6/30/10

four steps of sight reading

Here are the four sight reading steps I teach my students:

  1. Look over the entire piece. Notice everything about it - key signature, meter, tempo, accidentals, slurs, staccatos, other articulation, hand position, range, fingering, how much your hand will need to move, any key changes, any tricky rhythms, dynamics, etc.
  2. Play the piece with no stopping or missing, skipping, or adding a beat. (You can go slowly, just keep going!) This is important for a couple of reasons - first, it teaches your students the good habit of not stopping when they mess up. Oftentimes students get so in the habit of stopping when they mess up that they automatically stop when they get to those tricky spots, even if they don't do anything wrong. Secondly, when you are accompanying somebody you can't stop. In my experience, the vast majority of my sight reading opportunities have been in accompanying vocalists, choirs or religious congregations. These are the times when the pressure is on - and you cannot stop, or else you will mess up the entire group. It is a great thing to learn to not stop right from the get-go!
  3. Evaluate how you did! Identify any spots you had trouble in, mistakes you made, etc.
  4. Play once more, this time going for accuracy. Aim to get everything right this time, to fix those spots you had trouble with on your first try.

6/29/10

why sight reading is important

I believe that sight reading is one of the most important skills we can teach our students. Sight reading ability is a great indicator of the student's overall understanding of music and music theory. If a student is a good sight reader, chances are they are pretty musically-literate overall!

In fact, sight reading is a big part of my own teaching philosophy. One of my three main objectives in my teaching is to help my students become musically-literate sight readers.

Being able to sight read well is of the utmost importance if one wants to be a proficient pianist. Students should learn all of the necessary concepts and skills to become good sight readers and well-rounded musicians.

So why is sight reading so important? Here is a list I came up with:

Good sight readers...

...are able to accompany somebody or make music in a group at the drop of a hat.
...are very good at recognizing and naming notes quickly.
...can probably learn new repertoire quickly.
...are good at looking ahead while playing.
...can become familiar with a lot more repertoire without necessarily needing to study it in depth.
...are well-rounded musicians!

It is one thing if our students can study a piece for weeks, months or years and then play it amazingly well (and this is definitely good!) But if they cannot sit down and play a new piece of music placed in front of them, are they truly good, well-rounded musicians?

6/28/10

we're in the same boat.

Who else enjoyed this week's poll? I surely did, because it made me feel a little better knowing I am not alone in the fact that I struggle finding the time to practice as much as I'd like. I do, however, feel inspired to do better in that department - hopefully some of you feel the same as well! Here are the poll results:

How often do you practice the piano?


Are you currently taking piano lessons?


This week we'd like to discuss Sight Reading - why is it important, how important is it really, how do you teach it, how do you motivate your students to do it....well you get the idea. :) Have a great week!

oh and psst, don't forget to take our two new polls, found on the sidebar or here and here! If you have ideas or suggestions for topics you'd like us to cover, let us know here or head on over and take our reader survey.

6/27/10

Performing at our recitals

I have really enjoyed Jenny's posts this week about performing for your students and about fitting in practice time for yourself. This is something I've thought about a lot. It is a bit of a downer when I am reminded of how much better I was when I was doing my piano degree than I am now. Depressing! There is no way I can continue to practice 4-5 hours a day now that I am the primary caregiver for two small children, in addition to teaching and other adult responsibilities. BUT, that doesn't mean that I have to stop practicing altogether! Without a performance to prepare for, it is easy for me to put off practicing, because there is always something else that needs to be done. That is one of the (admittedly more selfish) reasons that I perform at all of my studio recitals. An upcoming performance in front of all of my students and their parents is more than enough motivation for me to make sure that my practicing gets done. And really, anyone can practice, no matter how busy they are, if they make it a priority. (Isn't this what we are preaching to our students?) My favorite time to practice is at night after my girls are in bed, but I try to get little snatches done during the day - often just 10 minutes at a time. I remember once I was babysitting a friend's kids along with my own and I got 45 minutes of practicing in because the kids were having such a great time dancing and running around to the music. (It was Prokofiev's Suggestion Diabolique, and its frantic sound and pace made those kids pretty wild!) Anyway, we musicians are pretty good at time management - a vital skill we had to acquire to fit in all the practicing we did in college - and with enough creativity and motivation, we can continue to develop our musicianship in adulthood.

