher

Piano instructors are willing to answer questions, but often the person inquiring doesn’t know what to ask. Here are appropriate questions to ask that will give you a better understanding of what your tuition will cover.

  • What is your professional education and experience?  They should have a college degree with some experience.  Even college students will be teaching while attending school.
  • What is your teaching experience?  There is something to be said for the instructor who has been teaching for a few years.  Although, you will want to make sure they are not old and cranky, rather someone who will speak life into their students, especially when they want to quit.
  • What ages and levels do you teach?  This will depend on where their expertise lies.
  • What do you do for your own continuing education?  They should be attending either local, state or national workshops. Online education is very accessible to anyone.
  • Do you belong to any local or national teachers associations? Just because they belong doesn’t necessarily mean they are qualified, but it does say they are part of organizations that do encourage continued education.
  • Do you have a studio/school policy? Will you review it with me?  Every qualified teacher should have a policy and be more than willing to go over it with you.  You need to know what is expected from you and what you can expect from them.
  • How do you evaluate student progress? This process will also vary from teacher to teacher.  There should be a notebook of weekly assignments, which is an easy way to assess by looking back at prior lessons.  Regular recitals and performances are also a way to assess ones progress.  Some teachers may offer a conference once every quarter or semester.
  • What instructional materials do you use?  This will be determined by the level of student. Beginning students will often have method books by either Alfred, Bastien, Faber and Faber or other publishing companies.  Older students may be required to obtain materials by composer or from a conservatory.  It is important that your teacher teaches theory, technic, ear training and musical artistry.
  • What genres of music do you teach?  The type of teacher you are looking for will teach what you are wanting to learn as well as other genres.  The foundation of all music is “classical”, meaning you will learn how to play music from every time period, including your favorites.
  • Do you teach composition?  Perhaps you want to write a song or piece of instrumental music.  Not all piano instructors know how to do this.
  • Do you offer group lessons or performance classes? This is a must.  It is healthy to play for others, even if it’s just in a performance class.
  • How many recitals do you have in the school year?  Are they required? Your teacher should offer at least one annual recital, if not two major recitals a year. School aged students should be required to participate.  Adult students should have the option, but would be encouraged to perform in at least the performance classes which is for students only.
  • Do you offer other performance opportunities such as festivals and competitions? These events don’t have to be required, but are available for those who want to experience their music at a different level.
  • Do you offer technology in your studio/school such as computers and digital keyboards?  This isn’t as important as some of these programs can be accessed at home.
  • How much practice time do you require each day? The old saying, “The more you put into it, the more you will get out” is very true.  You can expect 30 min, of practice for kindergarten and younger.  45 to 60 minutes of practice daily for the elementary level and 60 to 90 minutes for the junior and senior high school student.
  • What do you expect from the student/parent?  The most important element of learning to play the piano is having a teachable spirit and showing respect for each other.
  • Do you offer a meet and greet appointment?  This can be beneficial if you are on the fence.  Personalities play a role in finding the right teacher.  Spending just a little time with the prospective teacher will give you a good idea if you are a perfect match!

Conclusion

Action is the next step.  Gather your names and numbers.  Print out this list of questions and begin making your calls. Make a decision and sign up.  Your journey will be worth the investment.

MEET OUR INSTRUCTOR

CHERYL GREEN

Every student is unique and Cheryl Green is committed to giving each student the attention they need to succeed. Ms. Green holds a bachelors degree in music studies. She is a well sought after piano instructor, adjudicator, workshop presenter and published composer. Her teaching and performing has taken her throughout the United States as well as Germany, Czech Republic, China and Mexico. Ms. Green is actively involved with the local chapter of Music Teachers National Association in Spokane Washington where she resides with her husband. Her energy, enthusiasm, and creativity is highly contagious and inspirational. Some of her hobbies include backpacking in the great outdoors, water and snow skiing, traveling, yoga, tennis, gardening and reading.