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Most piano teachers use piano method books as a source to provide direction for beginning piano. There are a number of method books on the market. As the average age for teaching piano starts between 8-9, the majority of method books are written for that age group.
However, in the last 30-40 years, instruction of piano has grown to include pre-kindergarten, 3-6 yrs old, and adults. Consequently, a number of books targeting the 3-6 yrs old has taken shape. Books such as Piano Adventures, Music for little Mozarts and Bastien’s Piano Party, to name a few.
Currently, the books are organized using the same material, but each one presents the information differently. Covering basic information, like keyboard geography and transitioning to the music staff, the overall structure of each method book depends on the pace that the material is presented to the student.
As a musician and educator, I had worked and been trained as a Music for Young Children instructor, and taught a group class of four or five pre-schoolers. I found the curriculum for this age group to be imaginative, creative and fun for the young students. When I moved on, however, I found it difficult to use the MYC curriculum with private students.
It wasn’t until 2015, while I was searching on the internet, that I discovered the idea of using the colors of the rainbow to teach note reading. The idea of using color to teach notes aroused my curiosity. So, I continued my quest. During this process, I discovered “The Musicolor Method” by Andrew Ingkavet.
Andrew’s method is an online course that combines a piano method and a curriculum that is designed to assist the educator with teaching the Musicolor Method. The piano method is specifically created for the young beginner, ages 3-6 years old, but beyond that, Andrew’s program offers a course for the educator that incorporates his seven core principles, thus providing a structure to lessons and lesson planning.
This is where the Musicolor Method differs.
First off, in concept and creativity, it is unlike any other pre-kinder piano method book on the market.
The curriculum is not only based on teaching 3-6 year olds how to play the piano using color, but it is structured to encourage that age group to begin playing the piano using both hands immediately.
Andrew cleverly uses the songs in the curriculum, written by him, to introduce five finger playing, directionality in music and the spatial relationships between notes.
You will also learn unique ideas for teaching basic music theory concepts, using stick notation and fun games and activities to enhance the young beginner’s first experience with playing piano.
Andrew brings together in the method book the elements of aural, visual and kinesthetic learning in order to actively engage the senses, thereby enhancing the learning experience. The following video will illustrate some of these elements:
For teachers who are experienced as educators, or even for those who themselves are new to teaching piano, Andrew’s course is designed to teach the teacher.
Andrew infuses his course, not only with the material to teach color notes on the piano, or any other instrument, such as the guitar or ukelele, but galvanizes the teacher to look beyond his/her mindset.
Thus, his program prompts teachers to ask themselves some basic questions such as “why we do what we do?”.
The Musicolor Method is based on seven core principles. It is within these principles that the teacher learns how to create a well-executed lesson plan. When Andrew talks about one of his core principles, notation, he is not speaking about how to teach notation, but how music notation is presented.
Have you ever really looked at the music pages you want to assign your student? Taking a closer examination of most pre-kinder piano method books you will discover that the music page has a lot of information.
There are notes to the teacher, brightly colored cartoon figures, and sometimes teacher duets. All adding a bit of clutter to the experience. Who hasn’t had a students eye drift to that cartoon drawing rather than the music?
Using this concept and color notation, Andrew allows both student and teacher to focus on what is important. Andrew’s method and curriculum can open the doors for many educators who need a little extra push to start teaching the 3-6 year old students.
The method is an accumulation of years of being an educator, and adapting his life experiences to the program. It is well organized, creative and very effective. I also believe that this approach can be adapted to young beginners beyond pre-school.
Perhaps his philosophy is best summarized by his own words: “We believe that music education is one of the best paths for personal development and will lead to a better world for us all.”
You can read more about Andrew’s fresh approach to teaching young beginners by visiting themusicolormethod.com. The program is user-friendly, adapting very well to computer or mobile devices.
The overall cost is well worth the amount of information presented within the curriculum and I believe it will, if nothing else, enhance the educator as we seek to teach a new generation of young musicians.