As far as what to play at my studio recitals, I like to learn something new each time. There are plenty of pieces that I've always wanted to play, and it has been a fun challenge to choose a piece, listen to a variety of recordings, decide how I want it to sound, and teach it to myself. (I would, however, like to take piano lessons again someday.)

There are so many reasons to perform for our students! One is to expose them to a variety of classical repertoire that is fun to listen to, thereby (hopefully) generating more interest in different types of classical music. We can show them that it can be exciting to listen to and fun to perform! Another reason for performing is to give ourselves a little more authority when we tell our students what they need to do. :) Students have a lot more respect for a teacher who clearly knows what they're talking about, and what better way to demonstrate that than by showing them good piano habits in action? Performing is a good way to advertise our "product" not only to our students, but to the parents as well, who are paying us and should know what kind of a pianist their child's teacher is.

One concern that may keep some teachers from performing at their recitals is that they will seem like they are trying to upstage their students. I have worried about this a little, but I don't think it has to be an issue. You do not have to make yourself the focal point of the recital - make it clear that the recital is about the students. I've found that my students and their parents look forward to and appreciate hearing me play, which is encouraging, but I make an effort to focus on their child's performance when talking to them after the recital. After all, that is what they really want to hear about anyway. When I was a piano student, hearing my teachers play was a real treat, and I had much more respect for the teachers who performed than for those who didn't. My piano professor in college is a prolific performer - search for "Scott Holden, piano" on YouTube - and he encouraged us to perform at every opportunity when we became teachers. I am trying to follow his advice, and only good things have come from it.

6/25/10

ten ways to use your continued piano study to influence your studio

Play at your students' recitals - not only is it a great excuse for you to perform, but it's a wonderful way to show your students and their parents that you know what you're doing and that you practice just like they do, and to introduce them to some great repertoire.

Perform at a group class or performance/master class - a fun, informal opportunity to play for your students, giving them an opportunity to hear you play

Give new students a recording of your playing - I like to do this at interviews; I give them a copy of my resume and a CD recording. Of course you could also just perform for them!

Perform in some local ensembles or as an accompanist - I believe that participation in ensemble/accompanying work is extremely important in becoming a good, well-rounded musician. I have found that through accompanying I have learned so much about music-making, teaching, learning, listening, and performance, and I think that has helped in my own teaching. Plus, when you are involved in performances, you can always invite your students to attend!

Accompany your students in duets, concertos, etc. - Fun fun. Another great excuse to perform! Someday I will have two pianos and cannot wait for all the fun two-piano pieces that can be played....

Sight read through (or do a more in-depth study of) intermediate/teaching repertoire - then, of course, you will be much more familiar with it, be better able to choose good repertoire for each student, and will be able to teach it more effectively!

Be involved in studio practicing competitions! - ever think of this? I have never done this but think it could be super fun! You could even do something fun like students getting a prize if they practice more than the teacher - holy motivation! If that doesn't get you practicing, I don't know what would. And it might just motivate your students quite a bit, as well.

Learn or re-learn more advanced repertoire being studied by your students - that way you will be able to be so much more aware of the techniques needed and the difficult passages coming up, and will be able to teach the piece so much more effectively. You will also be able to demonstrate passages and techniques much more easily :)

Perform a solo recital for students or prospective students - could be a great way to get new students, and something wonderful to work towards in your own practicing!

Take piano lessons again! - I would love to do this sometime. What a wonderful way to improve not only your performance skills, but your teaching skills! Each teacher I have had has taught me so many things that I have been able to incorporate into my own teaching - what a great way to get some fresh ideas and perspective.

6/23/10

making time for practicing

As a mommy, I find it so hard to practice at times. It really is depressing when I think about it - I used to practice at least four hours per day, and I loved it. I so miss that (not that I would trade being a mom...I'm just sayin'!). And while of course I don't expect to be able to practice that much, it can be so doable to practice every day! I think as a mom you just need to be creative.

practicing + being with this
little man 24/7 = tricky!
Luckily my little guy adores music. It's gotta be in his genes or something, because he just loves it. I turn on my ipod and he immediately starts dancing around (and oh man he's got the cutest, funkiest little dance moves around). He bobs his head to the beat, he sings. He dances around the room when we play the piano (my husband is a really talented pianist...he plays the third movement of Moonlight Sonata and my little boy LOVES it). 

So recently I made a fantastic discovery...when I play the piano, my son loves to listen to the piece and then tell me what he thinks it sounds like. The other day while he ate a snack, I was able to practice a bunch of tricky sections from some old repertoire. After each little section he would tell me what it sounded like - "Mommy, that sounds like a frog!"

If my son is playing with his trains, I'll say, "do we need some train music?" and thankfully he gets all excited and says, "Yeah!!" Awesome. I am then free to practice anything that slightly resembles the sound of a train. Car music is also a favorite. Scales are good car music. Haha. (I am gonna milk this for all it's worth, because who knows how long it will actually work!)

In fact, he now does it all by himself. The other day he walked up to the piano, played a little ditty, then said to me, "That sounds like a lion climbing through a forest!" 

How do you find time in your busy schedules to practice? How do those with kids make it work? Even if you don't have kids, it can be hard to be diligent and to fit it in. What are your secrets?? :)

6/22/10

the best compliment ever

One summer afternoon I finished up teaching lessons to two little boys (on a totally unrelated note, these brothers were AMAZING students. They practiced EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. Without fail. They were a teacher's dream.). Their parents were late picking them up, so we had a little time to kill. I decided to play a piece for them. I sat down and played a little bit of Liszt's Un Sospiro (Etude in D-flat Major). I finished up and turned to look at my students, who were standing there, stunned. One of them said, in amazement, "You sound like the freakin' radio!" This is, by far, my favorite compliment I have ever received. It just cracks me up.

Our students need to hear us play! They need to know not only that we know what we are talking about, but that we practice what we preach and practice the piano just like they do. On a side note, I am definitely not perfect and this is something I am working on; I know I have a lot of room for improvement in this category (regular practicing, that is) since becoming a mommy and having precious little time to myself (I am sure you other mommas can surely relate!).

One of the things that I admire most about my piano teacher in college is that he was always practicing. It seems like every time I'd walk past his office, if he wasn't teaching he'd be practicing up a storm. How inspiring, to see your own teacher practicing so diligently, and to know without a doubt that they absolutely know what they are teaching, and that they are exhibiting the same hard work that they expect of you!

pretty poll results

Thanks to all who participated in this week's poll! It seems that scales & arpeggios and Hanon exercises are pretty common for our intermediate students. I personally feel that a good mix of all of the options are ideal in teaching our students good technique.

So, I was getting tired of the same boring colors on the poll results - and realized I could easily change them! Sweet. That makes me happy. So here are the results -

How do you most often teach technique to intermediate students?


This week we will be focusing a little more on ourselves as teachers - specifically on a way to maintain our professional skills. Our topic for this week will be: Maintaining Professional Skills: Continuing Your Own Piano Study. Do you still take piano lessons? Do you practice regularly? How do you keep up your piano skills, and how does this influence your teaching? 


One of the questions in our reader survey asks how you maintain your professional skills. Out of the 34 people who have answered this question so far (head on over there and take it if you haven't already!), 22 people said that they practice the piano regularly, 21 said that they perform for their students and others, and 8 said that they are currently taking formal piano lessons.


Have a wonderful week, and we look forward to your comments!

6/18/10

Technique from the Pianist's Bench

Notes from the Pianist's BenchI was recently re-reading a great book by Boris Berman, Notes from the Pianist's Bench. What a wonderful book! I highly recommend it for any piano teacher. Berman includes in his book chapters on topics such as Sound and Touch, Practicing, Deciphering the Composer's Message, Technique, and The Art of Teaching and the Art of Learning. He illustrates his points with tons of musical examples from great piano literature. I find this book really inspiring to me as a pianist as well as a teacher. I think that this book is just as helpful for teachers of young students as it is for advanced pianists.

In light of our current topic here on The Teaching Studio, I was especially re-reading the chapter on Technique, which is fabulous and goes into great depth on what good technique is and how to teach it. I'd like to summarize a bit of his chapter on technique, because it has been so helpful to me (but you really should read the entire thing, it is chock full of incredibly helpful ideas!).

Did you know that the word technique is derived from the Greek word for "art"? I didn't, until I read this book!

Berman talks about three fundamental physical actions used in piano technique:

  1. independent use of well-articulated fingers
  2. rotation movements of wrist or forearm
  3. use of weight of the forearm and upper arm

He believes that most of the pianist's movements are some combination of these actions, and that they are all equally important.

Berman also believes that two pillars form the foundation of good piano technique:

  1. The economy principle (being economic in your movements; to not use a bigger part of the body when a smaller will suffice)
  2. The extension principle (to regard the finger, hand, forearm and arm as the continuation of the others, with each individual unit ready to support and share the work with the others.)
He goes over each part of the hand/arm that is used in playing the piano (fingers, palm, wrist, elbows, arms, etc.)

Fingers
The fingers must always be active; this is essential for enunciation...The fingertips give definition to the sound...Finger technique is not only indispensable but also completely safe if practiced properly.
Wrist
It is essential for the pianist to develop a flexible wrist, capable of small and rapid movements. It should be able to work flexibly and smoothly in three ways: rotating, performing horizontal shifts, and making vertical movements....Wrist technique needs to be developed early in the pianist's life.

Studies & Etudes

Berman briefly discusses studies and etudes, but says he is more familiar with the more advanced ones, as that is the level he most often teaches. However, for etudes he does recommend that Czerny, Cramer, Clementi and Moszkowski be used before more difficult ones such as Chopin, Liszt, Rachmaninov or Scriabin. As far as exercises go, he prefers Brahms, Tausig and Hanon. He says, 
...some of them are well worth incorporating into a daily technical routine...to be highly useful for daily warm-up. 
He also builds his daily technical routine on scales and arpeggios.

No technique without a musical goal
Important as the technical work is, it should never be done without a musical goal in mind. Realizing the musical content of the passage helps the pianist to find the right technical approach.

6/16/10

Principles of Intermediate Technique


Teaching technique to your students can seem like an intimidating task at times; at least I think so! For a budding pianist, developing a good, healthy technique is one of the most important things to do to become a fine pianist and a good musician. So how can we, as teachers, make sure we are helping our students develop good technique? 

Each teacher has different ideas about technique, was taught technique differently (depending on the teachers we all had as young pianists), and stresses different techniques to their own students. For this reason, I hope we can get a lot of input and comments as to how you go about teaching your students technique, or how you were taught technique.

When teaching intermediate students, I feel that there are three main important techniques to help our students develop, as well as one other important point we should stress to our students.
  • A good hand shape - yes, this is basic and should be taught to our beginning students. Still, there are sometimes intermediate students who need a little help making good hand shape a habit, or transfer students who need to completely re-learn this. Students who still frequently let their knuckles collapse and play on the flat part of their finger instead of the tip of the finger need some help and guidance in making that a habit.
  • Finger dexterity and articulation - students should develop strong fingers that can play with good articulation and control. This can happen through scales, Hanon exercises, high loud fingers, etc. However, this should never come at the expense of injury, so we need to also stress the importance of not tensing up muscles as we play, as well as help our students to develop....
  • Wrist movement - It is important to teach our students to keep their wrists relaxed and incorporate appropriate wrist movement into their playing. This can be in many ways: a slight lift of the wrist at the end of phrases; wrist movement like knocking on a door to assist in repeated block chords; playing a singing, lyrical melody with a loose, relaxed and slightly rotating wrist, etc. Keeping a relaxed wrist not only helps to avoid tensing the muscles too much, but truly aids in achieving a beautiful sound.
  • When teaching techniques to our students, we should always give them a musical reason for the technique. Don't just tell them to lift their wrist slightly at the end of phrases, explain why that makes the phrase musical.
What techniques do you feel are important to teach your intermediate students?

New Topic: Intermediate Technique

Now that we've talked about Intermediate Repertoire a bit, we'd like to move onto Intermediate Technique. How do you teach intermediate technique in your studio? Scales and arpeggios? Hanon exercises? Other exercise books, such as Czerny? Etudes? Through your students' repertoire itself? We are excited to explore this important topic this week!

Make sure you take our poll of the week to tell us how you teach intermediate technique!

Also, if you haven't taken our reader survey, please take two minutes and do it! Your responses will be anonymous, and they help us get a good idea of who you are and what you'd like us to write about on the blog. Thank you so much!
Image credit

6/14/10

awesome intermediate duets

I love duets!

Sitting by yourself at the piano for long periods of time can definitely get lonely at times. Why not supplement your students' repertoire with some wonderful duets? Not only will it add more peer interaction and fun into your studio, it will teach your students some valuable lessons about ensemble performance. I think summer is a great time for some fun duet recitals! You could pair up students of similar levels in your studio and have their lessons overlap by a few minutes in order for them to have time to practice the duets together.

I'd like to share with you some of my favorite intermediate-level duets. Enjoy!

The Legend of Pirate Pete by Kevin Olson


The Legend of Pirate Pete for One Piano Four Hands (FJH Piano Ensemble Series, Early Intermediate)


Very fun early-intermediate piece. Sounds very Pirates of the Caribbean-esque! haha.


Holy moly, look at all those pianos....this YouTube video is actually very impressive considering how many pianists were playing at once!




Big River Barn Dance by Carrie Kraft

Big River Barn Dance Sheet

This is a great duet, lots of fun, great for recitals! This is probably mid-intermediate. Here's a video of me and one of my adult students performing this piece.



The All-American Hometown Band by Walter and Carol Noona

This is one of my all-time favorite duets! I learned this as teenager with my sister, and now my husband plays it with me as well! I actually once saw it played with the pianists sitting under the piano, facing the audience...


This is probably mid-intermediate level.


Here is a video of my husband and I performing this piece...




C.S. Theme and Variations by Randall Compton
(dedicated to Victor Borge!)


This is such a fun duet. It is based on Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2, as well as another very familiar song...... :)

This is mid- to late-intermediate level.


Here is a great YouTube video I found.




Jamaican Rhumba by Arthur Benjamin, arranged for two pianos by Walden Hughes


Awesome two-piano duet. My sister and I once learned this, and I guess didn't feel completely ready to play it at our recital, because we were very surprised and relieved when our teacher forgot we were supposed to play it and never announced it!! haha. score.


This is probably later-intermediate.


YouTube video of the piece:




So tell me, what intermediate duets do you love?

6/12/10

popular/movie songs I wouldn't mind letting my students learn...

Since I recently posted about pop music, I thought I'd put this out there -

Sometimes I hear a pop song or a song from a movie soundtrack and think, "hmmm, I like that - I wouldn't mind if a student learned that song."

I'm talking about piano pieces that you can actually maybe learn some good piano technique in, or that maybe sound a little classical-ish. The good thing about these is that they could be great motivation for students who may not be so into classical music...and possibly a way to start to "convert" them to classical music :)


Pride & Prejudice - Music from the Motion Picture Soundtrack - Piano Solo Songbook
  • that one song ("Married Life") from Disney's/Pixar's "Up" - the one that's a waltz

Up: Music from the Motion Picture Soundtrack (Piano Solo Songbook)






  • My Father's Favorite from the movie Sense & Sensibility (great movie by the way :))






What else do you have to add to the list?

6/11/10

Piano Teaching Q&A: Pop Music

A couple of weeks ago there was a great post on Music Matters Blog about students wanting to learn pop music. One thing that was discussed there was about rhythms - when your students want to learn pop music, are you a stickler on playing the rhythm exactly as written? Or do you let them bend the rhythm a bit so it sounds just like the original recording sounds?

I think this is a very intriguing and actually an important topic. To the question already mentioned, I would also like to add this: What do you actually think about letting your students play pop music? This is something I am sure we all face. Students want to play pieces that are "fun!" Unfortunately, "fun" for many students translates as "not classical." Hopefully we can change that in our studios - but how do we handle the pop music issue?

Here is my own personal response, and I really want to hear what you think of this as well!

I think it doesn't hurt to let students play some pop music. As a classically-trained pianist, obviously I put a lot of emphasis on the classical music in my teaching. But I do think that students need a little motivation at times. And to be quite honest, I think that playing some pop music really helps piano students to become well-rounded musicians. What the student gets out of playing some pop music actually depends a lot on the difficulty level -

Simplified, elementary-level pop music: Sometimes a simplified version of "Star Wars" can work wonders for a seven-year-old boy who is becoming bored with lessons. We all must admit that those simplified Disney songs can really be quite fun for students. I don't mind my students playing some pop music every once in awhile. On a side note, I do think it is important to not call their pop piece their "fun" piece (that breaks their music into two categories - "classical" and "fun" - not a good message to send our students!).

As far as rhythm-bending goes, the simplified popular songs often have simplified rhythms, therefore they do not actually sound as they are supposed to, and kids notice this. I usually let them play the rhythms more syncopated or swung to match the real sound of the song, as long as the student realizes how it is written, and that they are, in fact, playing it differently than it is written.

Non-simplified pop music: Ok, so this stuff can be really fun (I enjoy sitting down and playing these sometimes!), and it can actually be very challenging. I think it is a great thing for a student to be able to play a fun pop song with a very tricky rhythm. I tell my students that they can learn these types of pieces every once in awhile for lessons, but they must play the rhythm correctly. I am a real stickler on this. Otherwise they are just being lazy and are not being good musicians. Because seriously - those rhythms can be really tricky. You don't find those types of rhythms much at all in classical music, and I think it is a really good skill to have to be able to really feel the beat and play the rhythm well.

A couple of things - when students do want to play pop music, I think it is good to encourage them to play songs that were actually written for and recorded with a PIANO. Not only are these songs a lot of fun (because they sound much more authentic), the piano part is usually written better than when it is a transcription of a song for a rock group. So some examples of pop songs with a predominant piano part - Walking in Memphis, A Thousand Miles (Vanessa Carlton), songs by Jon McLaughlin - many of you could name a ton more. My eighteen-year-old brother is an amazing pianist (he just performed Rhapsody in Blue with his school orchestra and did a wonderful job), and not only is he great at classical music but he loves to sit down and play pop songs and sing. (He's also possibly reading this - love ya, Dude!) I honestly think that he has become a better musician in part because of the fact that he plays this kind of stuff all the time.

So I would say to be open for these types of songs at least every once in awhile. Try to find good teaching moments in popular songs. Make sure the student is becoming a better musician because of it.

Walking in Memphis (Piano Vocal, Sheet music.)A Thousand Miles (Piano Vocal, Sheet music.)

What do you think?

6/10/10

Intermediate Repertoire Collections

I'd like to share some great collections of intermediate-level piano repertoire. All of these have a great variety of pieces from each of the four musical periods, and I have personally used them and recommend them! I know there are many more out there - if you have favorites that you use in your teaching that aren't listed here, please share! We can all benefit from recommendations from other teachers. And don't miss some recommendations for great intermediate pieces (and audio/video samples of each piece) here. Click on the pictures below for more information on the collections.


Succeeding with the Masters - FJH Music
These generally go from Late Elementary to Late Intermediate levels.
Baroque Era, Volumes 1 & 2; Classical Era, Volumes 1 & 2; Romantic Era, Volumes 1 & 2

Succeeding with the Masters, Baroque Era, Volume OneSucceeding with the Masters, Classical Era, Volume OneSucceeding with the Masters, Romantic Era, Volume One (With CD)

Easy Classics to Moderns (Volume 17 of the Music for Millions series) - Hal Leonard Publishing; compiled & edited by Denes Agay

Easy Classics to Moderns: Piano Solo (Music for Millions)-Volume 17More Easy Classics to Moderns (Music for Millions, Vol 27) (Music for Milions)

59 Piano Solos You Like to Play - Schirmer
I suppose some of these pieces may be considered "Early Advanced," but this is a wonderful book with great teaching repertoire!

59 Piano Solos You Like to Play (Piano Collection)

Applause! Volumes 1 & 2 - Alfred Masterwork Editions
Great collections of showy, fun-to-play repertoire.

Applause!, Book 1 (Alfred Masterwork Editions)

Music by the Masters - Alfred Publishing
This is a book I used as a young student - it has a great variety of intermediate classical repertoire.

Music by the Masters

Keith Snell's Piano Repertoire - Neil A. Kjos Music Company
Levels 3 through 7 are Intermediate levels
This is an awesome series - I love how it starts with the Preparatory level for very young students!

GP625 - Piano Repertoire: Romantic & 20th Century, Level 5GP624 - Piano Repertoire: Romantic & 20th Century, Level 4GP623 - Piano Repertoire: Romantic & 20th Century, Level ThreeGP603 - Piano Repertoire: Baroque & Classical Level ThreeGP604 - Piano Repertoire: Baroque & Classical Level 4

Celebration Series Perspectives - Frederick Harris Music

Great series that has ten levels of repertoire books and ten levels of etude books, as well as student workbooks.

Piano Repertoire 5 (Celebration Series Perspectives®)Piano Repertoire 3 (Celebration Series Perspectives®)

Encyclopedia of Classical Music - FJH Music
This is a relatively new collection (published in 2005) that I LOVE - it has a wonderful selection of pieces that have really motivated my students to practice.

Encyclopedia of Classical Piano Music, Volume 1 - Piano Solos By the Great Composers
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